Shuttle XPC system

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Allen1066

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#1
Has anyone built a system based round the Shuttle XPC. Which is the quietest model and most suitable for running something like MythTV. Is the onboard graphics output good enough, or would I need a model with an AGP slot so I can add my own card.

Any thoughts, experiences and recommendations would be greatfully received.

Allen
 
PoloMint

PoloMint

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#2
I have looked at these things with mixed feelings.

It’s fun and funky but for serious use I wouldn’t use one, I’d get the smallest mATX case I could, (maybe a little desktop one about the same size as a large VCR, in black or silver) with a micro ATX motherboard and some of the ultra quiet fans and PSUs from Zalman and the likes.

Getting a motherboard that supports the mobile Athlon (which at 2400 only takes 34watts, compared to 50-100 watts for regular Athlons and Intels) would keep the amount of fans down, the Zalman passive cooling might even work if you have the case well arrainged.

For TV watching on board graphics should be fine, but the mATX route should give you a AGP slot anyway (as long as you choose the right motherboard) so I’d stick a good graphics card in there, just to play games on the TV out.

What sort of budget were you looking at?
 
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Allen1066

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#3
I hadn't considered the budget yet (maybe £500, if that is realistic?). I just wanted to make a quiet PVR to sit in my living room. One without any fans would be nice (if possible), but the problem is knowing where to start. I latched onto the Shuttle idea purely because it's a well known system, but I could be easily swayed to another if it offers better functionality and is quieter.

If you add an AGP card isn't that going to increase heat and noise (if it has a fan) ?

Are there any resources I could look for on the web that would help ?

Thanks,

Allen
 
PoloMint

PoloMint

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#4
£500 is quite realistic (excluding the monitor/TV/whatever display you want) for a complete small case unit, I think for a shuttle that might not be enough, but I haven’t checked their prices recently.

http://www.quietpc.com/uk/ have fanless PSUs, CPU coolers, case fans and in fact everything else quiet you would need to build a system.

http://www.quietpc.com/uk/htpc.php#htx00 have cases designed to blend in with AV equipment and be quiet with good airflow, but they are not cheap and you could save £100 by getting a small regular desktop case, provided you can find a style that suits you and it has good airflow.

http://www.zalmantech.com/ http://www.quietpc.com/uk/products.php have a wide range of quiet CPU fans, many UK retailers sell them also.

You can get a AGP graphics card with passive cooling and it won’t generate too much heat, they are only really under extreme stress when gaming, being used for a PVR they won’t contribute that much to case heat.

http://www.byopvr.com/ have many reviews of PVR software suites and tips for building a PVR

I don’t know if you would want XP Media Center Edition or just XP Pro or something else entirely. You should also probably look at getting some additional remote control units, most TV tuners etc come with one, and you can get windows plugin software that lets you control more of windows with it, but to be able to use windows properly you would be better off getting a separate unit. The alternative is a wireless keyboard and mouse with good range, but that’s not ideal.

I think this would be very fun to build, I don’t really have a use for one now (or the money) but if I did I would already have it underway I think.
 
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Allen1066

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#5
Thanks Polomint, that's really helpful. The case from QuietPC looks fantastic, I'm sure I can stretch my budget just a little bit more....

I've been reading around this subject for a while and I might try MythTV or VDR along with DVB-T and DVB-S cards.

I've built PCs before so I'm not afraid of trying something new, I just want to make sure I'm going down the right track and not wasting too much money in the process.

The other thing I'm not sure about is the remote control. The case from QuietPC has something called iMON. I'm not sure if that can be used with the aforementioned software. Any ideas ?
 
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#6
iMON is this http://www.ahanix.com/imon.html it gives you complete control of your PC from the remote, it even has a tiny joystick in the centre that moves the mouse.

I have always imagined (but never actually tested it) that you would need two controls, one for the DVB card(s) and software, and one for windows (in this case iMON). The reason being the DVB card remote control will have shortcuts and controls that the iMON won’t, and using the mouse function to get to them, while it would work, would really slow things down.

I’m not sure what remote controls MythTV can handle, it could be that you will have to configure one manually by editing a text file (that’s how other applications controls can be changed, but it is very time consuming) in which case the control that comes with your DVB card might be fine.

However I think it would really be worth getting the iMON (or another similar thing) to give you complete control of windows, or whatever OS you are using. While there are plugins and tweaks that let nearly any TV card remote control work with other programs, they do not work well. For example my Hauppauge analogue terrestrial remote has plugins that enable it to control programs other than the TV viewing software, but it is clumsy and unreliable, in Power DVD it will do the volume and that’s about all.
 
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Allen1066

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#7
I was thinking of the Technisat SkyStar 2 and AirStar 2 PCI card for the DVB cards. They do a remote control to control both cards, so that should do the trick. Things are starting to come together in my head, now just to take the plunge.
 
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salem6

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#8
Hi

I have a Shuttle XPC with VisionPlus sat PC card - can get sat radio and can see the signals from the sat transpnders (each channel's text stuff) but cannot sort out the decryption. Have a MR CAM.

Running XP - I think there is a set-up clash somewhere. Tried MyTheatre, ProgDVB, etc.

Five weeks of frustration - but determined to get there.

Posted under PC cards in this forum.





Allen1066 said:
Has anyone built a system based round the Shuttle XPC. Which is the quietest model and most suitable for running something like MythTV. Is the onboard graphics output good enough, or would I need a model with an AGP slot so I can add my own card.

Any thoughts, experiences and recommendations would be greatfully received.

Allen
 
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