Author Topic: the next M2NPV-VM  (Read 1632 times)

bjones

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the next M2NPV-VM
« on: May 03, 2008, 04:57:00 pm »
I'm fairly new to the HTPC arena, but in my full day of research I've found the Asus M2NPV-VM to be recommended time and time again as the best mobo for a linux MCE core.  However, newegg no longer carries this board.  I'm sure I could find it elsewhere easily enough but I figure if the board is that old, there has to be something thats just a little bit better by now.  So here is what I'm looking for

-A board under (or at) $100
-AMD socket AM2 (I've selected the 4800+ Brisbane as my CPU)
-HDMI port capable of standalone graphics for HDTV and compatible with LMCE
-Quality onboard sound, also with minimal compatibility issues.

With that said, any suggestions?  Thanks for any help you may offer.

alx9r

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Re: the next M2NPV-VM
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2008, 08:40:24 am »
bjones,
My wiki/forum/video research confirms what you found: The M2NPV-VM is likely the best supported mobo for linux MCE -- perhaps for both the core and media director.  No surprise that it's discontinued, but it does pose a problem for those of us who are seeking a known-compatible mobo.

It would be great to find out from others what mobos and peripherals are known working, but so far I haven't had much luck getting concrete compatibility information except for the M2NPV-VM.

From what I have read the M2NPV-VM is recommended mainly because it is proven to work (it was used in the video).  It's based around the nForce 430 MCP.  It looks like the 430 is no longer in production so it's no surprise the M2NPV-VM is also out of production.

FWIW, I plan to select a new mobo (not an M2NPV-VM) for a LinuxMCE box probably in the next month or so.  Here is what my criteria is so far:
definite needs:
 - $150 or less
 - AM2 socket
 - onboard known-compatible nVidia GPU
 - onboard known-compatible Gigabit Ethernet
highly desired:
 - onboard known-compatible S/PDIF out

I didn't include HDMI-out in my criteria.  It seems that going from DVI out on the PC to HDMI in is just a matter of buying the right DVI->HDMI cable.  I haven't tried this myself, but most reports I have read indicate that this works just fine.  Given that, I think HDMI out is safe to leave off the criteria list.

My plan of action to narrow down the mobo model was to nail down which nVidia MCPs and GPUs are working for people in the Ubuntu and MythTV forums, then select an appropriate motherboard using a known-working MCP and GPU.

If you do narrow your search at all, I'm definitely interested in hearing the results.

Cheers,

Alex

crshman

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Re: the next M2NPV-VM
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2008, 04:55:04 pm »
Have either of you found a board that satisfies these requests?

I have the same criteria:

 - $100 or less
 - AM2 socket
 - onboard known-compatible nVidia GPU
 - onboard known-compatible Gigabit Ethernet

highly desired:
 - onboard known-compatible S/PDIF out

rodercot

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Re: the next M2NPV-VM
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2008, 05:15:28 pm »
This is the one I have been waiting for for a while. I have already made and SPDIF output module incuding both a optical and coaxial output. The circuit is pretty easy and just uses filters really to output the signal as the processing is done in the codec on the board.

 http://ca.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=3&l2=149&l3=643&l4=0&model=2082&modelmenu=1

 rgds,

 Dave

crshman

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Re: the next M2NPV-VM
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2008, 05:55:37 pm »
Is the 8200 chipset moderately well supported?

alx9r

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Re: the next M2NPV-VM
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2008, 06:20:32 pm »
Is the 8200 chipset moderately well supported?
Andrew has said that it works for him.  See this thread here:
http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=5313.new;topicseen#new

I have already made and SPDIF output module incuding both a optical and coaxial output. The circuit is pretty easy and just uses filters really to output the signal as the processing is done in the codec on the board.
From the user manual, the SPDIF header looks the same as the one used on the M2NPV-VM.  I am using this SPDIF breakout board here with the M2NPV-VM:
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=111102044&vpn=SPDIF%2DOUT%2FOPT&manufacture=Asus

I would guess that breakout board would work with the M3N78-EMH HDMI.  It's only $12.22 CAD.

If you've got the space in your case, I also recommend breaking out the COM port using one of these:
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=23285&vpn=14-000000094&manufacture=ASUS

Alex
« Last Edit: July 07, 2008, 06:32:01 pm by alx9r »

rodercot

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Re: the next M2NPV-VM
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2008, 06:54:31 pm »
Alex,

 Yes they would be the same for most of the boards I have even tested this one on non asus boards and it works fine. I had the optical rcvrs lying around anyhow and for the 2.50 cents in resistors and caps it was an easy build. I have only found the asus adaptor at a couple places nothing locally and I needed this quickly to test a setup I was builiding at the time and did not want to wait. So it took me 30 minutes to solder this one up with some perf board and some 22 guage wire. It tested fine and works on either output or both.

 http://www.scottcraftboats.com/spdif.htm

 rgds,

 Dave

rodercot

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Re: the next M2NPV-VM
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2008, 01:59:37 am »
Here is another one that is just coming out with the 8 series gpu and a optical out on board. with hdmi, dvi, vga as well.  it looks like it is 100$ CDN right now.

 http://ca.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=3&l2=161&l3=0&l4=0&model=2268&modelmenu=1

 rgds,

 Dave

alx9r

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Re: the next M2NPV-VM
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2008, 02:47:21 am »
Despite that I only use DVI in normal operation, I found VGA out to be important on the M2NPV-VM: It was the only output active during the AV wizard step.  I never was able to get the AV Wizard audio cues to work.  For that reason, I personally would tend toward a board with VGA and DVI output for now.

rodercot

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Re: the next M2NPV-VM
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2008, 03:17:27 am »
Despite that I only use DVI in normal operation, I found VGA out to be important on the M2NPV-VM: It was the only output active during the AV wizard step.  I never was able to get the AV Wizard audio cues to work.  For that reason, I personally would tend toward a board with VGA and DVI output for now.

 Good point ALEX. I setup my first hybrid with component and then switched to dvi/hdmi when I got the new sharp LCD. With the new NVIDIA Linux video driver it is quite easy to edit your xorg.conf file from a command line so turning off Tv-out was simple as well as telling the xorg.conf what resolution to boot up at. 1080i/p.

 Dave

jondecker76

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Re: the next M2NPV-VM
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2008, 05:07:33 pm »
WHen I bought my M2nPV-VM, I bought it solely because of the component output (stupid reason to buy a motherboard at that). I have had mine for over 6 months, and I use the VGA output. It looks better than the component output, plus it doesn't suffer from overscan.

Overscan is a HUGE issue with component output, and if you aren't extremely familiar with writing your own modelines to try to correct it, you get stuck with it.

Other than that, its been a good, solid motherboard for me. But if you are looking at it solely for component/svideo/RCA output, you'll have much less trouble just sticking to VGA or DVI - most TV's on the market support these anyways.