[mythtv-users] FE Motherboard: DG45FC

Anthony Zawacki azmail at thezawackis.com
Tue Sep 30 13:05:22 UTC 2008

Adam Skinner wrote:
>> Adam Skinner wrote:
>>> This is a mini itx board from intel supporting lots of new
>> processors
>>> and has hdmi out.
>> I have this board, and am trying to set it up as a Myth frontend
>> using 
>> minimyth.
>>> As its intel , who are a bit nicer with their open source views -
>> does
>>> anyone know if audio over hdmi will work with this board?
>> It's hard to say, as I haven't got that far yet.  Lots of other
>> issues 
>> like having to compile a new Fedora 9 kernel with the e1000e driver
>> from 
>> the latest available kernel to get networking to work...  Will be
>> fixed 
>> in Fedora 10 / Ubuntu 8.10.  I am hopeful based on some initial
>> research 
>> about the intel hda alsa driver, but time will tell.
>> Additionally, there are bugs being worked out in the video driver,
>> and 
>> it is fairly easy to crash X at the moment, though I hope that
>> changes 
>> relatively soon.
>>> There is another question, that may/may not be specific to this
>> board.
>>> It doesn't have a proper RS232 serial port - which I use for lirc. I
>>> would like one. It has a serial port header, so does this mean I can
>> get
>>> an adaptor/cable that will work with it and turn it into a proper
>> serial
>>> port?? I cannot use a usb->serial adaptor as lirc doesn't like
>> them. 
>> I've ordered a low profile motherboard header -> backplane, though I 
>> don't know if it will work or not yet.  It's a Supermicro
>> CBL-0010-LP, 
>> which was hard to find in stock online anywhere.  However, there is a 
>> chance that the pins are not wired correctly.  If that turns out to
>> be 
>> the case, I'll simply cut the connector and replace it with an RJ-45 
>> jack to match the connector used with the IRA-3.
>>> Any other thoughts about this bit of kit welcome. I need a new quiet
>>> small FE - eee box was tempting but no serial and hdmi.  Same
>> problem
>>> with mac mini. Dell studio hybrid has hdmi,  but that isn't a cheap
>> bit
>>> of kit. 
>> I have a goal of having an HD capable frontend available for when the 
>> HD-PVR-1212 becomes supported, either .22 or a .21 fixes branch.  I
>> have 
>> 4gb of ram and a 3Ghz Core2Duo and was initially hopeful for blu-ray 
>> playback.
>> While I see many people posting that playback of HD-PVR recording
>> works 
>> great, I do not feel totally confident that a 3Ghz Core2Duo is
>> capable 
>> of HD PVR playback...  I've tried the 7/10/13mbit streams available
>> on 
>> bittorrent and both the 10 and 13 mbit streams require the 
>> noskiploopfilter parameter to play back at full speed.  But then
>> again, 
>> it could be related to the early development of G45 support in the
>> intel 
>> drivers.
>> Another note is that there is very little legacy ports on this 
>> motherboard...  No VGA out (in case you want to hook up to a CRT for 
>> installation for example, no PS/2 ports, and as you've noted, no
>> serial) 
>>   That being said, I currently have it hooked up to a 65" Mitsubishi 
>> through HDMI and it looks fantastic and the TV recognizes 1080p.
>> I have the stock heatsink and fan, plus the stock fans in the case,
>> and 
>> it is EXTREMELY quiet compared to my other frontends...
>> Anthony
> Thanks for the feedback Anthony. 
> The lack of vga and ps2 ports are not a problem for me.
> I didn't think networking would be an issue - but from what you say it
> sounds like its fixed. I wasn't planning on running an old distro on
> it. 

An old distro is all currently released distros though.  As far as I 
know, no distro using the correct kernel will be available until 
sometime next month at the earliest (ubuntu 8.10.)  Otherwise, I am sure 
the "trick" I used for Fedora 9 would work with all of the other distros 
as well.

I haven't been table to test HDMI audio output, but I can tell you that 
HDMI is listed in the aplay -L list of devices.  I'll get to testing 
this soon, after I can recompile and test the X11 driver.

> What case did you fit this board in and more importantly what did you do
> for a PSU? 
> I've never built a mini-itx box before and I know a lot of people like
> to use DC/AC converters and laptop power bricks. My electrical knowledge
> isn't so great and I am going to need some advice from someone in the
> know.

I opted to get an IN-WIN BM639 for two reasons:
1.  It was on the list of cases at intel that were "certified" for this 
2.  It accepts a full sized optical drive.  Once the system looks more 
stable, I plan to add a blu-ray drive.  A standard blu-ray is < $150.  A 
slim blu-ray drive is MUCH more expensive.

It has a built-in 120w power supply.  The case fan is a large 80mm fan, 
unusual for mini-itx cases.  The power supply does have a tiny 40mm fan, 
but I haven't been able to hear it.

I'm quite pleased with the level of sound coming from the case...  This 
will be the 4th active front-end, and using stock components, it is as 
quiet as one of my fully ATX desktop frontend systems where all of the 
components were chosen for quietness.  I think the hard drive (temporary 
until I can get minimyth fully working, at which point I will switch to 
either network boot or USB key, though in my testing, I really like the 
USB key, it is booting very quickly) is the loudest component currently.

> I was hoping the G45 wouldn't have many problems being an intel chip. Oh
> well I am sure they will be sorted in time. Does this chip do hardware
> acceleration of HD video formats and if so, any chance linux will have
> it? 

More testing to do, but supposedly a fix has been checked in, I just 
need to get the source and recompile.

This chip is supposed to support hardware accelerated playback of all 
blu-ray formats and most everything else.  How long it takes to get 
support in Linux is a different question.  I am hopeful that something 
will become available, I just don't know how far off it is.  VA API 
seems to have stalled, and I'm reading that people are extending XvMC to 
support HD formats as a stop-gap measure until VA API can be completed.

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