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Topic # 68313 19-Sep-2010 10:17
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I know, there are many forum entries about building your own HTPC, and I read most of them. So sorry for another one!

After several weeks of research, I came up with the following list of components I plan to buy to build my own HTPC under Linux with MythTV:

OS: Linux, Ubuntu 10.10 (once released next month)
Software: MythTV
Usage: - Freeview HD (DVB-T) and Freeview Satellite (DVB-S)
          - DVD and Blu-ray playback
          - Video streaming from the web
          - Light gaming

I want to make sure the HD recoding/playback is hardware encoded and does not use much of the CPU.

The display will be done on a LCD with full HD resolution.

Components (as a start):

Case: Silverstone Grandia GD04  (what is the difference with the GD05?)
Motherboard: Asus M4A88T-M/USB3 (Socket AM3, 4xDIMM, DDR3, PCIe-16, 1xPCI, 2xPCIe-1, 12xUSB2, Audio, Video, 1xATA, 6xSATA, RAID, M-ATX, USB 3.0, DVI, HDMI) (Onboard 880G chipset -> ATI Radeon HD 4250)
CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 555 CPU, 3.2GHz, Socket AM3, 32/64-Bit
Hard Disc: Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EARS Hard Disk Drive, 1000GB, 5400-7200rpm, 64MB Cache, SATA-2
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-B083A Blu-ray drive, BD 8R/DVD 16R/16W/8RW, Internal, SATA, Black
Power Supply: Corsair CX400, 400W ATX PSU, Active PFC, Black
Tuner card: DVB-S Nova-S Plus, need to find a Freeview HD compatible with Linux

The only concerns that I have, is if I am missing anything such as:
   - Fan (not clear if the GD04 comes with exhaust fans)
   - Heat sink for CPU or is fan coming with it sufficient (I assume so)
   - etc.

Not sure if the fan that comes with the CPU will fit in the GD04 case? Anybody knows? Could not find any info about it, there is a 70mm limitation with the GD04 if an optical drive is put in.

Also if everything will work together, especially if it will work under Linux.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

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27 posts


  Reply # 381907 19-Sep-2010 15:50
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Of course missing the RAM:

Kingston ValueRAM DDR3 PC10600/1333MHz CL9 2x2GB

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 381913 19-Sep-2010 16:18
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If your going to go Linux then you will want an nvidia graphics card, either intergrated or discrete. As far as I'm aware its near impossible to do HD decoding on an ATI card under linux.

Personally I'd just grab one of the Acer Revos with the ION processor and double the ram. Won't hack it for gaming though :(

Otherwise the rest of your components look fine, honestly you can't go that wrong.


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  Reply # 381984 19-Sep-2010 19:52
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I am hoping to get away with no discrete graphic card since they will have a fan and make extra noise and the quiet ones cost over $300. There must be an integrated graphic card available that will provide full HD with Linux. NVidia seems to have removed itself from most new motherboard (still have some but technology appears to be 2 years old now).

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 382042 19-Sep-2010 22:20
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mivilleb: I am hoping to get away with no discrete graphic card since they will have a fan and make extra noise and the quiet ones cost over $300. There must be an integrated graphic card available that will provide full HD with Linux. NVidia seems to have removed itself from most new motherboard (still have some but technology appears to be 2 years old now).

Umm... there are plenty of discrete passively cooled nvidia graphics cards and a significant number than cost less than $100. Might cost a bit more if you want to game with the video card but you wouldn't be able to do that with the AMD intergrated graphics anyway.

Nvidia don't make chipsets for the new Intel chips so that rules them out, they did make a 9400 and 9300 for LGA775 and the older Core 2's but you wont find one of those new and next to impossible second hand as very few every entered the country.

There is a 8200 chipset for AMD but its far from wonderful but would do the job, once again there not many around and I'm not sure if you can still get them new.

The final option would be not to use the graphics processor for decoding the HD video, would require a fairly grunty CPU though.

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  Reply # 382458 20-Sep-2010 21:07
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The more I look the more I will have to go with a discrete graphic cards. So far I guess these would be the best ones as far:

Gigabyte GeForce 9600GT Silent Cell HDMI 1GB $220
Gigabyte GeForce 9800GT Silent Cell HDMI 1GB $209
Asus GeForce EN9400GT Silent/HTP 512MB $90

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  Reply # 382662 21-Sep-2010 13:09
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Your requirement for BluRay playback might be a little hard to achieve at present due to the encryption issues.

As has already been stated you really need an NVidia card at the moment, although VA-API support for other cards is starting to mature.

Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat New Zealand as a Solution Architect for all things Linux, Virtual and of course Cloud. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.

27 posts


  Reply # 382687 21-Sep-2010 14:11
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The Nvidia GeForce GT 240 and 220 seems to be the only video cards with the "Advanced Spatial-Temporal De-Interlacing". Is this correct? Will Freeview HD (i.e. TV2) be de-interlaced properly on my progressive display (LCD)? Are all the other Nvidia cards capable of de-interlacing properly?

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  Reply # 382722 21-Sep-2010 15:13
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personally i think a thin client and a server is a better option.

myth backend is fantastic, but the frontend has a terrible unnatural UI (it takes about 4 menus to get to the tv guide). if you dont plan to watch/record a lot then thats fine, i only watch one NZ show (outrageous fortune) so im happy with myth backend and xbmc on apple tv and mac mini as a frontend to myth. but if i was watching a lot of tv like i use to, i would go the gbpvr route (the interface isnt super fancy like xbmc, but its natural and easy, and its solid as a rock).

doing a beefy server with lots of storage and capture cards and small clients (with power for bluray/1080ps) will future proof you more. less cost to add a new device or upgrade.

but thats just my 2cents.

27 posts


  Reply # 382844 21-Sep-2010 19:23
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Unfortunately gbpvr is for Windows only, I am trying to build a Linux HTPC. I will not cross over the dark M$ side. My HTPC will be the server but with a frontend, and other thin client frontends on the house LAN.

As for the integrated graphic card (ATI Radeon HD 4250) there is an official Linux driver, it should work, right?

Version 10.9 released 15 September 2010:

Anybody using it in Linux?

However according to this review (done in August 2010, using version 10.6), it is not that good compared to the HD 4670, but works:

Perhaps what I could do, is try it without a discrete card and if it is not sufficient, then buy a graphic card.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 382874 21-Sep-2010 20:32
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That's a reasonable plan. I am a little leery about Bluray playback on linux, since the encryption hasn't reached open-source yet - hence playback directly from the disc is not possible. I'm sure it will come in time, but it ain't here yet. Otherwise, your setup looks good. 

For some other good recommendations on hardware, check this link out:

My experience with ATI drivers in linux has been bad, and good with nvidia - but YMMV, and we are constantly reassured by ATI linux users that "it's better than it used to be" so good luck! A quiet, low powered standalone nvidia card will likely be much less fuss.

As for fans, the GD04/5 get good reviews, but you can always add quieter ones should you choose. The GD04 has an optical drive aluminium bezel which integrates it better with the rest of the front of the case. With the GD05, your optical drive is visible, so can look a bit naff (IMHO). 

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 382983 22-Sep-2010 07:18
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Are you listening? ATI drivers do not support HD decoding under linux, irrelevant of whether ATI provides a driver or not. Do whatever you want your clearly not listening to anyone. If you want to use ATI you will need to use Windows its not open for debate.

27 posts


  Reply # 382996 22-Sep-2010 08:11
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I am listening, no need to get angry. I am a newbie trying to find out the best solution. What is the point of the forum if I can not ask stupid questions! That is the problem with the internet there are some many "experts" and they are all saying different things. I have seen in another forums the same claim that Nvidia does not work for HD decoding under Linux. Who to beleive!!!

Its unfortunate that ATI puts out a Linux driver that does not work, what is the point?

Thanks for the help, I will stick with Nvidia as I have also been using them under Linux for years and never had a problem.

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  Reply # 383008 22-Sep-2010 08:36
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I have to say it. This would be so much easier if you just used Windows.

When you live your life on Twitter and Facebook, and are only friends with like minded people on Twitter and Facebook, you are not living in the real world. You are living in a narcissistic echo chamber.


My thoughts are my own and are in no way representative of my employer.

27 posts


  Reply # 383286 22-Sep-2010 18:07
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Windows is not an option for me. I have been using Linux/Unix for the past 20 years, so I am not going back.

What about the H55 chipset with i3 or i5:

It would be:
Gigabyte GA-H55M-USB3
Intel Core i5 650 3.20GHz Socket 1156

Is this again just an illusion or is it actually true that H.264 decoding works under Linux with that chipset?

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  Reply # 383328 22-Sep-2010 19:52
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So long as you discount the 24p problem with intel's solutions (google it), they seem pretty good. As a *nix uder, it is hard to go back to Windows after the freedom of open source...and if you recognise that there are anomolies and things that don't work, in any given OS, including Windows, then you won't go too far wrong. :)

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