[mythtv-users] Semi OT: My old Myth box has given up the ghost, building a replacement. Hardware advice?

Ivan Kowalenko kichigaimentat at gmail.com
Sun Dec 14 00:34:11 UTC 2008

Evening all. Sad day yesterday, when I came home to find my room  
deafeningly silent: my MythTV box seems to have given up the ghost.  
I've had it since I was in high school (five years ago), and it wasn't  
anything special that I want to salvage (a Celeron 600 I picked up  
from a friend for $75), so I'm hoping to build my next box right this  

* Power efficiency
* Low construction cost (not insanely low, but I'm still in college,  
so I don't have gobs and gobs of cash)
* Relatively small size (I'm aiming for a mid-sized tower or smaller)
* WiFi
* Ability to use two tuners

So far, here's the situation: as far as I can tell, what died in my  
old Myth box was either the PSU or the Mobo (which already seemed to  
be on its way out, as it only recognized 1 IDE/ATAPI device out of the  
four it used to work with), so the PVR-150 and the 250 GB PATA drive  
in there should still be OK, in addition to the ATAPI CD-ROM drive. To  
reduce costs, I hope to salvage those parts for now. Yes, I know 250  
GB is small, but I only record like five shows in standard definition.

I'm also not too concerned with playback right now, as the machine is  
primarily a back-end only. I'm playing everything back on my laptop  
for now because the current design prevents me from

I'm concerned with power efficiency since I'm living with relatives,  
and they aren't charging me for electricity, so I want to be nice and  
not drive their bill up too high. Also, there's no networking in my  
room, outside of WiFi. I have an old DD-WRT compatible router I've  
modified into a bridge that I've been using so far, but it weirds the  
network something awful and seems to drive the router's IP assignment  
nuts, so I want to try to not use it for now. Right now, the main  
concern of mine is standard definition video, that the house is  
heterogeneously 802.11g, and I've had no problems streaming episodes  
to my laptop so far, so I figure it'll do for now. My problem is that  
I haven't had to deal with Linux and WiFi for almost five years, so  
I'm very out-of-the-loop in what I should be doing for cards. I'm also  
unsure if I should go with a USB card or something internal (the mobo  
I'm looking at has a PCI slot, for the PVR-150, and a PCI Express card  
slot, but 8 USB ports).

I'm also considering installing an additional tuner to pull down some  
OTA digital. The analog cable around here is pure crap, so I'm hoping  
to get something decent over antenna. I'm a little on the fence about  
this one, though, because my relatives are seriously considering  
switching to FiOS (ComCast has removed their favorite channels from  
the line-up and then increased the cable rates), so I'm totally lost  
as to what my options are then. I hear the FiOS box does QAM256 down  
the existing copper, but it's encrypted? There's nothing in the MythTV  
Wiki about this, and my searches haven't turned up anything useful. Is  
FireWire an option? Or will I be stuck with an IR Blaster and SD  
captures? Since I don't know what's happening to this, I'm probably  
not actually going to buy anything to put here just yet, but I'm very  
interested in people's advice on this. If it's something helpful, I'm  
in south New Jersey, about 30 minutes away from Philadelphia.

So far, here's the hardware I have lined up, and I'm wondering if  
anyone has anything to say about any of the hardware. I've been out of  
the hardware buying game for so long (I haven't bought anything until  
I got my new laptop a couple months ago, which ended a four year long  
gap), so I'd appreciate any advice.

CPU: Celeron 430 at 1.8 GHz (35W consumption)

Mobo: Foxconn G31MV-K (has an on-board Intel GMA 3100, 4x rear USB  


Case: Athenatech A100BB.270 HTPC case (supports two internal drives,  
SATA/PATA, 4 expansion slots, 270W PSU)

More information about the mythtv-users mailing list