Thursday, January 11, 2007

MythTV box - Part 1 - Hardware

Over the last few weeks I have been engaged in the process of selecting, ordering and assembling the hardware for my new MythTV box.

I was originally inspired to do this after reading Garry Parkers excellent MythTV Ubuntu HowTo. A quick experiment adding a capture card and MythTV to my existing Debian machine, and I was convinced.

After doing a bit more reading about setting up MythTV systems, I came up with my hardware requirements:

  • Silence, or as near to it as possible
  • Low power consumption
  • Looks

I wanted it to be as quiet as possible as it's going to be running most of the time, and there's nothing more annoying than the constant droning of fans. My existing PVR, a DigiFusion FVRT200, is fairly quiet but I still find it's low volume hard disk hum distracting. Luckily, quietness goes hand in hand with power efficiency, so getting one will go a long way towards achieving the other.

Quite early on I decided *not* to go for an HTPC case, it seems difficult to get a really quiet one and they are fairly limited in terms of expansion space. Given that I was probably left with choosing a standard midi case, it had to be fairly pleasing to the eye as it'll be difficult to hide it entirely behind my (admittedly large) television.

After much research and loss of sleep, I settled on this configuration:

After a few abortive attempts to order the components from dabs.com, I gave up. My order seemed to get stuck at some security checking stage for days on end, then get mysteriously cancelled. Frustrated with their terrible customer service I gave up and defected to ebuyer.com, who handled my order perfectly and even came in a bit cheaper.

The only component I had trouble finding was the Asus motherboard. It was a couple of years old and there did not seem to be a single retail copy anywhere in the UK. As a last resort I tried ebay and found one, despite a few problems the seller had getting parcelforce to pick things up over the Christmas period, it all worked out ok in the end.

In my next post I will go through the assembly process, and include some photos of my lovely new system. After that I will follow up with details of the software installation and configuration process.

Update - 2007.02.04

Just as I was about to begin assembly I discovered a potential compatibility problem between my A8N-SLI Premium motherboard and the Antecs' NeoHE 430 power supply. It turned out not to be a problem for me, but I would advise anyone else using this combination to check out the URL above.

1 comment:

Wayne said...

Any chance of selling me your machine for £50? £51?