Help/How Do I?
Hi All, new to the board, glad to be here.
I've built quite a few desktops and some SP systems, but have caught the HTPC bug. A few weeks ago I rounded up some old parts for a very basic PVR. An old VIA EPIA C10000 mobo w/512 Ram, WinXP Pro, a PVR 150, a 20 and a 40g laptop drive all in a Castronic miniITX case. I've setup SD SVideo to an older HD Toshiba (CRT with 780p with some Y/Pb/Pr inputs). I haven't tried recording to much as yet, finding PVR software that will run on the VIA 1GHz CPU is a problem, BUT I am writing this post in my recliner on a wireless KB in the LvRm!! (Yea, I know that a laptop can do this also)
To my main point, even tough it cost next to nothing, this setup has alot of limits. Too slow for most streams on the internet, won't do Silverlight/DRM so no Netflix or Xfinity OL. BeyondTV runs but seems very slow (but I'm spoiled by newer systems), tried Mythbunyu but even slower.
SO, yet again to the part pile. I have a couple dead E Machines and the best of the bad is a AMD Athlon XP 3200+ (socket A). it has a bad mobo and I have a replacement on order with another stick of like DIMM to get to 1G of ram. I have an AGP ATI card that was in the system but may try to find a card that outputs S Video or Y/Pb/Pr Video. I'm limited with this setup by the fact there are no PCIe slots, so I need to stick to AGP/PCI only. 1080p seems out of reach and that's fine for the time being (no HD LCD TV as yet).
I like the idea and cost of MythTY/buntu and am not sure that Win7 would run well on this old system, but I want Netflix. Would XP with NextPVR be a good route?
Anyone have experience to share on this type of old/new system?
Thanks for any input and advice!
My best advice is this, if you're might spend over $100 in parts then I would spend $200 and buy a brand new barebones kit. You probably get a case, power supply, 2-3 cores, RAM and maybe some sort of hard drive. Be much cheaper in the long run in my opinion and waaay less headache.
Oh I hear you on that point. The only costs so far on this rebuild are for the NOS mobo, $30 and a stick of PC 3200 DDR, $20. It's still win/win so far, if its still too slow, I can use the machine as a file server/backend.
As far as new parts, for a 'all in one' systems the playback demands the most CPU cycles? I have been looking at the miniITX offerings, I like the small form factor, but a single PCI/PCIe slot seems a problem. You'r locked into using the on board Video if you'r doing the TV capture internal. So how are the board chipsets really? Are there some 'hot' mobos that stand out for HTPCs? miniITX or microATX? How do the new intergrated CPU/GPU cores preform?
I've been reading through alot of posts trying to sort out what balance of performance/cost will work well. Right now my needs are not too demanding, SD to 720p, light PVR time shifting, net streaming and stability(might be at the top of the list). BUT things do change; so i'm kind of 'tip toeing into the cold water'.
I do all my recording on my main desktop to it's own dedicated hard drive. It's an Intel E8400 (older dual-core). I never notice a thing when it's recording anywhere from 1-4 shows and streaming 1-2 shows all at the same time. I have a client computer that used on board video (Intel) with an i3 processor and it works pretty well. I notice the occasional hiccup, but not much. I also use a MediaMVP for my old 27" tube tv and it works fine, but can't handle any h.264 files.
I have a 780g mobo which is pretty old at this point (equivalent of ATI 3000 series) whose onboard video handles HD recording fine. I've never seen any hiccups at all. You're right playback is going to put the most demand on your CPU but really HDTV recordings are pretty old hat at this point and anything new you get is probably going to handle it just fine. Gaming is a different story. If you think you're going to want to ever use it for that at any point you might want the option of adding a better video card.
he he! My gaming is Atari 2600, Nintendo and Sega Master system, YEA SONIC!! Love the old systems.