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Discussion Starter #1
I'm currently exploring setting up a mythtv environment. The backend is taken care of since I have an existing linux server that will handle the backend processing just fine, but I keep going back and forth on what the get for the frontend. What gets me is that I currently have 2 streaming boxes (WD TV Live and Masscool media player) that stream 1080p mkv's from the mentioned server perfectly and I basically want to do exactly the same thing but with a mythtv frontend box. i.e. I don't care about bluray, or anything else, just stream live hd from the hauppauge pvr and mythtv backend.


But I keep going in circles when I start pricing out the parts for a mythtv frontend box and winding up with a $250-350 (amd a4/a6, ddr3, ssd, case, wireless n 5ghz card) bill since I paid
 

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The most important thing is the GPU, which if you use Linux needs to be Nvidia (ATI and Intel both have limitations).


Therefore just buy the cheapest case+mobo+cpu and stick a Nvidia GT520 in it and you will be happy.


Or else if you can find/build a cheaper Nvidia ION system then that would do too.


Also, if you know how to set up network booting then you don't need a SSD or hard disk at all, just boot the front-end from your server over the network.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tux99  /t/1417727/uneducated-mythtv-frontend-question#post_22172071


Also, if you know how to set up network booting then you don't need a SSD or hard disk at all, just boot the front-end from your server over the network.
Or buy a 8-16GB SDHC Class10 card and install OS to that. Costs a lot less then even the cheapest SSD.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rene18  /t/1417727/uneducated-mythtv-frontend-question#post_22172475


Or buy a 8-16GB SDHC Class10 card and install OS to that. Costs a lot less then even the cheapest SSD.

I wouldn't recommend that, standard MLC based SD cards will wear out quickly when used as OS disk (I know someone who tried it and the SD card died after only 3 months) and SLC based SD cards (they do exist! For example from Integral, Transcend and Agfa) are too expensive to be worthwhile.


I have used CF cards as OS disks (with a CF to SATA adapter), but only SLC CF cards and those work great, I have one running for almost 4 years now on a 24/7 router/gateway PC.
 

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I couldn't find any very good tests or cases about using SD card for OS. In the same time I didn't find anyone complaining that the card dies. Perhaps the best test was this .

Here's a nice review about the general topic and how to optimize OS to work on flash.


I hoped to see someone using a good recent card with ext2 and without swap (or swap and /tmp mounted to a second USB stick that can be changes if it should fail). This could work, but it's a risk for sure.


SLC CF cards look more expensive then SSD's.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rene18  /t/1417727/uneducated-mythtv-frontend-question#post_22175599


SLC CF cards look more expensive then SSD's.

It depends. Last year I still managed to buy two Samsung 8G SLC CF cards for 30$ each, which is less than any SSD (here where I am at least) but of course the cost/GB is higher, but I didn't care as 8GB was more than enough for what I needed them and a SLC CF card will outlive any MLC SSD.


These Samsung SLC CF cards are very hard to locate now, I can't find them anymore at reasonable prices.

This is the one:



Here it's still available but the price is ridiculous, like I said I paid $30 for that last year:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-Compact-Flash-Speed-memory/dp/B002WGIV5G



This is a cheap 8GB SLC SD card (but IMHO too expensive as OS disk as you can get a proper SSD for not much more these days):
http://www.lupus-shop.de/product_info.php?language=en&products_id=105
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit  /t/1417727/uneducated-mythtv-frontend-question#post_22176955


I don't see why you'd bother with a CF/SD card when a 60-64GB SSD is going to be less than $1/GB on sale now.
We are talking about an OS drive not a storage drive. Thus the question is not about getting best $ per GB deal - it's about getting an OS drive (regardless of the size until OS fits to it) as cheap as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I appreciate all the replies and info. I guess when it comes down to it, it looks like I'll have to spend about the same anyway (retail) but at least now I know that a must is the GT520.


Agree about the SSD/SD comments... I'd rather spend around $50 for an SSD compared to around $30 or so for the SD + adapter. Plus it just simplifies things, for me.


I'm not in any hurry to build a frontend (or 2) so I'll probably just throw some deal alerts out there and wait for some bargains to come up, but if you could give me feedback on this initial list, it'd be appreciated:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811154087
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131843
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121475
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231307


Since this is for a frontend the heatsink only/fanless design is what I'd rather go for, but I'm pretty open.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Whatley  /t/1417727/uneducated-mythtv-frontend-question#post_22177158


I appreciate all the replies and info. I guess when it comes down to it, it looks like I'll have to spend about the same anyway (retail) but at least now I know that a must is the GT520.

Agree about the SSD/SD comments... I'd rather spend around $50 for an SSD compared to around $30 or so for the SD + adapter. Plus it just simplifies things, for me.

I'm not in any hurry to build a frontend (or 2) so I'll probably just throw some deal alerts out there and wait for some bargains to come up, but if you could give me feedback on this initial list, it'd be appreciated:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811154087
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131843
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121475
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231307

Since this is for a frontend the heatsink only/fanless design is what I'd rather go for, but I'm pretty open.

That combo should work, the fan of the PSU looks like it will blow exactly on the CPU heatsink in the direction of the gaps which is perfect as it means the cpu should be kept cool enough by the PSU fan alone (especially since it's a low power cpu). For a pure front-end that cpu is powerful enough too.

Of course I have no idea how quiet or noisy the PSU fan is.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Whatley  /t/1417727/uneducated-mythtv-frontend-question/0_60#post_22177158


Agree about the SSD/SD comments... I'd rather spend around $50 for an SSD compared to around $30 or so for the SD + adapter. Plus it just simplifies things, for me.

Exactly. Good choice.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Whatley  /t/1417727/uneducated-mythtv-frontend-question#post_22177518


do you happen to have any recommendations for a small case for my needs?
The case you chose looks like a good choice to me, especially since with the discrete graphics card you can't choose one of those really small mini-ITX cases as they usually don't fit an extra card or at best they fit a single slot one, not one with a large passive heatsink like the GT520 you chose.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Appreciate the heads up but it appears I missed out... pickup isn't an option since there's no fry's nearby.


I'll make myself feel better by saying it's probably a little bigger case than I was looking for anyway but it is a good looking case, cheap, so I probably would've got it anyway.
 

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I don't know exactly what it is but there's something in my brain that doesn't like OCZ and steers clear of that brand. I ended up picking up a Mushkin 40GB SSD which will be plenty since I won't be using the system for any storage whatsoever. I'm just aiming for speedy and quiet.


On that note, I did come across another thread elsewhere mentioning the GT520:

"The GT210 is not recommended because the shader performance is too slow for VA deinterlacing (same with GT520)..get a GT430 (best) or GT220."


I'm slightly concerned over this because I did order this GT520 card that's scheduled for delivery Thursday (along with the rest of my htpc build).


Can anyone comment on this?


Either way, I'm still looking forward to getting this all up and running. My silicondust hd prime tuner came in the other day and I'm going to pick up my cablecard from fios tonight. After this bedroom htpc is built I'll build out my main htpc and then hopefully ditch the fios box's altogether shortly after.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Whatley  /t/1417727/uneducated-mythtv-frontend-question#post_22187940


I don't know exactly what it is but there's something in my brain that doesn't like OCZ and steers clear of that brand.
Same here. I remember reading that the failure rate of OCZ SSDs is allegedly way above average and the amount of firmware bugs I see mentioned on various forums is worrying too. Even if they provide firmware updates, I certainly have better thing to do than worry about firmware updates for a SSD.
Quote:
On that note, I did come across another thread elsewhere mentioning the GT520:
"The GT210 is not recommended because the shader performance is too slow for VA deinterlacing (same with GT520)..get a GT430 (best) or GT220."
I'm slightly concerned over this because I did order this GT520 card that's scheduled for delivery Thursday (along with the rest of my htpc build).

Can anyone comment on this?

Regardless if the GT520 is fast enough or not, that particular statement is nonsense as the GT520 is roughly equivalent to a GT220 with regards to performance so either they are both capable of advanced interlacing modes or not. Since the GT220 has often been quoted as being capable of all adv. deinterlacing modes, therefore the GT520 must be too.

Also as I said in the other thread the GT520 supports VDPAU feature set D while the GT430 only supports the older more limited VDPAU feature set C.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia_PureVideo

I have a GT520 in my desktop PC, if you provide me any video material you would like me to test I will test it for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks... and thanks for the offer but I feel pretty good about this, plus I'll know in a couple days (well, I actually probably won't get around to setting it up this weekend since others have things planned for me to do) for myself. Regardless, it's just for my bedroom htpc that I'm using as an exploratory tool to get my feet wet in this anyway. Of course, I expect this to work as I want anyway but I need to start somewhere.


Plus, the quoted poster comes off as a miserable sob...


I plan an i3-2105 build for my main htpc and from what I've read, it along with it's igp is more than enough--probably even overkill--but I potentially will be using that htpc for more than just streaming from the mythtv backend, so I rather have extra power to handle the unknowns I'll be doing with it down the road.
 

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Out of curiosity I just tested the following clip:

ftp://ftp.heise.de/pub/ct/spezial/crawford.mpg (109 MB, MPEG2 1920x1080i, 29.970 fps with AC3 audio)


using mplayer with VDPAU enabled on my desktop PC with a GT520 (and two 1280x1024 monitors attached for a total screen size of 2560x1024) and it played flawlessly.


For reference I ran mplayer like this:

mplayer -vo vdpau:deint=4 crawford.mpg


deint=4 is the most advanced VDPAU deinterlacer available ("motion adaptive temporal deinterlacing with edge-guided spatial interpolation" according to the mplayer man page).


The mplayer terminal output showed no sign of A/V desyncing so the GT520 was coping fine with the deinterlacing.
 
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