[mythtv-users] seeking video hardware recommendations

Richard Bronosky BrunosJunk at Bronosky.com
Thu Feb 28 01:48:31 UTC 2008

I'm very sad to hear that utilization of the gpu for video playback
has improved in 2.5 years.  I really look forward to the day when
desktop Linux is a strong competitor, but right now all the attention
seems to be going into Linux as a server.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm an
engineer and I make a very good living exclusively in OSS.  It's just
sad that I can do the impossible with a server in a data center that I
have never seen, but give it a GUI an put me in the same room with it
and I don't know what to do.

Also I guess I should have mentioned that I have no intention of doing
anything 3D, or workstation-ish with it.  It will only be a MythTV
frontend, and web browser.  (If the hardware were somehow incapable of
running microsoft products, that would please me.)  Unfortunately it
doesn't go without saying, I need DVI output.  I don't know why they
are still putting VGA ports on things.  With DVI (DVI-I) you are just
a cable away from being able to drive any display.

Thanks for the advice.  Even though you feel confident that playing
MPEG2 isn't a problem, I know that my old machine can't handle HD.
Also I hear that PCI video cards can't handle HD.  Not that I'd buy a
PCI video card.

On Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 6:57 PM, Sarah Hayes
<sarah at sarahhayes.is-a-geek.net> wrote:
> Richard Bronosky wrote:
>  > It's time to bury this system http://www.bronosky.com/?p=21  And one
>  > thing I learned from my first MythTV build is that I should start with
>  > reliable video hardware support and build backwards.  I'm going to
>  > separate the FE and BE this time to optimize the playback experience.
>  > Here is what I am thinking.
>  >
>  > 1. I'd prefer low power consumption.  (which adds the side benefits of
>  > low heat and low noise)
>  > 2. I'd like to use VIA cpu, but I am not dead-set on it.
>  >
>  Keep in mind the VIA cpu's aren't the most potent of processors.  Also
>  keep in mind that the mini-ITX boards that aren't passive cooled, will
>  come with 40mm fans.  They work but can whine in an annoying manner.
>  For what they bring to the table, they're kind of expensive IMHO.
> > 3. It must be able to playback HD from an HDHomeRun (MPEG2 TS)
>  >
>  Can't comment, I'm a limey, but mpeg2 is will within the capabilities of
>  any processor on the market I'd say.
> > 4. It must be able to output an industry standard 720p and 1080i
>  > signal so my HDTV will "just work" like it does with my $40 upsampling
>  > DVD player
>  >
>  Go for it's VGA/DVI interface and let the Xorg configuration pull the
>  right settings in, shouldn't be a problem.
> > The options seem to be (in order of my preference):
>  > 1. Unichrome video hardware that is present on many VIA mini-mobos
>  >
>  Nice.  Royal pain though.  Official drivers are hit n' miss, OpenChrome
>  support hit n' miss by all accounts.  Just because it says it can
>  accelerate X don't mean it'll be able to outside of Windows.  Lots of
>  potential but very 'meh' IMHO.
> > 2. Intel video hardware that is present on many "on-board video" configurations
>  >
>  Currently not much cop, but with all the documentation now 'out there'
>  their should be a marked improvement in hardware decoding speed right
>  around the corner.
> > 3. nVidia who does seem to be show must OSS-love lately
>  >
>  Loverly for 3D work.  Seems to be some oddities about XvMC and certain
>  revisions of card + drivers.  But, if I was buying right now, for a
>  workstation.  It would be an Nvidia I'd get
> > 4. ATI who has traditionally been an OSS nightmare.
>  >
>  Similar situation to Intel really.  AMD have pushed out pretty much all
>  the documentation for certain revisions of GPU, expect the OSS drivers
>  to come on in leaps and bounds within 6/12 months.
> > Keep in mind that I haven't thought about hardware since August of
>  > 2005.  I'm sure a lot has changed.
>  >
>  Not so much really, CPU's are faster, disks bigger, PCI-E is replacing
>  all the damn PCI slots on mobos...   you can get passive coolers for
>  that Althon XP you've got, need a big case though.
> > After I decide on video, I will then choose a mobo with optical (maybe
>  > coax) audio.  I am going to research the viability of CF storage for
>  > an FE only system.  Then I will figure out how much ram I need to make
>  > sure I never swap.
>  >
>  I can 'just' get away with 256MB on the EPIA MII10K, just.  512MB would
>  be better.  Considering some of the IGP solutions can take upwards of
>  200MB these days I'd suggest just dumping 1GB in the box, RAM, even
>  DDR2, is cheap.
>  Before plunking the cash for the mobo, double check via google that you
>  can make use of the audio hardware on board.
> > What do you think?  (Mainly about the video hardware.)
>  >
>  >
>  Considering Myth doesn't do anything with GFX (for the most part) and it
>  takes bugger all effort for a GPU to playback video; I'd go with either
>  an Intel or Via IGP solution, they're not "brilliant" but "good enough"
>  for Myth.
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.!# RichardBronosky #!.

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