Lothar's Build Log R0.01

Jul 01 2008

I recently reported here that the motherboard that I have been using in my frontend system for the last year or two has been acting up on me.  Well, after RMAing it for the third time over the same issue, I have decided that enough is enough and replaced it.  The problem that I ran into was that the old board was S939 based, which I'm sure you are aware (unless the rock that you've been living under does not have an internet connection) has been replaced by AM2/AM2+.  This has also dictated that I get new RAM (switching from DDR to DDR2).  Since it was a jump in technology, I had not upgraded already, otherwise I would have done it the last time that I had to RMA the board.   But last week, I decided to take the leap.

Just received are the following parts:

These will be put into my Antec NSK-2400 case and included 380W PSU that has served me well for quite some time.

There are a few objectives I have in mind for this upgraded frontend.

  1. Mythtv frontend
  2. DVD storage
  3. Windows Virtual Machine

The first objective listed is a direct functional replacement of the old setup.  This will run as a client to my Mythtv setup allowing playback of recorded shows and movies located on my servers.  This will be connected to the primary tv in our house.  As such, it must meet all of the cool, quiet and non-eye-sore factors imposed by it being in a public location.

The second objective I have is to archive a good chunk of the movies that I have on DVD onto the 640Gbyte hard drive that I purchased for this system.  I will probably reserve 100Gbytes or so for #3 on the list, but other than the 2-3 Gigs that I will need for OS use, the rest will be movies.  I had initially planned on putting these on my server but I haven't gotten to that yet and I've already used up over half of the 1.6TB of storage that I have on there.  Since I really only watch movies on this tv it won't matter that it's not all located on the server, and I can just as easily share the drive on the network from the frontend as easily as on the server.

The third objective I have opens up a number of options for me.  If you are not already aware of Virtual Machines, basically it allows you to run multiple OSes on the same hardware at the same time.  If you have hardware and a Virtual Machine Manager that supports it, you can even run a Virtual Windows OS.  I intend to use Fedora 9 x64 as the primary OS and run a Virtual Windows Vista Home Premium.  I am unsure which Virtual Machine implementation I will use yet.  We have worked with Xen where I work but I was considering KVM or QEMU as alternatives if they support full virtualization.  VMWare is ruled out because it only does para-virtualization and you need access to the OS source to use it (which obviously isn't going to happen with Windows). If I can get Windows running as well on this system then I could potentially do some comparisons between VMC and Mythtv.  This may also allow me to test out FFDShow that others have been talking about for ... years.

So that's the plan for the new setup.  I will try and keep you updated as things progress.  If all goes well, perhaps I can even convince my wife it's time to get a Blu-Ray player or maybe a projector.  That would sure be fun.

And as always, feel free to drop a comment in the forums. 

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