[mythtv-users] Cheap Hardware (was S.O.S. : General h/w question)

Yan-Fa Li yanfali at best.com
Fri Oct 15 23:50:50 UTC 2004

Yeah, you've definitely got a point about cheap hardware.  MicroTel 
systems from Walmart are good enough for Windoze XP Home.  However, I 
would add few thoughts.

Michael's rules definitely apply if you're planning on using the systems 
on/off style, like most windows boxes live, i.e. on for word processing, 
off afterward.  Also if you're planning in upgrading every two years, 
who gives a rats monkey about long term quality.

On the other hand, Linux people tend to leave things running for 
days/months/years on end, so reliability is important.  There are a 
multitude of issues when building a quality system.  The choice of 
motherboard while critical is only one of three major factors.  The 
other two being power supplies and memory.  A recent test of power 
supplies on Anandtech show that cheapo PSUs suffer from instability in 
the 12V rail under load.  12V is usually used for drives and the CPU. 
Do you really want the drives and CPU acting flakey ?

Manufacturing problems affect all companies, for example there were a 
lot of problems with all motherboards from a couple of years ago because 
of faulty capacitors from a suspect manufacturer who had supposedly 
pirated the formula to a capacitor solution from another asian 
manufacturer but had missed an ingredient off to stabilize the 
component.  This affected everyone, including 1st tier manufacturers.


Suddenly a whole generation of boards were blowing up within a few 
months of steady use because they had used the bad caps.  Replacing the 
caps with good quality ones fixed the problem and there was even a guy 
on the net doing the work for a reasonable fee.

I think the main reason in my mind, wether PCChips produces good work or 
not, is the perceived lack of support in the event of something going 
wrong, like the bad caps problem, followed closely by the lack of decent 
BIOS upgrades.  Intel while expensive, does BIOS updates for their 
boards for years, this gives the inner geek in me a nice warm and fuzzy 
feeling :D

Of course at PCC prices you could simply buy two boards for the price of 
one expensive board and have a complete backup in the event of a failure 
:D  Engineering types, tend to be hardware snobs.  I admit to being one. 
  However, I also like to buy on the trailing edge where I get the most 
bang for the buck.  In general if you wait 6 months, last generations 
hot hardware becomes inexpensive and you can get a good deal so I prefer 
that strategy over buying cheaper brands.


Michael T. Dean wrote:

> /me steps on soapbox
> Why cheap hardware can sometimes be "good enough."

[much good reasoning left out]

> /me steps off soapbox
> _______________________________________________
> mythtv-users mailing list
> mythtv-users at mythtv.org
> http://mythtv.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/mythtv-users
> !DSPAM:4170555323714317282423!

More information about the mythtv-users mailing list