Author Topic: Decisions on Core + MD or Hybrid approach  (Read 2167 times)

Migroo

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Decisions on Core + MD or Hybrid approach
« on: January 08, 2010, 12:46:08 pm »
Hi guys,

I'm quite new to LinuxMCE but understand the concepts.

I'm in the planning stage and would like to eventually achieve:

Lounge: Content from MD or Hybrid
Bedroom: Content from MD
Kitchen: Probably something like a Squeezebox for audio.

I will be doing this in stages.

I'm trying to decide between a main core and a seperate MD for the Lounge, or if I should run Hybrid. I ought to mention at this stage that I'll be using the system broadly speaking for access to Media and PVR functions. I probably won't be using it for telephony or security.

I have a few ideals that I'd like to explore:
1) Low noise in the Lounge. My understanding of the system is that the Core needs to be running 24/7, so if I use a Hybrid then that needs to be on constantly. If I have a Core and seperate MD in the lounge then I have the option of turning the Lounge MD off when I don't need it - is this correct?
2) Low power usage throughout is a requirement - having a core and seperate MD in the Lounge would use more power than a Hybrid setup - roughly speaking - am I right?

Thanks!

wierdbeard65

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Re: Decisions on Core + MD or Hybrid approach
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2010, 01:24:11 pm »
You are, broadly speaking, correct.

I've gone down the seperate units road. This keeps noise (and heat) down in the lounge (not to mention amount of "stuff"). You can get some very small, low noise, passively cooled, low power units to use as MDs (some of which can be VESA mounted behind the TV!) so the difference in power consumption will be negliagable.

Another thing to consider is the network. A Hybrid will require two LAN cables to the TV position (one for each network) whereas a dedicated core would keep the extra network connection in the server "room".

Just my 10 Eurocents
« Last Edit: January 08, 2010, 02:13:18 pm by wierdbeard65 »
Paul
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Migroo

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Re: Decisions on Core + MD or Hybrid approach
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2010, 02:08:17 pm »
Hi wierdbeard - thanks.

You're right - a less cluttered lounge is always easier to sell to the other half. I can sling the core in the study without raising too many eyebrows.

I also hadn't thought about the network - you're right about needing 2 LAN cables to the core and I hadn't realised.

I suppose in the lounge my only requirement will be for the MD to be able to deliver 1080p video and (possibly) 5.1 sound to an AV receiver.

Apart from needing a decent CPU, lots of RAM and "enough" storage (with a suitable PSU to cope), is there any reason why I can't otherwise bias the core PC to being a low energy device?

Thanks for your advice.

trentend

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Re: Decisions on Core + MD or Hybrid approach
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2010, 04:36:56 pm »
....
Apart from needing a decent CPU, lots of RAM and "enough" storage (with a suitable PSU to cope), is there any reason why I can't otherwise bias the core PC to being a low energy device?

Thanks for your advice.

Hi, I'm in a similar situation and have been researching my own requirements. The conclusion I have reached is that an intel atom 330 (dual core) motherboard should provide enough processing power for a core.  It would be low power (very, in the general scheme of things).  The biggest limitation is the lack of expansion - for example hard drives and tuner cards.  The single slot available on such motherboards would have to be used for an additional network card. I intend to address this with externally powered usb devices (and a NAS in the case of storage). It's only by trying it that I will know for sure if it works, although the atom board (if bought with the nvidia ion chipset) can always be re-deployed as a media director if it doesn't work out.  I'd be nervous about this type of machine as a hybrid.

Migroo

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Re: Decisions on Core + MD or Hybrid approach
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2010, 03:04:14 pm »
Hi trentend

Thanks for your input. I'm not as familiar as I'd like to be with current PC hardware but the Atom 330 looks like an ideal platform for my kind of core. I realise the limit is expansion.

Having had a chance to speak to my better half it has become clear that a specific requirement would be to have access to both Freeview and FreeSat with this system.

Is a single core able to house both sorts of tuners?

Many thanks
Chris

ste_b_79

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Re: Decisions on Core + MD or Hybrid approach
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2010, 11:26:38 pm »
Following on from the post below for having an Atom 330 as a core. What do people think of the Zotac ION Mag Nettop (MAG HD-ND01) as a hybrid if it will only be used for a small network (ie two other Media Directors)?

It has a dual core Atom (330) processor and 2GB RAM.

If you have a NAS and a USB or Network Tuner (like the HD HomeRun), then could the Zotac Mag be used for a hybrid?

It has a Gigabit NIC and Wifi (802.11n) . Has anyone been able to make the Wifi act as Eth0 (for connecting to the Internet) and the NIC as Eth1 (for the LinuxMCE network)? Or would a USB NIC be needed (to have two NICs)?

For those interested in power, the power results on http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zotac/MAG_ION_Nettop/5.html show the unit uses:
Standby - 0.5w
Idle - 24.6w
Movie - 27.8w
Load - 35.7w

Regards

Ste

trentend

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Re: Decisions on Core + MD or Hybrid approach
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2010, 12:46:24 pm »
....Having had a chance to speak to my better half it has become clear that a specific requirement would be to have access to both Freeview and FreeSat with this system.......

Have access to, or be able to record from? - I ask because it is my intention to use the TV aerial feed to connect the television tuners, and use the satellite feeds for linuxmce.  What advantage is there in having freeview?  What does it have that freesat doesn't? Freesat already has HD transmissions supported with DVB-S2 tuners.  Freeview are starting a trial of terrestrial HD, and HD supporting DVB-T tuners do not exist yet.  The freeview landscape is likely to change after the analogue switch off (2012?), Satellite is a known quantity, supported and well understood.  It seems to me that to make a system likely to be good for 3-5 years, I'm better focussing on satellite at the moment.  Just my own thoughts, of course (about the system in the UK, not applicable elsewhere).

Now I haven't tried it myself, but totallymaxed has had four USB tuners hanging off a dual atom board.  I see no reason why you couldn't have two of each, if you so wanted.  No guarantees, you'd have to take a punt.  I intend to use satellite (including both freesat and a motorised dish) only for linuxmce.

Personally I'd be nervous about a single core as a core/hybrid, but there are no problems as a media director.


Following on from the post below for having an Atom 330 as a core. What do people think of the Zotac ION Mag Nettop (MAG HD-ND01) as a hybrid if it will only be used for a small network (ie two other Media Directors)?

It has a dual core Atom (330) processor and 2GB RAM.

If you have a NAS and a USB or Network Tuner (like the HD HomeRun), then could the Zotac Mag be used for a hybrid?

It has a Gigabit NIC and Wifi (802.11n) . Has anyone been able to make the Wifi act as Eth0 (for connecting to the Internet) and the NIC as Eth1 (for the LinuxMCE network)? Or would a USB NIC be needed (to have two NICs)?....

I don't see any reason that it couldn't be used as a hybrid, but the load on it in it's role as a media director would detract from it's throughput as a core, and vica versa.  You'd have to try it.  It would be interesting to know how many concurrent TV recordings from USB tuners it could do, while playing a HD video.  I suspect two at the best.

I also suspect that you might want to put plenty of memory in it (I know there are those who say a Linuxmce system doesn't need much memory, but with a slow processor I would want to max it out so it never becomes a limiter of the system - RAM is cheap, and I'd put 4Gb in it).

I've not tried this (although going to use some atom boards, but not as a hybrid).

As for the wifi as an ethernet connection: I've never heard anything about that, but would imagine it might be technically possible.  After all it's just another pipe as far as the machine is concerned.  How well Linuxmce could accomodate it, I really don't know.  I suspect not well.  You need advice from someone who knows the system well for that.

Tagatose

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Re: Decisions on Core + MD or Hybrid approach
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2010, 06:48:53 pm »
I had the same thought with the Zotac 330s.  I built one as a 0810 core and so far it hasn't had any problems.

To swap the wlan0 and eth0 there is a swap nic button (don't remember the exact wording) in the Web Admin pages...  Configure->Network somewhere near the bottom.


nite_man

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Re: Decisions on Core + MD or Hybrid approach
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2010, 08:31:57 pm »
I had the same thought with the Zotac 330s.  I built one as a 0810 core and so far it hasn't had any problems.

To swap the wlan0 and eth0 there is a swap nic button (don't remember the exact wording) in the Web Admin pages...  Configure->Network somewhere near the bottom.
Could you post here the model of your motherboard, please? It's good approach to utilise the WiFi as eth0. It can even get HD video from network via 802.11n. The reason why I ask you about the MB model is that. I hear a few complains about installation of core on Zotac Ion caused by WiFi.
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Tagatose

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Re: Decisions on Core + MD or Hybrid approach
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2010, 12:11:29 am »
I really can't read the small print on that wireless card.  I'll have to get someone with better eyes to do it.

Anyway... I thought the wireless on the 330 was working:

I installed in this order:
- 0810 DVD
- Updated & Upgraded dist
- Installed Nvidia Drivers (from Nvidia)
- Setup Wireless networking in Network Manager.  I attached to my home router using WPA2.  Unplugged wire and verified it worked by browsing web.
- Reattached hardwire (it also is connected to internet)
- Ran LinuxMCE install script
- Wireless is now dead. 

NetworkManager of course is not enabled and I will have to do some research to find out why the install killed the wireless.  If anyone knows please help.



Tagatose

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Re: Decisions on Core + MD or Hybrid approach
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2010, 07:47:14 pm »
Ok.  So I'm completely green on this Linux stuff but I did manage to get the wireless working:

Install LMCE normally using ETH0 (hardwired) as internet connection.
After install:
- Swap interfaces.
- Create file /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf.  The contents looks like this for my wireless setup:
      network={
           scan_ssid=1 # only necessary if SSID is hidden
           ssid="MySSID"
           proto=WPA
           key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
           psk="MyPSK"
     }
   Test if the wireless associates by: sudo wpa_supplicant -iwlan0 -c/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
   (I had to play with this for a while to get it to work)

- Add this line to /etc/network/interfaces.conf immediately below "iface wlan0 inet dhcp"
      wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf

- Reboot

If all was correct then WLAN0 should now be your internet connection and ETH0 should be the LMCE network. It works great.

So far I'm really impressed with these Zotac 330s.


Migroo

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Re: Decisions on Core + MD or Hybrid approach
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2010, 10:30:25 pm »

For those interested in power, the power results on http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zotac/MAG_ION_Nettop/5.html show the unit uses:

Thanks for that - definately something to consider!

....Having had a chance to speak to my better half it has become clear that a specific requirement would be to have access to both Freeview and FreeSat with this system.......

Have access to, or be able to record from? - I ask because it is my intention to use the TV aerial feed to connect the television tuners, and use the satellite feeds for linuxmce.  What advantage is there in having freeview?  What does it have that freesat doesn't? Freesat already has HD transmissions supported with DVB-S2 tuners.  Freeview are starting a trial of terrestrial HD, and HD supporting DVB-T tuners do not exist yet.  The freeview landscape is likely to change after the analogue switch off (2012?), Satellite is a known quantity, supported and well understood.  It seems to me that to make a system likely to be good for 3-5 years, I'm better focussing on satellite at the moment.  Just my own thoughts, of course (about the system in the UK, not applicable elsewhere).

Now I haven't tried it myself, but totallymaxed has had four USB tuners hanging off a dual atom board.  I see no reason why you couldn't have two of each, if you so wanted.  No guarantees, you'd have to take a punt.  I intend to use satellite (including both freesat and a motorised dish) only for linuxmce.

Personally I'd be nervous about a single core as a core/hybrid, but there are no problems as a media director.

I'm going to need to be able to record from both services. According to my other half FreeSat doesn't have access to a specific channel which carries some programming that she likes.

However, you make valid points and I agree with your standpoint.

I'll let you know how I get on :)

trentend

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Re: Decisions on Core + MD or Hybrid approach
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2010, 12:27:19 am »
......I'll let you know how I get on :)

Thanks, I would be interested as I will be following a similar approach. 

As an aside, totallymaxed mentioned the possibility of running a MythTV backend on another machine to allow additional recording (more tuners).  Now I have absolutely no idea how to do this, but it's in the back of my mind as a possibility.

totallymaxed

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Re: Decisions on Core + MD or Hybrid approach
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2010, 02:22:06 am »

For those interested in power, the power results on http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zotac/MAG_ION_Nettop/5.html show the unit uses:

Thanks for that - definately something to consider!

....Having had a chance to speak to my better half it has become clear that a specific requirement would be to have access to both Freeview and FreeSat with this system.......

Have access to, or be able to record from? - I ask because it is my intention to use the TV aerial feed to connect the television tuners, and use the satellite feeds for linuxmce.  What advantage is there in having freeview?  What does it have that freesat doesn't? Freesat already has HD transmissions supported with DVB-S2 tuners.  Freeview are starting a trial of terrestrial HD, and HD supporting DVB-T tuners do not exist yet.  The freeview landscape is likely to change after the analogue switch off (2012?), Satellite is a known quantity, supported and well understood.  It seems to me that to make a system likely to be good for 3-5 years, I'm better focussing on satellite at the moment.  Just my own thoughts, of course (about the system in the UK, not applicable elsewhere).

Now I haven't tried it myself, but totallymaxed has had four USB tuners hanging off a dual atom board.  I see no reason why you couldn't have two of each, if you so wanted.  No guarantees, you'd have to take a punt.  I intend to use satellite (including both freesat and a motorised dish) only for linuxmce.

Personally I'd be nervous about a single core as a core/hybrid, but there are no problems as a media director.

I'm going to need to be able to record from both services. According to my other half FreeSat doesn't have access to a specific channel which carries some programming that she likes.

However, you make valid points and I agree with your standpoint.

I'll let you know how I get on :)

Hi,

Just jump in with some input on this... yes you can intermix different capture cards such as DVB-S2 & DVB-T on the same MythTV backend. But you will need to make some udev rules up so that when you re-boot your Core the devices and their ID's are maintained otherwise MythTV will get confused and possibly think some or all of your tuners are the wrong flavour of DVB (on reboot the tuners will get give unpredictable ID's and therefore may not load in the same order.).

Recording multiple SD streams from 4 DVB tuners concurrently is not a problem even on a single Core Atom so a 330 will be even better in that respect...the DVB mpeg stream just gets written verbatim disc and the Atom is fine at disc I/O... its the Atom's 'compute' power that is lacking (so for example 'full' Regens or compiling new libs etc will tax the Atom heavily).

All the best


Andrew
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