[mythtv-users] 2nd try at a MythTV FE/BE design

John Drescher drescherjm at gmail.com
Thu Oct 11 09:58:55 UTC 2007


> After reading over the many welcome comments in my first attempt at
> designing my
> first MythTV box
> (http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/mythtv/users/289526),
> I've put together my revised shopping list.
>
> I'm tired of VHS tapes and multiple VCRs so I've decided to build a MythTV
> box.
> While I've used various flavors of UNIX for the last 20+ years as both a
> user
> and a developer, this will be my first Linux machine and my first build. I'm
> planning on following the instructions in "Practical MythTV" and using
> Ubuntu to
> set up a combined FE/BE. I want some room for expansion - more disk and
> capture
> cards.  If this works out like I hope, I'll probably split the FE and BE in
> a
> couple of years. I'd also like it quiet. It'll be in the entertainment
> cabinet
> with the TV.
>
> I'm looking for recommendations to the following. Over built? Under built?
> Too noisy? Too hot? Too ugly? Too geeky? Not geeky enough?
For the most part this looks good to me.

>
> The TV is not digital and wont be for a few years yet.
> I have 3 different inputs:
> * analog cable
> * cable converter box for scrambled channels - Motorola DCT2224/1662/ACDEG
>   - It has a 9 pin Female D connector labeled data
>   - It has what looks like a phono plug labeled IR
> * and the afore mentioned VCRs - I'd like to convert some of those tapes...
>
>
> Here's my current http://www.newegg.com shopping list...
>
> I'm not sure which case I like better. The 288 supports a VFD display. But
> it
> doesn't look like it is Linux compatible. Is there a consensus as to which
> of
> these is better? How about other cases - preferably < $100?
This is my biggest dilemma on not making a box for the living room. I
mean with an AMD AM2 system the case will probably be the most
expensive item in the build which I find a little disturbing. I have
not come to a conclusion on that one after much searching. I do know I
want a 100% black case that is about the length and width of a VCR and
has exactly one external 5.25 bay and no external 3.5 bays. And then
it has to look good and not cost a fortune. I mean my $50 dvd player
looks good and it does not have a $250 case...

>       nMEDIAPC HTPC 288BA Black Steel & Aluminum Panel MicroATX Media Center
> / HTPC Desktop Computer Case
>
> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811204022
>       Model #: HTPC 288BA
>       Item #: N82E16811204022
>       $99.99
>
>       nMEDIAPC HTPC 200BA Black Aluminum/Plastic/Steel MicroATX Media Center
> / HTPC Desktop Computer Case
>
> http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811204004
>       Model #: HTPC 200BA
>       Item #: N82E16811204004
>       $89.99
>
>       FSP Group (Fortron Source) FSP400-60THN ATX2.0 400W Power Supply - OEM
>
> http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16817104032
>       Model #: FSP400-60THN OEM
>       Item #: N82E16817104032
>       $41.99
> Not sure if this is quite enough. Just going by what the reviews say about
> it.
> Is 400W enough for this base system plus a couple of more disks and another
> capture card?
>
More than enough. My main desktop at home is a dual processor Opteron
2.4G with 3 Seagate 7200.10 drives, nVidia GForce 4 card, 4GB of
memory, two hauppage PVR cards and my system hits 220W under full
load.

>
> I'm also considering the Antec Fusion cases. They come with a PSU, so I
> wouldn't need the above. Do both of these VFDs work with Linux? Or just the
> Veris model? Not sure I'm happy with only 2 HD slots.
> I've gone cross eyed looking at cases. Does anyone have a better suggestion?
>       Antec FUSION Silver Aluminum/steel MicroATX Media Center Computer Case
> 430W Power Supply - Retail
>
> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129131
>       Model #: FUSION
>       Item #: N82E16811129131
>       $179.99 - $20.00 instant rebate
>
>       Antec Veris Fusion Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel/ Aluminum plate front
> bezel MicroATX Media Center Computer Case430W Power Supply - Retail
>
> http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811129030
>       Model #: Fusion Black
>       Item #: N82E16811129030
>       $219.99 - $20.00 instant rebate
>
>       ASUS M2NBP-VM CSM AM2 NVIDIA Quadro NVS 210S Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
>
> http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813131072
>       Model #: M2NBP-VM CSM
>       Item #: N82E16813131072
>       $76.99
>
Sounds good to me. At work I have purchased dozens of ASUS boards and
they work very well.

>       Hauppauge WinTV-PVR 500 MCE White box PCI Interface Personal Video
> Recorder
>
> http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16815116628
>       Model #: 1081
>       Item #: N82E16815116628
>       $139.99
> I picked up a Hauppauge WinTV GO-Plus cheap from my local CompUSA when it
> was
> going out of business. Don't know if the card will work with Linux or not
> yet,
> but I figured I could make use of the IR Blaster and remote that came with
> it.
> I'd like to add another PVR 500 in the not too distant future.
>
You know the PVR500 is very very picky about signal levels so picky
that my PVR500 sits on my desk as a paperweight and I spent $55 more
for a PVR150 at newegg a few months back. See LNA samsung on the
ivtv-users list.

>
> The HD Homerun looks interesting when I go digital (probably in a couple of
> years).
>
>       AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Windsor 2.2GHz Socket AM2 Processor Model
> ADA4200CUBOX
>
> http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819103747
>       Model #: ADA4200CUBOX
>       Item #: N82E16819103747
>       $74.00
Get the brisbane instead. It uses significantly less power:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103206

> Do I need a fan or heat sink for this? It and the MOBO do support
> Cool'n'Quite.
The motherboard support should be more of reporting that the processor
has pstates. And then you have the kernel or a userspace app do the
cpu speed changes. I keep the fan speed constant. I used to use a
couple of user space utilities but now I just use the ondemand govenor
from the kernel and set these params in my local.start

echo ondemand > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor
echo 15 > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/ondemand/up_threshold

echo ondemand > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu1/cpufreq/scaling_governor
echo 15 > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu1/cpufreq/ondemand/up_threshold

This will make my cpus go to 100% speed if the processor usage is over
15%. I like this because it gives me good performance but this is for
my dual processor Opteron desktop so you may want to change your
policy.

>
>       Kingston ValueRAM 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
> Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model KVR800D2N5K2/2G
>
> http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820134117
>       Model #: KVR800D2N5K2/2G
>       Item #: N82E16820134117
>       $98.99
> This is Non ECC memory. Is ECC memory better?
> Do other brands have better reputations?
I generally buy corsair xms but there are other  highly rated memories
on newegg. Although I generally do not but ECC with that is not also
registered (for servers), ECC is better because it will basically tell
you that there is a problem. I mean that you should get no corrected
ram at all. With mcelog (logs ram correction attempts) I have been
able to make ram stable in my server board at home and at work. In
both cases the ram was not corsair though.

>
>       Seagate Barracuda ES ST3500630NS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard
> Drive - OEM
>
> http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16822148151
>       Model #: ST3500630NS
>       Item #: N82E16822148151
>       $149.99
> I'll add more disk as I need it. Is the ES version worth the extra $40?
>
No you do not need the ES. However be careful to test your drive when
you get it. I purchase hundreds of drives for work and I find that
around 10% of drives I get in the last 3 years are either DOA or die
within the first 3 months. I believe the reason for the high failure
rate is two fold. At less than $100 per drive manufacturers do not
test as well as they did when drives were all $300. Also sometimes
newegg and others do not pack the drives well so the drive receives
too much shock while shipping.

>
>       SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S203B - OEM
>
> http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16827151153
>       Model #: SH-S203B
>       Item #: N82E16827151153
>       $30.99
>
That is the model I would pick. I have several of the 18X PATA samsung
burners at work and they work great. I also have LITE-ON drives but
recently the quality has gone down so I buy only SAMSUNG for the last
year.

> Is it better to use a PATA burner? Keep the SATA connectors open for HDs?
>
I would go for SATA unless you feel you will run out of ports.

> Although, the reviews for the PATA version of this burner weren't very good.
>
> What about keyboards? Do the MCE ones, with all of the their special video
> function keys, work with Linux? I'd like to go wireless. Probably not IR
> though;
> I suspect line-of-sight could be a problem.
>
> I'm also thinking about wireless LAN. My wired switch is half way across the
> house. It's a Netgear WGT624v2. Any card/USB dongle recommendations?
>
In 2004 I picked out a cheap card that had a 5 on the newegg rating.
It worked great. I am not sure the model as I retired the machine a
long time ago.

> Am I forgetting anything?
>
Nothing I can think of but its just before 6:00AM so I am barely awake...

John


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