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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:42 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 7:56 pm
Posts: 103
Location: Arlington, VA, USA
I thought I'd describe a very low-end KnoppMyth Box that I put together and have had running for a few months now for anyone that is interesting in making one out of old parts.

Video Type: SDTV
Type of System: Combined front- and backend
Noise level: I can barely hear it from 5 feet away

Case: Generic Beige
PSU: Generic, probably 250 W
Motherboard: Unknown, Intel i810 based, 2 PCI Slots
RAM: 512 MB PC-100
CPU Heatsink: Generic
CPU Fan: I replaced the stock fan with a much larger one, with an ad-hoc mounting (includes some Lego parts, actually)
Northbridge Heatsink: Generic
CD/DVD: Generic DVD-ROM
HDD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKB 500GB 7200 RPM IDE Ultra ATA100 Hard Drive
Graphics Card: Intergrated Intel i810 with a Grand Ultimate XP Pro VGA to TV converter box attached for TV-out
Sound Card: Integrated AC97 audio
Tuner Card: Hauppauge WINTV-PVR-150 PCI
Remote Control: Grey Hauppauge

I had to make several changes to get things working well. First, I found that if I was watching a recording and mythcommflag was running, I would get choppy video and audio. I fixed this by modifying the mythcommflag startup command to be "nice -n 19 mythcommflag", which runs it at a lower priority.

In order to get the computer to turn itself off automatically when issuing a "halt" command, I had to add the kernel option "acpi=force" to lilo.conf.

Besides those things, everything pretty much worked "out of the box". This was an old machine I got from work. I stuffed as much RAM as I could find into it, bought a new hard drive and tuner card for it, and replaced the stock CPU fan. It has the advantage of being
extremely quiet - almost totally silent, to the point that I can keep in on a stand underneath the TV in the living room, and leave it on all the time.

There are small slowdowns, mainly in that navigating the menus is a little sluggish - not enough to phase the average person who is used to navigating DVD menus, but not instantaneous. Also, don't expect to be able to do very fancy things such as transcoding and streaming in realtime, etc. I am also not sure about DVD playback - I tried it once and got a message about "too many dropped frames", but I haven't had the need or desire to look into that any further.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 9:18 pm
Posts: 1371
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
lanelgjm,

What is the CPU you have in the system, you don't mention that?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:36 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 7:56 pm
Posts: 103
Location: Arlington, VA, USA
Oops, I left out probably the most important part!

Intel Celeron 700 MHz (Socket 370, I believe)


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:07 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 9:18 pm
Posts: 1371
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Thanks for sharing.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2007 7:57 pm
Posts: 12
I also have a socket 370 and it's pretty loud. Don't think I want a Lego fan though.

Did you do the auto install? I found that forcing the swap partition to be larger (768mb instead of the default 180mb) made a significant difference on my 128mb machine. You have quite a bit more RAM than me though. My Celeron board only supports up to 256mb.

Also, since I have a PVR-350, I tried to run the system headless, without a video card. It appears to work but eventually freezes. Sucks that I have to keep that Geforce card in there idling just to make the system stable.

The motherboard is an Abit ZM6 with a Celeron 533Mhz processor.


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