[mythtv-users] via epia build advice

R. G. Newbury newbury at mandamus.org
Fri Jan 5 23:00:05 UTC 2007

Peter Baumgartner wrote:
> I'd like to reduce the noise and power consumption of my current
> backend. I'm looking to replace it with a Via Epia that will also
> operate as my home NAS and webserver. I've built lots of desktops in
> the past, but never worked with a mini-itx system. Any advice would be
> much appreciated.
> GigE is a must and I like the idea of having a fanless system for
> noise/power. It looks like the EN12000E with a PVR500 is right up my
> alley.

You have to be careful with your choice of MB as the Via's are limited 
in certain directions. I have the SP13000 and it is great. But it only 
has S-video TV output, and will always be limited, effectively to SD 
*out that output*. The Vt1623 chipset limits even composite to 1024x1024 
(or 1024x768... it's not clear).

On the other hand, I just learned that the VGA output will do full HD 
level 1920x1080... kicker is you will probably need some sort of 
converter if your 'TV' input is HDMI..but NOT if there is a VGA plug.
But that would clearly mean some research is needed...

I now have my eye on a full HD native resolution 37" LCD..but I am not 
sure how it will get driven..

The EN series comes with the VT1625 TV output chipset IIRC, but I am not 
sure that the openchrome guys have deciphered that chip entirely yet.

> Any recommendations on cases? I'll have 2 sata drives and maybe an
> optical drive. I'd like to keep it really small and would even house
> the drives outside the case if needed.

Depends on how small. I am using a Silverstone LC11M which has a built 
in IR and VFD and comes with a good remote. It is the size of an audio 
receiver/amp, comes in aluminum or a glossy black and the only thing 
about it my wife dislikes is that the power LED and hard drive LED were 
far too bright!..I disconnected the power led, and, at the moment, there 
is a chunk of a post-it note over the hd led...

Note that the Silverstone requires some carefu to get your PCI cards 
mounted. You need the original VIA PCI riser card if you are mounting 2 
PCI cards and a flexible extender to be able to use the mounting slots 
in the back of the case, as it is not originally built for a mini-ITX board.

Cases are almost as personal as editors....'15 rounds emacs v vi tonite!'

If I were starting again tomorrow, I would give serious consideration to 
   using a 1U rack mount style box (plinkusa.net) with only one PCI card 
(a PVR 500 on the mb and an HDHomeRun for the ATSC tuning. Power supply 
by external brick, actually mounted inside the case...or 2 of them. It's 
the power supply fans which make most rack mount cases so loud but I 
think that can be avoided.

The Silverstone is a very quiet box. Will actually hold 3 hard drives, 
although really intended for 2 drives. The Via's all do SATA without 
difficulty. Built in 6 channel audio. I don't think that the models 
which are built for multimedia have gigbit NICs...but the newer ones 
might. DVD drive is stealthed into the front and is damn near invisible 
in the black version.

> How about PSUs? I'd like to set it up with one of the external bricks
> rather than the traditional type ATX PSU, but I've never built a
> system with one before. Using this handy little tool
> (http://www.epiacenter.com/powersim/powersim_v2/epiasimulator_v2.htm)
> it doesn't look like it should be pulling more than 120W max. Anything
> else I need to be aware of?

The Silverstone comes with a quiet PSU, but you could also consider just 
using external power bricks... An IBM 72 watt brick (for a Thinkpad) is 
about $50...and should do the trick.

> Finally, any recommendations on vendors in the US?

YES.  LOGIC SUPPLY  (wwww.logicsupply.com)   Nice people to deal with. 
Small enough to remember you and small enough to be really helpful. 
Flexible enough to learn from both their and your mistakes and work to 
correct and avoid them in future. Fast enough to add products which fit 
within the core needs.. a flexible PCI extender for example. Fast shipping,

The carry basically ALL of the VIA boards and have a great 
comparison-like listing so you can understand what the differences in 
the boards actually are.

Highly recommended.


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