[linux-dvb] Best platform for media??

Pasi Juppo pasi.juppo at iki.fi
Sat Feb 26 17:03:04 CET 2005

Simon Baxter wrote:
> Hi,
> I want to build a good platform to run FC3.  My existing media PC does 
> not have enough grunt to do what I want, but need help with the best spec.
> What's best for Linux and media encoding watching?

If you go the way which is the best then prepare to spend quite a lot of 
money. IMO, for TV and video replay the best available is not needed..

> Chipset.
>    nForce, SIS or Via ?

Not sure if nForce is good for linux (some problems with NF2 and NF3 - 
not sure if they have been fixed by now).

>    64-bit - worth considering?

Not necessary but worth considering. Requires additional steps to get 
everything up and running properly but once done it is fast. If you go 
this way then I suggest to spend some extra and get 939pin version.

>    SIS
>        what is SiS741?
>        what is SiS748?
>        what is SiS741GX?
>    nForce
>        what is nForce2?
>        NVIDIA nForce2?
>        nForce2IGP?
>        what is nForce2Ultra400?
>        what is nForce2Ultra400 +MCP?
>        what is nForce2Ultra400 +MCP2S?
>        nForce3 250 (64bit)?
>        nForce3 Pro 250 (64bit)?
>        nForce3 (64bit)?
>        nForce3 Ultra (64bit)?
> Board Manufacturers, which is best?
>    Gigabyte
>    MSI
>    Epox
>    Asus
>    Abit
>    Tyan
>    others?

I'd suggest that you go for one which have passive cooling for north and 
south bridges (if you're not familiar with those terms then check that 
there is no fan on the board). Fans produce additional noise and weak link.

> What is, and what is best?
>    DDR266
>    DDR333
>    DDR400
>    DDDR400
>    FSB/DDR400

DDR400 is the minimun nowadays that you should consider. Price 
difference between slower and faster regular DIMMs is neglible. DDR2, 
that I assume you meant with the fourth option, is not yet feasible 
option. It's going to be good option eventually but not this year, I think.

If you like to spend more money then go for original fast memory modules 
such as Kingston HyperX. Reliable and fast (you need to adjust timings 
for the memory from BIOS).

> Processor
>        I've been warned away from Celeron for Linux.  Am looking at the 
> AMD / Sempron (Skt A) or Intel Pentium
>        I suppose I should be looking at the higest clock speed, FSB, 
> highest amount of L2 cache?

Yes, stay away from Celeron. CPU power is not that critical if you have 
full feature DVB card (HW decompressing of MPEG stream on the card) and 
you don't require additional processing of the video. But, if you want 
to have progressive or HDTV video then I suggest to go pretty fast CPU.

For slow CPU:
-AthlonXP 2500+ is good option: pretty fast and runs quite cool
-P4: starting from 2,4GHz is cheapest and fast enough
-Athlon 64: any

For fast CPU:
-AthlonXP: at least 3000+ (requires quite much cooling)
-P4: at least 2,8GHz (should be enough)
-Athlon64: 3000+ should be enough (939 pin)

Remember also that faster CPU requires better cooling thus you need to 
invest quite much to the cooling if you want it to be silent.

> Hard disk
>    I gather SATA will be better than standard ATA/IDE?  Don't want to go 
> down the scsi route...

S-ATA is good choice.

> Audio
>    AC'97 - I gather this is a standard embedded sound card?
>    6Channel audio - this is dolby 6?  Probably multi-channel output?  Do 
> they also generally support a standard stereo din plug?

Depending on other requirements but if you need it for DVDs and DVB then 
look for S/PDIF output. Full featured DVB cards tend to have S/PDIF 
output as well so soundcard may not be even needed.

>    5.1Channel audio - dolby5.1?  Same, do they also generally support a 
> standard stereo din plug?
>    7.1Channel audio - dolby 7?  same as above?

Analogue audio only if you don't have receiver with DD and DTS decoding 

> Video
>    I want a card, preferably with composite output.

Not sure but if there's TV-out in the graphic card then there is always 
composite output. This provides the poorest image.

Minimum for analogue video-output is s-video, IMO. Better is to have RGB 

FF DVB cards have adequate output for video.

If you go for HDTV then it gets a bit more complicated. You need to 
check, which cards provide adequate resolution for HDTV.

If possible then go for DVI, which provide digital output for video. The 
best result comes from this but requires support from receiving end i.e. 
TV, projector etc.

>    What's uATX?

Motherboard form, very small. If you wan't to build small HTPC type 
computer then this is good solution. Expansion slots are minimal - AGP 
is often missing, PCI ports are limited to 1 or 2 and a lot of 
peripherials are integrated.

>    Best to get 8x?

Will not provide any advantages for video viewing purposes. This comes 
handy when using a lot of textures for 3D graphics.

Br, Pasi

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