[mythtv-users] motherboard suggestion? for be/fe for amd phenom cpu

Ian Clark mrrooster at gmail.com
Wed Sep 17 10:50:39 UTC 2008

2008/9/15 diane mittnik <dianemittnik at gmail.com>

> It's been a few years since I've had to spec out a computer, so I'm
> lost on the latest features and what's best especially for mythtv.
> [snip]
> My only requirement is a phenom quad core processor capable board (and
> avoiding too many PCI-X or other legacy PCI slots, preferring PCI-E,
> Is this thinking right?).  What motherboard should I get that can play
> back 720p with preferably a lower wattage graphics choice.  I'm
> assuming on-board graphics would consume less energy from what I've
> seen in the mailing list archives, and I'm thinking I can add a
> (preferably low cost) graphics board later should I move up to 1080
> resolution prior to splitting the backend/frontend.

I've recently upgraded my home server, to a phenom quad core. I've got an
Abit A-S78H, which is a 780G motherboard and I can recommend it heartly.
(Although there's rumours that Abit have stopped doing motherboards, but I
can't find confirmation of this, and bought mine anyway.)


This has a capable onboard graphics part, but the problem is it is an ATI
part, and at the moment the ATI drivers aren't yet upto scratch when it
comes to running myth.

However, the chipset is increadably energy efficient, so were you to add a
seperate discreet graphics card you probably wouldn't be suffering a huge
extranious power drain, and in the future, once the ATI drivers are upto
scratch you could ditch the external graphics (The board has onboard DVI

Replacing a dual core Athlon64 X3800+ (2gig dual), on an old DFI nForce 3
AGP motherboard, with a Matrox G550 agp card and 2 gig of memory with a quad
core phenom 9950 (I think, the 2.6gig one) on the above motherboard and 4
gig of memory (everything else left the same), using the onboard graphics,
my idle power consumption went up about 20W, which I thought wasn't too bad.

> I'm also assuming that ATI for graphics would be a better choice going
> forward because of their loosening up on some source code on their
> graphics boards which will help mythtv and other Linux video
> developers produce better code, or is this wrong because they haven't
> released the important code developers really need?

Not at the moment, no, although they are strengthening their linux driver
development so in future they probably will be. If you get an integrated GFX
with an ATI part (most 780G boards include things like DVI out.) you can add
an nvidia card 'for now' without any problems.


> Just a few suggestions on motherboard brand and model numbers that are
> compatible with phenom quad cores (am2+?) would help jump start my
> shopping list.

I personally like Abit, and have used them well for years, the above board
seems to be working fine in my server (I've only had it a week), and I'm
running a 4 disc RAID5 setup + 2 extra, so I have quite heavily loaded all 6
SATA ports for a decent length of time with no problems. Oh, the bios does
the nice speedup/slowdown of the CPU fan too, so it makes it nice and quiet.

> For the power supply, I should look for number of drives and their
> power requirements on 5volt or 12 volt, plus the graphics card power
> requirements if a separate board is used, optical drive power
> requirement, for the rest is there a ballpark figure to estimate
> (fans, other pci boards if any, etc)

You're not building a game machine, and myth's gfx requirements are minimal
compared to what a high end gaming rig requires. Harddiscs generally take
about 10W max, so unless you're stuffing it with drives any PSU around the
400 W mark should be fine. (My myth box uses around 100W I think) If you
need a higher rated power supply then it's likely that it's not going to be
quiet. (as if you are actually drawing a large amount of power you're gonna
need to keep it cool.)

FWIW my server under heavy load runs around 200-220W (This is on a 400W
tagan PSU), that's 4gig of mem, a quad core phenom, and 6 SATA drives, oh
and there's a couple of PCI cards in that too.

One thing I will say though, is get a good PSU, a good quality PSU is a much
better investmant than one with an insanely high power rating. If it's not
heavy, it's no good. :)

> I'm going to install 4 GB of memory. I understand I won't need that
> amount of memory for mythtv, it'll be for other usage.  I ran into
> problems with boards a number of years ago that didn't support more
> than three populated memory sockets due to timing issues with the
> SDRam of yesterday. If you needed 4 populated memory sockets when
> using SDRam some years ago with some boards you had to use registered
> memory.  I'm hoping that with newer memory (DDR2) using paired dimms,
> I can use 4x1GB dimms without worrying about confirming this on a
> specific board. Am I correct?

I have 4 gig of this... http://scan.co.uk/Product.aspx?WebProductId=849755

seems to work just fine, and I've another 2 spare sockets. The memory
controllers on modern AMD chips are fairly flexible. (Remember, with AMD the
controller is on the chip, the board basically just provides sockets for

I am running it at 800 though, not got it stable at 1066 yet. (I've not got
round to playing with it heavily.)

Hope that's some use

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