[mythtv-users] Experience with Shuttle PC's?

Rich West Rich.West at wesmo.com
Sat Jan 5 16:20:42 UTC 2008

One thing to keep in mind is that My setup consists of 3 Shuttle 
front-end systems (heat-pipe) and one MicroATX dual-core backend with 3 
PVR-150's and an HDHomeRun (2 tuners).

When I first started looking in to the whole silent/quiet arena, I 
quickly learned that the closer you get to a silent machine, the price 
for it goes up nearly exponentially (see: 
I wasn't willing to drop $1k on a completely silent and small frontend, 
but I wanted to get as close to silent as possible while keeping the 
costs low and the size small enough to fit in an entertainment center 
(without looking like a total hack job).  I experimented with a few 
cases (Antec & others) which either were not quiet enough or just too 
large and bulky (the Antec was a beautiful box, but had 4 fans in it and 
enough space to hold many drives).

Keep in mind that the more drives you have in the system, the louder it 
will be.  Same goes with the number of fans.  Your processor fan will 
probably be the nosiest.  Definitely make sure you have a fan less 
motherboard (no little bun fan on the south bridge!) and definitely go 
for a fan less video card (those little bun fans are very noisy!).

After having learned via trial and error, I came across the Shuttle 
boxes.  I really didn't want to like them because the are a custom 
motherboard (difficult if impossible to truly upgrade - sure you can 
upgrade the processor, memory and other components, but not the actual 
socket type).  But after picking up one, I was rather impressed with the 
ease of assembling it, and the entire use of the heat pipe technology.  
They call it "SilentX", but don't let the name fool you; it is not 
silent.  It is about as quiet as you can get, but it is not silent.  The 
main thing I was not happy with was the fact that their custom power 
supply has a little bun fan on it which I could hear.  But, it wasn't 
something that I felt could interfere with watching a movie.

I subsequently bought a total of three of them and used them as 
front-ends.  I have also since put laptop drives in the front ends to 
reduce the noise (I've had a couple of failed attempts at getting disk 
less running, but that's another issue).

Oh.. and the last thing.. placement is an issue.  I placed mine in 
entertainment centers (from a full sized one, to samall cabinet under 
the tv) which definitely concealed the system and the noise, but I had 
to still provide a way for the system to breathe which required having 
some form of airflow vent in to the entertainment center (I didn't want 
the systems frying themselves).  Not enough air flow will force the 
system to speed up the fan (slowest speed of the main fan is about 
980RPM or so, and slower is quieter).

Since then (fingers crossed, knocking on wood, etc, etc), I have had no 
troubles with the systems.

Having a shuttle as a backend/frontend combo will definitely be noisier 
than just having it act as a frontend system since it will be working a 
lot harder most of the time.

Hope this helps..


More information about the mythtv-users mailing list