[mythtv-users] Upgrade Options for $150

Nate Crosno nate at crosno.net
Wed Jan 24 00:19:20 UTC 2007

Hi Folks,

I'd like your collective opinions on what is the best bet for the money. 
  We just sold our old dish network equipment on ebay and I can get away 
with a little money spent on an upgrade in order to get HD playing 
smoothly.  Here is my current setup of my combined FE/BE:

HP DC5000MT:
P4 3.2GHz w/HT (Socket 478)
1.5Gigs DDR400
160GB IDE hard 7200RPM drive (I forget the brand)
FX5200 PCI w/ DVI out to Sony KF50XBR800 (50" LCD Rear Projection)
ATI HD Wonder PCI card for OTA HD
PVR-150 for the cable channels.
Running Gentoo and Myth .20 ebuild.

My biggest problem seems to be the PCI video card. There is no AGP or 
PCIe on this board, and the built-in video has only VGA, but I need DVI. 
I have XvMC working great in Xine, but cannot get it to work in Myth 
(again, maybe the PCI is to blame).  I cannot get HD to play back 
smoothly in Myth.  Others seem to be getting good results on a P4 3GHz 
without XvMC.

So, to make a long story longer, it looks like my only option is to 
upgrade the MB.  Unfortunately, options are limited for a socket 478.
I could not find any with built-in DVI or Component out.

Here are my goals:
Goal 1. A happy wife, which means:
    1a. Keeping cost under $150 (w/ tax and shipping), so I need
        to reuse as much as possible (RAM, Hard Drive, Tuners).
    1b. Minimal down time...I mentioned an upgrade and the response was
        "So you'll be spending every night in front of the computer for
        the next month?"  I'm really hoping that does not become a
Goal 2. Smooth HD playback in Myth without resorting to Xine.

To that end, I'm looking at two possibilities:

Option 1. Reuse the P4 with this MB and Video card ($104 shipped)
    BIOSTAR P4M80-M4 Socket 478 VIA P4M800 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
    $47 http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813138262
    Leadtek A6200TDH-128MB GeForce 6200 DDR AGP 4X/8X
    $43 http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814122222

Option 2. Forgo the P4 altogether and go AMD:
    ($133 shipped)
    AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 2.0GHz Socket 939
    $59 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16819103535
    JetWay J939GT3-PTD Socket 939 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Micro ATX AMD
    $60 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16813153047

Option 3.  Suggestions, anyone?

I have a feeling most of you will vote for option 2 (or 3), since socket 
478 and AGP are dying out.  However, I put the goal of WAF first for a 
reason!  I am hoping that if I go with option 1, then I could plug in 
the existing HD and have everything (mostly) working without having to 
reinstall the OS, Myth, lirc, etc. Bad idea? If going option 2, I think 
I am certain to have more down time, though I could start the build on a 
spare case, smaller HD, less RAM, and no tuners just to get all the 
software installed.

So what do you all think?

Thanks in advance.

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