Author Topic: New Build for Newbie  (Read 3253 times)

gtsupport

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New Build for Newbie
« on: November 09, 2010, 01:08:29 pm »
Hi People,  I've been watching the LinuxMCE development for a couple of years now, and I'm finally looking to take the plunge and become part of the "users" group!

Just bought a new apartment, so have spent a small fortune buying Z-wave controllers for lights, blinds and everything else I can think of; I want to run it all through LinuxMCE, as well as the media side of things.

I've just added a load of bits to my "cart" to build a hybrid core, but before I go ahead and pay for it all, I'd like to see if I've listed anything thats a gonna cause me a headache from the start.  I've tried searching through the Wiki, and the forums, but a lot of the hardware category stuff is out of date.  Therefore if any of you think that there's something here that won't work please let me know.

Asus M4A87TD Evo AMD 870 (Socket AM3) DDR3 Motherboard
AMD Phenom II X2 Dual Core 555 3.20GHz Black Edition (Socket AM3)
Asus GeForce GT 430 1024MB GDDR3 Low Profile PCI-Express Graphics Card
G.Skill RipJaw 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-10666C8 1333MHz Dual Channel Kit
Akasa PaxPower 500W Ultra Quiet Power Supply
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB SATA-II 32MB Cache - OEM (ST31500341AS)
Samsung SH-B123L/BSBP 12x BluRay ROM DVDRW DL & RAM Lightscribe SATAII Optical Drive - OEM Black
Edimax EN-9260TX-E 10/100/1000 Gigabit PCI Express Network Card (EN-9260TX-E)
ThermalTake DH202 Black VJ80051N2Z with 7" Touch Screen Case

I've left out the capture cards for now, as I'd like to try HDMI capture, but from what I read on the forum, its not supported yet.  As a number 2 choice I was going to go for the Hauppauge winTV 4000 version.  Can anyone suggest a better choice?

All help greatly appreciated.

Matt.
LinuxMCE - If it was easy, everybody would be doing it!!

bongowongo

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Re: New Build for Newbie
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2010, 01:46:05 pm »
How many network cards does the motherboard have?

gtsupport

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Re: New Build for Newbie
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2010, 02:04:46 pm »
The motherboard has one gigabit lan port onboard, hence why I added an extra PCIe card for the 2nd.  Its the closest motherboard I could find to one listed in the wiki.

Matt.
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gtsupport

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Re: New Build for Newbie
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2010, 09:50:57 pm »
Just had a thought, the motherboard I chose doesn't have an onboard 9-pin serial com port.  Was going to use this for feedback from a Sky HD box, are there any recommended pci cards with serial com ports, or are USB-Serial adapters fine to use.  I have had problems with these in the past at work trying to get them to work with Siemens PLC's as some drivers don't seem to work.  This might be totally unrelated, but thought it was worth asking.

Thanks.

Matt.
LinuxMCE - If it was easy, everybody would be doing it!!

phenigma

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Re: New Build for Newbie
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2010, 11:49:00 pm »
The ASUS MB you spec in the first post has an onboard serial port connector.  It's not brought out to the back panel by default.  You would simply need a 9-pin dsub on a piece of ribbon cable with a connector to use the included port.

http://www.amazon.com/Male-Motherboard-Serial-Connector-cable/dp/B000JC31L4

If you look around at a surplus store you may find them easily and cheap.  I used to grab them off of old multi-I/O controller cards from the early PC days.  Most PCs came with 1, if not 2, and hardly anyone actually used a serial port in those days.  If you work with PLCs and serial com devices regularly you may find one of these types of cables lying around your shop even.

J.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2010, 12:36:52 am by phenigma »

wombiroller

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Re: New Build for Newbie
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2010, 04:41:19 am »
Just had a thought, the motherboard I chose doesn't have an onboard 9-pin serial com port.  Was going to use this for feedback from a Sky HD box, are there any recommended pci cards with serial com ports, or are USB-Serial adapters fine to use.  I have had problems with these in the past at work trying to get them to work with Siemens PLC's as some drivers don't seem to work.  This might be totally unrelated, but thought it was worth asking.

Thanks.

Matt.
Welcome gtsupport :-)

USB to serial works well for me 99% of the time. I do however occasionally get thrown back into the Setup Wizard when my amp gets re-detected. It has been suggested to me that this is because the USB-RS232 device is disappearing/reappearing: http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=10795.msg74443#msg74443

....and that a PCI/onboard serial may be better.

Not sure if this is just an isolated occurrence, but something to keep in mind :)

gtsupport

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Re: New Build for Newbie
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2010, 08:55:34 pm »
Thanks wombiroller, I'll probably just order one from Amazon, as it will be quicker and look neater than doing it myself!  I don't know what it is about USB serial adapters, maybe just bad luck, but I've had some that refuse to work point blank with some software, and others that are ok most of the time.

Anyway I see that there have been quite a few reading this post, and nobody's mentioned any potential problems so I'm going to go ahead and order the gear.

One last question about capture cards, I see that Hauppauge do a winTV 4400, this appears to be the latest version of the "Do everything" card, its not listed in the Wiki, so has anyone used them in their machines??

Thanks again for the info, and I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before I'm back with more specific questions once the hardware is bolted together!

Matt.
LinuxMCE - If it was easy, everybody would be doing it!!

gtsupport

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Re: New Build for Newbie
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2010, 03:31:17 pm »
Let the games begin!...

After almost a dozen visits from the courrier man (and one hacked off wife cos none were for her) My core/hybrid is 90% assembled, still waiting for the blu-ray drive to come, so tonight I plan to try and boot from USB stick with the latest snapshot.  I'm too impatient to wait.  Found a nice little program on the net for creating a bootable USB drive.

http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/

Might be handy for anyone looking to boot their MD from a stick.

Will update on progress, and more likely than not be asking for help next week!
Thanks for all the info received so far.  Lookin' forward to meeting Sarah and the penguin!
Matt.
LinuxMCE - If it was easy, everybody would be doing it!!

totallymaxed

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Re: New Build for Newbie
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2010, 03:45:27 pm »
Just had a thought, the motherboard I chose doesn't have an onboard 9-pin serial com port.  Was going to use this for feedback from a Sky HD box, are there any recommended pci cards with serial com ports, or are USB-Serial adapters fine to use.  I have had problems with these in the past at work trying to get them to work with Siemens PLC's as some drivers don't seem to work.  This might be totally unrelated, but thought it was worth asking.

Thanks.

Matt.

Motherboards have serial headers on-board and these can be used to bring the serial port to the outside world. USB-serial adapters do work but you will need to make sure that the adapter has drivers available - the problem is that in many cases its quite hard to determine what hardware is used inside these types of devices. The other issue is that if the usb-serial adapter is detached and re-attached this can cause the system to re-detect them again...even worse if you accidentally plut the adapter back into a different port... then the system will detect as a different device and this will cause all kinds of problems...all of which are fixable of course.

As a rule we tend to stick to IP addressable Serial Adapters (MRI make a range that work well) as they are far more reliable and can be located on the LAN near to the device that needs to be controlled (even id that device is nowhere near either your Core or an MD).

Anyway hope the above is of use to you.

All the best


Andrew
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United Kingdom
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jehojakim

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Re: New Build for Newbie
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2011, 08:50:17 pm »
Hi,

I'm considering this Thermaltake case too. Does the 7" touchscreen work with Linux?

ggmce

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Re: New Build for Newbie
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2011, 11:55:10 pm »
Did your rig work as you specified it? Just curious since I'm ready to take the leap. I was also curious about the power usage, I'm looking for something quiet that doesn't use alot of power...

gtsupport

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Re: New Build for Newbie
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2011, 03:26:15 pm »
Ok, have been away for a while, sorry about the delay in replying.

Re the thermaltake case, awsome bit of kit.....totally wasted on the linuxmce system.  The touch screen doesn't work at all, and because linuxmce doesn't do dual display, you could only use the screen if you weren't using it as a hybrid, i.e. in a cupboard and not connected to a TV.  The other great features that I was expecting to work, such as the built-in IR receiver, media card slots etc don't work either.  I would say don't waste your money on it if its for a linuxmce system.


The rest of the system is working most of the time.  The hard drive is very noisy, and you can hear it even though its inside a cupboard in the lounge.  The graphics card doesn't do sound over the HDMI, not sure if its a driver thing, or what, so I have to use the optical output from the motherboard and feed it into my amp.  This causes a bit of a headache because linuxmce then has to select a different sound channed from the video channel when watching anything from the core on my TV, but it does work.  However when trying to watch live TV through the hybrid its so pixelated that its unwatchable.  Saying that, I have a Zotag MAG in the kitchen which works great as a media director, and you can watch the live TV on that with no pixelation whatsoever, which is weird as its using the same capture device.  There is a slight mismatch between the sound and video when watching live TV on the MD, but I only use if for watching the news so haven't gone out of my way to fix it yet.  Watching any movies that were ripped to the core works great on the MD and the hybrid, both audio and video work great on both.

Over all I'd say that my unit is way over specced for the use it gets, and having nice new graphics cards etc doesn't mean that they wil work ootb like with windows systems.  I'm considering getting one of the Dianemo units and keeping this box for my home PC needs... undecided at the moment though.

Hope that helps.

Matt
LinuxMCE - If it was easy, everybody would be doing it!!

Schmich

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Re: New Build for Newbie
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2011, 06:29:27 pm »
Re the thermaltake case, awsome bit of kit.....totally wasted on the linuxmce system.  The touch screen doesn't work at all, and because linuxmce doesn't do dual display
Out of curiosity how is it plugged in? If it's like a normal display you could probably get some type of splitter. I've got an HDMI splitter and if I remember correctly I did test it successfully (might be wrong). That won't get the Touch part to work of course but you'll have two screens.

ardirtbiker

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Re: New Build for Newbie
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2011, 01:58:51 am »
Im not 100% positive, but I believe the newer lirc config files have some support for the lcd display.. I have the Thermaltake 202 case but with the smaller LCD display and the ultrabay panel (IMON).   Ive got the volume knob working with lirc, I know the buttons are set up, but I haven't checked them... and the LCD display is somewhat limited... although MythTV seems to have more functionality with it.

you might check into it.

Dennis

gtsupport

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Re: New Build for Newbie
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2011, 12:10:04 pm »
The screen has a VGA connector, which I initially plugged into the back of my graphics card, this then disabled the HDMI output, and caused a few problems, so I have just left it.  Have been told by the powers that be that the touch input won't work with linuxmceI guess I could use a HDMI splitter, and then converter to VGA to use it as a basic monitor, but it isn't worth the fiddling around now.  Would have loved to have an orbiter displayed full-time on the touch screen, which is what I was hoping for when I bought it, but alas thats not to be.  Wouldn't even know where to begin to get the volume dial, and other buttons working, may come back to that in the future.  Was hoping that when the 10.04 version comes out, a lot more hardware would be supported and that things might fix themselves  :)

When I get some free time I'll check and see what more can be done.
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