Friday, July 30, 2004

Affordable starting point

So now back to earth... As much as I'd like to make this a 64bit box. It's really non needed. The Shuttle SN41G2BV2 is a really much better and realistic starting point.

To begin with, they have the GeForce 4 MX built in, and they run off Athlon XP or Duron CPUs. When money is tight, and performance is not the #1 priority, these boxes will still be overkill. even though IR is still missing, and the universal card reader would need to be added I could see starting the project with one of these boxes.

The great advantage of starting with an SN41G2 is that for the same price as the SN85G4V2 you get the video components and the CPU covered, with room to spare for extra RAM. One nice feature of all these Shuttle boxes is that they come with integrated heat pipes. Save about $20 bucks by going with an OEM CPU instead of a boxed one. (Pricewatch comparison of Athlon 2200+)

In reality, I'll probably start with a Microtel PC just to get the ball rolling.

Viable starting point

Shuttle Computer has made much news with the XPC line. This one sports an AMD 64 motherboard with all the bells and whistles (short of video) to be a starting platform. The only obvious downside is that it doesn't have an IR port. The Chassis is sleek enough that it would blend in with the entertainment components it's intended to replace.

I'll stick it on my wishlist, the barebones box has a street price of $325 Here in San Francisco.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Bits and Pieces : Overview

So I need to start collecting data on what to buy or ask for from people. I'll builld this according to the instructs on Installing and using MythTV: Checking prerequisites.
  1. Fully configured Motherboard
    • CPU
      • I'm partial to AMD because of the price/performce ratio
    • Memory
      • I have a 512MB PC2100 DIMM
    • HDD Controller
      • SATA Is preferred, but ATA 133/66 would be fine
    • Audio
      • ALSA Compatible is important
      • Chassis needs to be considered. If we go with a larger chassis, we can add a sound card
    • NIC
      • 10/100/1000 is overkill but if I can get it...
    • FireWire
      • overkill but nice
    • USB 2.0
      • Very required
    • IR
      • of course
  2. Video Capture
    • A crappy bttv card would suffice, would rather have an encoder in there
  3. Video Display
    • SVideo out and composite out would be required. VGA comes free
  4. HDD
    • Bigger and faster are always better
  5. Optical Drive
    • DVD-RW is best but a CD-RW and a separate DVD would serve.
  6. Media Reader
    • Always need to dump digital photos
  7. Remote Control
    • it's a PVR not a computer hooked up to a TV
  8. Living-Room Chassis
    • Something to sit next to a PS/2
So that covers the basic set of hardware required to build this puppy. Next time I'll come to choosing something...