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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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  #1  
Old 03-22-2011, 04:41 AM
pieroxy pieroxy is offline
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Best hardware for a Sage TV Server

Hello,

I am planning the following setup and am wondering what hardware should I buy (whether I need a powerful PC, lots of RAM etc...)


- 1 server with SageTV. Will not be used, will be in the attic.
- 6 extenders through a gigabit network. HD Theater 300.
- 3 USB DVB-T tuners

Here is the hardware I'm planning to buy:
- ASUS P5Q Pro
- Core 2 Duo @2GHz
- 1GB RAM. Is that enough?
- Lots of HDD (1TB internal for TV, 3+TB over my LAN for pics + vids + MP3)
- AverTV DVB-T HD tuner. Which one?
- Any GC should do (it is true?)


Is that overkill? Should I beef it up?
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  #2  
Old 03-22-2011, 06:30 AM
big poppa pump big poppa pump is offline
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I would suggest putting at least 2GB of memory in there. Additionally if you want to run comskip on the server, you might want to consider upgrading the cpu to at least a quad-core.

What operating system are you planning to keep on the server?
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  #3  
Old 03-22-2011, 07:13 AM
KeithAbbott KeithAbbott is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pieroxy View Post
Here is the hardware I'm planning to buy:
- ASUS P5Q Pro
- Core 2 Duo @2GHz
- 1GB RAM. Is that enough?
You're going to be writing a check to Sage for ~$1000us for the extenders and the Media Center software. I think you might want to consider spending a little more on the server hardware, since it will be key to getting the overall system performance you are looking for. Going under the assumption that you are purchasing everything (not reusing existing equipment), the motherboard that you have selected uses DDR2 memory. I would pick a motherboard that supports DDR3 memory. Also, I would definately select your tuner cards/devices first before deciding on your motherboard, so that you make sure that you get a motherboard with the correct number and type of expansion slots. As far as processor goes, as the previous poster said, if you are planning on using comskip alot then consider a quad-core, or maybe an Intel with the hyper-threading technology. The i3/i5/i7 is said to be pretty power-efficient, you might find over time that buying a slightly more expensive processor might save you money in the long run.

Oh, and I wouldn't consider going with less than 4gb of memory. With DDR3 prices, you can pick that up for $40us.
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  #4  
Old 03-22-2011, 07:57 AM
Beefcake550 Beefcake550 is offline
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I was starting to wonder if I had entered a time machine... "buying" a core 2 duo @ 2GHz?

Hoenstly, if you want comskipping, you will want a cheap quad core instead of a dual core. Regardless, you want a DDR3 based MB with 4GB of RAM and lots of HDDs. Serving up 6 extenders simultaneously with different shows will be interesting. I wouldn't use lots of NAS space, but I'd go with internal HDs in the server..much better/faster access for all involved.
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  #5  
Old 03-22-2011, 09:13 AM
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SomeWhatLost SomeWhatLost is offline
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Motherboard - get one with IPMI (aka KVM + Power + other good stuff over ethernet, ie when something goes wrong you can fix it from your comfy chair/laptop or desktop... no need to go crawling around in the attic...)
I really like SuperMicro MB's...

CPU - like others said, a cheap quad core... also lower power (watts) = better, i3 works good... despite what others say, I think a multi core atom may work good... but that theory should be tested in real life before spending big $$ on an atom...

Memory - HD300's use the servers memory... more memory = happy HD300's

Attic - attics get hot, plan cooling needs adequately... over plan if possible... over kill is good in this case... depending on climate, attics can also get very cold... verify everything will live ok...

HDD's - stay away from 'green' drives... they have caused me nothing but pain and suffering... I like Hitachi drives at the moment, their semi cheap drives are pretty heavy duty... and don't go with anything less than 2tb at this point in time... unless you get a really amazingly good deal...

OS - you didn't mention this, but still worth considering... Win7 has worked very well for me... much better than WHS did... but WHS has some nice extra features... Linux could be very good too...
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  #6  
Old 03-22-2011, 09:36 AM
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SHS SHS is offline
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That very bad idea to put it in the attic you do know that attic get hot in the summer time causes moisture to condense unless it part close attic and really good attic ventilation.
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  #7  
Old 03-22-2011, 11:19 AM
pieroxy pieroxy is offline
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ok, ok, ok !! ;-)

So, I'm back and I'll try to answer everyone and throw in my own questions:

1. I plan on running WinXP or WinVista, for which I own licenses. Ubuntu is also an option but I've read that there is no official support for it (it's OEM). Plus I have the feeling drivers are more likely to give me trouble with Linux. And third party plugins. So I really don't know at that point bacause I have ZERO experience with SageTV (I'm a Vista MCE user at that point). Also, should I use a 32 or 64 bits OS?

2. Dual core because I assumed that not a lot of CPU was needed. After all, all the server should be doing is moving bits around (HDD -> Network -> HD300, DVB-T -> HDD, etc.) I may be wrong. Obviously I didn't account for comskipping. I have absolutely no clue of what it does.

3. My attic is insulated (or will be soon rather) so it should get warmer in the summer but not all that much. I plan on having a good ventilation system. That's where I get the best reception for DVB-T and I won't hear it. I plan on some remote stuff like VNC.

4. Can you explain the HD300 using up server memory? I have little clue at that point of how this whole thing is working tech-wise.

5. I was planning on buying a USB DVB-T stick (AverTV Volar HD). Is it really stupid? Should I go PCI-E ?

6. Ok for the memory. It's not that expensive though. I'll go 4GB DDR3.

Well... Isn't there a "HOWTO Build your SageTV server" page somewhere with a few usage scenarios?

Thanks for all your answers

Note: Did I mention I was in France? It shouldn't make any difference but who knows....

Last edited by pieroxy; 03-22-2011 at 11:44 AM.
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  #8  
Old 03-22-2011, 11:27 AM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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As others have pointed out, a lot of what to look for in a server depends on what you want to do, and what equipment is available. 1GB of RAM is almost certainly too little for Sage v7. You could get by with 2GB in a dedicated server, but if you're buying new stuff there's no reason not to go with 4GB.

A Core2 Duo would be plenty fast if you're just running SageTV. But, someday you might run comskip. Or maybe you'll use PlayOn. Either way you'd want a fast CPU. An multicore Atom would probably work for just running Sage, but you wouldn't want to go that route if you plan to use comskip or PlayOn.

SomeWhatLost's suggestion for an IPMI-capable motherboard is worth considering. Motherboards with that tend to be a little expensive, but if you're planning on putting the computer somewhere relatively inaccessible it might be worth it. As other have pointed out, attics can get very hot, so unless its climate controlled you probably wouldn't want to put a server up there.

I've been running Western Digital "green" drives in my Sage server ever since they came out. I also have 6x2TB Samsung green drives in my unRAID server. I think they're great. There isn't a huge difference in terms of power consumption, but my understanding is that they produce a lot less heat when they're spinning (because they spin slower). So, that's one area where I'd disagree with SomeWhatLost. Maybe get an SSD or a smaller 7200 RPM drive for the boot drive, but I would go with green drives for storage.

Any graphics cards would do. There's no reason not to go with onboard video, if your motherboard has it. If you get a new Sandy Bridge CPU there's a graphics engine in the CPU itself (though you need to get a motherboard that will use it).
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  #9  
Old 03-22-2011, 11:49 AM
Beefcake550 Beefcake550 is offline
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comskip = Commercial Detection and Skipping. Popular programs are comskip and show_analyzer

Both need a hefty CPU for video decoding.

I also have been using Weestern Digital Green drives since they came out without issues. I currently have 4 2TB , 2 1.5TB, and 1 1TB drives and no issues. Do not use green drives in a RAID setup.

Living in France, does the temp ever get as high as 75F? This would equate to an attic temp of about 90-100F and that is certainly bad for a server. I would think the basement or a closet is a much better choice.
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  #10  
Old 03-22-2011, 10:10 PM
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SomeWhatLost SomeWhatLost is offline
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VNC (or remote desktop) is nice and all... but how do you install windows/linux/etc from a vnc console? how do you check/fix/adjust BIOS from a VNC console? how do you physically hit the power button with VNC?
IPMI is like sitting in front of the server without actually needing to sit in front of the server... it is wonderful for servers located in hard/uncomfortable to reach places...

as far as the extenders using the servers memory, I will have to let the sage experts explain that... but I just know from experience they run much smoother/faster with more server memory to play with... especially when using some graphically/data intense plug ins like Diamond and SMM....

as far as green drives go, say what you want... I am done with them... very bad experience... wont do that again...

as for the atom, I still think it could work fine... I wouldn't personally do it for a 6 extender system I don't think... but it could be fine... with a multi core atom, sage would just use one core because that is all it ever seems to use... and comskip could hog the other core(s) all it wants without slowing down sage at all... it should work... I think... maybe... sounds reasonable at least...
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  #11  
Old 04-08-2011, 07:05 PM
pvr599 pvr599 is offline
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Same question

Hi guy's,
I don't mean to hijack this thread, I'm just in the same boat almost. I'm just going to rebuild and upgrade to add a couple colossus cards. I guess it's time to retire the good old PVR 150 and 500.
Was just wondering if anyone could take a look at what I'm looking at and see if there are improvements I can make. Since money is an object, I can't go top of the line, but not the bare minimum either.
I do plan on doing comskipping. (one of my very favorite things about Sage)

Here it is and I'm a little partial to AMD although not commited.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...2E16813157191R
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103921
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820145279

I would appreciate any input. THANKS!!
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  #12  
Old 04-09-2011, 07:40 AM
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SHS SHS is offline
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That should be ok pvr599
Just besure your Power Supplies is around 450/500watts if not some Top brands you need to look at and this one area where you do not want buy the cheaps things.
1: SeaSonic
2: Corsair
3: PC Power & Cooling
Note 2, 3 are made by the same manufacturers SeaSonic
4: OCZ
5: Silverstone or Antec

Last edited by SHS; 04-09-2011 at 08:13 AM.
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  #13  
Old 04-09-2011, 08:30 AM
SWKerr SWKerr is offline
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I use this for my server and have had no significant issues. GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H
Higher end chipset. Main difference is the two additional SATA ports(3gps only) and better onboard graphics. You can always add a SATA addon card but more on the board is always better.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128435

I have had good luck with ASRock as well but GIGABYTE makes the best board from my experience followed by ASUS. I would not necessarily get a returned mother board.

More than 4GB on a Sage sever is probably wasted unless you have other plans.

You could save a little cash and get the cheapest Athlon X3 and not notice a real world difference. (can probably also unlock the extra core) I have the Phenom II X3 and actually underclock it and go down on the voltage to save power. (Really the same thing as the e versions, there are guides on how to do it.) The Intel chips are more power efficient but cost more for equal performance. Also the overall system power draw is mostly driven by peripherals and extra hard drives as a percent of the total. The system is sitting at idle most of the time so idle power draw at the plug is what to look at and I have not seen huge differences in the ones I have setup.


I have been running one Colossus, an HD-PVR an Aver M780 and a HDHR in mine with out any really problems for a few weeks now although I reboot nightly and have had one recording lockup. I have been running this server since May of last year with 2 HD-PVRs and the HDHR without any real problems as well.

Last edited by SWKerr; 04-09-2011 at 08:39 AM.
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  #14  
Old 04-09-2011, 11:14 AM
rrhorer rrhorer is offline
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One additional point that I don't believe has been mentioned: having muliple HDDs for recording is important. Especially when watching live tv, Sage will be writing to and reading from the HDD at the same time. Compound this with multiple users at the same time and a single hard drive is quickly overwhelmed. With multiple hard drives for recording, Sage automatically splits the duty based on available space (I think -- the Sage experts can verify this). Good luck,

Riley
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