Author Topic: Looking at gear for MCE - Good/Bad?? (EDITED)  (Read 5974 times)

PcCowboy

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Looking at gear for MCE - Good/Bad?? (EDITED)
« on: May 19, 2009, 05:33:30 am »
"EDITED"

Core;
Intel Core 2 Quad (Q8200)149.99
Antec EarthWatts 650Watt ATX99.99
Gigabyte GA-EP45C-UD3R 775 ATX MoBo179.99
Samsung 22x DVD+-RW Burner Dual/Double Layer (Sata)24.99
Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM Sata HDD99.99
Zonet USA Gigabit 32-Bit PCI NIC (for 2nd NIC)14.99
Zotac GeForce 7600 GS 256MB 128-bit GDDR2 w/HDMI29.99
WinTV-HVR-1800 MC-Kit129.99
Scyth Ultra Kaze 120mm 3000RPM Fan14.99
^^^^^^ x3 ^^^^^^^44.97
Antec Three Hundred ATX Case59.99
Crucial 2GB DDR3-133329.99
Antec EarthWatts 380 Watt ATX 12V Power Supply59.99
---------------------------------------------
-Total-834.88 824.87

I'm going to get 4GB of DDR3.

I could not find a MoBo with 2xNIC's that met my other requirements, and they only had 2xPCI's anyway and the PCI-E1x NIC was way more $$$, so ya. i know i'm using one of my PCI's...  I'm also thinking i might use this as a Hybrid for a while till i get $$$ for another MD, would it work ok??


Media Director('s);

Intel Desktop Board DG45ID mATX MoBo99.99
Pentium Dual-Core E220045.99
PowerSpec DM-387 mATX Slim Case (Built-in fan I think)49.99
Samsung 22x DVD-+RW Burner with Dual-Double Layer24.99
Silverstone Tech. Nitrogon NT07-775 Slim profile CPU fan (I was told its really quite)25.99
Western Digital WD1600AAJS HDD (160GB)39.99
OCZ Tech. 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2-800 (PC-6400) DIMM RAM39.99
---------------------------------------------
-Total-326.93

The MoBo has a Gigabit NIC, 7.1 Surround sound, and "IntelĀ® Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD Graphics Chipset" with a onboard HDMI plug (I think).


[EDIT]
so look for a less expenive MoBo and add a GPU. The HDD was the smallest the place i was looking at had. i could look and see if i have some small ones around. or just Nix the HDD...is there a downside to that???
OR
Get a Asus Eee Box (i'm losing 7.1, but price looks about the same). or Get Acer Aspire Revo (i have to wait...(how long?? it will prob be a few months before i do this anyway, and i could just hybrid for a bit) but a nice price drop.).
Would the 1GB RAM verson be ok or would it be better to look at the 2GB....

i'm leaning toward the Acer Aspire Revo, to bad no built-in bluetooth.
i wouldn't mind a DVD drive in each or at least my main MD, just for convenience. But it looks like the Revo has non anyway.
[/EDIT]

So......Any comments on any thing i NEED to change that affects: quality, compatibility, or price for the better are welcome.  Personal opinions are welcome too, just state that its and opinion so i dont spend an hr researching something thats not a really big deal....lol thanks :-D


∞PcCowboy
« Last Edit: May 19, 2009, 06:54:28 am by PcCowboy »

colinjones

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Re: Looking at gear for MCE - Good/Bad??
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2009, 05:56:38 am »
Most things in your list are massively overspec'd.... this is a case where more will give you absolutely nothing whatsoever, save your money!

You will never need anything even approaching 4GB on your core. 2GB is probably overdoing it for most people, even when using it as a Hybrid! I would be seriously surprised if you were going to put enough hardware in your core to warrant a 650W PSU, but that's your choice. The 7600 GPU is good, but even my 7300 over does it. On NIC selection outside Intel chipsets, you probably want at least to check someone else has it going, or on their web site that there is a Linux driver available for kernel 2.6.22-14, as the kernel is getting on a bit now. Make sure that whatever sound chipset it uses has an ALSA Linux driver for the same kernel, better yet chose a mobo with a chip that has already been proven to work with LMCE 0710. If you plan to use this as a dedicated core, then the high end GPU is unnecessary.

For your MDs, consider the ASUS Eee Box, a tiny, ultra low power, nettop unit that works well with LMCE and is very cheap. Other than that (and perhaps the MSI Wind PC) I would stear clear of Intel GMA GPUs. Alternatively, you could wait for 0810 (beta) to come out, and have excellent support for the new Acer Aspire Revo that just launched, that has substantially higher specs, uses an nVidia GPU, and is also very cheap.

Techstyle

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Re: Looking at gear for MCE - Good/Bad??
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2009, 06:20:06 am »
What is the thinking behind the 160Gb drive in the Media Directors?
remember you do not need a small drive for OS on each of the MD's, they boot accross the network from the core.  Maybe another TB in the core would be better than small drives on the MD's.  How much space you need depends on what you intend to do with it.

DVD players fitted to one machine are available on all machines so you could save some cash by just fitting one to the Core (which would be on all the time), depends on personal preference





colinjones

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Re: Looking at gear for MCE - Good/Bad??
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2009, 07:02:41 am »
What is the thinking behind the 160Gb drive in the Media Directors?
remember you do not need a small drive for OS on each of the MD's, they boot accross the network from the core.  Maybe another TB in the core would be better than small drives on the MD's.  How much space you need depends on what you intend to do with it.

DVD players fitted to one machine are available on all machines so you could save some cash by just fitting one to the Core (which would be on all the time), depends on personal preference






Hmmm there is actually a slight bug with the DVD player being available around the house. That is certainly true if you have DVD players in your MDs, however, due to a slight problem in how the Orbiter generates the screens, if an MD doesn't have a DVD player of its own, then it doesn't present the Manage Drives menu item making it difficult to do as you suggest.... there is a work around by manually adding a Disk Drive DCE device to the MD that doesn't have a real one, then regenning.... but the logic is a bit weird then!

PcCowboy

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Re: Looking at gear for MCE - Good/Bad?? (EDITED)
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2009, 07:04:28 am »
So then what if i go with the revo? Should buy a USB DVD player??

merkur2k

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Re: Looking at gear for MCE - Good/Bad?? (EDITED)
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2009, 07:18:42 am »
Quote
so look for a less expenive MoBo and add a GPU. The HDD was the smallest the place i was looking at had. i could look and see if i have some small ones around. or just Nix the HDD...is there a downside to that???
There is no reason to put a hard drive in a media director at all, other than as additional storage space for media.

PcCowboy

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Re: Looking at gear for MCE - Good/Bad?? (EDITED)
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2009, 07:39:25 am »
great. so anyone have a rough date on 810?? also is there anything a linux novice with hardly any programing (unless you count Basic and AutoIt... lol) skills, and not much time (combined with ADD...oh look, smiley faces!...lol) can do to help. Either with 810 or just anything

BTW: anyone know, will a BlackBerry storm work with LinuxMCE. I've looked thru the fourms and wikis and have not really come up with a clear answer.... from what i have read it looks like only if it's java/c++ enabled. but then again it looks as if you can login to a web page.  Is that via WLAN or just LAN, and what can you do?? more, or less? also if i'm able to control it, via say WLAN, will the bluetooth "Follow Me" features still work

colinjones

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Re: Looking at gear for MCE - Good/Bad?? (EDITED)
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2009, 09:51:51 am »
How long's a piece of string?! Hopefully the beta release will be out in the next month (guess). I would wait until at least then, but you may want to wait until the full release which is likely several months away, minimum. But you should concentrate on familiarising yourself with your Hybrid first, before jumping into the MDs... that will give you some time. Then if you are still impatient you can either try the beta release or hack 0710 to work with the Revo.

The Blackberry should be fine as long as you have the latest firmware on it, and your network provider doesn't give you a hard time downloading apps. It can also be done locally with a cable, but can be a bit fiddly. It is JavaMO (not C++), but is still not fully developed... haven't tried the latest version on a Blackberry but the older one was a little unstable... worth a try tho... No, its Bluetooth... you need a Bluetooth dongle... best to research that one, because one of the common BT chips out there is not compatible with LMCE (can't remember which). Make sure you get a Class 1 device not 2 or 3 so that it serves your whole house, not just 10m. (Class 1 = 100m, Class 2 = 10m, Class 3 = 1m) Preferably V2.1 or later for speed.

Follow Me is a feature of LMCE and has nothing to do with remotes ... it allows you to have your media follow you from MD to MD by telling the Orbiter which room you are in. The Fiire remotes extended this functionality to their remotes to make it a seemless process of pressing the Follow Me button in one room and then in the next room... but that is only for the Fiire remotes (they have signal strength detection in their firmware which is needed to determine which MD to move to)... there are some being sold on the forums even now...

tschak909

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Re: Looking at gear for MCE - Good/Bad?? (EDITED)
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2009, 02:32:54 pm »
slight clarification on the bluetooth devices.

For setups that have multiple media directors, you have to use class 3 devices, so that you do not have overlap, so the system can detect when you go from one room to another.

-Thom

krys

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Re: Looking at gear for MCE - Good/Bad??
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2009, 03:26:05 pm »
What is the thinking behind the 160Gb drive in the Media Directors?
remember you do not need a small drive for OS on each of the MD's, they boot accross the network from the core.  Maybe another TB in the core would be better than small drives on the MD's.  How much space you need depends on what you intend to do with it.

DVD players fitted to one machine are available on all machines so you could save some cash by just fitting one to the Core (which would be on all the time), depends on personal preference






Hmmm there is actually a slight bug with the DVD player being available around the house. That is certainly true if you have DVD players in your MDs, however, due to a slight problem in how the Orbiter generates the screens, if an MD doesn't have a DVD player of its own, then it doesn't present the Manage Drives menu item making it difficult to do as you suggest.... there is a work around by manually adding a Disk Drive DCE device to the MD that doesn't have a real one, then regenning.... but the logic is a bit weird then!

Collin,
I do this quite frequently, I have a DVD drive in my core and when I have a movie in the drive it shows up on all my MD's under the video section. From there I can click on it to play it. Not sure why you would really need the manage drives menu on all the MD's, all I use that for is to eject the DVD which I would need to be at my core to grab anyway.
-Krys

Friesian

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Re: Looking at gear for MCE - Good/Bad?? (EDITED)
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2009, 11:52:12 pm »
I'm planning on building a LMCE system for a good friend, so I've been looking at a lot of different hardware lately with cost/performance/longevity in mind.  I'm fairly new to lmce but have been reading allot on the wiki and forums.  Only certain thing I have to advise is that you can get a 1.5tb drive for only 30$ more then the 1tb drive you picked.  With dvd's taking up 4-8gb and blurays at 30+gb,  1tb can get eaten up pretty quick;  Of course you can transcode them to a more efficient codec for 3+ times the movie capacity without much visible quality loss,  but it can be a pain.  (haven't found a way to do this yet on 64 bit lmce, myself...)

For what it's worth considering my admitted linux newbie status- Here are the two motherboards that have caught my eye:
775 board 130$: Asus P5N7A-VM -Wiki here.
AM2 board 99$: Asus M3N78 PRO -Wiki here.

They both have adequate peripherals,  onboard Gbit (1), good onboard video/hdmi, (requires driver update- but should support vdpau when it arrives?) 8 channel audio with spdiff or optical- and the most important precursor for me,  they are both documented in the wiki and proven to work with 7.10 with some fiddling.  -video drivers and Ethernet drivers on both.  Seams like from what I've read this is about as PnP you can expect for resent common hardware before 8.10 comes out. (someone please correct if I'm wrong here- I've come to this conclusion by allot of poking around the wiki hardware section and cross-referencing tiger direct.)  I'm on this same search myself. that is: PnP as possible, future vdpau compatible, HD/ui2 alpha capable, hdmi, 7.1 stereo, reasonable price)

Oddly my asus/core i7 system was completely PnP for amd64 core/hybrid dvd install- but my friend isn't looking to spend that much, and it's overkill for a lmce system; I built it for gaming.

colinjones

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Re: Looking at gear for MCE - Good/Bad?? (EDITED)
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2009, 12:34:43 am »
slight clarification on the bluetooth devices.

For setups that have multiple media directors, you have to use class 3 devices, so that you do not have overlap, so the system can detect when you go from one room to another.

-Thom

Thom - I didn't think that the sensing worked very well on standard BT dongles. Well that's good! But don't you think that Class 3 is a little too short range? I know that they often get a few metres more than the rated 1m for Class 3, but it does seem rather tight...

colinjones

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Re: Looking at gear for MCE - Good/Bad??
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2009, 12:36:32 am »
What is the thinking behind the 160Gb drive in the Media Directors?
remember you do not need a small drive for OS on each of the MD's, they boot accross the network from the core.  Maybe another TB in the core would be better than small drives on the MD's.  How much space you need depends on what you intend to do with it.

DVD players fitted to one machine are available on all machines so you could save some cash by just fitting one to the Core (which would be on all the time), depends on personal preference






Hmmm there is actually a slight bug with the DVD player being available around the house. That is certainly true if you have DVD players in your MDs, however, due to a slight problem in how the Orbiter generates the screens, if an MD doesn't have a DVD player of its own, then it doesn't present the Manage Drives menu item making it difficult to do as you suggest.... there is a work around by manually adding a Disk Drive DCE device to the MD that doesn't have a real one, then regenning.... but the logic is a bit weird then!

Collin,
I do this quite frequently, I have a DVD drive in my core and when I have a movie in the drive it shows up on all my MD's under the video section. From there I can click on it to play it. Not sure why you would really need the manage drives menu on all the MD's, all I use that for is to eject the DVD which I would need to be at my core to grab anyway.
-Krys

Krys - that's true, I guess I'm just in the habit of kicking off DVDs from the Manage Drives scenario as it is so quick rather than navigating!

PcCowboy

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Re: Looking at gear for MCE - Good/Bad?? (EDITED)
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2009, 07:22:55 am »
ya i was thinking a compatible class 2 nano BT.

brake16

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Re: Looking at gear for MCE - Good/Bad?? (EDITED)
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2009, 10:48:00 pm »
slight clarification on the bluetooth devices.

For setups that have multiple media directors, you have to use class 3 devices, so that you do not have overlap, so the system can detect when you go from one room to another.

-Thom

Thom - I didn't think that the sensing worked very well on standard BT dongles. Well that's good! But don't you think that Class 3 is a little too short range? I know that they often get a few metres more than the rated 1m for Class 3, but it does seem rather tight...

Thom/Colin

I started editing the Bluetooth wiki (http://wiki.linuxmce.com/index.php/Bluetooth), and I figured I better look for some Class 3 adapters if this sort of advice is going to be given out.  For the life of me, I can't find any.  Are you aware of someplace with a readily available stock of saleable Class 3 adapters?

As far as the tight range (1 m), I figured 2 things: 
  • One could use a USB extension cord to place the adapter (and thus the antenna) closer to the center of the room.  I was considering running the line in the ceiling myself.
  • The range would probably be a bit better than 1m under line-of-sight conditions.

I suppose the other consideration is what's going to be used as the orbiter.  If the orbiter(s) is/are a Class 3 device, then that will limit Bluetooth communication to the smaller range, and the MD adapters could be any class.  But then the same problem presents itself: how to get BT Class 3 orbiters.

Any thoughts?

Bryce

BTW, if I'm overstepping my bounds editing the wiki, just give me one your famous head *thwaps*. ;)
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