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  • HTPC/server

    I know there are many HTPC threads already, but it probably wont hurt to post one more. I currently have a Ubuntu based server (mostly working as a file server via nfs) running on old Athlon 64, which is starting to wear down. I'm planning on building a new setup, which could serve as a server and HTPC. It should be quiet and be able to play 1080p video.

    Sandy bridge seems attractive, because it packs a lot of power and runs cool. I have learned about some problems, however. Firstly, the first H67/P67 chipsets had some SATA problem, right? But the new P8 ones should have this fixed? Another problem, as I understand, is the integrated graphics of SB. If I plan to use external nVidia card, will there be any issues in playing back video (on CPU with mplayer-mt, I still won't fully count on VDPAU)?

    My current "shopping chart" includes these:

    Intel Core i3 2100
    Asus P8H61 B3 Intel H61 LGA1155
    Kingston Valueram 4GB 1333MHz DDR3
    Asus ENGT520 SILENT/DI/1GD3(LP) GeForce GT520 1024 MB DDR3
    Corsair CX430W
    Antec Three Hundred

    plus my old hard drives and what not. I feel that I should go with the standard casing, since I have a place for it in my living room. Those HTPC casings seem a bit overpriced. Also I wan't to have room for extra HD:s. Will there be any problems with running the Lucid with SB? I would prefer LTS version.

  • #2
    I suspect that you wouldn't have any problems with that setup.

    BTW have you considered having a NAS for your file server and a Zotac ION box for your HTPC? It depends on your requirements of course.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by johnc View Post
      I suspect that you wouldn't have any problems with that setup.
      Ok, thanks.

      Originally posted by johnc View Post
      BTW have you considered having a NAS for your file server and a Zotac ION box for your HTPC? It depends on your requirements of course.
      I have not. In addition to file server, I have some other things in mind for the server.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by blender View Post
        Another problem, as I understand, is the integrated graphics of SB. If I plan to use external nVidia card, will there be any issues in playing back video (on CPU with mplayer-mt, I still won't fully count on VDPAU)?

        Asus ENGT520 SILENT/DI/1GD3(LP) GeForce GT520 1024 MB DDR3
        No problems at all with that card, I picked a couple up for HTPC use and they have been working flawlessly under XBMC and are surprising cool for a pure passive card. ~ 35-37C is all mine ever reach on playback.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by deanjo View Post
          No problems at all with that card, I picked a couple up for HTPC use and they have been working flawlessly under XBMC and are surprising cool for a pure passive card. ~ 35-37C is all mine ever reach on playback.
          That is good to know. Although probably this card can't push more graphics that what is needed for basic desktop. This is perfectly ok, because I don't intend to run games on this setup, just to pass the CPU decoded video material to the TV.

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          • #6
            There is also the 2100T version, which seems to be clocked at 2.5GHz and has amazingly low TDP of 35W. At a local reseller 2100T is around 14 euros more expensive than the 2100. Is there a good reason to prefer 2100T over 2100? I mean, is it possible to underclock 2100 for smaller TDP if necessary? Is 2100T enough to play 1080p video on Linux with mplayer-mt (of course this depends on bitrate, so this would require someone's experiences)?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by blender View Post
              There is also the 2100T version, which seems to be clocked at 2.5GHz and has amazingly low TDP of 35W. At a local reseller 2100T is around 14 euros more expensive than the 2100. Is there a good reason to prefer 2100T over 2100? I mean, is it possible to underclock 2100 for smaller TDP if necessary? Is 2100T enough to play 1080p video on Linux with mplayer-mt (of course this depends on bitrate, so this would require someone's experiences)?
              I can say that I have an ancient AMD dual-core Opteron 2.2 GHz and I can play 1080p with mplayer-mt without any problems. Just barely -- both cores peg at the most graphically intense scenes -- but no stutters. That's with karaoke subtitles too.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by blender View Post
                That is good to know. Although probably this card can't push more graphics that what is needed for basic desktop. This is perfectly ok, because I don't intend to run games on this setup, just to pass the CPU decoded video material to the TV.
                Why would you use CPU decoding out of curiosity if you have GPU acceleration available? The vdpau decoder engine on that thing is a monster.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by deanjo View Post
                  Why would you use CPU decoding out of curiosity if you have GPU acceleration available? The vdpau decoder engine on that thing is a monster.
                  Would you say that VDPAU is mature enough to decode any h264 video without any problems?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by blender View Post
                    Would you say that VDPAU is mature enough to decode any h264 video without any problems?
                    It has been for a long long long time. It was pretty rock solid about 6 months after release. First few months had some teething pains but has been working flawlessly here (on h264) for 18 months on 8200 IGP, 8800GT, GTX-275, GTX-580, GT520 with multiple terabytes of h264 media ranging from rips to hd captures to streaming content.
                    Last edited by deanjo; 07-10-2011, 05:27 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by deanjo View Post
                      It has been for a long long long time. It was pretty rock solid about 6 months after release. First few months had some teething pains but has been working flawlessly here (on h264) for 18 months on 8200 IGP, 8800GT, GTX-275, GTX-580, GT520 with multiple terabytes of h264 media ranging from rips to hd captures to streaming content.
                      Wow! That's great. I'll have to think over if I need SB CPU then. Maybe, if I want to record DVB stuff on hard drive, I'll need also a powerful CPU.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by blender View Post
                        Wow! That's great. I'll have to think over if I need SB CPU then. Maybe, if I want to record DVB stuff on hard drive, I'll need also a powerful CPU.
                        You shouldn't need a powerful cpu for that as DVB recordings are just a straight stream dump. If you are going to transcode the stream then you may want a beefy CPU.

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                        • #13
                          My HTPC build is rocking a dual core wolfdale celeron overclocked to around 3.5 ghz, a gt240 ddr3, a 60gb ssd root drive, a hvr2250 + an hvr1600, and 5.something TB of zfs raidz networked storage. I run a fairly tweaked version of myth 0.24. It's more than powerful enough for any sane use of an HTPC (even plays most gamecube/some wii games full speed via dolphin).

                          Edit:
                          The Apevia X-Cube cases (if they're still being sold) are fairly affordable and I've had great luck with mine. When I decided to go overboard with the raidz I upgraded to a big thermaltake PSU, but the PSU that came with the Apevia case had worked for me for 4 or 5 years 24/7.
                          Last edited by psycho_driver; 07-11-2011, 08:46 PM.

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                          • #14
                            I need to look into doing some kind of ZFS-style NAS myself.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I almost forgot, that I should check whether the integrated sound chips of common 1155 mobos
                              work under Ubuntu. Asus P8H61 B3 has ALC 887. Any problems here?

                              I was also considering, if I should buy only slightly more expensive DH67CLB3 with sata III support. However, this MB uses ALC 892 sound chip, and google results on this imply problems.

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