[mythtv-users] Hardware: Via MII or Geforce FX5200?

Matt Collins matt at clues.com
Wed Feb 8 10:38:07 UTC 2006

On Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 10:00:48AM +0100, Wander Winkelhorst wrote:
> Hello,
> I'm just new at using MythTV and I need to buy some new hardware.
> Because I found that a Celeron at 333Mhz and a Nvidia riva128 just
> won't cut it.
> >From what I read, there are two options:
> 1. Buy a faster processor + motherboard + ram + PSU + Videocard +
> everything else.
> 2. (Possibly) Just buy a videocard that has hardware acceleration,
> like a FX5200.
> For option 1, I found the VIA MII, which you can get up to a speed of
> 1.2 Ghz, sounds really attractive, but I'd also need to buy RAM and
> I'll lose some expandability (Only one PCI slot) and I'm not really
> sure wether or not the VIA CPU's are really that fast.

Via CPU's are slow. They do, however, have hardware decoding for
the mpg stream.

I use a PVR350 + EPIA MII without many problems; if you go this route
make sure you flash the latest beta bios from VIA to solve DMA issues.

If you just wanted a hardware encoder (PVR250 or similar) that works
too, although I am told the 350's output is superior to using the
unichrome drivers for the onboard decoder.

I believe newer VIA's will do mpeg4 as well, but the MII only does
mpeg2. Go peek at via's site ;) 

For what its worth Im currently using a Zalman northbridge heatsink
and a big, but slow, case fan on my board to reduce noise and its
very stable. If you were going to drive the CPU more, it might not
be such a good idea, although VIA do ship lower speed passively
cooled EPIAs as well. Mines an M10k.

> For option 2, I found the NVidia FX5200, a real bargain at 35 euros or
> something. But will the XvMc acceleration help my (passivly cooled!)
> celeron 333 enough to be able to play full-PAL-sized DVD's, DivXen and
> allso be able to do live-tv? (I allready have a PVR500, so
> encoding/capturing takes allmost no CPU power.)
> Does anyone have experience with hardware like this? I'd like to know
> what you learned from that.

I'm not using my epia to run DVD's, but I have used it to play divx and
mpeg streams using mplayer (rather than the pvr350 hardware), and they
play back just fine. I'm PAL as well.


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