One computer 24/7 and an extra or the extra 24/7

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pablo villa
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One computer 24/7 and an extra or the extra 24/7

Post by pablo villa » Sun May 27, 2007 11:25 pm

I think Ive got it solved but just want to see if I can get some more insigt. I have a epia server that I use for samba/httpd etc. Im in the planning for a htpc that will have a athlon x2 65m processor in it. The plan is to store everything on the server and turn on the htpc when needed. Will this improve my electricity consumption or am I better of throwing out the epia and going with the htpc 24/7 with a hard disk drive in it?

Note: the htpc will be run in linux from a usb stick.

Bigg
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Post by Bigg » Mon May 28, 2007 3:58 am

An HTPC will need to be run 24/7 if it is doing DVR type stuff. If not, then leave the Epia on and turn the HTPC off, as the Epia consumes a lot less than an Athlon. If you are going to do DVR stuff with the HTPC, then you should get a 35W or lower CPU, a Pico PSU, all of that sort of stuff to make it as efficient as possible.

pablo villa
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Post by pablo villa » Mon May 28, 2007 5:15 am

What do you mean by DVR? :oops: I mainly want to record programs, and watch movies. I will probably not be saving anything so I wont be needing to convert recordings. Will a picoPSU draw less than a normal PSU? I thought it was just smaller? So if I have the space I thought I might as well use a regular PSU that I have lying about...?

And I can turn it on when I know I want to record stuff. Most recording will be done when watching other shows anyways...

Bigg
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Post by Bigg » Mon May 28, 2007 11:59 am

DVR= digital video recorder. Like a TiVo, but better. Any PC that does that needs to be up 24/7, so you should use that as your miain server box. DVR computers are usually Windows, so if you want a Linux server, you could run VMWare for that. PicoPSU has a much higher efficiency, so it is the best choice. If I were you, I would get a 35W or less CPU, a motherboard with integrated graphics, and the biggest hard drives, so that you don't need a huge box full of hot, power consuming, spinning drives. RAID 1 or 5 would also be great to make sure that your data is safe.

pablo villa
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Post by pablo villa » Mon May 28, 2007 11:49 pm

Thanks for the input, but Im having trouble realising why it needs to be up 24/7? Why not just turn it on when I come home and record what I feel like. Sure there will be the odd occasions when I need to record something during the day, but then Ill just turn it on then.

And with regards to lots of space: I dont want to keep stuff forever. Ive read somewhere that 2gb/hour is quite fine, so a 160gb hard drive willl leave me with say 70 hours after OS + programs.

Why would it require windows? MythTv seems nice to me, read that it was a bummer to setup, but I thought Id give it a try at least...

lm
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Post by lm » Tue May 29, 2007 7:04 am

Bigg wrote:DVR computers are usually Windows, so if you want a Linux server, you could run VMWare for that.
Usually? What kind of argument is that?

Here's THE program you want to use on linux:
http://www.mythtv.org

Features and screenshots:
http://www.mythtv.org/modules.php?name=MythFeatures

Bigg
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Post by Bigg » Tue May 29, 2007 7:27 am

If you can get Myth to go, great! Try it, and when it doesn't work, install XP and SageTV. SageTV and BeyondTV are the two big ones that work on XP, and are very easy to use and set up. They also have a TON of features, and ability to easily distribute out over a network, or to have a centralized back-end server, and then have light front-end for when you just need to access the content.

As for up 24/7, if you can manage that, great. The problem is, you might forget to turn it on, and miss stuff. The whole idea of any DVR is that it is up 24/7. Sage or BTV might support waking the computer up out of sleep if it needs to record, not sure. I know TiVo is always up, as it can record whenever. Once you get used to having a DVR, you will get used to recording stuff at every which time of the day, which requires 24/7 operation. If you combine your other server, then you aren't using THAT much more power, and you have a 24/7 server for whatever else you want to do.

Watch out on the HDD space. You can never have enough. 160GB is downright shrimpy these days, when people are building 5TB+ arrays. To save power, 1 HDD (or 2 RAID1) is the most that you would probably want, but do yourself a favor and pick up a pair of 750GB drives, RAID1. You can never have enough storage.

HueyCobra
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Post by HueyCobra » Tue May 29, 2007 8:30 am

Bigg wrote:Once you get used to having a DVR, you will get used to recording stuff at every which time of the day, which requires 24/7 operation.
The VideoMate T750 can power up (and power down) the computer for automated recording, and presumably there are other products with that feature. Very handy, especially if you go on a holiday for instance.
pablo villa wrote:And with regards to lots of space: I dont want to keep stuff forever. Ive read somewhere that 2gb/hour is quite fine, so a 160gb hard drive willl leave me with say 70 hours after OS + programs.
Example numbers with the T750 and Australian digital TV:

High Definition :arrow: 1440×1080 MPEG-II
• 1.96 Mbps / 0:59:33 = 4.81GB
• 2.16 Mbps / 1:00:47 = 4.91GB
• 2.55 Mbps / 1:03:23 = 5.12GB

Standard Definition :arrow: 720×576 MPEG-II
• 7.33 Mbps / 0:32:12 = 1.65GB
• 7.18 Mbps / 1:01:12 = 3.07GB
• 7.33 Mbps / 1:00:28 = 3.09GB

I didn't realise HD recorded at a lower bit-rate than SD until I noted the figures just then (I'm no home theatre expert :P). Quality of both is excellent on my 21" SyncMaster 214T.

ComproDTV 3 appears to have configurable recording settings, but these are greyed out in my copy. I don't mind as the default MPEG-II causes no major problems apart from its size, but that's one reason why I have a 750GB HDD :)

drees
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Post by drees » Fri Jun 01, 2007 12:19 am

Bigg wrote:An HTPC will need to be run 24/7 if it is doing DVR type stuff.
No it doesn't, depending on the DVR software you are using.

I am using MythTV and have configured my system to automatically shutdown at night when no recordings are scheduled. Now my system only runs 12-16 hours a day instead of 24 hours a day.

pablo villa
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Post by pablo villa » Fri Jun 01, 2007 12:46 am

drees wrote:I am using MythTV and have configured my system to automatically shutdown at night when no recordings are scheduled. Now my system only runs 12-16 hours a day instead of 24 hours a day.
That sounds nifty! Im guessing you cant do it the other way around though and have it turn itself on without special hardware like the one HueyCobra mentioned..?

Bigg
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Post by Bigg » Fri Jun 01, 2007 7:28 am

Yeah, how does it start back up? Using sleep would be a better option, as it could possibly wake itself back up.

drees
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Post by drees » Fri Jun 01, 2007 9:57 am

My MythTV system uses ACPI wakeup times to automatically wake itself up after shutting down.

Here's a couple links with some more information:
http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/ACPI_Wakeup
http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/Mythwelcome

Suspend to ram or disk would be nice as that would reduce startup times, but startup times aren't really an issue since I configure it to stay on during times I'm likely to want to watch TV. Otherwise I push the power button and it takes about two minutes to boot up.

pablo villa
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Post by pablo villa » Fri Jun 01, 2007 11:14 am

drees wrote:My MythTV system uses ACPI wakeup times to automatically wake itself up after shutting down.

Here's a couple links with some more information:
http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/ACPI_Wakeup
http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/Mythwelcome

Suspend to ram or disk would be nice as that would reduce startup times, but startup times aren't really an issue since I configure it to stay on during times I'm likely to want to watch TV. Otherwise I push the power button and it takes about two minutes to boot up.
My hero!

Do you know how long Ive been trying to find something like this? Drees rocks..!

mimwdv
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Post by mimwdv » Mon Jun 11, 2007 9:19 pm

You can do this in Windows, too. I run Webscheduler- it wakes my system from hibernation or standby a couple of minutes before a scheduled recording. So my system is only on a few hours a day. Windows is set to hibernate the machine after a few minutes of inactivity.

pputer
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Post by pputer » Thu Jun 14, 2007 7:48 am

Bigg, did you ever try GB-PVR? Or anyone, for that matter? It's the free Windows PVR/DVR software out there. I was going to try it and compare it to Mythtv. Mythtv seems very good but I needed lots of help setting it up. Basically, I just researched problems and did a lot of reading. I didn't install it or do any linux stuff (i.e. compiling or troubleshooting). I also don't like the current offerings of mythtv-based distros. I would like to use one of the main linux distros and ADD mythtv to that but I read there is a lot of work in doing that (includes compiling). I might try it later but my next project was going to be setting up GB-PVR.

Bigg
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Post by Bigg » Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:52 pm

pputer wrote:Bigg, did you ever try GB-PVR? Or anyone, for that matter? It's the free Windows PVR/DVR software out there. I was going to try it and compare it to Mythtv. Mythtv seems very good but I needed lots of help setting it up. Basically, I just researched problems and did a lot of reading. I didn't install it or do any linux stuff (i.e. compiling or troubleshooting). I also don't like the current offerings of mythtv-based distros. I would like to use one of the main linux distros and ADD mythtv to that but I read there is a lot of work in doing that (includes compiling). I might try it later but my next project was going to be setting up GB-PVR.
Link? Sounds interesting.

Avalanche
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Post by Avalanche » Fri Jun 15, 2007 2:40 pm

I use and love GB-PVR. :D

It was easy to set up with my Hauppauge PVR-150 MCE, has a nice 10' interface, EPG, lots of plug-ins, etc. Why pay for Beyond TV or Sage TV without giving it a try?

I would like to give MythTV a try, but I need Windows for enough stuff that I can't really afford to take the time. GB-PVR sits in the system tray most of the time when I'm using the computer, but when I want to watch something, I fire up the main application and sit on the couch, using the TV output from my video card.

pputer
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Post by pputer » Fri Jun 15, 2007 6:46 pm

Bigg wrote:Link? Sounds interesting.
http://www.gbpvr.com/

They have a forum and I thought the users and GB-PVR people are very nice and really try to help when you run into problems.

The web page includes info on various TV Tuner Capture cards and other HTPC/HD (High Definition) topics. I think it's rare to find someone offering something Windows-based for free so I recommend them even though I haven't tried it yet. :wink:

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