[mythtv-users] Impossible to choose Motherboard?

Lane Schwartz dowobeha at gmail.com
Thu Dec 9 16:29:09 UTC 2004

On Wed, 08 Dec 2004 20:04:26 +0000, Drew Zerdecki <dzerdecki at gmail.com> wrote:
> Is it impossible?  I know I want an Intel chip but beyond that I have no
> real preference (until you tell me) for chipset, form factor, onboard
> s-video out.  I've looked through the PVR HArdware database, but I
> haven't gotten a clear idea of what to get.  What is the first decision
> to make?  Chipset? Form factor to match that sexy case?  Something
> else?  Now I am not even sure I want an Intel chip...  Should I switch
> and become an AMD man?  Help.

There are several questions you should ask yourself:

1) What form factor? 

For a PVR, you probably want to think seriously about MicroATX.

2) Do you plan to use HDTV on this box?

If you plan to watch HDTV on this box, then you will need a much more
powerful processor than if you don't. Most people here who do HDTV use
a powerful P4 on the frontend. You'll also want a good video card to
watch HDTV - probably an nvidia 5200. And you should probably look at
boards with an 800 MHz front-side bus. Oh, and hyperthreading would
sure be nice to have, too.

If you don't care about HDTV, then you don't have to worry so much
about any of these things. You can have a much slower processor, it
doesn't need hyperthreading, slower bus is probably OK, and you'd be
fine with a broader range of TV-out options.

3) Do you want stuff built in?

There are pretty much no MicroATX Intel motherboards that have
built-in TV-out. The only exception I know of is the Asus Pundit, but
that's not a stand-alone motherboard. There are lots of good AMD mobos
with built-in nvidia 440 video cards. Do you need/want SPDIF? It seems
that built-in firewire and built-in TV-out are mutually exclusive -
aside from the Pundit, I've yet to find a mobo that has both.

3.5) By this point you should have it narrowed down to a handful of mobos.

4) Are there known problems with the chipset you're looking at?

Once you have a mobo picked out, browse through the mailing list
archives at http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/mythtv/users/ to see
what others have to say about it.

5) How important is quiet?

This is more a question when you come to picking out heatsinks, fans,
and power supplies. But, keep in mind that not all of the fancy
heatsink will fit in a MicroATX case. And sometimes it depends on
which direction the processor socket faces (if it faces the wrong way,
some of the big heatsinks might hit the power supply and not fit).
Also, keep in mind that Intel processors tend to be cooler at a given
speed than their AMD counterparts.

Hope that helps!

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