Author Topic: Going nuts trying to find hardware...  (Read 1088 times)

artimus

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Going nuts trying to find hardware...
« on: May 27, 2009, 03:22:54 am »
I am very eager to get started with LinuxMCE, but I am having a very hard time trying to find working hardware.  I've spent at least 14 hours between today and yesterday, and still do not know what to get.  What I want to avoid is spending a pile of money to find out that it is not compatible.  Has anyone built a good MD that is working 100%?  If so, are the parts still available for purchase :)

I would like to have 1 Core, and two media directors.  The MD's I would like to get for around $400.
What I need in a MD
PXE Boot,
HDMI out
Optical S/PDIF
Micro-ATX
Watch, Record/Play 1080i from the cablebox without hickups (Cablevision makes enough as is).  Looking at the following link,  I doesn't seem like I'll be able to pull this off.  I get the feeling that there is no processor I can get that will let me do 1080i..
http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/How_to_Select_Mainboards_for_Your_LinuxMCE_System#Video_Decoding_Requirements


For the Core:
2x IR Blasters  (one for each cable box...)
I'm sure I can find enough parts to build a core.

Here is what I have

Living Room:
50' Plasma - 1080i
LG HTiB Reciever / DVD player. Has an optical S/PDIF.
Scientific Atlanta Explorer 4250HD
PS3, XBox360, Wii

Bedroom:
32' LCD - 1080i
Scientific Atlanta Explorer 4250HD

For each I have a Cablevision branded piece of garbage, model Scientific Atlanta Explorer 4250HD.  I am certain I will need to use an IR blaster for this, although if there is a better option I'm all ears. It can take a while to change channels, and up to 4 minutes to pull up the menu.  anyway..

broadleon

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Re: Going nuts trying to find hardware...
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2009, 02:26:13 pm »
i suggest avoiding any intel chipsets or motherboards, a asus or asrock motherboard will be your best shot... for a MD.
For a core you dont have to be picky just make sure the network port is ok, and you have plenty of pci slots a few pci-e x1 slots and either a in built vga graphics or a agp or pci-e x16 slot.

Renember you can allways add network cards or graphics cards...    Sata drives are tricky to get working (0810 may resolve this) stick to ide and a 32 bit version of linuxMCE with 0710 version.
 
i use asrock n68-s for a MD and i use the vga in built graphics using a vga cable because my tv has has a vga port,  for a core asus m2n68-xx please note there are many version of this motherboard i cant renember which version i have.

im using a en-light server case- because there is plenty of room for my core to breath..

Wintv-hvr 1100/1300/150 installed....
there will be some work to do to get this mobo working but then its linux! you have to put some elbow grease in to get it to work....

colinjones

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Re: Going nuts trying to find hardware...
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2009, 01:51:20 am »
Correction: SATA drives are not hard to get working, do not stick to IDE!

Please don't make statements like this, as it confuses other people as can be seen here - http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8249.0

Plug in a SATA drive, and away you go, nothing to do, its plug and play... if you have an issue, try to resolve it for yourself or through the forums, but do not just assume that because you had an issue that it is a general problem and then state that as fact. I will moderate such misleading threads.

Itsik

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Re: Going nuts trying to find hardware...
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2009, 06:09:59 am »
For the core, try to find an Abit AN-M2HD (a bit tricky ... but you might still find them, other wise Ebay might be a good option too). It has all you want and works OTB. Just pop in another NIC (Preferebly an Intel one), use the onboard one for your internet connection and you're home free.
For MD you can use the same but the onboard nic doesn't seem to like the gig lan and might freeze every now and then, nothing to it, just reboot the MD and you're home free (or use a 100 lan).
There are lots of other boards, that work OTB, and are still availble, just check the wiki.
ohh... and as Colin said, SATA drives work OTB so I have no idea what gave you the idea they're problematic.

Itsik

colinjones

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Re: Going nuts trying to find hardware...
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2009, 06:25:12 am »
I can vouch for the Abit M2HD board as well, I use one for my core. The only thing that springs to mind is, if you intend to use HDMI out then you may have a problem also using SPDIF optical as the 2 ports are too close together... bad design! I simply used a sharp blade and trimmed a little off the side of the SPDIF connector, which is just redundant plastic and a little off the side of the HDMI connector - but beware on the HDMI, too deep and you will cut into the shielding.

dlewis

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Re: Going nuts trying to find hardware...
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2009, 05:57:09 pm »
I wish we were able to control those Cablevision Scientific Atlanta Explorer boxes...

merkur2k

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Re: Going nuts trying to find hardware...
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2009, 06:28:33 pm »
I recently purchased some hardware for about $250 that would fit your requirements for the MDs:
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=13458968
Asus M3N78-EM motherboard
 - onboard 8300 nvidia with HDMI/DVI connectors
 - onboard sound with optical spdif connector
AMD 5600+ 65W dual core cpu
 - proven to decode up to 1080p, low power consumption
2 gig system ram
matx form factor case

I am actually using mine as a core/hybrid and have no problems with it decoding 1080i atsc broadcasts. Note also that I am using 0810, and i would certainly recommend doing so for this board. The only gotchas are that the alsa driver must be upgraded (theres an easy to use automated script for this) and that so far nobody has gotten HDMI audio to work (which sounds like isnt an issue for you). I am using the optical output on mine and it works great.