[mythtv-users] New to building computers and MythTV

Rod Smith mythtv at rodsbooks.com
Wed Mar 21 18:00:21 UTC 2007

On Wednesday 21 March 2007 12:52, Jon Sustar wrote:
> > Also do you want a small form factor case? Does it need to be silent?
> Ideally, I don't want the case to be too big.  It would be nice to have it
> resemble a receiver or something of the sort, so that it would fit in an
> entertainment center.  Of course, a micro-atx case would limit me as far as
> internal HDDs go, and I also don't know what components would be compatible
> with micro-atx, like tv tuners.

When I did my research, I ran across some compact cases that looked appealing 
to me:


Unfortunately, the best-looking of those are also the most expensive -- some 
could easily cost as much as everything you put in them! :-( Also, judging a 
case by photos on a Web site can be tricky. They often look less bulky than 
they turn out to be.

As to compatibility, the main issue is with the case. In particular, slimline 
cases may require half-height cards. The format of the motherboard isn't much 
of an issue for card compatibility, although it is a factor in your choice of 
case -- you can't fit a full-sized ATX motherboard in a micro-ATX case, for 

> Since it would be really close to my tv, I don't want it to be loud, but it
> doesn't have to be extremely silent either.  I could live with a little
> noise.

One advantage of using separate frontends and backends it that you can put 
most of the noise-producing stuff in the backend and tuck it into an 
out-of-the-way place. The frontend still has to have enough CPU power to 
drive your display (say, ~1GHz for SD or ~3GHz for HD), but in theory you 
don't even need a hard disk (you could boot off the network). I don't know 
how practical a diskless frontend would be; there have been discussions about 
this in the past, but I've not followed them. Putting tuners and most disk 
space in a separate backend also means you could use a very compact frontend, 
if you don't want a bulky box for a DVR near your TV. OTOH, splitting these 
functions will increase your cost and power consumption.

Rod Smith

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