[mythtv-users] Advice on a silent PC/Mini ITX for DVI and DVB-T (maybe -S)

Simon Allcorn simon.allcorn at gmail.com
Tue Apr 1 09:38:09 UTC 2008


Hi,

here's my 2p:

I'm in the UK, with 2x nova-t dvb-t cards running on a ~2Ghz Celery backend.
I've just purchased a Dell Optiplex GX260 SFF (
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,668796,00.asp ) for a frontend - it's
small (about the same size as the original xbox),  2.4Ghz P4, 1Gb memory and
DVD drive (laptop style).

*And best of all this frontend only cost 80 !*

To be fair this frontend box is not silent, however it is very quiet.

Also worth noting that I specially got one with DVI out and I can definitely
recommend *NOT *using DVI if you have VGA available ! Perhaps it's just my
TV (26' Samsung with HDMI & VGA -
http://www.shopuk.co.uk/media/images/product_detail/LE26R41B.jpg ) but I
could not get the correct resolution without oversan using HDMI/DVI but with
VGA it worked perfectly first time (this table is very helpful when
configuring xorg - http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/Modeline_Database ).
Technically the HDMI/DVI should give a better picture, but the VGA is really
very,very crisp and drives the TV at it's native resolution with little
hassle. I'm sure using HDMI/DVI could be made to work but it was way too
much effort for me.

Using this kind of frontend will require adequate ventilation (mine is in a
cupboard, with a big exhaust hole in the back :) )


hth

Simon




 On Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 9:35 AM, Steve Smith <st3v3.sm1th at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 01/04/2008, Nicholas Piper <nick-mythtv at nickpiper.co.uk> wrote:
> > Chad,
> >
> >
> >  On Mon, 31 Mar 2008, Chad wrote:
> >
> >  > >  Does anyone have a recommendation for a Mini ITX motherboard which
> >  > >  would have DVI output, is cheap (so slow is OK), but has a
> supported
> >  > >  hardware mpeg2 decoder to make up for the lack of overall CPU
> power?
> >  >
> >  > If you can find one, the Commell LV-667D makes a nice option in this
> area.
> >
> >
> > Thanks for this suggestion. I can't find a D variant stocked anywhere
> >  yet. I've written to a vendor to see if they can help. Ideally, I'd
> >  want the E8 variant too (800 Mhz Eden, fanless) I believe.
> >
> >  I can find the regular one:
> >  http://www.icp-epia.co.uk/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=101 to
> >  which I could add a Mini-AGP DVI card
> >  http://www.bvm-store.com/ProductDetail.asp?fdProductId=156 ? Is that
> >  how Mini-AGP works, or would then I not be using the Unichrome
> >  processor anymore?
> >
> >
> >  > If size is not that much of an issue I'd strongly suggest you look at
> >  > something MicroATX instead or even look at an Intel-based mini-ITX
> >  > system (though that really will kill your above mentioned budget).
> >  > The VIA systems, for lack of a nicer term, suck, due to lack of real
> >  > help from Via that is actually usable to the vast majority of Linux
> >  > users.  I've got an SP13000 and a Commell LV-667T that are fairly
> >  > useless for anything HD or mpeg4.  I've done a lot of work to get
> them
> >  > to the usable point they are at right now, and cannot imagine how
> much
> >  > effort would be involved in getting them to actually do the mpeg4
> >  > acceleration that VIA claims or fully work with MythTV and HDTV.
> >
> >
> > Your LV-667T has a CN700, which apparently can do 2048x2048 mpeg2 -
> >
> > http://wiki.openchrome.org/tikiwiki/tiki-index.php?page=HardwareCaveats
> >
> > which sounds 'HD'?
> >
> >   Regards,
> >
> >   Nick
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> >  mythtv-users mailing list
> >  mythtv-users at mythtv.org
> >  http://mythtv.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/mythtv-users
> >
>
> Nick,
>
> Although I'm a die hard SD user (well you can get really nice CRT
> screens for NOTHING literally nothing these days), with Freesat the UK
> is on the cusp of going HD. So if you're going to spend money on a
> Mythbox now, you should probably make it HD capable.
>
> For that you're probably going to have to ditch the mini-ITX idea (for
> the Frontend at least), the power of these boards just isn't up to HD
> and linux driver compatability remains a bit of an issue. (I suppose
> one way might be to run the evolving Windows Mythfrontend client with
> Windows drivers?)
>
> Have you considered a near-silent frontend? You can build something
> pretty quiet these days either using off the shelf parts or doing some
> hardware hacking yourself. E.g. my P3 933mhz, Nvidia 5200, 3x
> harddrive runs quiet enough that me and the girlfriend have slept in
> the same room as it (in fact its the overly bright hard disc light
> that distracts us most!).
>
> With a bit of work you should be able to get a Core based box running
> pretty silent, some of the AMD processors can work pretty well
> undervolted which really helps out with the noise.. Check out
> www.silentpcreview.com for help. Then you can go with a tried and
> trusted Nvidia video card to get your HD output with the connector
> types you want for your TV.
>
> What you could use the mini-ITX idea for, is a low powered back end.
> Use USB tuners, and a 2 way PCI riser. (In the UK commflagging is a
> bit of a loss at the moment so you won't need huge lumps of power).
> With a separate backend you can keep the FE powered off (& absolutely
> silent) when you're not using it.
>
> Of course if you want to stick with SD, the mini-itx should be pretty
> good, some of the more powerfull ones should be able to cope with SD
> Mpeg4 (my p3 runs about 30-40% on most SD mpeg4s so a 1.5ghz C3 should
> just be able to cope)
>
> Sorry for the ramble...
>
> Cheers
>
> Steve
> _______________________________________________
> mythtv-users mailing list
> mythtv-users at mythtv.org
> http://mythtv.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/mythtv-users
>
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