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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I was just given a free mobo/cpu/memory combo (M4A88T-M LE, PhenumII, 4gb ram) and have decided to finally build an htpc.


I currently use a WinPC with Sage to do all my recording, with a media extender. That PC is near it's end of life and I've been doing a lot of Linux stuff at work (Fedora mostly).


I intend to use this build as a frontend to my main TV. I'm not concerned with the recording aspect, as I'm happy with using my existing library and recorder. I just don't like the limitations that the media extender imposes on my viewing.



I'm not 'up to speed' on the whole HTPC topic, so please let me know if the following isn't a reasonable approach.


1) Hardware = The above MOBO/CPU/Mem + an SSD

2) Software = Linux (which distro???) + MythTV

3) media = will access media via a windows share on my large windows 7 server

4) Access to internet media via it's ethernet connection

5) video output via HDMI directly connected to TV

6) audio output to A/V receiver (S/PDIF optical)

7) Blue Tooth keyboard/mouse as input device ???? (is this doable??)


Any help with which case/powersupply etc etc would be immensely appreciated.


Thanks,

AJ
 

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1. Mobo/CPU/Memory and SSD are fine

2. Use Mythbuntu

http://www.mythbuntu.org/download-type


then install balance of apps per
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1275302


3. Should be no issue.

4. No issue other than DRM'd sources like Netflix

5. You need an HDMI equipped Nvidia GT220/240 or higher

6. No issue. If you need an SPDIF out bracket for your mobo, build one

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=997533


7. Just be sure to get a Bluetooth USB receiver compatible with Linux/Ubuntu- check user reviews or specs list at newegg.com or geeks.com
 

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If you're not interested in recording, then don't bother with MythTV. It's primarily a DVR. The ability to watch videos from a local library is a bit of an afterthought. If all you want is the ability to watch videos from a local file share, XBMC would be far better than MythTV for that.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by k_ross /forum/post/20887721


If you're not interested in recording, then don't bother with MythTV. It's primarily a DVR. The ability to watch videos from a local library is a bit of an afterthought. If all you want is the ability to watch videos from a local file share, XBMC would be far better than MythTV for that.

Agreed. The HOWTO has XBMC install instructions.


If you don't want to use tuners, use the Xubuntu 11.04 distro and install the apps and XBMC per the sticky HOWTO.


If you want to use tuners, then MythTV is a must. Mythbuntu is XUbuntu with MythTV pre-installed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys,


I took my new (free mobo...) and scavenged parts from an old computer, loaded mythbuntu onto it and have been playing around with it.


Funny thing, I came to the same conclusion that you all have just recommended.


I ordered an SSD, silent power supply etc. And intend to do exactly as all recommended.


I'll install one of the distro's (might try Fedora, since I use it all the time at work and also on my laptop). I'll just get a wireless mouse, link the htpc to my library and will be good to go.


Any reason not to use Fedora?


Although I'm pretty happy with the performance (even with all these recycled parts), I do get some video artifacts using the onboard graphics. So I'm looking at an add-on board. Probably a gt240.


I ended up getting the small LianLi case

Black Aluminum PC-C37B


A fanless Seasonic powersupply (400w), 90gb SSD and a sata dvd (no need for Blu-ray for me yet).



Thanks for all the help everyone.


AJ
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJPeacock /forum/post/20891364


Thanks guys,


I took my new (free mobo...) and scavenged parts from an old computer, loaded mythbuntu onto it and have been playing around with it.


Funny thing, I came to the same conclusion that you all have just recommended.


I ordered an SSD, silent power supply etc. And intend to do exactly as all recommended.


I'll install one of the distro's (might try Fedora, since I use it all the time at work and also on my laptop). I'll just get a wireless mouse, link the htpc to my library and will be good to go.


Any reason not to use Fedora?


Although I'm pretty happy with the performance (even with all these recycled parts), I do get some video artifacts using the onboard graphics. So I'm looking at an add-on board. Probably a gt240.


I ended up getting the small LianLi case

Black Aluminum PC-C37B


A fanless Seasonic powersupply (400w), 90gb SSD and a sata dvd (no need for Blu-ray for me yet).



Thanks for all the help everyone.


AJ

Ubuntu and its derivatives are recommended due to its noob friendly installation and setup and large online community for help.


If you are an experienced Linux user, then Fedora or other common distros are fine. Fedora's installer and default configuration are not as user friendly in my experience over a year ago.


The benefit of sticking with Ubuntu is the LARGE amount of compatible distros to choose from- Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Myhtbuntu, Mint and all its DE flavors, and the many, many Ubuntu or Debian derived distros on Distrowatch.


However, in the interest of diversity and competition, I like to see others try and make other distro families work well for a HTPC, like Fedora, Arch, Mandriva and their derivatives.


As it appears you are experienced, a Fedora HTPC user would be a welcome addition to the forum
.


MythDora

http://mythdora.com/


is Fedora+Myth, but appears to be discontinued.


The Lian LI C37B appears to use low profile cards- is this correct?


Thanks for the heads up on the fanless Seasonic PSU- hadn't thought about that one. I've been buying PSU's with 120mm low speed fans for silence. Time to eliminate another fan
What model Seasonic do you plan to use?
 

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Just remember, the fan in a PSU doesn't just keep the PSU cool, it also vents hot air out of the system to keep everything else cool. So you may end up having to add another fan to the system to make up for the reduced air flow.


I've read of instances where someone replaced a regular PSU with a Pico PSU, and the system temperatures ended up increasing, causing the CPU fan to run full speed, making the system louder!


I'm not saying this will happen to you, I'm just giving you a heads up.


-- Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It's been a couple weeks and I thought I'd post a follow-up with some lessons learned and thank you all for the forum and your help.


I installed the system with Ubuntu and with Fedora, in both cases, I got some stuttering while streaming from my large Windows file server. I wasn't real happy with the integrated graphics (ATI 4250). Then, just for grins, I installed Windows 7 + XBMC and zero stutter and no need for an extra graphics card!!! Driver differences???


The PSU I used is the 400w Seasonic Fanless and it appears to be a solid supply, but with the small Lian-Li case and the somewhat confined space in the stereo cabinet, a little more airflow would probably be good. I get a bit of heat on the back of the unit (near the power supply) and I'd probably NOT go with a fanless supply again.


My build is as follows and works very well.


Lian Li C37 case

Seasonic 400w fanless PSU

ASUS M4A88t-m LE

Phenum II cpu 4gb RAM

OCZ 60gb SSD


Lenovo N5902 rf keyboard/mouse (AWESOME !!!!)



I've got about 25% of my 400 dvd's loaded into my file server and we are really loving the HTPC experience. Some of the add-ons to XBMC have great content (college courses, sports highlights etc etc)


Thanks again,

AJ
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJPeacock /forum/post/20933503


I installed the system with Ubuntu and with Fedora, in both cases, I got some stuttering while streaming from my large Windows file server. I wasn't real happy with the integrated graphics (ATI 4250). Then, just for grins, I installed Windows 7 + XBMC and zero stutter and no need for an extra graphics card!!! Driver differences???

It is a well-documented fact that the ATI/ADM Linux drivers are no where near the functionality of their windows drivers. The stutter is because of the lack of GPU acceleration on Linux.


Most of us in the AVS-Linux Chat section of these forums would have taken the money that you gave to microsoft, and used it to purchase a nVidia graphics card.


I do have a PC with an AMD Radeon HD 6450 graphics card. I (so far) am getting good video display from that. But that may be because of the fact that it is better than the 4250, or also because this is a quad-core PC, and can easily use the CPU to process video. I intended to get a nVidia card for this, but first installed the proprietary AMD Catalyst Linux driver , and so far it works pretty good (on Ubuntu).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the info on the Linux ATI/ADM drivers, I figured that the drivers were the issue.


I hate sending money to MS, but I not having an additional card that creates more heat in my cabinet is a good thing.


One other issue I was having with the Linux installs, was the samba/windows mapping to my file server was not 100% solid. I haven't had any issues since installing W7.


Someday, when I build my big Linux/Raid server, the windows/Samba issue won't be an issue for me.


Thanks again,

AJ
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJPeacock /forum/post/20933721


Thanks for the info on the Linux ATI/ADM drivers, I figured that the drivers were the issue.


I hate sending money to MS, but I not having an additional card that creates more heat in my cabinet is a good thing.


One other issue I was having with the Linux installs, was the samba/windows mapping to my file server was not 100% solid. I haven't had any issues since installing W7.


Someday, when I build my big Linux/Raid server, the windows/Samba issue won't be an issue for me.


Thanks again,

AJ

Seems like you've touched on the 2 biggest drawbacks to linux that I've found. ATI graphics and file sharing. Once you work past those 2 things it's mostly smooth sailing from my limited experience.
 

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Samba file sharing has worked fine for me. But it does take a bit of learning to get it to work correctly.


Since I use mostly Linux, I share folders/partitions/drives using NFS. But I don't believe that windows has very good support for NFS.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SettingUpNFSHowTo


On Samba, if I recall, creating the proper smb.conf file was the key to getting it work. There's one towards the bottom of this page:

http://www.aboutdebian.com/lan.htm


It starts out like this:
Code:
Code:
[global]
   workgroup = MYHOMENET
   server string = %h server (Samba %v)
;   wins support = no
;   wins server = w.x.y.z
   dns proxy = no
;   name resolve order = lmhosts host wins bcast
   log file = /var/log/samba/log.%m
   max log size = 1000
;   syslog only = no
   syslog = 0
...
 
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