LinuxMCE Forums

General => Users => Topic started by: nosebreaker on November 04, 2008, 08:56:31 pm

Title: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: nosebreaker on November 04, 2008, 08:56:31 pm
I'm planning to have the primary LinuxMCE box in my basement, and thin clients behind each tv/display throughout my house.  I will have the TV tuner card in the primary system in the basement, but it won't have any actual display.  Would I need a nVidia card for this "basement/master" system or can I just use any old thing for now?  I was planning on having 3-4 thin clients throughout the house, one in the bedroom behind a flat panel like the video, one attached to a 20" monitor on a swingarm in the kitchen, and one on the ceiling underneath a projector in another room (possibly a 4th later).  I have a NAS now with a few TB in it so I'll just use that for storage for now.  I also plan to use some home automation stuff, I loved the part where it called the guy on his phone and showed him the picture.  I have some network cameras that I'll try and if they don't work I'll buy compatible ones.

My questions are:
1) What "slim" thin clients are there now that I can buy that will attach to the back of a 20" lcd monitor or behind a ~40" 720p plasma/lcd?  The Fiire Invisible 1" from the 0704 video appears to be discontinued and the 2" seems too large and has all the bells and whistles.  Plus I don't want it to auto-update (once it works don't mess with it).
2) What specs will I need to stream video to 3 remote systems for the "basement/master" system?  Ideally I'd like it to download torrents automatically to the NAS as well.
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: tschak909 on November 04, 2008, 10:33:19 pm
Well, the thing is...consider the issue of cooling...

There's a reason these devices aren't prevalent in the "behind-the-TV" configuration...

Quite simply, there isn't enough room between a VESA mount, and the computer for adequate dissipation of heat from a TV. Don't go there. Only heartbreak and misery await.

The core system only needs to be the file server/gateway/dhcp for the house, as such it doesn't need much other than to be configured like a file server. The real processing happens at the media directors. I use MSI Media Live barebones PCs for media directors, cram ram, cpu, attach a USB UIRT and some emitters for the nearby A/V equipment...done....

Disk storage can be appropriated anywhere in the house, either attached to the core, to a media director, or on the network such as a NAS brick. This is dependent however on you configuring your house network exactly as we require it.

-Thom
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: freymann on November 04, 2008, 10:33:43 pm
I'm planning to have the primary LinuxMCE box in my basement, and thin clients behind each tv/display throughout my house.

 Yep, that's the way to do it.

 Your "thin clients" (Media Directors) are just computers that boot off the core over the network. I believe they are actually "fat clients" but you get the idea.

 If you haven't been poking around the wiki, this is a good place to start:

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Frequently_Asked_Questions

and

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Main_Page

 From the Main_Page you can click on Hardware and there's loads of info on what you need.

Quote
I will have the TV tuner card in the primary system in the basement, but it won't have any actual display.  Would I need a nVidia card for this "basement/master" system or can I just use any old thing for now?

 Since the core machine runs kubuntu and needs a compatible video card I would suggest sticking with nVidia. Who knows, you may want to use the core as a hybrid and save on purchasing another Media Director.

Quote
1) What "slim" thin clients are there now that I can buy that will attach to the back of a 20" lcd monitor or behind a ~40" 720p plasma/lcd? 

 I think the new ASUS EEE BOX B202 BLACK, INTEL ATOM 1.6GHZ, 1G DDR2, 80GB machines work for that. There are some initial issues getting the network card (and possibly sound card too?) to work but that can be solved with some manual updates under 7.10RC2. I'm not sure if all that is supported out of the box with the upcoming 8.10 release, but there has been a lot of forum discussion about these boxes with instructions on how to make them work. They are about $375 CDN a box though. I'd love to have 3 or 4 of them too  ;D

Quote
2) What specs will I need to stream video to 3 remote systems for the "basement/master" system? 

Proper networking configuration and infrastructure in your residence. Your core needs 2 nics... the internal network is where you connect all your media directors and NAS devices.

Quote
Ideally I'd like it to download torrents automatically to the NAS as well

I don't know if you can make the torrents download to the NAS but you can certainly install torrentflux and have it use a local directory path for downloading, and then copy/move them to your NAS when they are completed (that's what I do).

My advice to you would be to take it slow. Get your core properly set up and running. Make sure your network is wired up right. Then add a Media Director, boot it up over the network, see how that part of things work. Then you can work on home automation (which really isn't that difficult). The phone stuff can be complicated and to me isn't as easy as it looks but with anything, some research and trial and error will get you there. Same with network cameras. Go slow... do things one step at a time. With LMCE I've found you will likely get everything you want to work eventually, but it isn't something you're going to accomplish in a weekend.

Have fun!

Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: Zaerc on November 04, 2008, 11:27:59 pm
...
 Your "thin clients" (Media Directors) are just computers that boot off the core over the network. I believe they are actually "fat clients" but you get the idea.
...

Actually it is somewhere inbetween a thin- and a fat-client, the correct term would be a "diskless node (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diskless_node)".
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: nosebreaker on November 05, 2008, 05:25:38 pm
ASUS EEE BOX B202 BLACK

Right, will probably try one of those then and see how well it works.  So it won't support network boot then if the NIC has issues, so I'll have to install it onto the drive.  Since it doesn't have a nVidia card do you think it will be fast enough?  Any other suggestions for a "thin" client?
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: freymann on November 05, 2008, 05:33:21 pm
ASUS EEE BOX B202 BLACK

Right, will probably try one of those then and see how well it works.  So it won't support network boot then if the NIC has issues, so I'll have to install it onto the drive.  Since it doesn't have a nVidia card do you think it will be fast enough?  Any other suggestions for a "thin" client?

 No, you can't just "install it onto the drive" when you're talking about a Media Director.... they boot over the network. You'll have to follow the instructions which are posted here in the forums (and I believe the wiki too) to get the network card working properly. Do some searches and see if you are up to that task before you spend money.

 The video is fine. Search the forums for "EEE BOX" and see how others have made out.
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: niz23 on November 05, 2008, 05:56:03 pm
nosebreaker.
ASUS EEE BOX B202 BLACK

Right, will probably try one of those then and see how well it works.  So it won't support network boot then if the NIC has issues, so I'll have to install it onto the drive.  Since it doesn't have a nVidia card do you think it will be fast enough?  Any other suggestions for a "thin" client?

I can help you get it running. Have one at home running at 720p.
So far it work well but you need to fix a couple of things before it work well in 0710.
(pxe boot image, disless-image with correct network drivers), other than that it work out of the box.

There is also a wiki page that I started some time ago. Unfortunately my workload have been to much for a while. Thats why its no been updated.

Send me a PM.

/niz23
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: totallymaxed on November 06, 2008, 10:36:36 pm
1) What "slim" thin clients are there now that I can buy that will attach to the back of a 20" lcd monitor or behind a ~40" 720p plasma/lcd? 

 I think the new ASUS EEE BOX B202 BLACK, INTEL ATOM 1.6GHZ, 1G DDR2, 80GB machines work for that. There are some initial issues getting the network card (and possibly sound card too?) to work but that can be solved with some manual updates under 7.10RC2. I'm not sure if all that is supported out of the box with the upcoming 8.10 release, but there has been a lot of forum discussion about these boxes with instructions on how to make them work. They are about $375 CDN a box though. I'd love to have 3 or 4 of them too  ;D
[/quote]

The ASUS Eee Box is a great MD but will need some manual config changes when adding it to a 'standard' LinuxMCE-0710 Core as Niz23 says earlier in the thread. We will put up a Wiki page (or add to the one Niz23 refers to) based on our experience getting the Eee Box integrated.

The Eee Box is almost silent, will drive screens at 720p/1080p under UI2 + Overlay (UI2 + Alpha blending is not supported currently by the Intel graphics drivers) and performs very smoothly graphically. With its tiny form factor, included VESA mounting kit and its performance it is highly recommended indeed.

All the best

Andrew
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: skeptic on November 11, 2008, 04:48:05 pm
1) What "slim" thin clients are there now that I can buy that will attach to the back of a 20" lcd monitor or behind a ~40" 720p plasma/lcd? 

 I think the new ASUS EEE BOX B202 BLACK, INTEL ATOM 1.6GHZ, 1G DDR2, 80GB machines work for that. There are some initial issues getting the network card (and possibly sound card too?) to work but that can be solved with some manual updates under 7.10RC2. I'm not sure if all that is supported out of the box with the upcoming 8.10 release, but there has been a lot of forum discussion about these boxes with instructions on how to make them work. They are about $375 CDN a box though. I'd love to have 3 or 4 of them too  ;D

The ASUS Eee Box is a great MD but will need some manual config changes when adding it to a 'standard' LinuxMCE-0710 Core as Niz23 says earlier in the thread. We will put up a Wiki page (or add to the one Niz23 refers to) based on our experience getting the Eee Box integrated.

The Eee Box is almost silent, will drive screens at 720p/1080p under UI2 + Overlay (UI2 + Alpha blending is not supported currently by the Intel graphics drivers) and performs very smoothly graphically. With its tiny form factor, included VESA mounting kit and its performance it is highly recommended indeed.

All the best

Andrew
[/quote]
Does anyone know if the EEE boxes will work without manual config on the next version of LMCE?
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: nosebreaker on November 11, 2008, 05:09:40 pm
Is there any way to get the Asus EEE B202 to work such that you can use it wirelessly and not have to boot over ethernet?  Does it have a wireless PXE chip?
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: totallymaxed on November 11, 2008, 05:17:16 pm
Is there any way to get the Asus EEE B202 to work such that you can use it wirelessly and not have to boot over ethernet?  Does it have a wireless PXE chip?

No... PXE booting is not supported over wireless at all currently.

Andrew
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: hari on November 11, 2008, 05:17:28 pm
WTF is a wireless PXE chip?!?
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: tschak909 on November 11, 2008, 05:49:32 pm
The work around for those interested is to configure a wireless bridge, and attach it to the ethernet port. Done.

-Thom
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: dlewis on November 11, 2008, 07:34:15 pm

The ASUS Eee Box is a great MD but will need some manual config changes when adding it to a 'standard' LinuxMCE-0710 Core as Niz23 says earlier in the thread. We will put up a Wiki page (or add to the one Niz23 refers to) based on our experience getting the Eee Box integrated.

The Eee Box is almost silent, will drive screens at 720p/1080p under UI2 + Overlay (UI2 + Alpha blending is not supported currently by the Intel graphics drivers) and performs very smoothly graphically. With its tiny form factor, included VESA mounting kit and its performance it is highly recommended indeed.

All the best

almost positive it won't do 1080p...
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: nosebreaker on November 11, 2008, 07:48:31 pm
I see Intel PXE all the time in servers, it is the equivalent of the old BIOS chips on NIC cards to let them boot over the network.  I was asking if there was a wireless equivalent and if the B202 had it.  Since it already has a 802.11n wireless NIC in it it seems silly to have to run a wireless bridge to it.
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: skeptic on November 11, 2008, 08:31:20 pm
Typically wireless = pcmcia internally, needing the pci to pcmcia bridge setup before it can be used.  I.e. - no way to boot.  Supposedly there exists a few PCI wireless cards that actually can do PXE booting.  No idea what it would take as far as wap setup, but at a minimum you'd need one of these cards and no wifi security.  Even then I have doubts.  Better off using a wireless bridge and your ethernet port.

However, if someone does track down a wireless PCI NIC and gets it to work reliably a lot of people here would be interested.
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: totallymaxed on November 12, 2008, 07:26:43 am

The ASUS Eee Box is a great MD but will need some manual config changes when adding it to a 'standard' LinuxMCE-0710 Core as Niz23 says earlier in the thread. We will put up a Wiki page (or add to the one Niz23 refers to) based on our experience getting the Eee Box integrated.

The Eee Box is almost silent, will drive screens at 720p/1080p under UI2 + Overlay (UI2 + Alpha blending is not supported currently by the Intel graphics drivers) and performs very smoothly graphically. With its tiny form factor, included VESA mounting kit and its performance it is highly recommended indeed.

All the best

almost positive it won't do 1080p...

We have the Eee Box running at 1080p here... just set it in the AVwizard ;-)

Andrew

**The Eee Box NIC driver is not currently in the initramfs so you need to add it so theat pxe boot can happen. See other threads here about that.

Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: totallymaxed on November 12, 2008, 07:29:16 am
Typically wireless = pcmcia internally, needing the pci to pcmcia bridge setup before it can be used.  I.e. - no way to boot.  Supposedly there exists a few PCI wireless cards that actually can do PXE booting.  No idea what it would take as far as wap setup, but at a minimum you'd need one of these cards and no wifi security.  Even then I have doubts.  Better off using a wireless bridge and your ethernet port.

However, if someone does track down a wireless PCI NIC and gets it to work reliably a lot of people here would be interested.

Just see Thom's post earlier in this thread and use a Wireless Bridge... not a complete solution but it works.

Andrew
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: dlewis on November 12, 2008, 12:19:23 pm

The ASUS Eee Box is a great MD but will need some manual config changes when adding it to a 'standard' LinuxMCE-0710 Core as Niz23 says earlier in the thread. We will put up a Wiki page (or add to the one Niz23 refers to) based on our experience getting the Eee Box integrated.

The Eee Box is almost silent, will drive screens at 720p/1080p under UI2 + Overlay (UI2 + Alpha blending is not supported currently by the Intel graphics drivers) and performs very smoothly graphically. With its tiny form factor, included VESA mounting kit and its performance it is highly recommended indeed.

All the best
almost positive it won't do 1080p...

We have the Eee Box running at 1080p here... just set it in the AVwizard ;-)

Andrew

**The Eee Box NIC driver is not currently in the initramfs so you need to add it so theat pxe boot can happen. See other threads here about that.




Drew, is this true 1080P? If so, please let us know how you set it up. Thanks!

-D
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: totallymaxed on November 12, 2008, 01:37:05 pm

The ASUS Eee Box is a great MD but will need some manual config changes when adding it to a 'standard' LinuxMCE-0710 Core as Niz23 says earlier in the thread. We will put up a Wiki page (or add to the one Niz23 refers to) based on our experience getting the Eee Box integrated.

The Eee Box is almost silent, will drive screens at 720p/1080p under UI2 + Overlay (UI2 + Alpha blending is not supported currently by the Intel graphics drivers) and performs very smoothly graphically. With its tiny form factor, included VESA mounting kit and its performance it is highly recommended indeed.

All the best
almost positive it won't do 1080p...

We have the Eee Box running at 1080p here... just set it in the AVwizard ;-)

Andrew

**The Eee Box NIC driver is not currently in the initramfs so you need to add it so theat pxe boot can happen. See other threads here about that.




Drew, is this true 1080P? If so, please let us know how you set it up. Thanks!

-D

Setup is from the AVwizard as normal and yes its full 1080p (all our LCD/Plasma panels report it as such).

Andrew
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: drjenk on November 14, 2008, 05:11:08 am

and some emitters for the nearby A/V equipment...done....


This part confused me.  Doesn't AV equipment typically just receive IR, and not transmit? 
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: totallymaxed on November 14, 2008, 10:15:17 am

and some emitters for the nearby A/V equipment...done....


This part confused me.  Doesn't AV equipment typically just receive IR, and not transmit? 

Thom was referring to IR emitters connected to your MD that would be used to emit IR commands to your various AV gear.

Andrew
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: nosebreaker on November 14, 2008, 05:37:29 pm
Excellent, sounds like I'll be getting a few of these then if they support 1080 HD, I was only planning on 720p but it is good to know they can to 1080!
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: niz23 on November 14, 2008, 06:54:04 pm
nosebreaker.
Excellent, sounds like I'll be getting a few of these then if they support 1080 HD, I was only planning on 720p but it is good to know they can to 1080!

Remember. We are talking about 1080P mpeg2. Forget h.264/mpeg4 formats in high def. This unit simply do not have enough cpu power for that.
(Above is the result of my tests with a EEEBox).

Totallymaxed. Correct me if I am wrong here.

/niz23
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: nosebreaker on November 14, 2008, 08:11:24 pm
So can they do 720p h264/mpeg4?
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: totallymaxed on November 15, 2008, 09:06:10 am
nosebreaker.
Excellent, sounds like I'll be getting a few of these then if they support 1080 HD, I was only planning on 720p but it is good to know they can to 1080!

Remember. We are talking about 1080P mpeg2. Forget h.264/mpeg4 formats in high def. This unit simply do not have enough cpu power for that.
(Above is the result of my tests with a EEEBox).

Totallymaxed. Correct me if I am wrong here.

/niz23

Hi Niz23/Nosebreaker,

Right lets clear this confusion up... there is the display resolutions like 720p & 1080p that are set in the AVwizard. The Eee Box supports both of these no problem in UI2 with Overlay. This is purely about what resolution/aspect ratio your screen is being driven at.

Then their is the question of what kind of video content you will be playing. Recorded TV, DVD's and other SD video will playback at 720p & 1080p resolutions on the Eee Box fine (ie this SD content gets upscaled to those resolutions). Then there is content that has been encoded as h.264/mpeg4 in say an MKV wrapper format... this type of content does not play well on the Eee Box with the current h.264 codec used by Xine. So if your wish is to playback this type of HD content then currently the Eee Box is not right for you (we are looking at some closed source binary codecs that might change this...and I will report back when we have some test results)

All the best

Andrew
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: nosebreaker on November 17, 2008, 03:40:20 pm
Thanks Andrew, that is what I was looking for.  Yes it will drive a 1920x1080 monitor or 720 monitor, but there isn't enough CPU power to render HD content from h264 format.
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: OldBob on November 29, 2008, 04:42:43 am
I have purchased an Intel Atom Box with Svideo connection.   It appears that SVideo can not support 720p - can someone confirm this for me?
Title: Re: Thin clients? Specs?
Post by: tschak909 on November 29, 2008, 04:51:27 am
quite correct.

-Thom