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Thread: Planning HTPC project my self.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    14

    Default Planning HTPC project my self.

    Hi guys,

    I'm planning to replace my current HTPC with new one. This time around I would like to do it much better. First I would like to receive links to HTPC projects actively developed at this time and used by many people.

    Here are my current requirements:
    1. Power efficient / Low noise. Silent is preferred.
    2. Very quick boot time. Here I think I need to use own Linux distro, but it should be derivative from popular distro like Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora. Also I was thinking to use Coreboot to eliminate BIOS if I can and boot directly into GRUB or Linux. I don't know if this is possible at this moment. I read somewhere that AMD E-350 based system are supported by Coreboot.
    3. Has to be able to playback as many formats as possible using hardware acceleration. Looks like the VDPAU is the golden standard at this moment, but this means to use nVidia card and this could cause some conflict with requirement #2.
    4. As Front end I kinda like XBMC, but I find my self switching back to miro for managing my downloads and android devices. It will be great if there is some kind of integration between those two.
    5. No local storage. I have NAS and all media should be stored there. OS should be on USB/SSD drive mounted as read-only. I will need some user writable storage to store configs/logs/etc.

    After reading many hardware recomendations I think there are three possible paths as it comes to hardware;

    path #1: Atom based system + nVidia video card (similar to ION)
    path #2: AMD E-350 or other APU system
    path #3: Intel i3-2100T based system.

    The most important requirement is to create startup system that others can use and improve on it. I would love to see it grow to the point where it is the best HTPC system in the world, flexible and open for anyone to use.

    I think I am ready to hear your wisdom.

    Best regards,
    SAL-e

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    1,987

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    Quote Originally Posted by sal-e View Post
    Hi guys,

    I'm planning to replace my current HTPC with new one. This time around I would like to do it much better. First I would like to receive links to HTPC projects actively developed at this time and used by many people.

    Here are my current requirements:
    1. Power efficient / Low noise. Silent is preferred.
    2. Very quick boot time. Here I think I need to use own Linux distro, but it should be derivative from popular distro like Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora. Also I was thinking to use Coreboot to eliminate BIOS if I can and boot directly into GRUB or Linux. I don't know if this is possible at this moment. I read somewhere that AMD E-350 based system are supported by Coreboot.
    3. Has to be able to playback as many formats as possible using hardware acceleration. Looks like the VDPAU is the golden standard at this moment, but this means to use nVidia card and this could cause some conflict with requirement #2.
    4. As Front end I kinda like XBMC, but I find my self switching back to miro for managing my downloads and android devices. It will be great if there is some kind of integration between those two.
    5. No local storage. I have NAS and all media should be stored there. OS should be on USB/SSD drive mounted as read-only. I will need some user writable storage to store configs/logs/etc.

    After reading many hardware recomendations I think there are three possible paths as it comes to hardware;

    path #1: Atom based system + nVidia video card (similar to ION)
    path #2: AMD E-350 or other APU system
    path #3: Intel i3-2100T based system.

    The most important requirement is to create startup system that others can use and improve on it. I would love to see it grow to the point where it is the best HTPC system in the world, flexible and open for anyone to use.

    I think I am ready to hear your wisdom.

    Best regards,
    SAL-e
    Path 2.
    Get a crystalhd video decoder, make sure your mainboard supports mini-pcie, try JETWAY, they've got a couple of nice ones (mini-ITX), very low power consumption, very small. This path will get you 100% open source.

  3. #3

    Post

    .Hi
    Get a SSD if you want a quick boot why not leave the machine on 24/ 7 . You can use it asa download server too. Remote connect to it via teamviewer Keep the case and cpu fans in mind they have to be Big with as little rpms as possible. The vga can be fanless. why not go for dxva?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    14

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    Quote Originally Posted by droidhacker View Post
    Path 2.
    Get a crystalhd video decoder, make sure your mainboard supports mini-pcie, try JETWAY, they've got a couple of nice ones (mini-ITX), very low power consumption, very small. This path will get you 100% open source.
    Thank you for your input. I was looking into http://www.jetway.com.tw/jw/ipcboard...e=NF81-T56N-LF but I have only one reliable source for it and the price is quite high $190 + s/h. ( for the same amount of money I just got a H67 m/b + i3-2100T CPU and 4GB DRAM)
    I was thinking about Crystal HD, but for some reason I believed it is not compatible with add-on cards from nVidia and AMD. In other words It will not work with anything but Atom system. I should try this. I was wondering if I can run Crystal HD on my desktop. For that I will need some PCIe to mini-PCIe adapter. Any recommendations where I can find one?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    14

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    Quote Originally Posted by howy View Post
    .Hi
    Get a SSD if you want a quick boot why not leave the machine on 24/ 7 . You can use it asa download server too. Remote connect to it via teamviewer Keep the case and cpu fans in mind they have to be Big with as little rpms as possible. The vga can be fanless. why not go for dxva?
    Hi, thank you for your input.
    In regards of leaving the PC for 24/7 is not a option if it has a fan. Currently I have cheap AMD Athlon system and it uses about 40W while it plays video and about 90W while it sits idle in XBMC?! Not good at all. I know it is software problem, but on this hardware I don't want to spend time trying to make it to work. Currently I "stand-by" the system instead of turning it off. In stand-by it uses about 2W. But I have a lot of problems with racing conditions when I try to bring it back. Every third or forth time it crashes when it comes back from stand-by and reboot takes for ever (2-3min). SSD is really over kill for HTPC in my opinion. I think with better software/software config, we should be able to boot HTPC in 15sec or less from read-only USB flash drive.
    Sorry for dumb questions, but what is DXVA? and "asa download server"?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    1,987

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    Quote Originally Posted by sal-e View Post
    Thank you for your input. I was looking into http://www.jetway.com.tw/jw/ipcboard...e=NF81-T56N-LF but I have only one reliable source for it and the price is quite high $190 + s/h. ( for the same amount of money I just got a H67 m/b + i3-2100T CPU and 4GB DRAM)
    I was thinking about Crystal HD, but for some reason I believed it is not compatible with add-on cards from nVidia and AMD. In other words It will not work with anything but Atom system. I should try this. I was wondering if I can run Crystal HD on my desktop. For that I will need some PCIe to mini-PCIe adapter. Any recommendations where I can find one?
    Crystalhd is *independent* of the GPU. Doesn't make any difference what GPU you use, it is definitely 100% compatible. Mine is running with an AMD 785G -- Radeon HD 4200 IGP, running the open source drivers.

    It works like this;
    You have compressed video on disk, gets sent to the media player, media player says "sh*t, I can't do this", sends it to the crystalhd. Crystalhd decodes it and ships it on back to the media player. Media player now has UNCOMPRESSED video, and sends that off to the video card.

    Newegg has NF81 for $170.... http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product...82E16813153200

    i3-2100t is $135
    H67 is another $75-$80
    Looking at $210-$215

    Last I checked, $170 is less than $210, and you'd have a nice cool quite system rather than a vacuum cleaner. Ok, maybe not a vacuum cleaner, but that intel chip needs a lot more cooling than the AMD.


    As far as pcie-X1/mini-pcie adapters.... no idea.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    14

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    Quote Originally Posted by droidhacker View Post
    dam. How I miss that one!? I like AMD Fusion better then Intel system for this job. also there are evidences that AMD E-350 can use coreboot to speed up boot process:
    http://www.linuxfordevices.com/c/a/N...twell-PCS8277/


    Quote Originally Posted by droidhacker View Post
    ...

    As far as pcie-X1/mini-pcie adapters.... no idea.
    Do you think something like this will work?
    http://www.hwtools.net/Adapter/MP1.html
    http://www.hwtools.net/Adapter/ADP.html
    or
    http://www.hwtools.net/Adapter/ADP-70015.html

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    1,987

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    Quote Originally Posted by sal-e View Post
    dam. How I miss that one!? I like AMD Fusion better then Intel system for this job. also there are evidences that AMD E-350 can use coreboot to speed up boot process:
    http://www.linuxfordevices.com/c/a/N...twell-PCS8277/




    Do you think something like this will work?
    http://www.hwtools.net/Adapter/MP1.html
    http://www.hwtools.net/Adapter/ADP.html
    or
    http://www.hwtools.net/Adapter/ADP-70015.html
    Yeah, any of those should work.
    Edit: That carpc looks really sweet.
    Last edited by droidhacker; 08-29-2011 at 02:53 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    39

    Default

    I bought the Gigabyte E350N-USB3

    It's quite a nice board.

    Took me about three days to get XvBA working.
    If you do go the AMD Solution (Which isn't bad; mine works flawlessly - I'd just recommend Nvidia - up to you) here's how I set mine up.
    To get XvBA working - (On Ubuntu) Install the ATi Drivers from the website, I followed the unofficial wiki.
    Next I installed Libva from git (I highly recommend this)
    Followed by XBMC from this PPA
    VLC did not work with the XvBA enabled libva from PPA nor from the git version of libva. mplayer did not work either, I built vlc and mplayer from git and tried many different version of libva, nothing worked.

    So to reiterate:
    ATi drivers, XvBA from Splitted Desktop, libva from git and XBMC from ppa.
    Next link the xvba driver to the fglrx driver (/usr/lib/va/driver)
    Next step is 64 bit only -
    VLC, Mplayer, XBMC all use the libva from /usr/lib32 - just link the version from /usr/lib to /usr/lib32.

    If you need clarification or more detailed instructions please ask.

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