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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:37 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 2:29 pm
Posts: 14
# Video type: HDTV and SDTV
# Type of system: combined front- and back-end
# Noise level: With my ear in the case, I have trouble hearing it. During testing, it was easier to check if the Zalman CPU fan was spinning. Crickets outside with the closed windows are louder.

# CASE: Antec Solution Series NSK2400 (Spooky quiet)
# PSU: Antec included with case
# MOTHERBOARD: Foxconn 6150K8MA-8EKRS Socket 939 NVIDIA GeForce 6150 mATX
# CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Venice 2.2GHz
# RAM: CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB (2 x 512MB) DDR 400
# CPU HEATSINK: ZALMAN CNPS7000B-ALCU (Also spooky quiet)
# NORTHBRIDGE HEATSINK: No fan!
# CD/DVD-RW: Swapped in one for install then removed it
# HDD: Seagate 320G
# GRAPHICS CARD: XFX Nvidia 6200TC (No fan!)
# SOUNDCARD: Chaintech AV-710
# TUNER CARD (SD): Hauppage PVR 250
# TUNER CARD (HD): AirStar-HD5000-PCI (Bought from Mythic)
# REMOTE CONTROL: Streamzap (Bought from Mythic)
# Viewing hardware: Benq 7200 projector (1024x768) projected onto 80"x60" screen painted with Rustoleum high heat silver spraypaint (sounds silly, but it has reflective qualities that do great things to contrast for a projector. Check AVS forums.)

I mean this with all due respect for years of work on the part of the devs and many hours of our (all KM installers) shared frustration, but with R5D1, Knoppmyth has gone from top tier open source hobbyware to a seriously impressive turnkey multimedia suite.

This is really nearly Tier 1 with analog sound from the AV-710. In full disclosure, I have installed Knoppmyth about 6 versions of KM dozens of times working out kinks in different systems. So, call this Tier 1 if you know how to do some reasonable post-install poking.

My previous system was a coolermaster T02 case, VNIF2 with a 1700+ Athlon, coolermaster CPU fan, NV 5200, 512M RAM, and 3 seagate drives tied together with LVM. The rest of the system was what you see above (Haup PVR 250, Chaintech AV-710). It was stable for a long time, but made a good amount of noise. It may become a front end.

After careful shopping, I chose the Foxconn because it was one of the few mATX 939 sockets with 3 pci slots on Newegg (careful, most have only 2). I got the HD5000 from Mythic and threw in the Streamzap because they offered it as a bundle. Mythic and Newegg tied for outstanding shipping and both orders arrived in 2 days from placing the order. That's just crazy efficient. A shoutout to Mythic for not charging me for my mistake of choosing Canadian shipping (no idea how that option was chosen, but they fixed it before my card was charged. Excellent shopping experience.)

I downloaded and burned R5D1, loaded the CD, and crunched through the familiar install screens. The install quit copying the files at 2%. I went and burned another after carefully checking the md5sum. Everything checked out, but I got the same hang at 2%. I downloaded from another mirror, got the same md5sum, burned, and this time, no problem installing. There is a newsgroup posting about this situation. No idea what that was about.

During mythtv-setup, the PVR 250 setup was familiar. I did a lot of guessing about setting up the DVB card. On blind faith in the KM devs, I tried to get HD over QAM. I have never used HD before, but had read plenty about it. I figured, why not plug the card into my analog cable first just to try it out? I was ready to make a trip to Radio Shack for an antenna, but no need! I am on Comcast in Atlanta. I found a ton of digital (but not HD) and HDTV channels using QAM256 scan. It seemed to pick up something, so I exited, finished set-up, and entered my new Myth box.

Analog looked the same, but swapping to the HD5000 (press y), got me into HD land. All I can say is ***********. Just insert any expletive that epxresses satisfied disbelief. The Atlanta stations come in different resoluations, so I end up switching aspect ratios (press h) a few times to get the right combo. There is actually a lot to weed out. I used the Mythweb interface to do it while flipping through the channels. I picked up a bunch of digital, but not HD channels. Some were church oriented or spanish, which are great for some, but didn't seem necessary for me. The stations are very clear compared to what the PVR 250 picks up, but they are not HD. I chose to keep them. The true HD channels are just outstanding. The first time you see Katie Couric's wrinkles or oil on dudes' skin *through* their beard, well, that's magic. It hurts to swap back to the analog feed now. Yeah, I'm a few years behind on the HD revolution. I am still working out how to fool my system into getting listings for these.

The first thing that drops this into Tier 2 is getting SPDIF to work on the AV-710. From the Dragon setup pages, I got the start of what was necessary, but, at this time, the directions are outdated. The good news is that the fix is even simpler than described on the website and I just stumbled on it. All that needed to be done was to swap the sound source from /dev/dsp to /dev/adsp and check the boxes to enable AC3 and DTS passthrough under Utilities/Setup > Setup>General.

The other thing that causes a Tier 2 rating is no fault of KM. Reconciling program data with HDTV over QAM on Comcast is not easy. Xsecrets has posted some info on what causes the problem. Something about Comcast not broadcasting station IDs. Doesn't sounds like there is a good fix yet.

The amd64 3500+ does seem to barely keep up with HDTV. I don't know how to find out what feed I am getting, but my guess is that it does fine on 720p, but is a little jerky on 1080i. That's just speculation. I haven't even messed with nVidia drivers yet.

Oh... and then, while marvelling over all this, I picked up the Streamzap, started pushing buttons, and much to my satisfaction, stuff happened. I never even bothered with lirc before because it sounded like a pain. Well, zero tweaking needed. I am still using the keyboard for a few things, but I can see dropping to the remote only in the future.

Thanks again to KM devs and community, but especially the patient pros like Xsecrets, tjc, and Human, and Cecil for continuing to lead this effort.

nrj


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