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408 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 23403 28-Jun-2008 00:01
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Hi there

I am after this since 2 -3 weeks now, i have done significant research
now, however i am not experience as you people. so need some advice
before i start buying parts. i also have few doubts on my selection.



The HTPC will only be strictly used as HTPC but nothing else.

The HTPC will be connected to a 42" Full HD Plasma [Panasonic 42py800]

For Sound, HTPC will be connected to my Yamaha RX-V657 amp via digital optical or coaxal for 5.1+ effects

Will be Running XP PRO SP2 as an OS unless Vista is giving anymore functions related to HTPC.



CPU

Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 or

AMD Phenom 8450





Motherboard

Microstar P35 NEO ATX or

Asustek P5K Intel

P35



Case

Silverstone LC17 Black





PSU

Silverstone ST50F 500W





HDD

Western Digital 7200rpm 750GB SATA or



2 X 320GB SATA





Graphic Card

GeForce 9600 GT, 512MB PCI-Express or

ATI Radeon HD 3870

512MB





RAM

Corsair Dominator XMS2 2Gb DDR2-1066 PC8500





Sound Card


Not decided





Tuner Card


Hauppauge HVR3000 or

Hauppauge

HVR2200





Keyboard/Mouse


Microsoft OEM Remote Keyboard MCE

or the mini Divio edge from logitech





Right, now i spent half of the time researching about what graphics
cards since few cards did not support h.264 hardware acceleration and
were not HDCP complaint. please correct me if iam wrong about the
selections. or suggest me anything better.



I am not sure if i have selected the right motherboards. personally i
would like to stay with Asustek and MSI if possible. the two MUSTS in
the motherboards are 2 PCI express slots. since the tuner card and
graphic card will both use that bus. Onboard HD 7.1 sound might do,
depending on how big difference i will have by putting a Auzentech 7.1.
if its not very essential to enjoy DTS, dolby, then i will stick to the
onboard.



As a tuner card i see HVR2200 is very hard to get due to the
popularity, i still dont know why its so popular?. HVR3000 is the same
isnt it?. since HVR2200 is discontinued by supplier?. please advice me
on this? are there any compatibility issues with MCE, MediaPortal
GBPVR?. This part has to be very reliable because schedule and one
touch recording is the main for purpose of this HTPC.



For memory i think 2gb DDR2 is enogh isnt it?.



for HDD i thought 750GB will be enough. the doubt was whether i should
i have 2 X 320 or 1 single big capacity HDD? any performance difference
over each other?.



As a keyboard i like the MCE edition keyboard because of the jog on it
which can be used as mouse. although its very hard for a new user to
get used to. how is the new mini dvino btw? anyone here used it?.



i dont want to AMD vs Intel but i just wanted a CPU which which is
worth. my budget on CPU is $190 ish. because the motherboard will
change depending on the choice here.



As a case LC17 is very cheap, looks good too. anyone faced any problems with it so far?



----------------------------------------------------

OK i think i have talked enough. Please guys please let me know if i
have chosen anything wrong, also let me know if something is a
overkill(too much for a htpc).




  • Yamaha RXV657 A/V Reciever.
  • HAUPPAUGE HVR2200
  • ASUS P5K PRO INTEL P35
  • NVIDIA GT430 1GB - Running latest drivers
  • TH-42PY800, TH-P60ST60
  • Logitech Harmony One 
  • Windows 7 x64 SP1
  • MediaPortal

View this topic in a long page with up to 500 replies per page Create new topic
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2584 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 141028 28-Jun-2008 13:37
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Cannot answer all your questions but have where I can.

gumdigger:

Will be Running XP PRO SP2 as an OS unless Vista is giving anymore functions related to HTPC.


XP Pro will not help you at all unless you are going to run third party media centre software. Your options are MCE 2005 or Vista Home Premium or Ultimate as the have VMC software the lower versions of Vista dont include it.

CPU

Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 or

AMD Phenom 8450


Personally I think low end Core 2 is the way to go for media centre as they run cool but are still plenty powerful enough but I am sure AMD is fine too.

Motherboard


Just make sure it has the features you need and pref is passive cooling

Case

Silverstone LC17 Black


Looks OK just make sure you do your reading seems that more often then not there is some compromise made on cheaper HT cases.

PSU

Silverstone ST50F 500W


Big thing here is noise make sure you get a power supply that is quiet. I would put that above performance as a media centre really does not need a huge amount of power available to it.

I got a Corsair VX Series on the suggestion of someone else on geekzone and have found it to be very good.


HDD

Western Digital 7200rpm 750GB SATA or
2 X 320GB SATA


Go single. You dont need ultimate HDD performance but you do need it to be as quiet as possible.

Graphic Card

GeForce 9600 GT, 512MB PCI-Express or
ATI Radeon HD 3870 512MB


Bit of debate here. On paper the ATI should be better but it seems that people are currently finding that the NVidia cards just work. The ATI's seem to have all sorts of problems with our Freeview HD.

Dont feel you have to get a 512 meg card. HD does not need it. DO get a passively cooled card. Video card fans are not quiet.

RAM

Corsair Dominator XMS2 2Gb DDR2-1066 PC8500


Should be fine. Depends a bit on the mother board. If it only has two slots then I would go for 4 Gig.

Sound Card

Not decided


On board should do you fine as long as it is one of the HD flavours. The older onboard designs will not handel HD well.

Tuner Card

Hauppauge HVR3000 or

Hauppauge

HVR2200


2200 is PCIe, 3000 is PCI at least that is my understanding. Others will be able to give you more info on these.

I have two 3000's and they are fine for DVB-S have not tried DVB-T but have not heard of any problems.


Keyboard/Mouse

Microsoft OEM Remote Keyboard MCE

or the mini Divio edge from logitech


Dont have either but want to get the MS keyboard. Friend has one and seems to work fine.


I would budget some money for some quiet case fans you will find that the fans that come with the case are not quiet and there is nothing worse then noisy case fans.







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

2972 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 141030 28-Jun-2008 13:45
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Great choice of TV (I'm jealous).

The first thing is PCIex slots.  Graphics cards go in the 16x slots, tuner cards go in the 1x slots (the little ones).

The HVR-3000 is a hybrid card so only one part of it can be used at any one time (either satellite, digital-terrestrial or analogue).  Additionally the HVR-3000 has a software encoder for analogue which doesn't work with a lot of PVR programs. It is a PCI card.

The HVR-2200 is a dual tuner hybrid card (2x digital-terrestrial and 2x analogue) which means 2 parts of it can run concurrently, and it has hardware encoding of analogue.  It doesn't do satellite.  It is a PCIex (1x) card.

Lots of motherboards have onboard 5.1 sound processing so don't be in a hurry to get a sound card.

ATI graphics cards seem to cause problems with freeviewHD.  Plenty of discussion of this on GZ.

How are you connecting the HTPC to the TV?

Had the power supply you mention but it developed a noisy bearing and was swapped out.  No problems since.

Running two HDDs may assist recording.  I run two drives and recorded all the TVNZ and Canwest channels at once (7 channels) just to see if it would and it seemed to cope.  Just be aware that a 320Gb drive gets chewed up pretty fast by HD recordings.  And no there wasn't something worth watching on all the channels at the same time, it was just an exercise.

No matter how much research you do you will still make mistakes along the way and hit difficulties.  But that's what makes GZ great, someone is likely to have had the same experience and can help.  It's not rocket science, although it seems like it at times.

Edit:.  Beaten to the gun by Nety.  I note that he advises one big hard drive for reasons of noise.  Good point.  My set up has 2 x 500GB but since its in a cupboard the noise is of less concern.




Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.

 
 
 
 


722 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 141080 28-Jun-2008 18:21
Send private message

gumdigger: Hi there

I am after this since 2 -3 weeks now, i have done significant research
now, however i am not experience as you people. so need some advice
before i start buying parts. i also have few doubts on my selection.



The HTPC will only be strictly used as HTPC but nothing else.

The HTPC will be connected to a 42" Full HD Plasma [Panasonic 42py800]

For Sound, HTPC will be connected to my Yamaha RX-V657 amp via digital optical or coaxal for 5.1+ effects

Will be Running XP PRO SP2 as an OS unless Vista is giving anymore functions related to HTPC.



CPU

Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 or

AMD Phenom 8450

Go Intel. AMD isn't what it used to be. I know, I had major issues with a new AMD build recently. Eventually took it back for Intel & worked 1st time.



Motherboard

Microstar P35 NEO ATX or

Asustek P5K Intel

P35



Case

Silverstone LC17 Black





PSU

Silverstone ST50F 500W





HDD

Western Digital 7200rpm 750GB SATA or



2 X 320GB SATA





Graphic Card

GeForce 9600 GT, 512MB PCI-Express or

ATI Radeon HD 3870

512MB

Heck of a lot of power for HTPC use there. Could go with an 8600GT passive (with twin DVIs) & save some money. Nvidia, for me. It has issues but maybe not so many as ATI???? See below.



RAM

Corsair Dominator XMS2 2Gb DDR2-1066 PC8500





Sound Card


Not decided





Tuner Card


Hauppauge HVR3000 or

Hauppauge

HVR2200

2200 is an excellent card. If you can wait, do so.



Keyboard/Mouse


Microsoft OEM Remote Keyboard MCE

or the mini Divio edge from logitech

I have the MCE remote keyboard on my bedroom client HTPC & the mouse is a stupid little button-type joystick that can be hard to control, even when configured properly. If you're wanting to do a reasonable amount of navigating, then get another board. Also, be aware it doesn't come with the IR receiver. You still need to get the remote for that.



Right, now i spent half of the time researching about what graphics
cards since few cards did not support h.264 hardware acceleration and
were not HDCP complaint. please correct me if iam wrong about the
selections. or suggest me anything better.


Most 8500GT cards support hardware acceleration, but only with Vista, but all 8600GT ones do, with XP/MCE/Vista (I thinkUndecided), as I understand it.

http://www.nvidia.com/object/nvidia_purevideo.html  To be honest I'm still a little confused in this area myself.

I am not sure if i have selected the right motherboards. personally i
would like to stay with Asustek and MSI if possible. the two MUSTS in
the motherboards are 2 PCI express slots. since the tuner card and
graphic card will both use that bus. Onboard HD 7.1 sound might do,
depending on how big difference i will have by putting a Auzentech 7.1.
if its not very essential to enjoy DTS, dolby, then i will stick to the
onboard.

The graphics card uses the x16 slot, whilst the tuner card uses a x1 slot. SPDIF sound only transmits the raw audio through to the av receiver for decoding, it does not do anything else, regardless whether it is DD or DTS (any of those variants). Onboard will be fine. Still, look for a mobo that has minimum 2x PCI slots & 2x PCI-E slots.

As a tuner card i see HVR2200 is very hard to get due to the
popularity, i still dont know why its so popular?. HVR3000 is the same
isnt it?. since HVR2200 is discontinued by supplier?. please advice me
on this? are there any compatibility issues with MCE, MediaPortal
GBPVR?. This part has to be very reliable because schedule and one
touch recording is the main for purpose of this HTPC.



For memory i think 2gb DDR2 is enogh isnt it?. Yes.



for HDD i thought 750GB will be enough. the doubt was whether i should
i have 2 X 320 or 1 single big capacity HDD? any performance difference
over each other?.

RAID is a waste of time for HTPC use, so go with a larger, single drive.


As a keyboard i like the MCE edition keyboard because of the jog on it
which can be used as mouse. although its very hard for a new user to
get used to. how is the new mini dvino btw? anyone here used it?.



i dont want to AMD vs Intel but i just wanted a CPU which which is
worth. my budget on CPU is $190 ish. because the motherboard will
change depending on the choice here.



As a case LC17 is very cheap, looks good too. anyone faced any problems with it so far?


I have the LC14 & is a very good case. So I imagine the 17 should work out good.


----------------------------------------------------

OK i think i have talked enough. Please guys please let me know if i
have chosen anything wrong, also let me know if something is a
overkill(too much for a htpc).


Excellent research. Here's my 2 cents worth.




Silverstone LC14 HTPC Case/Intel E4600 CPU/GA-EP35-DS3 MOBO/Asus EN9500GT graphics/2GB RAM/total 2TB HDD space/HVR-2200 & 2X 150MCE tuner cards/LG GGC-H20L BD Drive/MCE2005/Mediaportal/TVServer 1.1.0Final/LG 55"3D LED-TV/Denon AVR-1803 receiver/X1 projector

2584 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 5

Mod Emeritus
Trusted
Subscriber

  Reply # 141131 28-Jun-2008 23:35
Send private message

1gkar:

Right, now i spent half of the time researching about what graphics
cards since few cards did not support h.264 hardware acceleration and
were not HDCP complaint. please correct me if iam wrong about the
selections. or suggest me anything better.


Most 8500GT cards support hardware acceleration, but only with Vista, but all 8600GT ones do, with XP/MCE/Vista (I thinkUndecided), as I understand it.

http://www.nvidia.com/object/nvidia_purevideo.html  To be honest I'm still a little confused in this area myself.


The 8500 and 8600GT's both have the same level of hardware acceleration. The 8600GT is just a slightly guntier card so will play games reasonably well which the 8500GT will not.
Both have limited hardware acceleration under XP/MCE although I have read that it is possible to get it working with some hacks. To get vendor supported hardware acceleration you need to be running Vista.

As for being a little confused I am not supprised. Both ATI and NVidia seem to be going out of their way to confuse consumers. For example NVidia selling their Purevideo software for MPEG 2 when MS Media player supports NVidia purevideo acceleration under Vista without needing additional software.
It is only when you want acceleration for MPEG 4 that you need additional codecs and then NVidia do not have oneSurprised







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

1135 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 230


  Reply # 141251 29-Jun-2008 15:59
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Just my 2 cents

Think about noise befote rather than after.
It can be frustrating tying to get a HTPC quiet
Dont believe manufactures claims that theie stuff is quiet, do a bit of googling
The vid cards with OEM zalmans arnt quiet (mine isnt). Aftermarket Zalman vid fans are quiet on low speed.
The Palit vid card I had before my upgrades had a very quiet fan(inaudible)
Be careful with fanless vid cards. Some can get so hot as to start to damage nearby caps on the motherboard(after a year or so)

The Zalman CPU fans have a terrible mounting mechanism:avoid it. Mine actualy snapped & the retaining thing & dropped onto the vid card, luckily it was turned off at the time or ther would have been a 8800 going up in smoke.

Ive a Silverstone case. Its built like a tank & has very easy access to the parts inside.
The top is very thick metal, so its strong enougth to stack alot of my other HT gear on top.

176 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 141310 29-Jun-2008 19:33
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Another idea is go for something like an amd x2 4800 or 5000, and use a scythe ninja mini passive cpu cooler, the silverstone st50ef plus is a good and quiet psu.
Couple this with a fanless video card, and assuming the case fans in the silverstone case are quiet, you'll have a pretty quiet system. The x2 processors are cheap and will handle anything you need in the htpc realm.



408 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 2


  Reply # 141348 29-Jun-2008 23:43
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Hi
Thanks for all the replies guys, keep them coming.

For CPU i will stick to core 2 duo E7200 and stick a SCMNJ-1000 on it for keeping it cool.
silverstone lc17 for case.
if i find HVR-2200 somewhere for under $150 i will buy it as its strongly recommended if not i will get HVR-2250 is this any good guys?.

for mobo MSI P35 NEO ATX

GeForce 9600 GT, 512MB for graphics, you guys sure this will display full fleshed bluray and high def mpeg 4 files without a problem right?. and its HDCP complaint.
what about quiet cooling for this? should i remove the original one and replace with an aftermarket cooler?. how does that work?.

if anyone knows where i could get hvr2200 please let me know.

thanks




  • Yamaha RXV657 A/V Reciever.
  • HAUPPAUGE HVR2200
  • ASUS P5K PRO INTEL P35
  • NVIDIA GT430 1GB - Running latest drivers
  • TH-42PY800, TH-P60ST60
  • Logitech Harmony One 
  • Windows 7 x64 SP1
  • MediaPortal

183 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 149886 21-Jul-2008 14:15
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gumdigger did you end up going with the XFX Geforce 9600 512MB card?
What's it like with nz freeview hd?



408 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 2


  Reply # 149970 21-Jul-2008 18:58
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hey
yes i did get the xfx version of 9600gt 512mb. its too early to tell u hw the card is performing, as i am still in process of installing apps and tweaking them. however cyberlink power cinema is setup and video quality is really good. i hav also played few hd videos and plays without a lagg or stutters.




  • Yamaha RXV657 A/V Reciever.
  • HAUPPAUGE HVR2200
  • ASUS P5K PRO INTEL P35
  • NVIDIA GT430 1GB - Running latest drivers
  • TH-42PY800, TH-P60ST60
  • Logitech Harmony One 
  • Windows 7 x64 SP1
  • MediaPortal

183 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 150096 22-Jul-2008 08:38
Send private message

I'm looking at getting either an ati hd3870 or nvidia 9600gt for nz freeview terrestrial and the questions i find myself asking are:
Can it handle all freeview channels well? i.e Do they all play smooth, no probs changing channels etc
How great is the video output? Does it have the nice HD look?
Does the card get too loud and hot when watching freeview terrestrial for a while?

I've been reading reviews and it seems the 9600gt runs hotter than the hd3870. But then i read that the hd3870 stock fan doesnt do a good job of cooling either?

Can you answer any of these questions with your xfx version of 9600gt 512mb?

cheers,
charley

991 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 27


  Reply # 150356 22-Jul-2008 15:59
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gumdigger: hey
yes i did get the xfx version of 9600gt 512mb. its too early to tell u hw the card is performing, as i am still in process of installing apps and tweaking them. however cyberlink power cinema is setup and video quality is really good. i hav also played few hd videos and plays without a lagg or stutters.


So how did that 9600GT fit in your case? Did you have to mod anything? Is it too restricitve of airflow, etc?




HTPC: Silverstone Crown CW02 case | Asus P5Q-L main board | Intel Dual core E8400 3.0GHz CPU | Thermalright Ultra120-Extreme Passive CPU Cooler | Blackgold BTG3540 TV Tuner & Hauppauge PVR-150 MCE Edition | Asus EN9600GT-Silent Passive GPU | 4GB Supertalent DDR2 800 RAM | 5+TB HDD space | LiteOn DH-401S BD/DVD/CD reader | Corsair HX-520w PSU | 1 single Noctua Silent Case fan | Logitech diNovo Bluetooth Media Desktop | Logitech Harmony 785 Universal Remote | Logitech Wireless Rumblepad 2 | Windows 7 Media Center, MediaBrowser & Arcsoft Total Media Theatre



408 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 2


  Reply # 150522 23-Jul-2008 00:17
Send private message

Asmodeus:
gumdigger: hey
yes i did get the xfx version of 9600gt 512mb. its too early to tell u hw the card is performing, as i am still in process of installing apps and tweaking them. however cyberlink power cinema is setup and video quality is really good. i hav also played few hd videos and plays without a lagg or stutters.


So how did that 9600GT fit in your case? Did you have to mod anything? Is it too restricitve of airflow, etc?

xfx version which i have is pretty damn long, it was pretty hard to put it in. i have lc17 so in terms of air flow its ok i guess




  • Yamaha RXV657 A/V Reciever.
  • HAUPPAUGE HVR2200
  • ASUS P5K PRO INTEL P35
  • NVIDIA GT430 1GB - Running latest drivers
  • TH-42PY800, TH-P60ST60
  • Logitech Harmony One 
  • Windows 7 x64 SP1
  • MediaPortal



408 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 2


  Reply # 152676 30-Jul-2008 13:03
Send private message

charley: I'm looking at getting either an ati hd3870 or nvidia 9600gt for nz freeview terrestrial and the questions i find myself asking are:
Can it handle all freeview channels well? i.e Do they all play smooth, no probs changing channels etc
How great is the video output? Does it have the nice HD look?
Does the card get too loud and hot when watching freeview terrestrial for a while?

I've been reading reviews and it seems the 9600gt runs hotter than the hd3870. But then i read that the hd3870 stock fan doesnt do a good job of cooling either?

Can you answer any of these questions with your xfx version of 9600gt 512mb?

cheers,
charley


The 9600GT can handle freeviewHD and HighDef videos properly, without any stutter, though i see slight sttuter sometimes watching it through MediaPortal, (not noticable to my wife or kids). i think its just the codecs playing up or else it would have been perfect.




  • Yamaha RXV657 A/V Reciever.
  • HAUPPAUGE HVR2200
  • ASUS P5K PRO INTEL P35
  • NVIDIA GT430 1GB - Running latest drivers
  • TH-42PY800, TH-P60ST60
  • Logitech Harmony One 
  • Windows 7 x64 SP1
  • MediaPortal

183 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 152683 30-Jul-2008 13:36
Send private message

Do you like the video output on the tv. Do the colours look to strong?

I noticed the powerdvd x.264 codec will give that stutter look when the camera is panning. Happens when playing those mkv files encoded using avc codec.



408 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 2


  Reply # 152689 30-Jul-2008 14:04
Send private message

charley: Do you like the video output on the tv. Do the colours look to strong?

I noticed the powerdvd x.264 codec will give that stutter look when the camera is panning. Happens when playing those mkv files encoded using avc codec.

colors are very good. yeh i havent found a perfect codec for mkf files. though it seems like i wont be getting a internal bluray drive atleast not for $250 too much hassel to play bluray. i will be getting a bluray player seperate.
you should do keep a lot of spare time for reading and tweaking about htpc software.




  • Yamaha RXV657 A/V Reciever.
  • HAUPPAUGE HVR2200
  • ASUS P5K PRO INTEL P35
  • NVIDIA GT430 1GB - Running latest drivers
  • TH-42PY800, TH-P60ST60
  • Logitech Harmony One 
  • Windows 7 x64 SP1
  • MediaPortal

 1 | 2
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