On using a HTPC in NZ

The Media Center

, posted: 13-Jul-2008 14:39

I will start off here with some details on the media center itself. I built this machine at the start of the year, the core components (CPU/MB/HDD) were all new with some old RAM I had, plus the Hauppauge PVR150 I had been using with Vista Media Center and an old PSU. The original spec specs:

Athlon 64 3800+ (2.4GHz single core)
Nvidia 6100 graphics on cheap ASUS motherboard
320 GB Seagate
MCE USB2 Remote
Mythbuntu 8.04 (mythtv 0.21)

All this this was put into the wooden case I built myself, which you can see in the pics below:

Whole Setup
                  MC with the door closed              MC with the door open

A disclaimer: I am not responsible for MC's colour scheme and name! I let my significant other loose on it with spraypaint and this was the result. I do actually like it though, its a bit different and surely unique.

As I noted above this machine was orginally running mythtv however the observant would have noticed that is MediaPortal is the first picture. Unfortunalty I didn't take any pictures during the build or with the original setup so this is how it is now. I will get to why I am running MediaPortal (and my thoughts on it) in a later post.

As far as the construction goes I will post some interior pics when I next take the machine out, which I thankfully havn't had to do in a while as it is a pain. This is due to my less than secure construction and the fact that the internals are all mounted upside down (i.e. attached to the roof of the machine) on the internals of an old machine I ripped up. Due to bending and cutting of the backpane I can't screw in the TV cards, and also my attempts to properly attach the bottom of the case (which is fully removable for access to the components) have failed so the top of the case is simply sitting on the bottom. So not at all ideal but it works as long as I don't try move it. I will go into more detail on the construction when I have interior pictures.

For cooling, I have an 120mm fan @ 5V at the rear behind the DVD-ROM and hard drive (which are in the drive cage begind the fold down door) and an internal 80mm fan @5V located just behind the front panel on the right, pushing air over the cards and out the rear. The CPU fan is the standard AMD fare, this is the noisiest part of the system at the moment and I will eventually replace it with something quiet. As the drive cage is mounted on foam there are no vibration noises, but the Seagate seeks fairly loadly and can be heard over the fans at times. The machine runs 24/7 and the temps have been pretty low when I have looked, it is however cold in Christchurch in the winter so it will be a different story when i move back up North in the summer. Hopefully I can do something about the cooling then too.

Next up, my experiences with mythtv.


Other related posts:
Genius Remote 300 review
So what is this MythTV anyway?
Short note on power consumption

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amphibem's profile

Andrew Richards
New Zealand

My Current Setup

CPU: A64 5200 X2 (2.6GHz) Memory: 2GB Graphics: Onboard 6100 Hard drive: WD 640GB Optical: DVD-ROM Remote: Microsoft MCE USB2 Tuners: Hauppauge Nova T 500 & PVR150 Display: Toshiba 20" LCD Audio: Genius 5.1 bookshelf speakers

OS: Windows Vista Premium SP1 PVR: MediaPortal RC3 Codecs: Built in MPEG1&2 codecs, PowerDVD8 for H.264 EPG: nice.net.nz feed (from satellite feed)

Useful Links

MediaPortal Homepage
NZ Thread in MP Forumns
NZ MediaPortal Wiki page
MythTV Homepage
NZ Mythtv page
Mythbuntu Forumns
EPG Setup Guide