Cheap+small+fanless+HD minimyth working!

Talk about successully using hardware here.

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Yossarian87
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Cheap+small+fanless+HD minimyth working!

Post by Yossarian87 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:08 am

I just threw together a new frontend based on ZOTAC's NVIDIA ION motherboard. I already have 4 other frontends but most of them can't handle HD and the one that can handle HD has 3 fans, draws a lot of power, and cost a ton of money (like $350).

The whole thing required only 3 parts:
$169.99 ZOTAC IONITX-C-U Intel Atom N230 Mini ITX ION Platform Motherboard/CPU Combo with 90W PSU (Newegg N82E16813500028)
$13.99 PNY OPTIMA 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model (Newegg N82E16820178153)
$22.99 Anyware HA-IR01SV Infrared Certified MCE VISTA Remote Control (Newegg N82E16880121001)

Total price $206.97

All I did was pop DIMM into the motherboard, attached the included power supply, hook up the remote control and plug in ethernet and HDMI. All of my frontends run over NFS and boot with PXE. Using the latest version (minimyth-0.21.0-67) it worked flawlessly.

Most importantly, the whole system only draws 18 watts while playing HD video, which is low enough that no fans are needed. My infrared thermometer reports a temperature of 56C on the surface of the heatsink.

Image
These pictures are taken while the system is running and playing 720p video. Because there are no fans or lights, you can't tell the system is on until you see a picture on the TV, but this is the whole point of a silent HTPC!
Image

In case anyone else wants to build this kind of system on the cheap, you will need a keyboard temporarily to configure your BIOS settings, and you'll need servers running mythbackend, NFS, DHCP, and TFTP. I'm running without a case because there aren't any loose wires to contain. You can power the board on by shorting the power pins with a screwdriver. If you wanted a case I would suggest the ultra cheap M350 Universal Mini-ITX enclosure for $39.95.

goldwein
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Re: Cheap+small+fanless+HD minimyth working!

Post by goldwein » Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:48 pm

I have to agree here. I have a variety of FE's which include ASUS and Epias. This is by far the best. It runs HD flawlessly, and does so generally at less than 10% CPU utilization. I am using HDMI direct to my monitor, which is also wonderful.

One issue I have though, is that if I escape from a recording while there is audio of any significant volume, there is a continuous "buzz" at what sounds as if it is the last frequency of audio out of the unit. Not sure where the problem is here, but the workaround (a WIF downer) is to pause prior to escaping. Any suggestions as to how this might be overcome would be greatly welcomed.

JG

mweber26
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Re: Cheap+small+fanless+HD minimyth working!

Post by mweber26 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:25 am

I just got the same setup and it works great!

mike

ReKa
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Re: Cheap+small+fanless+HD minimyth working!

Post by ReKa » Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:42 pm

great. but for 200 $ you dont have all you need, I think.
what about a case? a DVD-ROM would be great, too. so I think, its rather 250-300 $ when it is finished?

wroopy
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Re: Cheap+small+fanless+HD minimyth working!

Post by wroopy » Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:29 pm

Looks interseting.
Any recommendation of a case?

/Andreas

mweber26
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Re: Cheap+small+fanless+HD minimyth working!

Post by mweber26 » Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:57 am

The OP recommends a case at the bottom of the post. Although for me specifically, I don't use cases.

In the bedroom I have a sofa table and it is stored in one of the drawers. I just drilled holes in the back of the drawer and in the back of the cabinet and in the wall then the cables run up that to a hole behind the LCD mount.

In the living room I built a wood cabinet that the TV sits on. And again there is a drawer that the motherboard sits in with holes in the back of the cabinet that connect to the TV.

The best part about this board (at least for my situation) is the laptop power supply. I had a major problem mounting the PSU in the drawers before so that they got access to the outside for the fans. No fans for this board. As for the obvious question of heat. With my boards (virtually no circulation), the heatsink is a little hotter than warm. I can keep my hand on it for extended periods of time.

mike

mx-5
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Re: Cheap+small+fanless+HD minimyth working!

Post by mx-5 » Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:16 pm

Highly recommended!

I recently built a FE using a similar Zotac Atom 230 ION motherboard, but with ATX power instead of DC power. I bought an itx case similar-sized to the M350. It has the DC to ATX power built in. It's currently running fanless and with Pablo's 70b5 build to see the temp, it's around 52C.

I almost made the mistake of getting a GeForce 8200 itx AM2 board, but luckily I went with the Atom + ION setup - can't imagine cooling an AM2 cpu passively in a tiny case.

habajaba
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Re: Cheap+small+fanless+HD minimyth working!

Post by habajaba » Sat Oct 10, 2009 1:53 pm

Is anyone having performance problems with this setup? I built this exact configuration for wall mounting behind my TV. It works GREAT for watching TV, but the guide can take a minute to come up at times. Other times it's instant. I'm not sure if this is a software bug or hardware speed issue. But, my other 3 frontends don't show this problem. 2 of them are running the exact same version of MiniMyth.
Thanks to the original poster for a great, cheap, wall mountable setup plan!

Rigor_M
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Re: Cheap+small+fanless+HD minimyth working!

Post by Rigor_M » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:39 pm

Hi,

what about 1080p MP4 or (.mkv) files ? can this board play them without any troubles ?

thanks.

robertm
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Re: Cheap+small+fanless+HD minimyth working!

Post by robertm » Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:55 pm

Thanks for this post! I bought one when my frontend MB died, and its currently working perfectly.

rogerjames99
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Re: Cheap+small+fanless+HD minimyth working!

Post by rogerjames99 » Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:14 pm

I just got hold of one of these boards and I need a bit of help getting it going. This is the first time I have tried running minimyth on a nvidia gpu via hdmi. My first question is:-

Is the "off the shelf" ram-minimyth-0.21.0-nvidia.173.14.20 the right thing to use with this board?

In my Xorg log I get some warnings about the gpu name not being recognised, then lots of mode is rejected warnings.

The I get a strange "(EE) PreInit returned NULL for ""HDA Digital PCBeep""

followed by by the same error on ""unamed"".

and of course nothing on the HDMI output which has been showing the boot progress OK until X is started.

Any help gratefully received.

Roger

Pablo
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Re: Cheap+small+fanless+HD minimyth working!

Post by Pablo » Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:57 pm

rogerjames99 wrote:I just got hold of one of these boards and I need a bit of help getting it going. This is the first time I have tried running minimyth on a nvidia gpu via hdmi. My first question is:-

Is the "off the shelf" ram-minimyth-0.21.0-nvidia.173.14.20 the right thing to use with this board?
The NVIDIA 173.14.20 is a legacy driver. You want a MiniMyth build with the latest stable driver. For example, if you are running MythTV 0.21, then you can use minimyth-0.21.0-72, which can be found in latest-0.21.
MiniMyth running on an Acer ApireRevo 3610 and a Zotac ZBOX-ID80-U. Find out more at my MythTV page.

rogerjames99
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Re: Cheap+small+fanless+HD minimyth working!

Post by rogerjames99 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:25 am

Thanks Pablo,

I thought it was strange that the nvidia stuff was all legacy. I had not realised that the latest nvidia drivers were in the vanilla build that I am already running on my other box!

Roger

rogerjames99
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Re: Cheap+small+fanless+HD minimyth working!

Post by rogerjames99 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:38 am

Ah well,

Tried latest-0.21, it identfies the GOPU now but still no hdmi output. I will post the end of the Xorg log in the hardware questions forum.

Thanks,

Roger

wankykootiepooper
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Location: Calgary, AB. Canada

Re: Cheap+small+fanless+HD minimyth working!

Post by wankykootiepooper » Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:13 pm

Does choice of Deinterlacer options for VDPAU under MM_VIDEO_DEINTERLACER affect the CPU load at all?

I would like to run vdpauadvanceddoublerate. Is anyone running this deinterlacer on this board with the 5 to 10% load on 1080p?

Looks like an ideal board for this...

Thanks.

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