Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Motherboard, faster processor and an airplane in my living room...

This is an idea that I have had for a long time now - I have to change processor in my MythTV box. The AMD Athlon I am using now, and which has served me well so far I should add, just is too stupid for this kind of application. First of all, it is really, really hot. This means that the fan will have to be very efficient, and after a while, this leads to huge noise.  Second, it does not have any kind of CPU frequency scaling. So, my Athlon 2400 will always be at 2400 (or equivalent), meaning no power saving and no chance of havign a cool and quiet computer.

So, now I finally got on eBay and found a pulled mATX motherboard with an Pentium 4 Mobile processor and some memory on it already. Perfect! Just have to load a module and - voila! - I can set the CPU frequency governor to "ondemand" and get a 350 MHz processor when "just using" the system. Excellent! Now I just have to figure out how to set this governor at boot time... and change the CPU fan. The fan which came with the board is a really stupid one, going at full speed and sounding like a small airoplane even when the CPU is at 350 MHz and should not be in such a big need of huge amounts of cooling. I wonder why this fan was ever used... well, I will get a new fan anyway - that's for sure! :-)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Gentoo breakdown -> Mythbuntu trial

I've been abroad for a year (and did not update my Gentoo box so often before that either to be honest) so now when I tried to install som file sharing on the box, the whole installation broke. Apparently,  I had managed to pass the point where my old Gentoo installation was upgradable to the new system, and what I found in the forums were that a re-install seems to be the only way around this problem.

I have no time for this, I am afraid. I have to get on with work, and have lots of other projects to take care of. Building the Gentoo box was a great learning experience for me, but now I just need a quick-fix solution. Enter the ready-to-run solutions that I have seen becoming more and more mature and sensible, and more specifically the Ubuntu-based Mythbuntu.

I have to say that I am impressed. With just a few hours into the system, I have managed to get most of it up and running. What remains is to make sure that it will start up at indicated times, and that the remote control will work as it should. Wireless, SMB sharing and all that stuff just works though, as does most of the other stuff that I found troublesome before (like the graphical boot thing). A quick fix to the problem, and it seems good enough for me to stick with it. So, I may change the title of this blog at some point... I just have to find a sexy one :-)

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

VDPAU hopes

The hottest topic on the MythTV users list right now is the VDPAU patches that are being worked on (or submitted actually). It seems that with a recent NVidia card, you could offload some of the workload of decoding to the GPU, thus saving CPU cycles. This is a very hot topic in computing right now, with the OpenCL inclusion in Snow Leopard and all... and for HTPCs it makse so much sense! Why have a very big CPU (and the huge fan for it) working overtime when some of the work could be done by processor made basically for computer graphics computations?

Me, however, I was not immediatelly not convinced that this would be a good solution for me, since I thought it would add the requirements of a second heavilly cooled processor to the box, and thus increasing noise. However, it seems that the G8 NVidia chips are available on more than a few motheboards as a built-in graphics solution. When upgrading, I will have to get med one of those... :-)

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

MythTV revisited..

After had MythTV up and running now for a year, I have decided it is time for an upgrade of hardware. The box is really not quiet. Even in a cupboardlike the one I have, you can easilly hear the fan.. and the eletric bill ticking away :-). The current CPU is an old Athlon 2600 with no CPU frequency throtteling at all, so I would like to move to a new CPU. Also, I would like to be able to have it available more of the time, without having to wait for the long startup sequence to complete.

Thus, my plans are to:

1) Move to a 64 bit Athlon with speedstep. Possibly with a couple of cores :-)

2) Find a combination of HW that will allow me to use suspend to ram or similar features.

I am away from Sweden right now, so getting these things will have to wait until summer.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I had it all.. but now it is gone!

Wow.. I have not updated this blog in a loong time now. The reason for this is mainly that the system was working fins and I saw no need to touch the setup.

Recently, however, I descided to update my IVTV driver ant therefore also the kernel to 2.6.22. I should NOT have done that. In the end, I faced a networkless, databaseless and TV output-less MythtTV box with no way of fixing all the missing dependencies. Hmm.. I never learn.

I descided to give MythDora a try and I liked the experience in the beginning. However, in the end, I found myself annoyed about a number of things, such as startup scripts and management of WPA configuration on my wifi card.

So, I decided to move back into Gentoo... and that is where I am now. Maybe I'll try to uuse the nVidia card I have lying around for TV out instead of the PVR-350 card so that I will be able to use some advanced graphics acceleration and graphical boot on the TV.

We'll see..

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Finally a decent demo video of MythTV

I must admit that I am becoming somewhat of a youtube junkie. That site is great!

I posted a while ago about videos on there that I thought were not good and also something that looks promising. Here is a demo I found of MythTV that I think people thinking about trying MythTV out would appreciate. It could have been more focused on MythTV rather than the Hauppauge MVP, but you can't have everything!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Image from inside the new case..

Originally uploaded by dargosch2003.
I said that I would post a picture on the new case, but I haven't. SNow, since I hav already posted a picture of the front, whic h I find quite nice för at PVR comupter case with this price tag, so I will not post any more pictures of the front.

Instead, I provide you with an image of what the case is like when trying to fit a whole setup in there. There are 2 PVR cards and a WiFi card filling the slots, the first harddrive is behind the DVD-RW drive and the second drive is underneathe the DVD. As you see, there is plenty of room for air to flow ;-) Luckilly, there is a vent just over the CPU and two 6mm fans mounted ot the back, othervwise, this thing would probably burn my house down.