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Single seat HTPC migrated to server-client setup

Discussion in 'Completed HTPC Projects' started by jayrock, December 6, 2009.

  1. jayrock
    • Premium Supporter

    jayrock

    System Specs
    Hi,

    since about 9 months I have been running MediaPortal on a single seat machine. Specs:

    - ASUS M2A-VM
    - Athlon X2 3800+
    - Gigabyte HD 4550 passive
    - Seagate Spinpoint F2 500 GB for OS, music and movies
    - Seagate Spinpoint F1 400 GB for backup and timeshift
    - Hauppauge Win NOVA-T-500
    - some NEC DVD burner
    - Silverstone TJ-08
    - CPU cooling Zalman CPNS-7000
    - Single 12cm Nexus case fan
    - 7" touchscreen for control
    - Yamaha YSP-4000 sound projector, connected natively via HDMI to the PC
    - Elac Cinema subwoofer
    - Sanyo PLV-Z 5 video projector, connected natively via HDMI to the sound projector
    - Network provided by D-LINK DIR-655 Draft-N wireless router
    - Control: Logitech Harmony 525, Logitech diNovo Mini


    The systems runs very well, with the main applications listen to music and watching tv. I also have two netbooks which run the TV client.

    Since summer this year I have started to use the machine as a general server also for storing my personal files, with regular sync between the two harddisks to have at least some resiliance for my data storage. I also installed Open-VPN for remote access. This all worked very well, but I noticed that when the machine was running jobs like file sync it had a negative impact on video playback (stutters, etc.). Secondly, the machine drew about 70W in idle, which is in my view a bit too much for remote file access. I also wasn't absolutely happy with the visuals of the Silverstone case - even though it's one of the nicest looking mATX desktop cases. (I had a so called HTPC case before, I never managed to get it silent and it had too many compromises).

    So, the idea was to used the existing machine as a pure server, and build a decent client. It needed to be small, so ITX was the way to got. I first started to look at the Zotac ION solutions, but figured that for just a litte bit more money I get a similar solutions based on Zotac 9300 ITX and a Celeron 3200. This setup has much more beef than the ATOM of the ION board. The CPU is pretty new and was said to have low power consumption, therefore also low heat to move.

    Looking at cases I decided to go for Antec's ISK-300, for two main reasons. (i) It had good reviews (ii) It's pretty cost efficient, so ideal for a trial.

    The components I got then are:

    - Zotac 9300 ITX
    - Celeron E3200
    - Scythe Big Shuriken
    - Antec ISK 300
    - Kingston DDR2 PC800 2GB CL5 ValueRam
    - HDD WD Scorpio 60 GB 2.5"

    The build went smooth, though the Shuriken is indeed a tight fit. I also had to take away a bit of the HDD bracked in the Antec case because it interfered with the Shuriken. I also removed the TriCool case fan, because it interfered with the Shuriken. Since the CPU fan control on the Zotac board doesn't work properly I connected the Shuriken fan to the case fan header and used a Fanmate to control the speed. The fan runs at lowest setting now. Temperatures are approx 40 °C for the CPU and around 55 °C for the GPU.

    I got rid of the video card in the server machine and set the Athlon CPU to 1 GHz, 0,895V fixed. The server runs at 45W now. Server and client are using wired GB Ethernet to the D-LINK router. The server is now located next to the router, and the wire to the client location was alread in place.

    I upgraded two upgrade two of my Vista license to Windows 7, so everything runs on Windows 7 now.

    So far my expectation are fullfilled, the Celeron CPU together with the Zotac board even exceeds my expectations. Loading MP takes about 4 seconds.

    Enjoy the pics. Comments are welcome!

    /jayrock

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  2. TommySharp
    • Premium Supporter

    TommySharp

    System Specs
    Looking good!

    Does the projector and touchscreen both display the same thing? How is navigation using the touchscreen?
  3. jayrock
    • Premium Supporter

    jayrock Thread Starter

    System Specs
    AW: Single seat HTPC migrated to server-client setup

    Hi ThommySharp,

    thanks!

    The whole idea with the touchscreen came up because for my purposes dot matrix displays don't offer enough space to display all needed information. I had a Silverstone LC-11 before and that didn't work for me. Cases with integrateded touchscreens are extremely bulky and also I wanted to be more flexibel with respect to the positioning of the screen, so that was not an option. I also wanted to experiment first, I wasn't sure if touchscreen control was any good. This one I got off eBay for around 100 €, which was ok for the serious attempt. Well, it was a very good investement, I'm very happy with the outcome. Using the touch screen for about a year now and I don't want anything else.

    Projector and touchscreen indeed show the same thing, they run in clone mode. The touchscreen goes off automatically when I switch to the projector, because the touchscreen doesn't support 720x1280. When on the projector I'm using the remote, so I tested different skins for the used with both remote and touchscreen. None had ideal support, so I ended up with Blue3. To use it propoerly with the touchscreen I wrote a small script which interprets a double tap as a click. With this I can move the mouse to select items, and double tap to click them. The remote is not affected by this script, ie. it still works with curser keys and OK button.

    Cheers

    jayrock
  4. richrox

    richrox

    Re: AW: Single seat HTPC migrated to server-client setup

    I envy you, Sweet setup.
  5. jayrock
    • Premium Supporter

    jayrock Thread Starter

    System Specs
    AW: Re: AW: Single seat HTPC migrated to server-client setup

    Thanks!

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