[mythtv-users] hardware advice, what I went with for my new HD frontend

Steven Adeff adeffs.mythtv at gmail.com
Tue Jun 10 13:55:06 UTC 2008

I know almost everyone on this list wants to know what others are
doing for their systems, and a lot of newbies to the Myth scene are
looking for hardware advice, so I thought I'd post what I built my new
frontend with.

Some notes: I have a dedicated backend in the basement, this system is
for my bedroom. This could make a decent BE/FE though, it's got
firewire and can be used with a HDHomeRun. The case I went with can
only be used with two harddrives though.

Also, I already had a SATA DVD/RW and a 40GB Seagate drive, you can
get a good SATA or PATA DVD/RW for $30 and since 'to each their own'
in the hard drive department I'll leave that out of the equation so
you can choose what you want(be it a 750GB drive or a 16GB solid state

I went with an LGA775 motherboard, I think right now Intel has the
upper hand on things with a socket that looks like it's going to be
used for a few more years at least; and has some extremely fast
processor options already out there. Will I need to upgrade the CPU?
maybe, maybe not, but I also took the overclockability into
consideration and here the "low end" intel chips win as well.

EVGA 112-CK-NF77-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce e-7150/630i HDMI Micro ATX
Intel Motherboard
 - onboard video, HDMI, DVI and VGA,
 - optical and coax output
 - TI firewire chip (for those that would need one for cable box
connection, the TI chips seem to work quite well for this)
 - reviews say it overclocks very well
 - 4 SATA ports
 - Quad Core compat
 - ALC882 audio chip, digital output worked perfectly out of the box
with Mythbuntu
Intel Pentium E2160 Allendale 1.8GHz 1MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W
Dual-Core Processor
 - $10 cheaper than the 2180 and apparently overclocks to 3.0GHz with
the right motherboard, ram and heatsink/fan
 - short so it fits in the case I got, but good reviews as for its
cooling ability
 - quiet
CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual
Channel Kit Desktop Memory
 - recommended for overclocking, and with a MIR right now to make
final price *cheap*

For the case I went with the
Antec Silver on Black Veris Fusion 430 Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC
Case with IR receiver
the reviews mentioned limited/difficult linux integration for the
VFD/LCD. I went with it anyway in hopes. What I found out during
putting it all together is that the black version of the case has
different hardware. The silver version I got (cause I like the silver
better than black on black) uses an iMon Pad similar to my Silverstone
LC-16 case in my living room, with the Soundgraph LCD, so it worked
"out of the box" with Mythbuntu (though required a reboot...)

My notes on this case. I really really like it. As much as my LC-16,
which I really like too. Perhaps this one even more (though it can't
hold 7 harddrives like my LC-16...). Construction quality is top
notch. The DVD drive door works much better than on my LC-16, and the
button uses a wide push surface so it should work with any drive that
has its button on the right side. the door opens smooth and quiet. the
drive mounting system for both the DVD and hard drives (it can hold 2)
is very well thought out. the case has quite a few systems in place
for cable management, theres plenty of room for the MicroATX board.
The case itself is relatively quiet, with the two large side fans
having their own Low/Med/Hi switch to control their speed. The
downside is the 430W powersupply it comes with has a noisy fan, being
the loudest part of the system.

$89.99 - $20MIR Motherboard - Newegg
$66.99 - CPU - Newegg
$56 - $25MIR - RAM - Newegg
$14.99 - CPU FAN - Newegg
$169.99 ($30 instant rebate, free 3day shipping) - ChiefValue
~$30 - DVD/RW drive
$353 + harddrive + remote

Also, I went with Mythbuntu. Previously I've rolled from "scratch"
with Kubuntu as my base. I decided to go with Mythbuntu on this system
and so far I like it. I still need to go and tweak it for my personal
tastes and such, but if it works out well I'll probably put it on my
main frontend system as well. Good work to the Mythbuntu team on a
nicely integrated and easy to use distribution for Myth installation!

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