[mythtv-users] Would the $200 Everx gPC have enough power for a myth-box?

Jonathan Rogers jonner at teegra.net
Fri Nov 9 04:19:46 UTC 2007

On Nov 8, 2007 8:37 PM, Brian Wood <beww at beww.org> wrote:

> Brad wrote:
> > I have been saving up my cashola for a new mobo and processor for a
> > while now, for a mythbox that I want to build.  I already have a
> > tv-tuner card, tv-out video card, and a large hard drive for storage.
> >
> > I was wondering if people think the $200 everex gPC that is being sold
> > at walmart would be powerful enough for DVD/movie playback and streaming
> > live TV?  It comes preloaded with Ubuntu, so it shouldn't be too hard to
> > install mythTV.  Here are the specs I could find:
> >
> > Mobo: VIA pc2500 (micro-ATX)
> > Processor: 1.5 GHz Via C7-D
> > Ram: 512 MB (expandable up to 2GB)
> > Graphics: Integrated, shared memory (hopefully this can be disabled)
> > Expansion: 2 PCI slots
> > Audio: Onboard 6-Ch AC97
> The VIA mobos are known to sometimes cause problems with Myth, and the
> VIA CPUs have pretty small caches.
> The graphics would be a problem, and you didn't mention any AGP or
> PCI-Express slots. While folks have used PCI video cards I'm not sure if
> they would work with that setup
> A BIG maybe for SD, and a definite NO for HD, IMHO.<http://mythtv.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/mythtv-users>

Whether it has enough CPU power depends quite a bit on what the video source
is and how it'll be displayed. I have one Myth frontend/backend machine with
an old AMD Duron 800 MHz CPU in a Via-based mobo. It started with a PVR-150
and a Radeon 8500 with SVideo out. It worked well enough, but now it has the
PVR-150 and a PVR-350 for both recording and playback.

Most of the time, the CPU is not working too hard, even when recording two
shows and playing back a third. Commercial flagging could be faster though,
as it proceeds equal to or less than playback speed and bogs the machine
down a bit. Video playback is great on a CRT TV, since the PVR-350 handles
that. Obviously, it doesn't handle HD at all. I would guess that the Everex
motherboard would be an ample replacement in that machine, saving power
while possibly increasing performance.

OTOH, I expect most systems I will build in the future will be HD capable,
which makes any current Via chip iffy. Theoretically, the decoder
functionality of the Unichrome graphics allows HD MPEG-2 playback with low
power CPUs like the C7, but I don't know how much luck people have had with
that so far.

Jonathan Rogers
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