1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

HTPC HTPC/Home Server/Networks....everything!

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Gryzor, 22 Jun 2008.

  1. Gryzor

    Gryzor New Member

    Joined:
    22 Jun 2008
    Posts:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello forum peeps, I am a new poster but have been hanging about reading for a while (its the voyeur in me!)

    Anyway here is the latest I am up to, having an extension on my house and in the process I am putting in CAT5 to the sitting room/lounge/study/3 x bedrooms in the hope of bringing the internet into everyday life and stopping the wife nagging me about being in the study all the time.

    My plan from here was to create a mini-rack with switch/patch panel/UPS/Windows Home Server out of the way in a cupboard and using the home server as basically a media server and bittorrent client, remote desktop etc.

    Next was then to put a HTPC of different specs in the lounge and sitting room, the sitting room would simply be a glorified media extender type of system and the lounge PC doing the full monty of recording/watching/DVD/Blu-ray you name it.

    The plan in all was to keep cost of running the system to a minimum, the Windows Home Server is designed as 24-7 operation which I am not too happy about but have found a plug-in called lights out that can remedy this by using Wake on lan to bring the server to life whenever a client starts, sounds good. Next problem is what hardware to use? Some people say use a laptop for power saving and plug in some USB drives/eSata drives, what about hard disk failure? What HTPC, I need HDMI with audio and it needs to run low power most of the time, I dont want media anywhere but on the server.

    Anyone got any experience using vista media center for starting up recording and then suspending to ram successfully? What sort of processor/ram do I need for 1080p? What graphics card can I get to do the audio over 1 connection too?

    So many questions, I hope some of you have some answers and some wise words before I go any further and waste money on gear I dont need.
     
  2. GavX

    GavX New Member

    Joined:
    5 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    732
    Likes Received:
    11
    Well for motherboards, the Gigabyte 780G board is good, its MicroATX so can fit in thee small media centre cases, has an HDMI out and a fairly decent graphics chip embedded so that saves cost. it comes with the HD audio (which tbh sounds the same as AC97.. but hey, does the trick) so ideal thing for a media centre PC, mine hasn't arrived yet but should be arriving tomorrow as I am doing something similar (server but running XP, just old parts and large HDD, main gaming machine and a HTPC for downstair) The embedded GPU means it takes a hell of alot of load off the RAM and CPU, so these don't have to be amazing, 1gb should do fine and anything dual core will work nicely. Hope this helped
     
  3. fathazza

    fathazza Freed on Probation

    Joined:
    20 May 2002
    Posts:
    3,256
    Likes Received:
    16
    why have a server and an htpc? make the htpc do both roles...
     
  4. wsurritte

    wsurritte New Member

    Joined:
    31 Oct 2005
    Posts:
    139
    Likes Received:
    0
    Why use windows home server when linux is free?

    I like your rackmount idea. Are you going gigabit ethernet or just 100meg?
     
  5. Glider

    Glider /dev/null

    Joined:
    2 Aug 2005
    Posts:
    4,173
    Likes Received:
    21
    ^ ^
    I agree, MythTV is about as good as it gets. It is possible to run Myth on a separate server and client, but those two can also be combined. Also, because media tends to be quite big, gigabit is a must.
     
  6. kitt

    kitt Michael Knight

    Joined:
    8 Aug 2004
    Posts:
    282
    Likes Received:
    2
    I was thinking this myself. You might as well lay cat6/5e cables because the prices at the moment are pretty much the same as cat5 cables. That way even if your not using gigabit now there is the possibility in the future without having to relay cables. On the subject of ethernet since your using a HTPC, gigabit is really a must if you're going to be doing anything with HD content.
     
  7. culley

    culley New Member

    Joined:
    12 Jul 2006
    Posts:
    777
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think you should take a look athttp://www.tranquilpcs.co.uk they have a great selection of low power system even atom based system, which surely is going to keep the costs down.
     
  8. wsurritte

    wsurritte New Member

    Joined:
    31 Oct 2005
    Posts:
    139
    Likes Received:
    0
    Even if you didn't use Linux for the media center, in my opinion, linux makes superior file servers compared to windows. My linux server stomps all over my old windows server. Personally, I prefer redhat but theres a great Ubuntu guide here on bit-tech, and there is instructions on the web for every distro.

    I would go gigabit also, but you will have to consider more than the cable those 100/1000t switches are considerably more expensive than 100baseTX. But like kitt said, at least use cat5e so you can upgrade in the future.

    William
     
  9. Gryzor

    Gryzor New Member

    Joined:
    22 Jun 2008
    Posts:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the input folks, some feedback on the comments and answers to your questions....

    Cabling and Switch: I have put CAT5E to each of the bedrooms, the living room and the sitting room. I brought a cheap 16-port 10/100 switch at the moment because it was £12.99 on eBay and as I am having an expensive extension this can always be updated later. Yes the media is getting bigger and harder to move about and gigabit would be ideal but a HD stream is only around 30mbits so 100mbit is more than ample for now.

    HTPC/Server: As for seperate servers and HTPC I have a couple of thoughts on this. I have approximately 400 DVDs, they are a pain in the ass. Stashed in every shelf in the house and quite frankly becoming annoying. Ideally I want to rip the ones I am likely to want to watch again and stash the rest for safe keeping and rotate whats on the media server every so often. This obviously means HDD space, so far I have 1.2TB of DVD images and I havent even started in a meaningful way. HDDs = noise and heat, so not idea for the living room.

    Bought or Built, Linux/Windows: I have looked at Tranquils stuff and it just seems very expensive to me, I think the key to bringing the power consumption down for me is not fancy hardware in overpriced boxes but controlled use of wake on lan and standby. Anyone had much experience with this?
    I have been brought up on windows and in fact I spend my life as an IT bod so Windows is easiest, I have toyed with Linux in the past so might be tempted, how do the power saving and control features compare to windows?

    MythTV I have done little research on, I have used Vista MC but not in anger and it seems easy enough for the Mrs to master so should be good. Is Myth better? Can I stream DVD images which I know VistaMC can't?
     
  10. culley

    culley New Member

    Joined:
    12 Jul 2006
    Posts:
    777
    Likes Received:
    1
    My Vista HTPC connects to my NAS and my file server and I can watch movies etc etc
     
  11. Malketh

    Malketh New Member

    Joined:
    22 Jan 2008
    Posts:
    143
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just to toss my couple of cents in I built myself a 2TB Raid 5 file server for multimedia (SD and HD) as well as ISOs, general file storage, and backups when I want/need to wipe and reinstall my desktops. Sadly it was a touch expensive as the raid card I went with was a 3ware 9650 8 port SATA, PCIe card and 5 500GB hard drives, but the rest of the system was quite cheap. As for your wake on lan stuff I don't see why it wouldn't be feasible, you just have to watch out for startup/resume times as with my system that would be quite long compared to a normal desktop.

    As for a client, I just use my modded xbox with XBMC but I'm thinking of using my mac with XBMC in its place since the poor old xbox just can't handle HD files.
     
  12. wsurritte

    wsurritte New Member

    Joined:
    31 Oct 2005
    Posts:
    139
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sounds like a plan with the cabling and switch. I'd highly recommend CentOS (Linux) for the server; I don't think I'd use WOL for the server, just use an efficient PSU and turn off the harddrives when not in use. . I too think the Tranquil stuff is too expensive but it's neat also. I'm not sure but I think MythTV can stream DVD images. Glider could confirm that. I too use XBMC and love it, but i don't personally deal with any high definition video at home, but I have for clients.

    William
     
  13. Glider

    Glider /dev/null

    Joined:
    2 Aug 2005
    Posts:
    4,173
    Likes Received:
    21
  14. hodgy100

    hodgy100 New Member

    Joined:
    2 Jun 2008
    Posts:
    287
    Likes Received:
    1
    ^^ good article
     
  15. Woodstock

    Woodstock So Say We All

    Joined:
    10 Sep 2006
    Posts:
    1,783
    Likes Received:
    2
    i agree, thats an awesomme article, been contimplating putting the front end on my laptop and the backend on my server and setting lirc up for in bed lazyness
     
  16. Gryzor

    Gryzor New Member

    Joined:
    22 Jun 2008
    Posts:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Cheers Glider, worthy of a read.
     
Tags:

Share This Page