[mythtv-users] System upgrade - 150 (200) to spend

Gordon McCrae gordon-mccrae at bluebottle.com
Sun Jun 8 20:50:41 UTC 2008

Damian wrote:
> Hello all,
> It's a LONG time since I built a machine and I'm completely out of touch 
> with recent technology so I'd really appreciate some advice on upgrading 
> my Myth system.
> Current system:
> 1.2 Gig Athlon CPU
> 512 mb memory
> Abit KT7-raid motherboard
> Nvidia 5200 graphics card with DVI out
> 300Gb IDE hard drive
> A nice powerful PSU (due to old one needing replacing earlier in the year)
> A BenQ W100 projector (native 16:9 resolution - 854x480 - I feed it a 
> 1280x720 signal)
> Reason for upgrade:
> Computer can't cope with the latest version of Ubuntu and I want to 
> stick with Ubuntu/Mythbuntu to provide me with an easy(ish) path to 
> keeping up to date with MythTV.
> What needs upgrading:
> CPU (+fan)
> Motherboard
> Memory (2 gig?)
> Graphics card? (I understand many motherboards come with graphics on 
> board these days .. not sure if that's what I want)
> Hard drive? (I'd rather not change hard drives unless I have to, but 
> I've been told that many motherboards these days don't have IDE so maybe 
> it's time to change?)
> System use:
> -Main network server for the house which lives in the garage (so it 
> doesn't have to be 'silent')
> -Main FE/BE for mythtv. Several frontends are on the network, but not 
> used much when this system is working well.
> -Connected to a projector via DVI.
> -The projector has native res of 854x480 so HD is not an issue at the 
> moment. I'm not sure when I will get around to upgrading my projector. 
> It would be good to have a system capable of HD when I get the projector 
> for it, but I don't really want to pay extra for a feature that I don't 
> need for the foreseeable future.
> Funds:
> As ever, I'd like to spend as little as possible. I'm hoping that 150 
> will get me a decent upgrade, but can stretch to 200 if needed.
> Notes:
> -Setting up the correct resolution with my projector was a nightmare, 
> however I did get there in the end with this nvidia card (before the 
> ubuntu update broke everything). So, if I buy a motherboard with 
> graphics on board, I feel like sticking with nvidia unless someone has a 
> really good reason not to.
> -As I'm spending on an upgrade, I'd like to really feel the benefit if 
> possible. Compis spinny cubes don't mean much, but I like them. Those 
> effects are lovely on my laptop. They worked on this current system, but 
> it was a struggle so I turned them off.
> -The machine is generally left on all of the time, but I'd like the 
> option of setting turn on and turn off times and letting Myth control 
> this sometimes. Does that narrow down my motherboard choices significantly?
> -I used to be a big gamer. I'm not any more, but I like to at least look 
> at games from time to time to see how pretty things look these days. 
> Don't want to be spending extra money for that though.
> -I don't know what Linux/Ubuntu is like when upgrading hardware, but if 
> possible, I'd like to not have to reinstall the entire OS from scratch 
> if I can avoid it. I'm not sure if that's possible or not or if it just 
> means avoid x64.
> -I have an old ATX (I think that's what they were called) called which 
> is a brick but fine for something hidden away. I'd like to avoid the 
> expense of buying a new case if I can but I don't know if standards have 
> moved on and that would not be possible.
> -I'm based in the UK if that makes any difference to anything.
> I think that's about everything. Hope I've not put everyone off by 
> writing too much. Just wanted to give as full a picture as I could.
> Thanks for your time!
> Damian
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You could do worse than checking out Novatech 
(http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/barebones.html), for 150 you'll get 
Core2 Duo E2180 / 2Gb built and tested, all you need to do is add 
optical and storage drives. Alternatively for 200, you could get a Dual 
Core E4600 / 2Gb. You can get cheaper again from overclockers, but then 
the onus is more on you to ensure you've matched components etc., and 
you've already said it's been a while .....


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