MythTV Hardware Review

Last week, I posted a list of hardware that I’m buying for my MythTV. Most if it has arrived and I can make some comments about it now.

First, the Chenbro case is really bad. One of the hard drive bays is inaccessible due to being placed over the motherboard (!) and the other one requires the drive to be mounted upside-down. The 5.25″ bays are also poor, not letting one drive in all four screws (one of them only permits two, and right above each other at that, anchoring only 1 of 4 possible anchor points.)

The Biostar board is nice, but here’s the rub: while it features TV out and S/PDIF out pins on the motherboard, the board doesn’t ship with the connectors necessary to make it work! They charge $12 and $15, respecitvely, for the requires connectors, so this thing is not yet working with a TV.

The Samsung hard drive is great and it is indeed quiet as claimed. I’d heartily reccommend it.

And the Athlon XP 2200+ CPU is, of course, also a very nice one.

The Hauppauge card hasn’t arrive yet; I’m using a very old WinTV card until it does. More on that when it gets here.

7 thoughts on “MythTV Hardware Review

  1. I have been running MythTv for about 3 months now and I am considering putting
    together a nice little dedicated PVR system like you are doing, so please, keep
    posting your results and views. I did not notice a DVD burner in you hardware.
    It’s probably a good time to wait on purchasing a burner (price drops), but was that something you were considering (you WILL use up that 160G)?


  2. Hi Ken,

    You’re right about the DVD burner. I already have a DVD burner in another machine on my home LAN, so I figured I could use that. Though once the price does come down more, I may put one in the MythTV box for convenience.

    I’m still working on the optimal method to go from TV to DVD without having to re-encode video. I’ll be sure to keep posting updates here. Glad you are finding it useful.

    — John

  3. I hope you have better luck with Samsung hard drives than I did. I bought four 40G hard drives a couple of years ago and had 100% failure on all four drives. No warranty coverage on any of the drives, either, so I ate the expense. They were indeed quiet. They’re even quieter now!

    1. It is a bad idea to buy identical drives(especially if being used in some kind of RAID), as identical models are manufactured identically so they all tend to fail at around the same time. Hard Drives don’t last forever either.

    2. Too bad peolple with onze a bad experience keep whining about it.
      I had problems with a whole batch (20) of Hitachi 40Gb drives.
      Most of them were replaced, only the once with missing invoices did not.

      I use Samsung for a long time because they are -really- quit, and no
      single one failed so far.

  4. Instead of buying an expensive case, have you consider buing a regular PC and then getting a long USB 2 cable and an exteral CD/DVD-RW?

  5. Yes, I considered that, but the cable would have to be *really* long, and actually I’d need several cables:

    * Antenna in

    * SVideo in from Dish tuner

    * Audio in from Dish tuner

    * IR blaster

    * IR receiver

    * Audio out

    * Video out

    For the video especially, it’s been my experience that long cable lengths degrade the signal.

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