[mythtv-users] New install - Backend, multiple frontends - reccomendations

Blammo blammo.doh at gmail.com
Fri Aug 25 23:02:23 UTC 2006

On 8/25/06, Jim Moseby <JMoseby at nrbindustries.com> wrote:
> I am in the process of building a house, and I am almost at the point where
> I am installing media and network systems.  My plan is to install a single
> backend server with, say, 6 TV cards in it, and put little diskless/fanless
> frontend boxes at each TV location (4 bedrooms, Family room, kitchen, and
> office).

Frontend Performance:
For HD content, you may want something more beefy. Lots of 1080i
content, and deinterlacing, at least good De-Int takes some CPU. I'd
recommend AMD64 with a PCI-E Nvidia card of some sort (passive cooled)
for good solid HD performance

6 tuner cards is a little overkill for a couple reasons:
1. You'll quickly find you enjoy not having to watch stuff when it's
on, rather when  you want, since you recorded it. Given the current
networks, and the fall season, I'd guess 3 HD 1 SD would be enough.
You'll also find that once you experience Commerical flagging, you'll
never want to watch anything live again.....

2. PiP doesn't work very well, and is REALLY CPU intensive, and imho,
not worth it.

> First, hardware for the backend.  My plan is to use cards that do hardware
> encoding, because the docs say that will relieve the CPU from a large
> portion of the work.  I have access to a Compaq quad zeon 1Ghz server with a
> terabyte of SCSI RAID storage in pluggable drives that I hope to use.  I
> would like this to serve as a single backend system, running the database,
> storage and HDTV cards.  Sufficient?  Would you split out the backend duties
> to multiple servers? (Recommendations as to which HDTV cards are most stable
> and supported would be great.)

Raid == YES
Real Server motherboard == YES

Consider using a good journeling File System like XFS or JFS for good
media performance. Both delete big files quickly, which is nice for
frontend experience. Sitting for 20 seconds while the filesys deletes
a 6gig file quickly sours the WAF. (Wife Approval Factor)

All around great idea for the backend. Make sure it has either
integrated GIG-E or leave space in a PCI-X slot for a GIG-E card.

> The network to support it all will be Gigabit at the backend, and 100M to
> the frontends, switched with a Dell PowerConnect 2124 switch.  I could find
> no documentation about the network requirements for a backend/frontend
> setup.  Will this be sufficient?

HD will saturate 100M on FF/REW functions and commercial flagging (may
as well use those diskless frontends for something good) but you'll be
hard pressed to get GIG-E saturation out of almost any PCI-based
system. PCI-X yes, PCI-no. Go GIG-E for your HD frontends.

> My hope is that we can have all 7 stations either watching live TV, playing
> MAME games, listening to music or whatever simultaneously with no
> degradation of performance or quality.  Any input from the group towards
> this end will be much appreciated.

Should be no problem with the hardware you're specing. Sounds like
you're on the right path.

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