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Old 06-25-2004, 03:48 PM   #1
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Newbie Project: Box dedicated to MythTV + Routing + Firewall + Hub - Need Advice

Thank you for taking the time to read this and direct your advice my way:

I recently purchased a new PC, and have decided
to use my old PC, hereinafter known as the MythBox, as a full-time
Linux box dedicated to MythTV, and, as a side-effect, being an
Internet Gateway as well as a hub (need to connect my main PC and
XBox). I'm looking for any advice that you guys can give me on:
feasibility of the system (can the box handle MythTV encoding as well
as routing/firewalling?), linux distributions (looking for something
with a small footprint, but simple to setup and use), IP-Masquerading
setup, Samba setup, Firewall software (and firewall configuration, as
I have only used Sygate Personal Firewall on my WinXP Pro PC, and only
because I was forced to due to getting hit by WORM_RBOT.DA before even
TrendMicro detected the damned worm). I have never set up a Linux
system before, and my knowledge of UNIX/Linux is limited to basic shell commands.

Hardware Configuration of MythBox:

Athlon XP1900+
Asus M-ATX form-factor motherboard
On-Board LAN, Sound
256mb DDR266
40GB 7200rpm HDD
BT878-based PCI TV Tuner (software encoding)

accessories include:

Sympatico DSL running on a USB DSL modem (can do Ethernet)
40GB USB2.0 external drive
USB 1.1 Ethernet Adaptor (I'm guessing it's only good up to 10mbps,
really, so I probably won't use it)
Additional PCI NIC and Crossover cables (to be purchased)

If anyone can give me some advice, or direct me to a few choice URLs, I would be most appreciative.

Many Thanks for Your Time and Help,

Old 06-25-2004, 08:44 PM   #2
bruno buys
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Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Rio
Distribution: Debian
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This configuration is way beyond the minimal needs for such a system. You don't have to worry.

In respect to the MythTV part, I have made a few readings only, and I can't tell you much. But there are pages around, google for it.
There are dedicated projects on how to build linux MythTV boxes, but they don't include sharing internet connection, so you are gonna have to do research on which one is the most aproximated to your needs and easier to complete customization.

Concerning the firewall/gateway part, you should know by now that these apps do not consume much processing/memory unless you are serving for several boxes (not the case, right?). In the other hand, mythtv does consume.

A few points to consider:

- An athlon 1900 isn't the most economic cpu around. If you plan to leave the gateway powered on 24/7 you are spending a lot of energy. People are building gateways with 486's, very economic and useful.

- If you are a basic user of linux, perhaps you should consider picking a friendlier distro, such as redhat/suse/mandrake. any one of these will do the job. Actually, I managed to share an internet connection with crossover cables, just like you, with these three distros.

- The bttv based card is, to my knowledge, on of the easiest tv cards to setup under linux. Good choice. I have one of these and suse has no problem working with it.

This is a Athlon cooling and powersaving howto. Nice thing to have on an athlon box.

I should have a few more links that can help you. Let me search and I'll post them later.

Last edited by bruno buys; 06-25-2004 at 08:56 PM.
Old 06-27-2004, 09:34 AM   #3
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Registered: Jun 2004
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Thanks a bundle. It's great to know that my old box should be able to handle what I want to do with it. In regards to serving to more than one computers: I'll only be routing to two computers, my main PC, and my XBox. I just hope that I don't get too many dropped frames and such from doing MythTV. I guess I will just record it on a lower compression rate first, then reencode into a higher compression and lower quality file.

And I really didn't know that firewalls and routing don't cost much resources Good to know
Old 06-27-2004, 12:46 PM   #4
bruno buys
Senior Member
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Rio
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 1,509

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You may want to search for info on how to optimize your pc's performance. Linux is good for it, it's very hackable.

You can begin with:

Make sure DMA is on, and the fastest transfer mode is being used. Read the man pages for "hdparm" the utility to deal with disks.

It is very likely that the box already has 80pin flat cables connecting ide devices. But if it doesn't, remove the 40pin and install 80pin. They really do make a difference on ultra-dma transfers.

Partitioning and choosing adequate file systems can be a way to optimize your disk usage. Take a look at this review:
The guy discusses the best fs to every scenario, deleting, writing, huge files, small files... very nice.

Cooling the machine can be a matter of concern. Have a few nice coolers around.

Post again, if you wish. Good luck!


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