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Server/htpc System Requirements


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I want to build a server that will act as an HTPC & wifi router. It will be running SickBeard, hellanzb, TwonkyMedia Server, NES/SNES/N64/MAME (maybe PSX) emulators, VLC, etc. I want it also be configured as my 802.11n router.

I was also considering adding a tuner or two.

The apartments I live in come with wifi, so it would currently act as a bridge also. My current router acts as a bridge in 802.11g, but can't handle enough simultaneous connections and quickly slows to a crawl. This is why I initially wanted to start this project.

The point is:

1) What speed processor would be needed to run these processes, emulators, and wifi router (if possible)? (Consider there MAY be some on the fly transcoding)

2) Is it even possible to run a wifi router service on an UBUNTU system?

I was looking at Mini ITX boards, but can't seem to find one powerful enough. Any ideas?

Edited by Dementio
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See here for setting up an access point using linux: http://www.linux.com/archive/feed/55617

You will need two cards, 1 to act as the access point, the other to do the routing to the internet and then bridge the two together.

As far as hardware, you will need a decent graphics card, so if using an ITX Atom based platform, you need something like the Boxee machine Jason built that has a decent Nvidia ION (HDMI capable) GPU.

Edited by digip
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Do you guys think this mobo/proc will be sufficient?


I realize I would probably need to use the pcie slot for a wifi card for bridging then swap it for a tv tuner later.

Without even looking at the specs, I would just use a USB adapter for wifi and the built in Ethernet for wired and try to find a board with an integrated GPU that is strong enough to do your HD and video game stuff. Less components you have to add, less heat, less cooling and less noise. If it were a desktop, then go all out on stuff, but if this is going to sit on top of your entertainment center, you don't even want to know its there. That is the point of an HTPC, do be like any other appliance in your living room.

By the way, the link just redirects me to a home page, maybe there was session data related to your page view that isnt translated through the URL you posted. I get this: http://usa.asus.com/index.aspx?aspxerrorpath=/product.aspx when clicking your link.

Edited by digip
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It has built in wifi by the way. That should be what you would want I think. It also looks like the same board that Jason Applebaum is using for his Boxee HTPC.

These are meant more as being Internet ready video players for streaming media to your TV from over the wired/wireless network or directly stored on the local disk itself. Not sure about trans-coding on the fly. You probably aren't going to record too much TV with this type of device (not sure the hardware will sync that video and audio while recording but give it a shot, might work if using SSD's since they are much faster) but you would probably be able to get away with a low profile TV tuner for the single open PCI-express slot that it has.

Its already HDMI amd dsub ready, and the Nvidia card it has should do video and emulator games just fine. Most of the emulator stuff runs on fairly low requirements unless its a N64 emulator. NES, SNES emulators ran on my Win98 machine, so I dont see why they wouldn't be more than happy on this. Mame should be more than easy as well, but not sure when you get up to N64 or PSX emulators, might be too intense for the GPU and CPU.

This is making me want to start my own little project now, since these are relatively cheap to purchase. I wonder how hard it is to setup wireless video game controllers that work off of its bluetooth.

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I was thinking of using these controllers. They're wireless and should be easy to use for almost any game. Or I could always use the X-Gaming controller I have stashed away somewhere.

I'll probably eventually make an actual media server, and use these as clients in different rooms, but in my current apartment, I don't have room for another server, which is why I wanted a Mini ITX board.

I had thought of using LinuxMCE, but it's really a lot more than I need, so I'll probably make my own interface similar to theirs.

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OK, so this is the hardware I've come up with, I already have some controllers and a 1TB storage drive, and I'm building the case from scratch out of black acrylic.

ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe Intel Atom 330 PBGA437 NVIDIA ION Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo

Intel X25-V SSDSA2MP040G2R5 2.5" 40GB SSD

Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3

LITE-ON Black 4X Blu-ray Reader

Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Dual TV Tuner / Encoder 1229

Anything missing? And sound like it'll all work?

Edited by Dementio
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