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Hardware Support Discussions related to using various hardware setups with SageTV products. Anything relating to capture cards, remotes, infrared receivers/transmitters, system compatibility or other hardware related problems or suggestions should be posted here.

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Old 09-22-2008, 02:42 PM
BRAINIAC88 BRAINIAC88 is offline
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Server + Client sizing hardware

Hello all,

I have been following the news and updates here and have decided to get things going again mainly because of two driving factors: (1) BDA drivers exist now for HDHomeRun (2) My local cable company does not activate any flags on the 1394 port on the cable box - [premiums on HD captured over 1394 using CapDVHS @ 1920x1080 @ 38Mbps].

The SageTV Server PC will be located away from the main living room area so as to reduce noise, and so it can capture from a 2nd, less-often used HD cable box. The SageTV server will only record shows, serve shows and movies, maybe do some FTP and/or torrenting, so there it has to be on 24x7 and consume as little power as possible.

Specs of the SageTV Server PC:
> SolyTech SL-8270EPS - highest efficiency PSU at 250W
> MSI 8200M MB - single-chip IGP, lowest power consumption (even lower than 780G), cheap, PCIe slot for RAID card, 1394-built-in, Gigabit LAN
> AMD Athlon Lima core - 1GHz (8W) to 2GHz (22W), should be enough for serving duties only. Another option is a BE-2400 dual core undervolted to 0.8v
> 1x stick DDR2-800, 2GB - not sure yet which is the lowest power consumption DIMM. No need for dual-channel.
> Thermalright HSF - they're the best when it comes to heatpipes
> WD Scorpio Black 320GB 2.5" HDD - Most power efficient HDD at 7200RPM
> Norco 4020 4U case - 20x hot-swap HDD slots, rackmountable, cheap
> HDHomeRun - 'nuff said
> 1394 cable to Motorola 3416

Here are the proposed specs for the SageTVClient PC. Its main objective is to playback all media and be as quiet as possible. It will hibernate when not in use.
> FSP FS-ZEN400296 power supply - fanless, reliable
> Gigabyte 780G MB - decodes 1080p easily with slow CPU, very power efficient, HDMI output, TOSLINK SPDIF output, Gigabit LAN
> Thermaltake DH101 case - nice, simple, not too expensive, IR remote (does it have the ATX cable for power-switching???)
> Athlon 4850e - more than enough power when coupled with 780G
> 2GB DDR2-800 - dual channel
> Reserator 1 - old school silent watercooling
> Hitachi 5K500 - 2nd fastest but quietest of all 2.5" HDDs

So I've read dozens of posts stating that SageTV server essentially just stores video to HDD. Okay, but when playing back files from the SageTV Server to the SageTVClient, what situations would require transcoding to take place? Will transcoding be done on the server PC or on the client PC?

Thank you...
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Old 09-22-2008, 03:12 PM
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GKusnick GKusnick is offline
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SageTVClient doesn't require transcoding (on either end). It can play natively all the same formats that the server can play. If the media is network accessible, SageTVClient will read directly from the source, without streaming through the server at all.
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Old 09-22-2008, 03:36 PM
BRAINIAC88 BRAINIAC88 is offline
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Thank you, Greg.

So then transcoding occurs only when using some kind of extender device/box?
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Old 09-22-2008, 07:20 PM
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GKusnick GKusnick is offline
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I know that transcoding happens when playing HD video on an MVP (SD extender). I don't own an HD extender but I believe it can handle most formats natively, without transcoding (but maybe someone more knowledgeable than me can weigh in on that).

You also get transcoding when using the Placeshifter client over the Internet. (Placeshifter and SageTVClient are two distinct software clients, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, as spelled out in this FAQ).
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Old 09-23-2008, 11:45 AM
BRAINIAC88 BRAINIAC88 is offline
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I see. So placeshifting will cause transcoding on the server.

In that case, I will be changing the CPU of the SageTV Server PC to an Ahtlon 1640B managed with rmclock. This way, it can run at 1GHz minimum, then clock up to 2.7GHz as needed during transcoding. Since it is a single-core CPU, power consumption should be very close to if not equal to the 8W Lima.
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