Newbie Here, so bear with me.
I recetly built a Windows Vista MCE machine and was pretty happy with it, but there were obvious limitations. Then I came across this site and got excited to test one out. So I went down to my local Fry's electronics and tried to built a low cost machine for testing. Here is what I started with, which was a nightmare:
On Board Nvidia Geforce 8200
Trendnet Gigabit NIC Card for second NIC
AMD 5200+ Processor
4GB Crucial DDR2 2x2
1TB Samsung Sata HD
HP IDE DVD RW
I downloaded the AMD 64 version and had a terrible time getting video past the point where you said to install. Then I went and bought an Nvidia 9400GT card and got the same results.
Then I decided to take apart my Vista MCE after reading some of the same results on ubuntu forums. Here are the specs for that machine:
Asus P5E-VM HDMI
Intel Quad Core 2.5 Processor
On Board Intel graphics
4GB Crucial 2x2
Used the 1TB Samsung from above
LG Blu Ray Player
This machine loaded great and it was hooked up to my desktop monitor which is a Samsung T260HD through the VGA port. Looked pretty good and I set my AV Wizard settings to VGA - 1080p - 60Hz and it looked great for the UI. I also had to go with the lowest setting, because the other 2 only showed 2 quadrants of the image. So then I took it into my Theatre room and hooked it up to my Samsung 72 DLP through the vga port and it came up as an unsupported resolution. Then I added my nvidia card and got the same results. The best I could get was 1024x768 thru vga and nothing over hdmi or component on the nvidia card. And after a bunch of screwing around it was locking up on me and right now I reloading it fresh.
So I guess my first question is, can I build anything decent from the parts i have?
My second is...Can someone help me spec out 2 different machines, one as a hybrid and one as a core only. Something that will work GREAT and Linux MCE folks recommend. I want to utuilize everything it has to offer but movies and music to start with. I was thinking the best way to start was a mb with dual nics and 7.1 sound, but no video, then add a good card that supports HDMI, and a digital tuner card.
For the hybrid machine, I am used to using Asus but I am open to anything reliable. For a core only machine, I prefer to use a Supermicro server setup with a xeon or intel i7 processor. Let me know your thoughts please.
I really think this can kick the butt of Vista MCE if I use the right parts. I am new to Linux, but I grew up building xenix, unix and aix machines, so it should come back to me pretty easily.