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View Full Version : Why would not turn the SC into full Media server?



AndreE
2009-05-22, 03:20
I was reading many topics on this forum and found very interesting in understanding what I may do and what not with SqueezeCenter. The interesting discovery was that I may have it installed on relatively small mini Atom based box, which would cost me ~250 Euro including 330 Atom with 1G Memory and 1TB Hard drive. This would be way cheaper than to have NAS with less computing and performance capacity.
It was very great and drives me away from the Sonos solution, which offers less interesting things due to the proprietary architecture and way higher price.
But doing the planning for the next step into the multi-room audition I came to some other thoughts in regard to the Server. Whatever I do the solution looks like a small PS playing Music server role. It is good for money it costs, but… it is still an investment.
What many people were mentioning in this forum was : "... I would better wait a bit and take better version of ... or more advanced model of ... "
By reading this I was thinking why do not make another step into the multimedia center where I would be able to record TV shows from the cable or play Blue-ray, which I still do not have?
Such thoughts were driving me to the question, would it be worth of making the "real" multimedia server with more power and cover not just music but some other aspects and step into TV area e.g. with HDMI interface and possibility to record and play Video. The sad thing is Atom, even 330 version, would not cover this, more powerful platform would be required.
It still would be fine under Linux, but would need more memory and CPU hose power.
Reading the forum I did not find any post where this step was touched.
Is anybody using this in Squeeze world? I’ve just found very interesting offer with Intel DG45FC Board where HDMI is coming out of the box and Intel claims perfect 1080p play.
I was thinking to have 4G and Intel Core2 E8400 or E8500 on it. There just one question – what to do with the TV/Cable tuner. And whether this approach is reasonable... these questions are bothering me a lot and I would very appreciate your thoughts about it.

simbo
2009-05-22, 04:30
I think you'll find a few people doing exactly that.

I'm running Windows Media Center, for all Live TV (including PVR), DVD, movie library and music needs in the lounge. It provides DVI output to the TV and digital audio output to the surround sound receiver.

It also hosts SqueezeCenter.

It doesn't need to be that powerful - mine's an ancient P4 2Ghz processor, with 1GB RAM - but it still works admirably; The wife can be watching TV while I'm listening to music via a SB upstairs. I'll probably upgrade it when Windows 7 comes out.

As for tuner - I have a dual-tuner DVB PCI card (Hauppauge Nova-T 500).

The only concern is power consumption. Our Media Center uses ~80 watts, which would make it pretty poor if it was just for SqueezeCenter. An Atom box would obviously consume much less.

AndreE
2009-05-22, 08:37
Hi Simbo, thanks for sharing the thoughts.
Very much appreciated. The power consumption is a good point, I was not really thinking about it.
I just have checked the user manual from my DVD player (around 8 years old Pioneer) and found interesting thing. It consumes just 15 watts and Atom 330 machine according to internet readings consumes approximately 30-50 watts depending on the load and HDD. What in total drives up to 50-60 Watt range. In case of the music only mode this would be just 30-50, what is less than your 80, and it is 50% ! hmm...
Adding another 100-200 watt from the amplifier this difference is dropping to less than 20% difference and adding another room(s), as I am thinking to do now, drops the power sowings to (neglected?) 10% range…
Please do not take me wrong, it is nothing else than just thoughts in public.

Do you use HDMI and HD video or it is still “normal” TV signal?
What kind of mother board do you have? Is it mini factor or usual Tower like box?
Do you use this machine for something else or it is a pure media device?

What bothers me a bit more? The machine I may build for this would be way bigger than my younger daughter has, what may raise some questions, even the triggering event was from my wife, who keep asking for "all rooms" sound. We did renovation recently, but did not lay audio cables in the wall – what was a noticeable mistake.

simbo
2009-05-22, 09:06
Do you use HDMI and HD video or it is still “normal” TV signal?
HDMI @ 720p (the native resolution of the TV), using a standard DVI-to-HDMI cable from the PC.


What kind of mother board do you have? Is it mini factor or usual Tower like box?
It's a cheapo Asrock mini-ATX motherboard, in a fairly decent desktop-sized case. There's a picture of it here (http://forums.slimdevices.com/showpost.php?p=287342&postcount=43).


Do you use this machine for something else or it is a pure media device?
Just media, including TV. We've got rid of all other set-top boxes, DVD players etc and just have that one unit.

AndreE
2009-05-22, 09:15
Did you try to get 1080p on your box or it would need more HW power?
I know, the question is a bit odd, but who knows - some people are keen to try

simbo
2009-05-22, 09:19
Did you try to get 1080p on your box or it would need more HW power?
I know, the question is a bit odd, but who knows - some people are keen to try
I've tried SDTV/DVD upscaled to 1080i and it worked fine. My TV won't support 1080p and I don't have any 1080 media to try it with. To be honest it's more important to have a good graphics controller than PC power necessarily.

AndreE
2009-05-22, 09:30
I was thinking about Intel DG45FC MB.
Intel claims sufficient video power for this type of work... but who knows.
is there anyone who did this?