Installation & Operation:
If you have installed a video, sound, or LAN card, this will be no more difficult. Slide the card into an available PCI slot, attach the daughter card and place it in an open expansion slot. After that, once you boot up Windows XP, it will automatically detect the card. Then install the drivers from AVerMedia's website, which will only take a minute. Once you are done installing the drivers, you can complete the configuration for your favorite TV tuner software.
The AVerMedia AVerTV Purity 3D MCE 500 was installed in the following system:
» AMD Opteron 148 processor @2200MHz (stock voltage)
» DFI Lanparty UT NF4 SLI-DR Expert (default settings)
» 2gb (2x1024) Corsair TwinX2048-3200c2 DDR
» 2x 80GB Hitachi Deskstar SATA-II hard drive in RAID 0
» 1x 120GB Seagate 7200.9 SATA 3Gbps hard drive
» Memorex DVD/CDRW
» 10-n-1 Media Card reader
» eVGA 7800GT PCIe card
» Fans: 2x120mm LED
Once the drivers and TV tuner software are installed and configured, I scheduled multiple recordings over the next several days, I scheduled recordings using Windows XP Media Center, Beyond TV, and SageTV. Each of the scheduled recordings went off without a hitch.
The video quality will depend greatly on the source signal. Using the same signal, I compared the AVerMedia Purity 3D MCE 500 to my current TV tuner, the Hauppauge 350. While watching TV, the quality of the two cards was comparable. However, the difference is obvious when using the PVR capabilities of each card.
Keeping the settings the same, I performed the tests at the highest quality possible, and again at low quality. When the computer is doing nothing other than acting as a PVR, both cards worked flawlessly, and did not have any dropped frames.
Next, I scheduled recordings to be run while the computer was under a load. To push the computer to a heavy load, I ran Folding@Home, Sisoft Sandra, and Dungeons & Dragons Online.
During the load test, the Hauppauge pushed the system even harder as the system almost ground to a halt while using the Time Shifting ability. I experienced some dropped frames, and could hear the hard drives working harder while it was recording.
During the load test for the AVerMedia AVerTV Purity 3D MCE 500, I also decided to utilize the second tuner, and perform a recording while using the Time Shifting feature. The AVerMedia AVerTV Purity 3D MCE 500 did not drop any frames, and did not appear to push the system any harder than it was already working.
Another feature of the AVerTV Purity 3D MCE 500 is the FM tuner. Using Windows Media Center's radio function, you can tune in any FM station. With a strong signal, the reception on the tuner card was comparable to a full size stereo receiver, but once again the quality will depend on the strength of the signal. It does not provide any signal boosting ability that a good home theater receiver will provide.