[mythtv-users] Hardware Suggestions/Sanity Check

Jeff Simpson jeffsimpson at alum.wpi.edu
Mon Apr 10 20:26:52 UTC 2006

> I will be converting my current FE/BE into a dedicated Master BE:
>         P4 3.0ghz CPU
>         1 GB RAM
>         1x PVR150
>         1x PVR250
>         4x 250gb SATA HD RAID 5 for DVD storage (/video/dvd) (New -- Adding
> to system)
>         2x 250gb PATA for video storage and music
>         1x 100gb PATA HD for OS and assorted crap (web server, MySQL, mail
> server, home dirs, etc)
>         1x DVD-RW+/-

For flexibility sake, I would think it would be nice to have the
entire storage be on one volume via LVM or similar (so you could
re-allocate space space for DVDs, how much for TV recordings, etc). I
guess the downside of that is that you wouldn't be able to easily do
hardware RAID5 over SATA and PATA (but I think in software you might
be able to).

Looks like a good amount of space, but I'd go for a larger individual
drive, maybe a 300 or 400, maybe even 500. Since you are putting so
many drives in, there won't be much room (physically or electrically)
to add more drives in. It's more expensive per gig, but it's the
equivalent of getting a 1GB stick of ram instead of two 512MB sticks -
when you want to upgrade your 500gb-per-disc array, you can just slap
another 500gb in there, but if you already have the case full of 250s,
it'll be tougher to do.

>   2) I prefer FC, and noticed that there were issues with FC5 and
> 0.19 reported to the list. Have these started to shake themselves out
> as both FC5 and Myth 19 "mature" (wrong term for versions so new,
> but ... anyway). I can go either the compile myself or use ATRpms
> route... and my current system is a hybrid (Used Axel's stuff to get
> started, then started compiling myth myself so I can use SVN and
> check it out...)

Not sure about FC releases, but if you keep the recordings and
database on a separate drive from the OS, you could wipe the OS and
reinstall and not lose recordings (not as simple as it sounds, but it
is possible). So even if it's not perfect, you can always keep
changing it until it is.

I think the only thing I would change about the backend is the
processor. Recording TV from a PVR card requires almost 0 CPU, same
with recording HD from firewire or OTA. The only thing that requires a
lot is the transcoding if you do much of that. Sort of a waste of a
fast processor to not have it do a lot of heavy lifting.

> I will also be creating a BE/FE system for my living room. This will
> be for capturing (unencrypted) HD content from cable company and
> displaying it and other content on the master BE on a Samsung 5078W
> DLP HDTV over a gigabit ethernet connection in the house. For the
> record, I have tried via FireWire on my 3250 and cannot get it to
> work. Blue Ridge Cable said they do not support this (firewire) at
> this time, and told me the FCC does not require that they do so. (I
> still have issues with that statement).

Pretty sure that they ARE required to do so. I don't have the document
on hand, but it's been mentioned here before. They aren't required to
give you every channel, and they aren't required to give you
unencrypted, but they do need to provide firewire access.

> What I am thinking is:
>         AMD64 3000+
>         KN1 Extreme MoBo (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?
> Item=N82E16813135175)
>         2GB RAM
>         2x500 GB SATA Drives (via LVM)
>         HD Capture Card:
>                 Either an AirStar-HD5000AV (http://www.cyberestore.com/
> product_info.php?cPath=28&products_id=103)
>                 or an Dvico FusionHDTV Lite w/Remote (http://
> www.cyberestore.com/product_info.php?cPath=28&products_id=192)
>         Sound output via SPDIF on MoBo to my home theater system
>         Video Card: some NVIDIA 6600 card (PCI Express)
>         1x DVD-RW
>         Case: Silverstone LC20M ... or possibly LC16M
>          PSU: Silverstone ST40F

If you are buying a new MB anyway, I would suggest looking into
something that has a lot of electrical connections for drives. Back
before there was SATA, I bought a MB that had 4 channels of IDE (8
total drives). I still haven't used them all up, and it's much simpler
than trying to set up RAID device (although, without the redundancy).
Haven't looked much into SATA, but if there is any limit to number of
drives you can attach, look for something that can attach many!

> The HDTV I am using has Component In, SVGA In, HMDI In, and others.
>         2) As I have always had combined FE/BE I am not sure about this...
> the recordings from the HD card, do they get recorded locally on the
> FE/BE box in the Living room, or can they be pushed over the network
> to the BE in the basement? If I can push the recordings over the wire
> to the BE, then I can have less HD in living room, less heat, and
> less fan noise :)

I think that is actually the preferred method, as there's (currently)
no way to have multiple recording directories handled, even with
multiple (master/slave) backends.

 - Jeff

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