Author Topic: Building a new rig - need system requirements.  (Read 34869 times)

Strawberry

  • First post!
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Building a new rig - need system requirements.
« on: May 28, 2007, 07:29:33 pm »
My fiance and I have been thinking about this for some time.  At first we were looking into MythTV, but I was intrigued by this site because it installs over Ubuntu (which we've been using for some time).  My fiance has been doing the price checking (he likes doing that), while as I'm doing the researching.  So I need to know a quick list of system requirements.  For example, in Ubuntu's website, at the bottom of the newbielink:http://www.ubuntu.com/products/whatisubuntu/desktopedition [nonactive] is a little list of requirements.
Quote
Ubuntu is available for PC, 64-Bit and Mac architectures. CDs require at least 256 MB of RAM. Install requires at least 2 GB of disk space.

Obviously since this is a HTPC system, you'd have to include such things as suggested video and sound cards, input devices, and stuff like that.

Right now the price check is making a rig (and upgrading my rig) for around $376.  More on the parts he chose later.

bobpaul

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 23
    • View Profile
Re: Building a new rig - need system requirements.
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2007, 10:08:59 pm »
Are you looking for a combined front end/back end, just a backend, or just a front end?

For a combined box I would say the following:
2.5+Ghz processor. Faster if want to encode more than one stream at a time. Dual core is also a huge plus.
512MB-1GB RAM
nVidia graphics with TV out -- note you can find this integrated into many motherboards, even cheap ones.
sound -- the integrated audio on the motherboard will work. Some of CL's latest Audigy cards will not.

optionally supported tv tuner, I'd recommend haupauge and/or an HDHomeRun
optionally voip wifi phone
optionally unlocked linksys pap2 or similar
optionally lots of storage in a RAID configuration.
optionally a gyro mouse, wii mote w/ bluetooth dongle, or supported remote/receiver.
optionally a supported IR blaster to let your unit control your tv
optionally a bunch of x10 light controllers, video cameras, etc.

Some notes -- any raid controller under $100 will not do hardware raid. This includes raid controllers on the motherboard. These are "fake raid" controllers or "windows raid" controllers. The let you configure the drives before the os loads, but the driver still does the RAID in software. Linux treats these like plain IDE/SATA controllers and forces you to do normal software RAID, so you can ignore "raid level" as a feature unless you buy something like a 3ware true-hardware raid controller

I highly recommend nVidia graphics. There are a lot fewer headaches getting it working with 3D acceleration and TV-out than ATI cards. Intel's newer chips support decent 3d acceleration and come with OSS drivers, so they should be a snap as well, but I'm not sure how to separate the good from the bad.

Many TV tuners support hardware accelerated compression. Most Haupauge cards will do mpeg2 (dvd) compression, freeing your CPU from that work. I prefer mpeg4 (divx/xvid) for the smaller space, thus my cpu still does all the work. There is at least 1 tuner that does mpeg4 compression in hardware; I believe it's a USB device.

A lot of your requirements really depend on what you're trying to do exactly. Also, mythtv runs on ubuntu. There are is a cohesive set of setup tutorials on wiki.ubuntu.com.

1audio

  • Addicted
  • *
  • Posts: 552
    • View Profile
Re: Building a new rig - need system requirements.
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2007, 08:16:27 am »
A little more specific hardware direction is in order, to reduce the hidden gotchas-
0) Run Cat5 cable to every place you might need it!
1) Asus M2NPV-VM mother board. The developers use it and know it works. I have had much pain using almost the same from others. They will work eventually, but its not worth the hassle.
2) 1 GB ram in the core/Hybrid. 500 MB in a media director. These work. More isn't used. (I have tested. . .)
3) The core will benefit from a dual core processor AMD 4300 or better.
4) A media director can work with a 3200 single core.
5) On board audio works. You can use an external AV processor for surround from the internal digital output.
6) Component out works.
7) Myth for live TV sucks- its very unstable (computer term for front end crashes or locks up). The back end works great and you can watch from the internal player. Use Mythweb from a PC to select the programs to record.
8) In the US if you can get OTA tv in digital from the channels you watch use the SiliconDust tuner. Its the best solution out there. Cable will be a murky mess that MAY work with the SD tuner or may not. Analog works with several tuner cards. Where I am (SF Bay Area) I get 27 digital channels from an antenna and the Cable tuner is unused. The OTA looks better and is free.
9) Use ZWave for lighting and other home control. The latest generation from Monster, Leviton and Cooper are all really good and will work with LMCE. X10 works some of the time but its slow and very flakey.
10) I will be posting on the WiKi what I did to get VOIP working in LMCE for both analog phones and a Nokia e70 cell phone.
11) Get a USBUIRT and a Windows MCE remote for each TV. its the most reliable and troublefree control. I like the gyro remotes but not everyone can use them easily.
12) The Panasonic security cameras are fine and cheap as they go. Not suitable for outdoor use as delivered.

Getting the above working right will take a month of tuning. Afterward I would look at things like irrigation controllers, security panels etc. Despite the pitch, while it may work it will need much tuning for your environment- lighting timers are worth hours of fun and anguish, VOIP is not accessible to humans- just geeks. And other pitfalls that will surface.

Many years ago Heathkit sold color TV's as a kit. It took 50-100 hours to assemble. You could buy an assembled working TV for less, BUT that gave the consumer no pride of accomplishment. Getting LMCE up, running and tuned to your liking will give the same feeling of accomplishment. And more capability than you can get from a $150,000 Crestron/Kaleidascape installation. (They don't even have HD or OTA TV integrated, let alone VOIP or some of the remote access/control capabilities.)

teedge77

  • Addicted
  • *
  • Posts: 591
    • View Profile
Re: Building a new rig - need system requirements.
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2007, 08:38:22 pm »
do you have some suggestions for a Z-Wave controller? i know the usb intermatic doesnt work and i have heard about...zcsu000 or something...i found it once but there werent any in stock.ay others you can confirm work?
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+
Asus M2V Via AM2 ATX
Lite-On LH-20A1S SATA DVD Burner
80GB  SATA-150
EVGA GeForce 7300 GT 512MB DDR2 PCI Express
Sound Blaster Audigy SE
Kingston 2 GB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz
Ultra X-Finity 800-Watt
ZCU000
Cisco 7970
TDM400P

PeteK

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 408
    • View Profile
Re: Building a new rig - need system requirements.
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2007, 08:43:25 pm »
Z-wave compatibility appears to be an issue right now.  The controller that was confirmed as working is the ACT ZCU000 USB controller.  This is currently out of production.  The replacement unit, the ZCU101 (http://www.act-solutions.com/pdfs/HomePro/Specs/(BETA)%20ZCU101_spec.pdf) is currently in beta and is exected to be released very soon.  I don't think anyone knows for certain whether or not it will be compatible out of the box.  People have also had success with the Boca Z-wave interface, though that's also proven kind of difficult to get a hold of.

bookie

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: Building a new rig - need system requirements.
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2007, 08:33:19 am »
Hi to everyone, this seems to be a very informative thread, so I would like to add a question for the set up side of things.

I am, like so many, weighing up all relevant info about compatible products etc before building my own media center. What I was a little unsure about is how to best integrate the media center with my NAD hifi system?

Is there anyone who can comment on that? What should I be thinking of hardware wise?

bookie

sandos

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 36
    • View Profile
Re: Building a new rig - need system requirements.
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2007, 09:13:16 pm »
I have a NAD amp, and am also curious. There is NADlink, which has been "reverse" engineered (actually, NAD released specs for it):

http://www.ping.uio.no/~mortehu/nadlink/

So that should work for the controlling part. I have a problem in that I don't like having things on standby, but I also wouldn't like to shut off the power to the NAD via say z-wave while its in standy (which I really want to buy, too bad its so hard to find. especially for eu). Ideally I would love a robot finger to shut it down ;)

bookie

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: Building a new rig - need system requirements.
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2007, 11:21:01 am »
Hi sandos, thankyou for the info. I forgot to apologize for butting in on strawberry's thread. I found that the info was quite informative and that is why I thought to add some extra comments. Hi to strawberry!
Looking for more info on compatible equipment for building a media center. I wll, as already said, be integrating the media center into my TV system. I have a NAD HiFi which consists of a cd player c541i, Dvd/cd/mp3 player T352, a tuner C422, and a Integrated amp C370. Not the latest equipment but I am pleased with it. The TV will be a LCD Phillips something with HD potential. My Media Center will be integrated into this system.
I am a bit curios to what TV cards, Graphic cards etc are supported by Linux?
The motherboard I have been looking at is a Asus P5B and a dual core 2.13 GHz processor. Apart from those Items I am a little unsure as to what I will need.
Not looking for equipment to run telephones, lighting etc just my HiFi and access to my network. The network cables are inplace waiting for a Media Center.

In Sweden we work with PAL if that helps with equipment.

Can someone advise me a little more on the hardware. I would appreciate comments about my choice of motherboard, processor etc.

Thanks

bookie

Zaerc

  • Alumni
  • LinuxMCE God
  • *
  • Posts: 2256
  • Department of Redundancy Department.
    • View Profile
"Change is inevitable. Progress is optional."
-- Anonymous


bookie

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: Building a new rig - need system requirements.
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2007, 11:50:12 am »
Thanks for the info Zaerc. The only thing that seems to be missing is info about Linux compatible TV cards. Looking for a analog/digital card?

bookie

Zaerc

  • Alumni
  • LinuxMCE God
  • *
  • Posts: 2256
  • Department of Redundancy Department.
    • View Profile
Re: Building a new rig - need system requirements.
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2007, 05:49:31 pm »
There is a link to the MythTv wiki, since LinuxMCE uses MythTV to handle all that, hopefully all that hardware will be supported eventually. 

I just added the PVR-150 to the wiki, as it seems to work (I don't have it myself).
"Change is inevitable. Progress is optional."
-- Anonymous


socomrod

  • Making baby steps
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Building a new rig - need system requirements.
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2007, 05:03:27 am »
this is a very interesting thread. I see by the 7000+ views that others find it helpful as well. I'd like to suggest to the mods or admins that perhaps this thread should be stickied, and maybe a dedicated hardware forum should be created. Just a thought.

alx9r

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Re: Building a new rig - need system requirements.
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2008, 06:36:16 am »
I was hoping to find a "benchmark system" made of known-compatible components that exercises the core features of LinuxMCE.  I couldn't find such a system spec anywhere in the wiki, forums, or web.  I did, however, find lots of wisdom and guidance in those places. Based on that, I am designing a system that can hopefully become that "benchmark system" I was seeking.  I will be documenting that design on my user page in the wiki which you can find here:

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Alx9r

At this point, my hope is that I can get this system working without too many issues.  Once I can do that, I am hoping to sufficiently document my system so that others can replicate it for themselves.  That way newbies have a way of getting a basic system up and running without the huge learning curve that I encountered.

If you are interested in this "benchmark system" spec, please reply here, so I can gauge how useful this exercise is likely to be to everyone.

Cheers,

Alex

RhunDraco

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Building a new rig - need system requirements.
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2008, 09:37:00 pm »
I was hoping to find a "benchmark system" made of known-compatible components that exercises the core features of LinuxMCE.  I couldn't find such a system spec anywhere in the wiki, forums, or web.  I did, however, find lots of wisdom and guidance in those places. Based on that, I am designing a system that can hopefully become that "benchmark system" I was seeking.  I will be documenting that design on my user page in the wiki which you can find here:

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Alx9r

At this point, my hope is that I can get this system working without too many issues.  Once I can do that, I am hoping to sufficiently document my system so that others can replicate it for themselves.  That way newbies have a way of getting a basic system up and running without the huge learning curve that I encountered.

If you are interested in this "benchmark system" spec, please reply here, so I can gauge how useful this exercise is likely to be to everyone.

Cheers,

Alex

Heck yeah, I'm interested in how it goes for you.  I'm also building a system, and once I get all the parts together I'll also post on my user page how goes.

alx9r

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Re: Building a new rig - need system requirements.
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2008, 06:58:58 pm »
I have proposed a "Reference Design" project that will encompasses the "benchmark system" I was looking for.  Look here for details:

http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=5203.msg30428#msg30428