[mythtv-users] MytthTV system: ATX vs mATX motherboard?

Dewey Smolka dsmolka at gmail.com
Sun Dec 31 06:04:42 UTC 2006

On 12/30/06, Trent Carbe <trencarbe at yahoo.com> wrote:
> HI all,
> Looking at putting together my first MythTV system, but have some questions:
> * Does it really matter if I choose a ATX or mATX motherboard??

If it's your first box, then chances are that it's a combined
backend/frontend box. Which means that in anywhere from 2 to 8 months
or so you'll be looking to expand.

A backend doen't require a lot in terms of processing power (even for
HD), but you will want capacity. Meaning lots of PCI slots for tuners,
lots of drivebays for storage, and lots of room to keep your
components cool without the noise of a hoover in your livingroom.

My advice: Design your first system around the idea of expandability.
Meaning that a good processor and PSU is a necessity. But don't worry
about the latest and greatest video card or having the most or fastest
RAM. Focus more on capacity and expandability than on what you think
you need right now. In the future you'll want more storage and more
recording sources. You may want more memory. You will definitely want
to build auxillary frontends.

But if you start with a small machine, you won't be able to add things
like storage volumes and extra capture cards. If you want a smaller
machine next to your TV then you can build a frontend and move your
backend elsewhere, which is much easier that nuking your backend,
rebuilding it on another machine and repurposing your BE as your FE.

In short: get an ATX board with 5 PCI slots, and put it in a case
where you can fit three or four drives (or more) with adequate

This type of MB-case combination will likely be cheaper than an
mATX-small case construction will be. And you can still buy that mATX
job later when you already have a BE and don't need to fit 1TB of
storage, 4 tuners, a TB Riviera, and a video card into a shoebox.

Just my $0.02

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