What type of hardware you running.....

I am looking at putting together the server I am going to have to run all the automation programs (cqc, jriver, theater tek, etc)

I know some people are using barebones systems, some are using brand new everything. I don't want to go overkill but I want to make sure that the computer is not going to be bogged down if we are running three audio stream to different rooms, while using the home theater.

Any and all input is welcome.

I have two systems that I'm running. They are nearly identical. I'm running everything you are plus BTV which will switch to Sage when I go Live with CQC.

Codegen 4U rack mount case (just pulled both out of Silverstone LC10's)
XCLIO 450W Power Supply (the second one has a 400W)
P4P800E Deluxe Motherboard
3.0 Intel 800MHZ FSB w/Hyper Threading Processor 1G Cache (2.8 in the second no HT)
2 x 512MB Corsair Value RAM
2 X WD2500SD Raid Edition SATA HD for Data in Raid 0 on Intel ICH5r Controller (single hard drive in the second, but it's about to get more)
Toshiba SD-M1912BK DVD-ROM 16X
ATI 9600XT 128 MB Video Card (X700 XT 256 in the second)
Hauppauge PVR-500MCE Capture Card (None in the second)
Hauppauge PVR-250 Capture Card
MCE Remote Receiver (Soon to be USB Uirt)
Harmony 880 Remote
Microsoft Remote Keyboard
MCE 2005 OS

If I was to do it today I would use a PCIE board that would support more SATA drives off of one controller and give me more RAID options. I would also consider 450W the bottom for a power supply. I would also likely go AMD. The Prescott is power hungry and runs warmish in the Silverstones. They run a little cooler in the new cases. The X700 is overkill for theater and adds significantly to the power requirements. The 9600 works just fine. I expect the first box to be able to record three HD streams while writing 1 or 2 without problems. It can record 3 SD streams and send out two without trouble now. I do get an occasional hickup at the second machine that I think is either the Video card going or maybe not enough power. I'm going to swap them and see what that does.
Why two computers? One for the PVR stuff and one for automation.

Do you have all your media (dvd, music, pcr'd shows, etc) on a seperate file server?


(btw what is a sata raid drive? do you just mean a sata drive that is part of yoru raid 0?)
My CQC/SageTV server is pretty budget. It can do 2 audio streams, plus record SageTV. I don't currently use it for playback (ie theatertek), but as it rarely goes above 20% CPU, I'm going to make it a 2nd video renderer at SDTV levels, so no dScaler or FFDShow. Just plain mpeg playback, which would barely take CPU.

- AMD2500 Barton - $70
- Asus A7V600 mobo $55
- 512MB RAM - $45
- Antec Sonata II w/450w ps - $95 (nice cuz it can hold something like 10 HDs)
- Delta M-Audio 410
- Hauppauge PVR 250
- ATI 9600 (non-pro, so it's fanless ie quiet)

In my HD-HTPC playback that does TheaterTek, and SageTV with dScaler, I put in an AMD3200 with Abit NF7-S2, and a 9800Pro ATI card. I bought that nearly 18 months ago, so again, at the time it was decent. It's still considered good PQ now. I used a 2nd machine as I didn't want to regularly muck with the server - that's now considered mission critical.

I bought this nearly 3 years ago, get a new technology CPU. If I were doing TheaterTek, I might bump up the CPU a wee bit to be safe. If I were going to put on an HDTV, I'd definitely bump up the CPU a few clicks, at least 2800 if not more. I'd also get at least the 9800 Pro if not better.
I started to read a lot about the PC hardware in the last month since I wanted to build an automation/HTPC server. Actually, to justify the expense I'm telling my wife it'll be our HTPC, but I plan to start playing with PC based automation there too (I only have a laptop now).

The information that I got is that not only the lastest Intel technology is much more power efficient than the AMD, but it is generally faster (with exceptions). The lastest notebook processors (Pentium M/Core Duo?), use very few watts and are very fast except for floating point processing (MP3, etc.). The next desktop generation based on the same technology should be as efficient, but will have better floating point processing (which is the weak point of the current laptop CPUs).

Since all current CPUs are so power hungry (and I dont want my PC to sound like a vacum cleaner), I decided to wait about 6 months for these CPUs and related motherboard to come to the market (Core Duo 2). I know that technology is always improving. I'm one of the ones that say not to to wait, but there are certaing abrupt technology changes for which it make sense to hold off a little. In my case I want dual-core so that I can play with several applications (and even OSs via VMWare) at the same time.
DeathtoToasters said:
Why two computers? One for the PVR stuff and one for automation.

Do you have all your media (dvd, music, pcr'd shows, etc) on a seperate file server?


(btw what is a sata raid drive? do you just mean a sata drive that is part of yoru raid 0?)
One was the PVR Server and the other a client for a second entertainment center. The client is taking on the duty of a CCQ master server and will serve the media other than recorded TV. During prime time, I expect that the DVR will have a lot of read/writes going on.

I'm in the process of adding and moving drives around now. The media is all stored internally. I did this both to take advantage of the space available in my cases and to try to distribute the read\write workload. I need to get something centralized for back up, as i add more and more stuff, I'm more concerned about loosing it.

Yep, they are SATA drives in a Raid 0