Author Topic: sanity check and recommendations?  (Read 1347 times)

skeptic

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sanity check and recommendations?
« on: March 26, 2008, 06:16:06 am »
It's time for me to build a Core/MD hybrid.  I'm looking for known working, plug an play parts.  As little fiddling as possible.  Of course, all this on a budget, but as long as I stick with known working stuff I should be fine right? I did search the Wiki, but that left more questions than answers.

case - As long as it's 300W+ I can't see how this matters beyond aesthetics and fan noise

motherboard - reading through the hardware wiki makes me nervous, way to many caveats and not 100% supported statements.  Anyone care to comment on  ASUS M2N-E AM2, ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe AM2, or GIGABYTE GA-M57SLI-S4 AM2 boards?  No real reason I selected them other than sorting AM2 boards by best rating on newegg these were the top 3 in my price range and they have the features I want (PCIE, SATA, and plenty of audio out options for my unknown future audio system).  Well, the ASUS Deluxe is a bit higher than I want to spend, but it has dual onboard LAN for when/if the core is where I can run another network drop.

CPU - AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+

Memory - 2G

Hard drive - I have a 500G SATA drive as well as a 750G external USB drive.

Video - Fanless nvidia 6200.  Beyond PCIE and onboard memory, is there anything I should look for?  Card brands to avoid?

PVR - PVR-150.  I'd go with the 500, but I have DirectTV so I'm limited to one per sat receiver and I don't want to stack receivers in my living room (where this will be for now).

remote/IR receiver - I have a snapstream that worked great with MythTV, but does nothing with LMCE (not sure how to config it the LMCE way).  I also have a cheap ebay remote/receiver, and I think it may have originally came with an HP media center if that helps ID it.  It seems to work as either a mouse or a very limited keyboard (just arrow keys and enter are all that seem recognized).  It sorta works with UI1, but none of the other buttons such as volume, play/pause, etc. do anything.  If there is an easy way to get either of these fully functioning as a remote I'd prefer to go that route.  Otherwise, recommend me something that is plug and play and under $50 or so.  The Fiire remote may be fantastic, but I'm not ready to drop $150 for a remote just yet.

IR blaster - completely clueless.  Perhaps there is a good IR blaster/reciever remote that is plug and play??  Is USB-UIRT the only option?

Home automation to come later, for now I just want a solid media center setup.  Anything I'm forgetting?  Anything I should change (the core will be a hybrid for now, not changing that)?

geoffrey

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Re: sanity check and recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2008, 08:54:54 am »
The M2N-SLI Deluxe MoBo has a problem with apic not working correctly with ubuntu.  it is pretty well documented on ubuntu sites and there is a work-around but just so you know... I wrote a little about it here

http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=4196.msg24151#msg24151
Asus M2NSLI Deluxe
AMD Athlon 64 X2 BE-2400 2.3GHz
Asus EN6200TC512 Graphic Card
WinTV PVR-150 MCE
(2) Samsung T166 SATA II 500GB
Corsair TwinX 2GB CL5 DDR2-800

skeptic

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Re: sanity check and recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2008, 04:30:28 pm »
How about the other MBs I listed?  After the frustrations I've had already (no need to rehash), I just want to put together a system that works without hassle.

Anyone have comments on inexpensive and supported remote, IR receiver, and IR transmitter?

skeptic

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Re: sanity check and recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2008, 10:34:43 pm »
  This is what I came up with, please let me know if there is anything unwise about these choices, or if you have any other recommendations.   
   

    ASUS M2N-E AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 Ultra MCP ATX AMD Motherboard
    Hauppauge WinTV-PVR 150 MCE 274 PCI Interface Tuner Card
    EVGA 256-P2-N297-LX GeForce 6200LE TC 512MB (256MB on board) 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card
    LITE-ON Black SATA Blu-ray DVD-ROM Drive Model DH-4O1S-08
    G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Brisbane 2.2GHz Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor Model ADO4200DOBOX
    Athenatech Black SECC Steel A3708BS.450 ATX Media Center / HTPC Case  May look some more on this one, not 100% happy with this choice, but at the price it's hard to beat.

Still no decision on a remote/ir receiver/ir transceiver.  According to the wiki, the MS MCE XP remotes should work as well as include both a receiver and transceiver, but what I found for sale appears to only include the IR receiver.  I'm also considering the Gyration GYR310 remote if it really can be bought at Circuit City for around $50 (would still need to find a way to blast the IR).

1audio

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Re: sanity check and recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2008, 05:24:19 pm »
I have had success with the M2N-E as a core. its not compatible with Matrox cards but works fine with Nvidia 7000 cards.
 Use a USBUIRT for the IR interface. the extra cost is more than made up for by the much better performance in IR capture and integration. it just works.
Use a BE2400 processor. It is much lower power and works fine even for Blu-Ray.
1 GB of ram is fine. I don't think it even uses more on the core.
128 MB is fine for the video card. Again more won't be used in video.

skeptic

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Re: sanity check and recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2008, 07:50:34 pm »
I have had success with the M2N-E as a core. its not compatible with Matrox cards but works fine with Nvidia 7000 cards.
 Use a USBUIRT for the IR interface. the extra cost is more than made up for by the much better performance in IR capture and integration. it just works.
Use a BE2400 processor. It is much lower power and works fine even for Blu-Ray.
1 GB of ram is fine. I don't think it even uses more on the core.
128 MB is fine for the video card. Again more won't be used in video.

Thanks for the comments, I was beginning to wonder if this was going to just slowly fade into history without anymore replies.

BE2400 vs. 4200+ - I'll think about this one.  $40 for almost the same performance (as I understand it), for a bit less energy and heat.  Perhaps the difference in energy use and heat is more than I realize?

1G vs. 2G ram - I have read some conflicting posts on this one.  Some people say 1.5G or 2G made a difference, others say 1G is plenty.  At roughly $20 per G, I'd rather just buy 2G.
 
video - The card I listed, 256M onboard, was roughly the same price as similar ones with 64M, $28.  However, you mention the 7000 series.  I picked the 6200 as it seems the most commonly recommended card here.  For the same price I can go with a 7200 instead if that's going to be better in the long run.  nVidia, VGA out, svideo or component out (prefer component), and fanless are the key features I want in addition to bang for the buck and compatibility with lmce.  If there is an even better option I'm all ears. 

USBUIRT - I was really hoping to save myself about $60 by picking up a MS MCE remote with IR send/receive and not buying a USBUIRT.  Maybe I'm thinking about this the wrong way, I'm really not up on the whole IR thing.  If I buy a USBUIRT, can I use one of the dozen or more remotes I have laying around the house without too much hassle, or will I still be better off buying yet another remote that is automagically supported in lmce?  I have a streamzap remote, is it as simple as grabbing a valid lircd.conf file suitable for MythTV and using that with USBUIRT?  That's a solution I'd be very happy with.

Again, thanks for the advice. I almost let my impatience get the better of me and ordered that stuff, but I'm pretty sure I'll be changing a couple things.