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I use Gentoo Linux as my OS of choice. I've tried them all though (Slack, RH, FC, SUSE, Deb, you name it) and I do appreciate the "just works-ness" of Ubuntu. But I prefer to admin a Gentoo box. Just don't forget to enable DMA like I did. Couldn't figure out my DVD skippage. Turns out it's not started "by default" on a Gentoo box. ;-)

I'm pretty happy with the way everything is just now (even though I have some tasks yet to accomplish). My next upgrade will probably be to add a Roku soundbridge to do music via uPnP for the nice stereo pair in the living room. Probably later this summer, as I still have to finish BUILDING those speakers.

I'm concerned about what'll happen when Time Warner kills all their analog cable channels, but each time I scan the QAM range, more and more channels are showing up. This is a very good sign for the future, but I won't be surprised if I end up having to kludge something with cable boxes. Might just go satellite at that point...

Master Backend / Frontend:

  • STATUS: 95% complete. Proper HD channel listings are still oustanding.
  • Primary duty: This is the most heavily used machine in the setup, not just as a backend. It spends more time front-ending than the other machines combined ever will.
  • MythTV 0.21_p17722 (gentoo ebuild). 0.21 upgrade was almost painless. I lost my favorite scaling / stretching mode for 4:3 SD content! WTF, I say.
  • AMD X2 4800+ Brisbane
  • ASUS M2NBP-VM CSM (highly recommend, uber stable, has 4 SATA & 2 IDE channels)
  • 2GB PC6400 (1GB x 2)
  • MSI nvidia GeForge 7300LE
  • (2) 250GB Maxtor IDE drives in RAID 1 (OS, home dirs, etc)
  • (4) 400GB Samsung SATA drives in RAID 5 w/ LVM (recordings, media storage). 200GB unallocated yet for a rainy day.
  • CoolerMaster 4-in-3 drive cage (highly recommend for greater storage density. cool drives live much longer, too)
  • Plextor IDE DVD burner
  • PVR-500
  • HD HomeRun (tried QAM, it sucked, tried ATSC, went back to QAM for now)
  • MCE2 USB receiver & remote
  • Custom VGA-over-ethernet wiring from basement office to HP Plasma upstairs

Bedroom Frontend:

  • STATUS: 90% complete. Mythgame needs config'd.
  • Primary duty: This machine will spend most of its time doing MythVideo, with occasional MythGame action when there's a hankering for some old-skool NES action.
  • MythTV 0.21_p17722 (gentoo ebuild).
  • EPIA EX15000G w/ SVN OpenChrome, plays back SD-res w/o XvMC MPEG-2 & MPEG-4 at 35% & 45% respectively. HD & H264? Yaright. Took some work to get a clean, usable, playback profile. I'm still having a serious problem with not being able to enable DMA. Need to look into this to fix choppy DVD playback.
  • 512MB RAM
  • 60GB laptop HD (it's what was in my parts bin). The standard IDE drive was getting WAY too hot in the Silverstone case.
  • Dynex PCI wifi card. Madwifi compliant. Got it on closeout for $20! I bought two. Note: For some reason, I have to restart the wifi in rc.local before it actually works. I think something's not getting initialized in time when the net.ath0 is brought up.
  • Silverstone LC02 profile case. Very quiet, but it does have a noticable hum. Configured mythfrontend to allow poweroffs.
  • MCE2 USB receiver & remote
  • Twin Logitech Precision 2 gamepads. I like 'em, wife complains they're not square with red buttons. Pffft.
  • Connected via VGA to Toshiba 20HLV86
  • Installed now, still needs to have myth plugins tweaked.
  • Fast-forwarding is very skippy and slow. No doubt a combination of system speed and the wireless. Still, commercial skip saves the day.

Home Theater Frontend:

  • STATUS: 85% complete. Gentoo is installed, myth is emerged, recently moved out to home theater and connected to Sammy.Still need to configure X and decide whether to use Xine or VLD for DVD / MythVideo.
  • Primary duty: Upscaling & enhancing DVD content as it's connected to the home theater. Also MythGaming NES, SNES & PSX.
  • AMD X2 4800+ Brisbane
  • ASUS M2A-VM AMD690G. Would have gotten the same mobo as in my BE, but that one is discontinued. First time with AMD-chipped mobo, we'll see how it goes. I did have to build the PATA / IDE drivers into the kernel. As a module, the controller was running in generic mode and I couldn't enable DMA.
  • 512MB DDR2 667 (turns out not to be a bottleneck vs DDR2 800)
  • PNY GeForce 8300GT. Active cooling, but I can't hear the fan.
  • 160GB Samsung SATA (again, overkill, but it was in the parts bin). Zippy fast, though!
  • Sony DVD drive
  • Athenatech HTPC case. Very desktoppy, but seems to suck less than I expected. The PSU is set up wierd, and despite it being standard ATX size, if it dies, I think I'll have a hard time finding a proper replacement.
  • SB Live w/ SPDIF daughterboard connected to Yamaha HTR-5960. Getting SPDIF to work was as simple as unmuting the iec device.
  • MCE2 USB receiver & remote. Controls volume directly on Yammy, so no software volume concerns with the SPDIF. Copied the lircd.conf file from master backend. Done.
  • Same Logitech game pads as above. Hooray for the ubiquity of front-mounted USB ports.
  • Connected via VGA cable to Samsung DLP HL-S5086W. I tried component, but there was significant overscan. Over VGA, I was surprised that I got a native 1280x720p with zero overscan. I did have to tweak the DisplaySize setting to get the 100dpi that Myth likes.

Office dev box

  • STATUS: 50% complete.
  • Primary duty: No real rush on this one. Has mainly been a testbed and still dual-boots XP. Some time this winter I'll scrape it all back together.
  • AMD XP 2400 (2.0Ghz clock)
  • 1GB RAM
  • 250GB WD IDE
  • Some ancient half-dead ASUS NF2 mobo
  • Chaintech GF 5900XT
  • SB Audigy 2
  • USB Keyboard
  • BT878-based tuner