[mythtv-users] Low-power/energy-efficient SD backend/server

Christopher Kerr mythtv at theseekerr.com
Wed May 19 11:02:38 UTC 2010

On Wed, May 19, 2010 at 8:14 PM, Vitani <vitani-mythtv at tfxsoft.com> wrote:
> Good morning all,
> I'm currently using a full-blown 2.8GHz P4 (with HT) for my backend, but
> it's costing waaay too much to keep that running 24/7 (and it sounds like
> the inside of an aeroplane in our living room!). I was wondering if anyone
> here had any recommendations on what I should replace it with?
> Things I use the backend for:
> - Recording 1-3 SD programs simultaneously from a PCI Nova T500 (Dual tuner)
> - Sharing those recordings, plus other videos, music & pictures using Samba
> (my frontends are Xboxes running XBMC)
> - Mythweb & Webmin
> - Transmission torrent client
> Things I *don't* do:
> - Transcoding or comm flagging
> - Live TV
> - HDTV
> I've done a bit of Googling, but all the site/thread/posts I find are 2 or
> more years old, and thus are pretty irrelevant (or are they?). I'm happy to
> build my own box from scratch, or use something pre-built.
> Thanks!
> Vitani

The finest cheapest Atom based boards would do you fine -
for example, has a PCI slot so you could use your existing tuner card.
Just add a gigabyte of RAM and a couple of hard drives and you're
ready to go. Oh, and a case and power supply - that board doesn't need
anything special in the way of power supply - it has a 24 pin ATX
connector, but the extra 4 pins aren't necessary for such a low power
board (you can use it with your existing power supply even if it only
has the original 20 pin ATX connector. In case you'd wondered, the
other 4 pins are to supply extra power for PCI-E graphics cards).

Essentially, for digital tuners, you're just dumping a raw stream to
the hard drive, with very little processing required, so the weedy
Atom CPU isn't a problem. The graphics chip is mediocre, but that's no
big deal for a backend either. And it's very low power indeed.

Avoid the all-in-one type Atom "nettops", as most of them can't take
3.5" hard drives - 2.5" drives are slower, lower capacity and more
expensive, so they're really not suitable for use in a backend.

- Chris

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