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Author Topic: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!  (Read 23272 times)

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Matt_CTopic starter

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Hi all, just joined up as I need two questions answering before I can commit to buying one of these, so I hope you can help :)

I don't have a HDTV yet (I still can't bear to get rid of my CRT!) so as such, the thing that interests me the most on this Media Live box are the analogue outputs - component, and more specifically, the scart output...

However, my MAIN question is regarding the scart. 1) what formats can it output? Composite? S-Vid? RGB? and 2) I see in the manual it has a jumper inside to select 4:3 and 16:9. My TV is 16:9 and what I REALLY want to know is when the jumper is set to 16:9, does the box just stretch the desktop/video ouptut from 4:3 to 16:9 (which my TV can do) or does it actually output a PROPER widescreen aspect ratio/desktop resolution (such as 1280x720, or 1024x576 etc) As this is the most important thing for me, as my current HTPC outputs s-vid, but only in 4:3 res, so I have to stretch it to fill the screen, which looks rubbish!

Likewise, the above question regarding the component output aswell (my CRT has component inputs, but only in interlaced - doesn't accept progressive)

Lastly - how many video outputs can be used at any one time? Ie, could I connect the Scart to my TV, and the component or VGA to a projector at the same time?

Thanks - hope you can shed some light for me as it's very hard to find out info on the net for this, and I don't wanna go chucking a lot of money on one of these if it won't perform any better than the one I have already!
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There are no jumpers.
I have just got myself a Media Life but I have to put the parts in ;-))

Anyway the output just depends on the drivers and software you use.
The manual does show pictures of widescreen resolutions, would be strange that such a recent product won't do widescreen.

As for the outputs, you can use only 1 video-output that the time.
So no, you can't use TV & Monitor at the same time.

As for stretching, yes that happens when e.g. a movie has a 4:3 recording....then you have just 2 options...look 4:3 or use stretch.
Just like you watch a normal broadcast with your TV.
Why don't you download the manual from MSI, then you have a good idea of everything.
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Matt_CTopic starter

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Thanks for the reply

I did download the manual, which was how I knew there were jumpers inside (which there was a pic of in the manual) which said they were for 4:3 and 16:9

Thing is I DON'T want to stretch a 4:3 image (I have to do that at the mo as my current PC only outputs over s-video and only outputs a 4:3 res desktop (1024x768). What I WANT to do is output a widescreen/16:9 res (ie, 1024x576 or 1280x720, preferably the former since my TV is CRT anyway) and it display correctly and NOT be stretched...

I need a difinitive answer about what desktop resolutions the scart will output before I drop a ton of cash on one, but MSI aren't replying to any of my emails, and ther person I spoke to on the phone "didn't know"...

You say there arne't any jumpers inside it - the manual shows there is, is this spec dependant? How would I go abou ensuring the one I get has these jumpers for output settings? You also say dependant on software and drivers - surely these are supplied from MSI as the systems comes with mobo, graphics and sound cards, dvd/cd drive etc, and all I have to put in is the cpu, ram and HDD?
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HenryW

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 Wikipedia > SCART <

 Maybe this will help answer some of your questions. I've never seen such a connector in the U.S., must be Europe only.
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Stu

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HenryW,

SCART is indeed a European standard, which allows for several types of TV output signal to be sent through a single universal connector. SCART connectors can be used for RGB, Composite and S-Video input/output, though this depends on the capabilities of the output device and the TV
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Matt_CTopic starter

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Yeah we use scart a lot. We are not so big on component (red, blue, green RCA) on CRT TV's over here, tho I do have one on mine, it's connected to my DVD player...

Still need to know if the scart output on the MEdia Live box will output a "proper" widescreen res (1024x576) rather than just a stretched version of a 4:3 res....
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Why wouldn't it do that?
Even my 2 year old Laptop with widescreen does it.
Also the manual shows it's outputting HDTV, that's widescreen for sure.
Anyway, can't test it for you at the moment as I'm still waiting for my CPU to arrive.

Why don't you ask a demonstration at a shop where they sell the box.
Else >>How to contact MSI.<< and ask them.
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Matt_CTopic starter

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Why wouldn't it do that?
Even my 2 year old Laptop with widescreen does it.
Also the manual shows it's outputting HDTV, that's widescreen for sure.
Anyway, can't test it for you at the moment as I'm still waiting for my CPU to arrive.

Why don't you ask a demonstration at a shop where they sell the box.
Else >>How to contact MSI.<< and ask them.

It's only because I have never seen a computer, that outputs a widescreen res desktop (1280x720 for example) via an analogue video output. All computers and lappy's I have seen connected via s-video for example, have output a max of 1024x768, which is a 4:3 res and not a 16:9 one...
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As said, don't know for sure yet, I'm going to try mine next weekend (I hope) when my CPU arrives, I can test it for you by then...hopefully...
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Matt_CTopic starter

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As said, don't know for sure yet, I'm going to try mine next weekend (I hope) when my CPU arrives, I can test it for you by then...hopefully...


I look forward to hearing back from you as to what it does! Could be the clincher between me getting one or not!

It's mainly the scart output I am interested in, but also wondering about the component ouput aswell, and wondering the component would support hi def signals (not that I can use them cos of my TV being CRT) but I just don't want to use composite or s-video connection as both are lacking in the quality stakes! RGB over scart would be very cool, as would YPrPb over component......
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #10 on: 06-January-08, 09:09:16 »

Well my build will be a Linux one, and included will be a MSI TV-Anywhere Sat card.
The software I plan to run is http://www.mythtv.org/ don't know how it works out, but it looks to be very good.

At the moment I use a sat-receiver, and it's outputting 16:9 via scart very nicely.
Scart does RGB as well as YPrPb without any problems, heck my Nokia Mediamaster 9500 did all that, no problems at all...as well as 16:9 and that box is over 10 years old.
It would be really weird if the Media Live wouldn't be able to output the same.

Even my current Sab-Explorer Seca does it without any problems at all.
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #11 on: 06-January-08, 09:09:58 »


Page 2-18 of the manual has details of the SCART output jumper, which is found on the SCART-OUT board. Short CN1 jumper pins 2-3 for 16:9 output

Appendix B-1 details how to configure TV-out settings

SCART TV-out connector will only support Composite or S-Video, not RGB. RGB and Component are NOT the same thing! If you want quality output, then you should get a digital LCD or plasma display, and connect using DVI or HDMI output
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #12 on: 06-January-08, 09:15:35 »

I'm not too worried about Composite or anything else....it will do just fine here....
I'm worried about decoding http://www.tv-vlaanderen.be/ that will be a far bigger problem, as I need to install a software CAM...if there is one...and how to let it read the smartcard I have?

I have a 16:9 CRT too..so it has to go over scart....
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Stu

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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #13 on: 06-January-08, 09:26:32 »

Bas, I think you may also have trouble with the VFD display in Linux, unless you've found a solution already ;-))

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Matt_CTopic starter

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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #14 on: 06-January-08, 09:29:01 »

Guys, some of you are not getting what I am saying.... Let me be a bit clearer.

I know that you can have a 16:9 output from a scart. I have this on my DVD player, I have it on my TV box, I have it on a lot of things. I don't doubt the MSI box will output a 16:9 picture from it's scart socket (hence the jumper) but what I am trying to asertain is what desktop resolution it will output.....

Here's some pic examples! 4:3 desktop res (1024x768) in 4:3 output;



This is the same 4:3 desktop res (1024x768) but stretched to fit into a 16:9 output;



See how it is stretched and looks awful? Look at the circle, totally mishapen.

THIS IS WHAT I DON'T WANT! This is how I already have it with my current PC hooked up to my TV. What I want is a proper 16:9 RESOLUTION output over a proper 16:9 PICTURE put onto my TV. For example, 1024x576 (16:9) sent over scart in 16:9...

I also know that RGB and Component (usually YUV/YPrPb/YCrCb) aren't the same thing, and I understand that if I want it to appear on my TV as good as it does on my PC monitor, then yes I need a digital tv such as an LCD or a plasma, but I don't want an LCD or plasma just yet (as my CRT is better for SD 576i viewing than any LCD or plasma is (which all upscale to at least 720p, or with some plasma will downscale to 480p)

It is news to me that the scart on this MSI box won't output RGB (and I don't mean component RGB) over scart (like my Freeview box or DVD player does for example), as I was led to belive it does RGB, s-video and composite. Hence I am also interested to see if the component YPrPb output on this machine will output a 16:9 RESOLUTION (1280x720/1024x576) over a 16:9 PICTURE aswell as my TV accepts this (tho only in interlaced not progressive)

Is this clearer?
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #15 on: 06-January-08, 23:47:52 »

I know what you are saying....and I want that too....a proper 16:9 desktop, the way it should be.
Just like it is on my S270 widescreen lappy...no desktop stretching.

No missing the point, and that's what I'm going to find out this weekend...
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Matt_CTopic starter

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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #16 on: 07-January-08, 01:00:22 »

I know what you are saying....and I want that too....a proper 16:9 desktop, the way it should be.
Just like it is on my S270 widescreen lappy...no desktop stretching.

No missing the point, and that's what I'm going to find out this weekend...

 :biggthumbsup:
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #17 on: 13-January-08, 05:33:48 »

I haven't forgotten about you.
I have the box installed now, but it needs MCE to use all functions.
Going to test/install that the next few days.
Then I test your problem.

But what I know now:

XP runs great, but remote control has poor functions
Linux, runs great, but no remote, found display drivers but wouldn't download.

If you are going to put a TV card in it, be carefull, lots of cards have poor support outside Windows.
As I noticed with my PC@nywhere SAT version, it's not supported under Linux YET, they are working on it.

I won't connect it to a TV-screen unless I have it up and running to my likings...too much work to plug it into my living-room.
But I will do as soon as possible.
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Matt_CTopic starter

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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #18 on: 13-January-08, 06:34:28 »

 :biggthumbsup: Keep us posted!

When you say XP runs great but poor remote control, do you mean using the remote withing XP in PC mode? Whats poor about it? I would use my wireless keyboard/trackpad for use within XP anyway, but the remote would be handy to control things like volume, play/pause/stop/FFWD/RWD in Windows Media Player, and the same for the odd video in say, VLC/Media PLayer Classic etc when not in Media Centre mode.....
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #19 on: 13-January-08, 08:37:56 »

Well it hardly functions in XP, M$ wants you to use MCE to have full control.
I think only volume works in XP.
In MCE everything should work, at least Hans told me that, I know in a bit as I'm going to install MCE tomorrow.
However, even without that in XP it's working real good....

My box has installed by default:

Wlan - works right out of the box + MSI cdrom
BLuetooth - seems to be there, not tested...I really don't care about BT ;-))
Display - Works right out of the box + MSI CDRom
Audio - Same, 8 channel or something....I only use stereo.
Remote Control - XP only volume as far as I tested...going to install MCE2005
Noise from fans - Silent it can be, I hear practically nothing unless I put my ear on the box.
CPU Sempron 2GHz - Box reports unknown CPU (who cares) it runs very good...no BIOS update yet...doubt if I ever update it for that cosmetic feature.
Memory - 2x 512MB Kingston DDR800, running at nice DDR800 (=400MHz) because 2GHz / 400MHz = 5x can be done by CPU  :yes:
Harddisk - WD 7200 250GB

It takes a bit of time, but the box is exceeding my expectations so far by miles....I though it would be some put together thinggy....but it's not.

Anyway, I will test MCE tomorrow and hopefully be able to tell you if it does real 16:9, my little brain voice tells me it does....but I will tell as soon as I know for sure.
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Matt_CTopic starter

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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #20 on: 13-January-08, 08:52:55 »

Does XP do proper 16:9? As I like to use WIndows Media Player, which I do from within XP, not MCE (hence wanting to know if a) XP will show in proper 16:9 unstreteched - ie the desktop, WMP, internet pages, pictures etc, normal PC stuff) and also if the remote will work with Windows Media Player (stop, skip, play, pause etc)

If yo ucould test those for me that would be great!!!!!!  :biggthumbsup:
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #21 on: 13-January-08, 09:07:15 »

Those functions do no work in XP.....
You really need MCE to have all the remote magic.

I'm not going to test XP at 16:9, as you loose too much of the fun with XP.
Don't forget, it takes me lot of time to connect it to my 16:9 CRT Screen, so I don't just test something, should be right from the start.

As for the screen stretching...that should make no difference between XP or MCE as the drivers are simply the same.
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Matt_CTopic starter

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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #22 on: 13-January-08, 09:10:28 »

ah poo, was hoping to get at least basic remote functions from XP's Windows Media Player

Okay fair enough about not hooking it up to CRT right now, but when you do hook it up to test the 16:9 output in Media Centre, can you also see what it looks like in XP aswell, since it will be hooked up to the TV anyway at that point...
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #23 on: 13-January-08, 09:17:51 »

Precisely....
Heck, I hoped to have some XP functionality from the remote control, but it's so much that you can simply ditch the remote at all.
I will inform you tomorrow when I know more....as I should have MCE2005 installed by then.
When that works the way I want, I hook it up to the TV.
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Matt_CTopic starter

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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #24 on: 13-January-08, 09:46:02 »

Thanks!  :biggthumbsup:
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #25 on: 14-January-08, 10:10:33 »

Well I have Windows XP MCE2005 running...
It's just great, it sees the TV@nywhere Satellite card I have in it.
Remote control is great, but loads of buttons I have to learn.
Card is recognised by MCE and it's scanning for transponders/channels right now.

Matt, I'm getting closer and closer to my 16:9 testing, forgot to set the jumper properly.
I ordered a nice USB wireless Logitech keyboard, when I have that I will install it at the TV.
Should be Wednesday or so.

I know, it takes a bit...but I get there.
I have installed so many Windows versions now, the only good one on this box is MCE2005 (haven't tested Vista, and I won't try that as I dislike Vista).

>>Logitech Mouse/Keyboard<<
I hope it works :lol_anim:

Then I can connect the box to my TV.
I'm getting there...never played with MCE before...this is all new to me...apart from Sat cards, I have used those many times.
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Matt_CTopic starter

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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #26 on: 14-January-08, 12:20:22 »

 :biggthumbsup: :agrees: :yes:
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #27 on: 15-January-08, 03:59:52 »

Not all is well, MCE2005 crashes on channelscan...but that's a Microsoft problem with SAT cards.
Have to fix that one.
BTW, MSI TV cards (most of them) are TwinHan compatible! Than means they have major Operating system and driver support, even in Linux :biggthumbsup:
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #28 on: 15-January-08, 11:35:22 »

I sorry, but I need way more time....
I got MCE to scan channels properly, but the it freezes during channel up/down....

It's not MSI, it's Windows...it's simply not ready to do this stuff.

It will take a while, but I'm going to play with: http://www.mythbuntu.org/

Now, as Windows and Mediastuff.....it simply doesn't work properly.
Sure MCE looks nice, but it doesn't work...it doesn't.

Linux should be able with all I know now about my DVB-S card (MS-1027), I'm going to try that....
Windows isn't worth the trouble, it's simply too slow and crashes too often.

When Linux won't do it, then I turn the machine into my workstation, as it's nice and silent and doesn't have to use a (tv)capturecard...then it works great even under Windows.

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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #29 on: 15-January-08, 13:28:21 »

As far as I was aware, MCE only supports DVB-T cards, and not DVB-S, which may explain the troubles you had. I don't think they'll add support for these in XP MCE, but I'm sure I did see somewhere that it may be added into Vista Media Center, along with DVB-C (cable) support :fear:
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #30 on: 16-January-08, 02:57:46 »

I have given up on MCE under Windows in total.
BTW, with the patch DVB-s works, scans channels and you can even watch channels, but as soon as you jump channels a bit fast MCE does lockup solid.
All other Windows MCE alternatives are impossible to use, they don't recognise the card.
And that's weird as MSI cards are Twinhan compatible (hardware AND sorftware) and they should be supported real good.

This afternoon I will try Mythbuntu, according to Hans who is also testing, it should be 5000% better then anything Microsoft has to offer.
We will see, as I can't use this box or connect it to the TV without having a good MCE OS on it, 4 kids and a wife will kill me if I do :lol_anim:
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #31 on: 17-January-08, 07:43:39 »

Well I have good news and bad news...

I did connect my Media Live to my TV screen, and appeared to be non-stretched (I think!).
Because it turns out my Sharp CRT 16:9 TV is so bad on displaying computer screens, I was unable to see properly what I was doing.
I did try several PAL modes, but I really can't say much.

I needed to run in 800x600 and enlarged fonts to be able to read anything.
It's clear to me, that CRT's are NOT good for Computer screens.

To be short, I can't answer your question as I hardly read any text at all.

I need a better TV when I connect the Media Live again.
Oh well, it's a nice machine, I think I'm going to use it as my desktop machine for the time being, as it's really nice and quiet :lol_anim:
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Matt_CTopic starter

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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #32 on: 21-January-08, 14:51:13 »

Oh well, thats a shame! Thanks for trying it - shame it isn't great, but then, I always knew deep down it wouldn't be - just hoped it would! How did you connect? Via scart?

What was the video (avi, dvd etc) playback like? did you test any?
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #33 on: 22-January-08, 03:52:28 »

I did connect via Scart.
I didn't test any of the playback.
As said, connecting a CRT-TV to a computer is way bad to look at.
Anyway, I'm moving away from Microsoft on this machine, I have a new DVB-s card coming and I move to Mythbuntu, that will probably have a lot better picture on a CRT-TV.
For me the machine is primarily to watch Sat-channels.
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #34 on: 08-November-08, 11:37:50 »

Has anyone tried to upgrade the PSU on media live to 400 - 500w. Would like to put the pci-e  to good use and the card I have in mind requires a minimum of 400w. Actually it's the ATI All-in-one wonder, thought I'd kill two birds with one stone upgrade the graphics and get TV tuner card. Finding the pci-e riser will be the easy part.
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #35 on: 09-November-08, 02:52:52 »

Has anyone tried to upgrade the PSU on media live to 400 - 500w. Would like to put the pci-e  to good use and the card I have in mind requires a minimum of 400w. Actually it's the ATI All-in-one wonder, thought I'd kill two birds with one stone upgrade the graphics and get TV tuner card. Finding the pci-e riser will be the easy part.

Think there is no PCI-E slot, only PCI.
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #36 on: 09-November-08, 05:33:23 »

There is a PCI-E slot on the mainboard, but due to design layout of the barebones system, it is unusable.
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #37 on: 31-December-08, 10:13:45 »

There is a PCI-E slot on the mainboard, but due to design layout of the barebones system, it is unusable.
Is it really a layout issue? I do have a PCI-e riser that fits into the the PCI-e expansion slot, the issue seems to be getting enough wattage for it to do anything of significance.
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Re: MSI Media Live - couple of major questions before I buy one!
« Reply #38 on: 31-December-08, 11:45:30 »

Media Live is designed as a general-purpose media center unit, not really for any heavy-duty (ie gaming) use. For its purpose, the onboard graphics are more than capable, which is probably why MSI felt there was no need to utilise the mainboard's PCI-E slot. And the unit only has a standard PSU to keep the cost of the unit down, as its a slimline design. But for all intents and purposes, its a fairly decent PSU, my system runs very well (even with Vista :laugh:) though I elected to just use a twin DVB-T tuner PCI card.
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