This is the second of five (?) articles about my Windows Media Center build in anticipation of the new Ceton CableCARD tuner release. Tonight I will be showing the motherboard, CPU and cooling fan that will be installed into the Alienware P2 Chassis.
The plan is to have this system replace my Moxi Charter Cable DVR AND my WMC PC.
The first article can be found at:
The chassis is a Alienware P2 case with light kit I bought from Dell for $125.
I get paid every two weeks and will get a few items each paycheck. I should be done just in time for the Ceton release. This paycheck I had a little extra and bought the motherboard, CPU and cooling fan.
Ceton Prime? – Revisit
I am naming her Ceton Prime in honor of the Ceton Multi-Channel Cable TV Card I hope will be released someday soon. March 2010?
With their 4-tuner card, according to the Ceton web site, I will be able to have:
- 1 TV set watching live TV while the Media Center DVR records 3 other shows at the same time (4 live streams total)
- Four HD channels recording on 1 TV set while other TVs in the home are playing back previously recorded shows.
- 2 TV sets each recording 2 live shows at once (4 live streams total)
- 2 TV sets watching a different live channels each, while 2 other TV sets are each recording 1 different show to the DVR (4 live streams total)
This Paycheck – $355 (ouch)
$170 for the board, $35 for the fan and $150 for the CPU. Newegg had a deal on the board and Microcenter had a deal on the CPU. So much for Christmas presents.
I chose the EVGA P55 SLI since it had the 1156 socket and the right amount of expansion slots. I do not know the final Ceton card slot configuration so I need a couple of extra slots ready.
The 1156 board fit my budget and was a good choice for a standard WMC build. I am not going to do any gaming or over clocking so this board seemed perfect. It has many features including:
And it is a fine looking board I must say.
No X58 or i7?
It was tempting but this is a Media Center rig and not for gaming. The price for the i7 really jumps so I wanted to stick with the P55 chipset. Again, it was tempting to go X58 because I am sure the Intel Gulftown Hexa-Core (using the X58 1366 socket) will be released in May. It does not matter since no one can really confirm the X58 board compatibility anyway and I can always start a new build for 2011.
Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield
I chose to pay a little more for the Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield processor. You probably have your own opinions on CPUs but the i5 was the best choice for my anticipated usage. I referenced many online tests and benchmarks and the Core i5 750 beat out the Core 2 Quads for video playback and transcoding.
I assume the load of 4 HD video streams of the Ceton card, the recording of these programs and the transfer to my WHS will take some serious power. This rig has to be able to record four shows at the same time.
My wife and I drove down to MicroCenter in Orange County on Saturday to get the in-store only price of $149.99 for the Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield. The sale price of this Intel CPU put it right in the middle of the current Intel processors.
Current Intel Processor Costs (12-17-09)
Dual processors like the Wolfdale are from $50 – $170
Intel Core 2 Quad-Cores are from $160 – $360
Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield is $200 marked down to $150
Intel Core i7 (quad-core) go from $280 – $600
I bought the ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro. You can see it compared to the stock i5 Core fan in the picture above. Purchasing it was like the power supply in that I just ordered it from Newegg based on the good ratings and price.
I must say as an alternative product source that anyone near a Microcenter should check out their fans. They have a whole wall! I had no idea we had so many options for cooling a CPU.
What is next?
For my next paycheck I have to decide on hard drives. I think I will go with two smaller hard drives rather than a large TB drive. What do you think about a Caviar Black for the OS and a Spinpoint for the video?
Oh, and at some point I will need to assemble and load Windows 7. Ugh.
See you next paycheck,