I'm getting the gumption to build myself a nice HTPC/Home Automation/Gaming server. We're finishing the basement and I'd like something really nice to drive the entertainment down there. I'd also like to serve all the bedrooms and living room with MAME/Emulator type games and XBMC for streaming Internet TV. The third, a home automation server to control my irrigation, for temp control, lighting control and security system. And lastly
For the server I have an 3rd gen Core i7 processor, 16gig of ram, two 1TB 7200k drives, an LSI SATA Raid card, an ASrock Z77 motherboard, case and power supply. I still need a Clear QAM Tuner. Been looking at this one (http://www.tbsdtv.com/products/tbs6680-dvb-c-dual-tuner-dual-ci-pcie-card.html
). We don't have pay TV so DVB-C really isn't necessary, but just in case at some point in time I start to feel that it's not such a rip off, I'll have the card. Since everything is being served through ethernet, I'm not really sure the machine needs anything more then the HD 4000 Intel video. I might not even have a display at the box once everything running. I'd also like to increase the RAM to 32gig - the board allows - but it's really not in the budget at this second.
What do you all think of running the Free ESXi hypervisor on the primary server for an HTPC gaming box? Has anyone here tried that? The core i7 has VT-d and vPro, I'm sure with vmdirectpath I can get the tuner card to one of the Guest OSs. That way I could isolate all the servers. To many cook spoil the brew, so to speak. I could have an Apache server to serve the GUI to all the rooms, home automation and MAME each in their own, and one last server for MythTV. Single application Linux server barely use any ram. I could probably get away with 512meg on an Apache server for the tiny bit of traffic it will get. It's the MythTV And MAME servers I'm not so sure about. I know the core i7 can handle the processing, but it's the ram I am worried about. I'm hoping to get away with 8gb for an X server and MythTV/XBMC and 4gb for the MAME server. Hoping that's enough.
At the client I originally wanted Rokus with Plex (since I have 4 or 5 of those around the house), but Plex' lack of Live TV support kinda ruled that out. Instead I settled on dumb XTerminals on top of Raspberry Pi running BerryTerminal. I think those little ARM 6 processors can deal with it. I've read that they can decode video + DTS flawlessly when streaming over a 1gb network. And a bonus, they do HDMI CEC. They should have absolutely no problem being XBMC clients. Being dumb x-terminals they'd have no problem playing MAME games from the central server. I'm running in wall USB to all the rooms so users could also plug in a USB joystick, flash drives, or devices for use on the server.
I have a bunch of old android and iOS devices laying around plus a few android tablets. I've seen an Android remote control app for XBMC and most open source home automation software takes advantage of mobile as well, but I haven't really looked into that yet. It's be awesome if I could mount my old Xoom on the wall in the kitchen as a remote panel.
Anyway, enough of my rambling. Any experience? Advice? Ideas? Commentary? Hyperbole?