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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:35 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:55 pm
Posts: 37
Location: san diego, california
I was wondering if any of you guys use some of the slim Thinkcentre / NetVista for Home Theatre?

I want to set up a budget system using Myth TV (ubuntu). Seen different models on eBay with Pentium 4 around 3GHz, use SATA HD and at least a PCI slot to add in a video card for the multimedia. Many are about $100.00 including s/h, so I would only need a large HD & PCI video card as an expense. This would give me an HTPC for about $200.00. Anybody already done this, or maybe used a full size desktop? But one that would have about the same hardware inside as the slim ones? How reliable are these models ?

http://yfrog.com/56ibmthinkcentrej

My other two choice would be a generic box with budget parts or a Mac mini. But the Mac mini would have to be maxed out already since the older models are not made to be upgraded. Either of these two would also fall close to the $200.00 budget of the slim IBMs.

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Thinkpad R61 (Product # 7733-11U) - 2.0 GHz C2D Centrino / 4GB RAM / 80GB HD
Intel 965 / Intel WIFI / BT / DVD/CD-RW / 1280x800 14" WXGA / Vista Business SP2 / Lubuntu 13.10
Thinkpad X40 ( Model # 2371-8EU ) - Niece's new toy.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:53 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 12, 2007 10:54 am
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I am in a similar situation. If I were you, I would get a ThinkCentre with good Pentium 4 and PCIe x16 slot for a dedicated video card to support hardware acceleration.

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IBM Lenovo Z61p | 15.4'' WUXGA | Intel Core 2 Duo T7400 2x 2.16GHz | 4 GB Kingston HyperX | Hitachi 7K500 500 GB + WD 1TB (USB) | ATI Mobility FireGL V5200 | ThinkPad Atheros a/b/g | Analog Devices AD1981HD | Win 7 x86 + ArchLinux 2009.08 x64 (number crunching)


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:38 pm 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
i would get a Thinkcentre that is capable of accepting a Core 2 Duo CPU, if you are getting a USFF or SFF thinkcentre remember to check whether the system actually has a PCI-express card slot, and not a DVI Add on slot.

I am running my Thinkcentre M55 SFF as a NAS, it is extremely reliable and CPU fan hardly comes on.

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Current ThinkPad: T430u, T430s, X1 Carbon, X1, X230t, X220t, X230, X220, X201t, W520, W701ds, T500, T420 and many more


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:17 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:42 pm
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Location: Lake Oswego, Oregon
I have a Thinkcentre with a C2D ~2Ghz CPU and an nvidia Geforce super cheap 512MB PCIe Vid Card I use to run Media Portal and WMC, works great. The only reason I even needed the video card was so I could use HDMI through the DVI Connector.

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Current Systems: T41-1.6/1G/80G, MB Pro-iC/4G/320G, Dell M70-2.0/2G/120G/FX1400
Past Thinkpads: 600/E/X's, T20's, T21/22's/23, A22p


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:29 am 
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I went down a somewhat similar road with a smaller barebone PC for a HTPC, which I regretted. My main complaint with it was the PSU was so underpowered, the fan in it ran all the time, which was annoying. Something like a NetVista is going to have PATA drives, which means 500GB is as large as you can go. If that's enough for you, the maybe it's worth a look. It's the same thing with the Thinkcenter. It probably only has one drive bay, which will limit your expandability. I ended up building my HTPCs. Building it is probably more expensive, but you can pick and chose your parts to get the way you want. The biggest noise makers are the CPU cooler and the PSU. That's where you want to get something good.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:48 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:38 pm
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Location: Klamath Falls, OR
As far as SATA... I have an Xbox original with a 1TB hard disk in it (which also run linux and MythFrontend)... i used this:

$4.20 @ http://www.dealextreme.com/p/sata-hdd-t ... card-57841

Cheapo SATA--->IDE adaptor, no reason it couldnt be used in older desktops as well (had to hook it up to a desktop to lock it as part of the Xbox procedure)

Also, MythTV uses USB external drives REALLY well, my case only has room for 1 internal, there is a WD green drive there, then there are several WD drives in external enclosures mounted for use by MythTV.

And as far as horsepower goes, it really depends on how your recording... SD or HD... not much needed for a frontend(700MHz Xbox original works for SD). Our main Myth box is a frontend/master backend recording from STB's in SD through a PVR-150 and a PVR-500(3 tuners total)...

system.board.product = 'M3N78 PRO'
info.product = 'AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5600+' [2.9GHz 65W]
info.product = 'Future Technology Devices International Crystalfontz CFA632-USB LCD'
info.product = 'Hauppauge WinTV PVR-150'
info.product = 'WinTV PVR 500 (unit #1)'
info.product = 'WDC WD10EADS-00L' [S.M.A.R.T. Power_On_Hours: 20240 (2.31 years)]
In use 24/7 since: Oct 29, 2008

The main thing that will make a huge difference in what machine to use is what capture card you go with... hardware or software encoding, and whether you are recording in SD or HD.

Here is the usage from uptime i just got... load average: 1.01, 0.98, 0.80
currently recording SD on one tuner with a commercial flag job running... we have occasionally noticed some lag in the remote when the system is recoring 3 shows, flagging one, while watching a recorded show... rarely is all that going on (usually monday nights around 8pm :P) that it's not an issue.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:09 pm 
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If you're going to use XBMC (which you absolutely should, as it's a fantastic, open-source HTPC solution), then you don't actually need much better than a P4, provided you get a good video card; it supports hardware acceleration, so there's really no need to beef up the CPU since it won't be used for decoding.

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Need help with Linux or FreeBSD? Catch me on IRC: I'm ThinkRob on FreeNode and EFnet.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:13 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:38 pm
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Location: Klamath Falls, OR
Noticed a lot of people mentioning the video card, keep in mind a mythtv setup needs a TV card, this is the one where you want hardware encoding. If not then the TV streams are processed by the CPU with a cheap TV tuner.

Playback is where the video card/cpu come into play. Main thing if your CPU is lower end is to look for VDPAU support in the video card. Since video decoding is done in dedicated hardware, all supported cards have the same level of performance. My Asus M3N78 PRO has onboard 8300 video, no need for a dedicated video card. Even before nVidia released binary drivers with VDPAU support, SD video was not an issue on our machine. We don't do HD yet so I can't comment there.

Here is a good read about what does what, check out the "User Results" about 2/3 down the page... also gives some insight to what machines people are using for HD...

http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/VDPAU

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(2)701C,(1)760EL,(6)760XL,(1)760XD
(4)CD Drives (5)int floppies (3)ext floppy (4)2.1GB
(10)CF/IDE w/2 or 4GB 133x CF (1)760XL restore CD
(1)Belkin USB 2.0 32bit Cardbus (2)WPC54G(S) Wifi Cardbus
(1)Belkin F5D5020 NIC (1)Giga-Byte GN-WLM01 Wifi
(1)Backpack CD (1) Xircom REM56G-10 + misc


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