Phillips Showline MCP9350i media centre.

MCP9350i

I’ve put together a few pages dedicated to media centre exploits – I’ve had a few attempts to introduce the concept to my lady but sucess was only possible in the shape of this Phillips MCP9350i. This is because it looks like it belongs with the DVD player and other hi-fi stuff rather than in a computer room.

Here’s the scenario;

Lady: What the &&*^ is that thing.
me:    It’s a media center babe.
Lady: It’s an abomination.
me:    You can pause live-TV.
Lady: You can get it out of this room right now.
me:    It’s just a  computer.
Lady: One that looks like an oil tanker and sounds like your mum drinking tea.
me:    Let’s try using it for a couple of weeks – you’ll love it.
Lady:  OK let me put it this way – do you ever want to have sex ever again in your life ever?
me:    Err yes please.
Lady:  Drop it. 

NOTE TO SELF: With the Phillips box I have achieved the magic of lady-acceptance. So it’s important not to screw this up by having the thing crash every other day. 

 

Insides:

As you do the first thing I did when I got the computer to take it to bits to have a look at the components!

As standard it comes with 512MB of DDR2-4200 memory – I upgraded this to 2.5GB.

d945gsu mobo
It’s all built around a custom motherboard – a D945gsu. It’s a shame that the board doesn’t appear on the intel website so no BIOS updates are available but it’s a pretty standard D945 board so all the video and chipset drivers should work OK.
This board is a microBTX one. I guess the choice of BTX was made to tame the fearsome heat output of the 3Ghz Pentium 4 CPU that is fitted. 

The only really weird thing on there is that in a PCI-express x16 slot where you’d expect the video card to be there’s a card labelled CH7312

step 2 video card - label.JPGstep 2 video card in situ.JPG

I initially though that this card seems to how the phillips deliver the ‘Phillips digital natural motion’ that the specifications shouts about. It say here… “digital natural motion technology is applied to all video outputs regardless of source with the aim of improving quality and reducing stutter”. I’m sure it’s super but there doesn’t seem to be much hardware on the card to actually do that!

I googled CH7312 (the part number on the card) and it suggest that the card is based on a chrontel 7312 chip – all this does is add DVI output for the onboard video (which only has a VGA connector). It’s like a PixelView ADD II card I think.

Now I’m not so sure how the digital natural motion is actually done. However since it looks like just a standard PCI-express slot I did think about putting in a nicer more recent video card in – like a passively cooled HD3450?

As standard the media centre come with a dual analogue tuner

step 2 old tuner card in situ.JPG

This tuner is a Nvidia DualTV – it has good reviews and is supposed to be a very good card.

The machine has all sort of goodies – a miniPCI slot houses a ’54g’ wireless card and there are two ir-blaster connectors on the motherboard.

 

The onkyo HDC-7

Interestingly there is a japanese market machine which is based on the identical chassis and motherboard – the ONKYO HDC-7.
onkyo hdc-7

It’s good to see that this machine has a Pentium-D processor as standard (a Pentium-D 820) suggesting that the MCP9350i CPU could be upgraded.

The only other difference is that the ONKYO machine has an extra very high-end audio card in the spare PCI slot.

1 Comment

  1. Rooby Said,

    November 13, 2008 @ 3:15 pm

    I have re-installed Windows XP Media Centre on my MCP9350i, but forgot to back-up the audio and network card drivers. I learned through this webblog that they only are available via c:/philips/drivers/fpmanager/setupdut.exe….. Unfortunately, I lost that data. Could anybody send me the drivers? THX!!!!!!!!