Author Topic: LinuxMCE on Wal-mart's $200 gPC, is it possible??? it really is affordable  (Read 22766 times)

Matthew

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Re: LinuxMCE on Wal-mart's $200 gPC, is it possible??? it really is affordable
« Reply #30 on: December 14, 2007, 04:03:33 pm »
$200 Wal-mart's gPC vs $500 Fiire Station (set top box)

  • Video: Via UniChrome Pro II PC graphics plus hardware-accelerated alpha blended open gl and MPEG 2 decoder using licensed drivers and codecs
[/b]


Makes the fire the clear winner with features vs cost for a full blown media director. Those drivers are not out in the wild and make a massive difference. Also it has gigabit ethernet which is a plus.
All I'm wanting to do with my gOS dev board is to run a touchscreen and bluetooth detection near my back door. So it will work perfect in UI1 as a minimal use md that at most may be asked to handle music duties in my living room.

But in the "Fiire Station 2.2" Review/Specs" topic, Fiire's official response says:
**FIIRE'S RESPONSE**

All the FiireStations, 1" and 2.2" and STB, use the same graphics engine, based on an embedded Via solution.  Neither the standard Via Linux  drivers, nor the OpenChrome drivers support alpha-blending.  Only nVidia does, but nVidia has problems with video tearing.  So, special drivers were developed just for LinuxMCE for the Via engine.  Fiire licenses those drivers.

These drivers do support alpha blending and high-quality video playback.  The alpha blending is done in a non-standard way.  It doesn't use Xorg's composite extensions, and the popup portions of the menu are not alpha blended.  However the menu itself is.  So is the media file browser screen.

The big problem with these licensed drivers is that MythTV doesn't work with it, nor does Kubuntu 0704 or 0710, or the KDE desktop.  So, the FiireEngine ships with a special diskless image for the FiireStations based on Kubuntu 0610 without KDE.  It works fine for media playback, and you can record Myth shows on the FiireEngine, but you cannot run Myth locally.

We're currently trying to get the OpenChrome and/or Via stock Linux drivers to work with the Fiire Stations and Kubuntu 0710.  When we do, FiireStation users will have the choice of using those standard drivers with the latest LinuxMCE, Myth, and KDE, but without alpha blending, or continuing to use the proprietary drivers which we licensed which do alpha blending, but don't run Myth or KDE.

So which LMCE features exactly (in LMCE terms, not OS/MythTV terms) will work with UI2/alpha, and which will work with only UI2/nonalpha?

jvizueta

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Re: LinuxMCE on Wal-mart's $200 gPC, is it possible??? it really is affordable
« Reply #31 on: December 14, 2007, 05:12:59 pm »
From this post I read someone has been able to install Ubuntu on gPC:
10 Minute Review Of The Everex Green gPC TC2502
http://smert.net/2007/11/27/10-minute-review-of-the-everex-green-gpc-tc2502/#comment-1426
And I quote from this post:
Quote
Since then I’ve reformatted and put the latest version of Ubuntu on it.

The most complete set of pictures about the gPC I've seen so far:
$200 Green PC (gOS GNU/Linux) - What's inside the case?
http://healthysystem.blogspot.com/2007/11/200-gos-gnulinux-photo-review.html
« Last Edit: December 14, 2007, 05:21:06 pm by jvizueta »
"Which mindset is right? Mine, of course. People who disagree with me are by definition crazy. (Until I change my mind, when they can suddenly become upstanding citizens. I'm flexible, and not black-and-white.)"
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blackoper

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Re: LinuxMCE on Wal-mart's $200 gPC, is it possible??? it really is affordable
« Reply #32 on: December 14, 2007, 05:18:44 pm »
well no go on using a usb dvd drive and usb hard drive.. failsafe settings didn't work either.
I'm going to try installing xubuntu and kubuntu alternate in text mode and see what happens also have yet to try using sata harddisk

rrambo

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Re: LinuxMCE on Wal-mart's $200 gPC, is it possible??? it really is affordable
« Reply #33 on: December 14, 2007, 05:26:03 pm »
Strange, I haven't had any problems with the mobo from the Wal-Mart PC.... Ubuntu installs and runs fine...

jvizueta

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Re: LinuxMCE on Wal-mart's $200 gPC, is it possible??? it really is affordable
« Reply #34 on: December 14, 2007, 05:39:02 pm »
Don't kill me for saying this, bu I was just wondering if a KDE installation on gOS (gOS is a distro based on Ubuntu) would be enough for LinuxMCE installation instead of installing Kubuntu from scratch.

Quote
I've since installed the KDE based kubuntu-desktop (sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop) just to see how it works - works great

That quote was about kubuntu-desktop installation on gOS from http://healthysystem.blogspot.com/2007/11/200-gos-gnulinux-photo-review.html
"Which mindset is right? Mine, of course. People who disagree with me are by definition crazy. (Until I change my mind, when they can suddenly become upstanding citizens. I'm flexible, and not black-and-white.)"
      - Linus Torvalds

jvizueta

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Re: LinuxMCE on Wal-mart's $200 gPC, is it possible??? it really is affordable
« Reply #35 on: December 14, 2007, 05:44:17 pm »
This is Everex Forum for gPC: http://www.everexforum.com/forum/index.php?a=forum&f=40 just for you to know

"Which mindset is right? Mine, of course. People who disagree with me are by definition crazy. (Until I change my mind, when they can suddenly become upstanding citizens. I'm flexible, and not black-and-white.)"
      - Linus Torvalds

tschak909

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Re: LinuxMCE on Wal-mart's $200 gPC, is it possible??? it really is affordable
« Reply #36 on: December 14, 2007, 08:15:56 pm »
Don't kill me for saying this, bu I was just wondering if a KDE installation on gOS (gOS is a distro based on Ubuntu) would be enough for LinuxMCE installation instead of installing Kubuntu from scratch.

Quote
I've since installed the KDE based kubuntu-desktop (sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop) just to see how it works - works great

That quote was about kubuntu-desktop installation on gOS from http://healthysystem.blogspot.com/2007/11/200-gos-gnulinux-photo-review.html

no, you'll have dependency problems.

-Thom

blackoper

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Re: LinuxMCE on Wal-mart's $200 gPC, is it possible??? it really is affordable
« Reply #37 on: December 15, 2007, 02:24:41 pm »
so I finally found my issue... the very last thing I tried... seems my working dvd drive was the culprit. It works fine in other pcs but for some reason it is giving faulty data to the via chipset.. I swapped it out with a nec 3500a now the kernel panics I was getting in the alternate cd installs are gone.

doing my 13th install atempt of kubuntu :)
« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 02:32:37 pm by blackoper »

jvizueta

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Re: LinuxMCE on Wal-mart's $200 gPC, is it possible??? it really is affordable
« Reply #38 on: December 18, 2007, 09:33:09 pm »
From my research this is info I think may be useful for the topic:

we are testing a number of fanless Via based clients using the C7/CN700 or CX700M chipsets at 1Ghz to 1.5Ghz. We just add a stick of memory, and optical drive if needed and thats it. Out of the box currently Kubuntu 7.04 and lmce-0704 do not have the Via driver support so you would need to build the Unichrome or Openchrome drivers to get the best graphics performance. These are low cost, energy efficient (as low as 9W) motherboards with excellent graphics.

I just got this back from VIA.

Dear Blair,
 
The source code to the CX700M/2 drivers for Linux can be downloaded here:
http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=420&OSID=25&CatID=2580&SubCatID=184

Those are useful with the CN700 UniChrome Pro integrated graphics too (that's wath says in the page).

From the linuxMCE Wiki I got the info below:
Quote
Convergent Home Technologies - LinuxMCE Systems
...
Model: MM400

The MM400 is a totally fanless, silent design that is compact enough to be located almost anywhere. Its discreet black finish, range of features and affordable price make it a very popular choice for many of our customers.

Price

£225.00 (Excluding 17.5% VAT & Shipping)

    * Includes Installer CD with Via Unichrome Pro Video drivers for LinuxMCE-0704 / LinuxMCE-0710

Features

    * Software: LinuxMCE 0704 or 0710
    * User Interface: UI1
    * Processor: Via C7 1Ghz Fanless. Low power under 25W
    * RAM: 512MB
    * Internal Optical drive: None
    * Network: 10/100 Ethernet
    * Video: Embedded Via CN700 - External via VGA port ; 85Hz Refresh Rate:1600x1200 pixels, up to 32bit Colors
    * IO: 1 x keyboard - generic - 6 pin mini-DIN (PS/2 style), 1 x mouse - generic - 6 pin mini-DIN (PS/2 style), 1 x display / video - VGA - 15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15), 1 x serial - RS-232 - 9 pin D-Sub (DB-9), 1 x parallel - IEEE 1284 (EPP/ECP) - 25 pin D-Sub (DB-25), 6 x Hi-Speed USB - 4 PIN USB Type A ( 2 in front ), 1 x network - Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX - RJ-45, 2 x audio - line-out - mini-phone 3.5mm ( 1 in front ), 1 x audio - line-In - mini-phone 3.5mm, 2 x microphone - input - mini-phone 3.5mm ( 1 in front )
    * Power: External 65W power supply
    * Dimensions: 234 (h) x 64 (w) x 213 (d) (all dimensions in mm)
    * Weight: 1300g


Product Details

The MM400's compact, low energy fanless design coupled with its affordable price make it perfect for many situations where cost or low-noise solutions are essential. While not as sleek or stylish as some other Media Directors in our range the MM400 is still compact and discreet and due to its silent operation can be located in locations like bedrooms where its silent operation is ideal.




This system kind of looks like gPC, and it says its video drivers are for LinuxMCE-0704 / LinuxMCE-0710
« Last Edit: December 18, 2007, 09:38:10 pm by jvizueta »
"Which mindset is right? Mine, of course. People who disagree with me are by definition crazy. (Until I change my mind, when they can suddenly become upstanding citizens. I'm flexible, and not black-and-white.)"
      - Linus Torvalds

totallymaxed

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Re: LinuxMCE on Wal-mart's $200 gPC, is it possible??? it really is affordable
« Reply #39 on: December 19, 2007, 02:17:03 am »
From my research this is info I think may be useful for the topic:

we are testing a number of fanless Via based clients using the C7/CN700 or CX700M chipsets at 1Ghz to 1.5Ghz. We just add a stick of memory, and optical drive if needed and thats it. Out of the box currently Kubuntu 7.04 and lmce-0704 do not have the Via driver support so you would need to build the Unichrome or Openchrome drivers to get the best graphics performance. These are low cost, energy efficient (as low as 9W) motherboards with excellent graphics.

I just got this back from VIA.

Dear Blair,
 
The source code to the CX700M/2 drivers for Linux can be downloaded here:
http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=420&OSID=25&CatID=2580&SubCatID=184

Those are useful with the CN700 UniChrome Pro integrated graphics too (that's wath says in the page).

From the linuxMCE Wiki I got the info below:
Quote
Convergent Home Technologies - LinuxMCE Systems
...
Model: MM400

The MM400 is a totally fanless, silent design that is compact enough to be located almost anywhere. Its discreet black finish, range of features and affordable price make it a very popular choice for many of our customers.

Price

£225.00 (Excluding 17.5% VAT & Shipping)

    * Includes Installer CD with Via Unichrome Pro Video drivers for LinuxMCE-0704 / LinuxMCE-0710

Features

    * Software: LinuxMCE 0704 or 0710
    * User Interface: UI1
    * Processor: Via C7 1Ghz Fanless. Low power under 25W
    * RAM: 512MB
    * Internal Optical drive: None
    * Network: 10/100 Ethernet
    * Video: Embedded Via CN700 - External via VGA port ; 85Hz Refresh Rate:1600x1200 pixels, up to 32bit Colors
    * IO: 1 x keyboard - generic - 6 pin mini-DIN (PS/2 style), 1 x mouse - generic - 6 pin mini-DIN (PS/2 style), 1 x display / video - VGA - 15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15), 1 x serial - RS-232 - 9 pin D-Sub (DB-9), 1 x parallel - IEEE 1284 (EPP/ECP) - 25 pin D-Sub (DB-25), 6 x Hi-Speed USB - 4 PIN USB Type A ( 2 in front ), 1 x network - Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX - RJ-45, 2 x audio - line-out - mini-phone 3.5mm ( 1 in front ), 1 x audio - line-In - mini-phone 3.5mm, 2 x microphone - input - mini-phone 3.5mm ( 1 in front )
    * Power: External 65W power supply
    * Dimensions: 234 (h) x 64 (w) x 213 (d) (all dimensions in mm)
    * Weight: 1300g


Product Details

The MM400's compact, low energy fanless design coupled with its affordable price make it perfect for many situations where cost or low-noise solutions are essential. While not as sleek or stylish as some other Media Directors in our range the MM400 is still compact and discreet and due to its silent operation can be located in locations like bedrooms where its silent operation is ideal.




This system kind of looks like gPC, and it says its video drivers are for LinuxMCE-0704 / LinuxMCE-0710

Hi all,

We have built the standard Via Unichrome Pro drivers using the standard sources available from the Viaarena site (search this forum for my numerous other posts about this and how to build the sources ;-) )

The drivers we have work fine but have the following limitations;

- They currently will only work reliably under lmce-0704
- They will only support lmce-0704 & UI1
- They do not support UI2 + Overlay or UI2 + Alpha Blending

The drivers however do work under lmce-0704 and will run the KDE desktop and all other standard features - unlike Fiire's drivers which do not currently.
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd
United Kingdom
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jvizueta

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Re: LinuxMCE on Wal-mart's $200 gPC, is it possible??? it really is affordable
« Reply #40 on: December 19, 2007, 05:14:02 am »
Thanks a lot totallymaxed, those comments did clear up my way indeed

We have built the standard Via Unichrome Pro drivers using the standard sources available from the Viaarena site (search this forum for my numerous other posts about this and how to build the sources ;-) )

This is the post totallymaxed is talking about: Adding the Via Unichrome Pro drivers

Another important thread about the topic: Via Integraded Unichrome Pro Graphics pc-1 2500 anyone tried?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2007, 03:50:09 pm by jvizueta »
"Which mindset is right? Mine, of course. People who disagree with me are by definition crazy. (Until I change my mind, when they can suddenly become upstanding citizens. I'm flexible, and not black-and-white.)"
      - Linus Torvalds

blackoper

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Re: LinuxMCE on Wal-mart's $200 gPC, is it possible??? it really is affordable
« Reply #41 on: December 25, 2007, 04:44:49 am »
just an update. I had a bad pc2500e board. It is on its way back for an exchange.

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Re: LinuxMCE on Wal-mart's $200 gPC, is it possible??? it really is affordable
« Reply #42 on: December 25, 2007, 07:39:51 am »
With the small Via stuff there are big differences in the capabilities of the chipset. The Fiire uses the CX700M which support the video acceleration. The other one may have a CN700 which has different features. And it doesn't come with CE connectors (RCA connections for audio and component video) making it much less of a living room product. The Via CX700M is their most expensive MB. Usually lists for over $350.

leschitester

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Re: LinuxMCE on Wal-mart's $200 gPC, is it possible??? it really is affordable
« Reply #43 on: December 27, 2007, 03:11:58 pm »
My first post, and I'm a real newbie, both to Linux and LMCE. I bought one of the PC2500 boards and have installed Kubuntu 0704 in a dual boot with windows XP. It seemed OK with 0704 until I tried to install a better driver than VESA. I tried the GUI install and installed openchrome, which it suggested. The next boot ended up dumping me into the command line, and I don't know enough to do anything from there. I think my next move is to just reinstall 0704 and then try the via driver, if I can figure out how to do it. This is my first try at Linux, and so far it hurts, but I'll get it! The good news here is that the board takes an 0704 install and seems to work.

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Re: LinuxMCE on Wal-mart's $200 gPC, is it possible??? it really is affordable
« Reply #44 on: December 31, 2007, 02:00:08 am »
Would someone mind summarizing what's been said so far? Does the gPC chipset work? I was thinking about picking it up at ClubIT for $60:
http://www.clubit.com/product_detail.cfm?itemno=CA4842001
But obviously if it won't work then I won't get it.