Front/back End & Hardware

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by cleavepm, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. cleavepm

    cleavepm
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    Hi,

    Before embarking on the full blown HTPC roll-out I've been able to have a bit of a play (minus tuners) with both MePo & XBMC by installing them both on a laptop and pointing them at my libraries on my Synology NAS. I'm pretty IT savvy and have built lots of PC's over the years.

    Initially I tried MePo and my experience was one of inconsistency. Overall it was OK but sometimes it would find fanart, then not and I found it a bit 'messy' to configure and get up & running. Maybe I didn't stay at it long enough because I know a lot of people say that they've tried it and wouldn't go back to what they had before.

    So, I uninstalled MePo and am currently running XBMC. It all went pretty smoothly and I think I've now got the hang of it after picking up hints/tips on here and the XBMC forum.

    I know that MePo can run on a client/server basis but how does XBMC handle an XBMC backend server performing all the TV recording and an XBMC based HTPC at the front acting as the interface? Is there something in the PVR setup part which points the XBMC client at the server to do the recording? Apologies if this appears to be a daft question!

    I have an old Pentium P4 -
    ARK | Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 540/540J supporting HT Technology (1M Cache, 3.20 GHz, 800 MHz FSB)
    and MSI mobo -
    MSI 915G Neo2 Platinum - motherboard - ATX - LGA775 Socket - i915G : Price & Review , Spec about MSI 915G Neo2 Platinum - motherboard - ATX - LGA775 Socket - i915G
    with 4GB RAM, etc.

    I was wondering if it was of sufficient spec to be used as the backend server for the recording/pausing? I'll eventually be using 2x DVB-S2 and maybe DVB/T2. Would like to have the ability for 2/3 front end HTPC's accessing this simultaneously.

    My intention for the main front end is the Silverstone ML02 -
    SilverStone Technology Co., Ltd.- ML02

    I am aware that the internal height is pretty tight so wondered if anyone had recommendations of what to use in it? I've found a few builds on the web but they are 2/3 years old so don't reflect the latest CPU's/mobos.

    All info gratefully received!
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  2. cleavepm

    cleavepm
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  3. cleavepm

    cleavepm
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    Any comments on the suitability my old P4 or the Silverstone ML02?

    Thanks...
     
  4. CHBMB

    CHBMB
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    The case looks nice but in all honesty I wouldn't bother with a case with an LCD, they're often buggy to get working and not very useful, it is possible to get the IR working but often easier to just add a MCE compatible receiver or consider something like the Flirc from flirc.tv

    I've only done one SFF build and it is a trial getting components that will fit, I found Quiet PC a good online shop with lots of detailed measurements for the fans.

    As regarding the motherboard and chip, I use Unraid 5.0 RC11 (But very stable) as my server with TVHeadend running on a cache drive, and my movies and TV Series on the protected array, the minimum requirements are quite modest and there's a free version you can download and try which boots off a USB stick and it's a very flexible OS for storage, although the free version doesn't allow the use of a cache drive I don't think you need it to run TVHeadEnd it's just where I choose to run all my addons (TVHeadEnd, MySql so my Openelec (XBMC) library is centralised across all my clients, Sickbeard and SABnzbd)

    The specs of my Unraid machine are a Celeron E3300 running on a Supermicro C2SEA with 4GB ram.

    You can't run a XBMC server as such, they're all clients, although you can centralise the MySQL server on a NAS or like myself on Unraid which is essentially a home built NAS. The other option is to set a XBMC machine up the have other machines using it's database but then you have to leave that machine on the whole time as well as the device you are using to stream from.

    Hope that is of some help.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
  5. CHBMB

    CHBMB
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    Oh and another thought, download Openelec it's currently on 2.99 RC4 but it's very been stable for me (Well RC2 and RC3 only updated to RC4 tonight :))

    It includes plugins for all the front end PVR tuners and I think a backend for TVHeadend too.

    It's only small around 160mb for the generic version and although I've got mine installed on a SSD it can be installed to a USB stick and booted from that, although you will need two USB sticks, one to install from and one to install to!

    It's by far the easiest way to get XBMC up and running and if you're talking about setting up three HTPCs then potentially could save you a fair bit of money as you don't need any other OS on the machine, (Or a HDD for that matter!)
     
  6. cleavepm

    cleavepm
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    Thanks for all the info - much appreciated.
     

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