Mythbuntu Box Upgrade?

Hans Fugal hans at fugal.net
Mon Sep 22 10:42:05 MDT 2008


Joshua Lutes wrote:
> Hay guys.
> 
> I am running Mythbuntu 8.04 on a dell tower I got from a BYU surplus
> sale a year and a half ago.  It uses the PVR-350 and everything is
> pretty pleasing.  The only thing that isn't so great is the streaming
> media from online sources has pretty choppy video.  I suspect it may
> be on account of the computer never being intended to watch online
> video and its being something like six years old.  Maybe.

So you can watch stuff you recorded with the PVR-350 smoothly but not
e.g. YouTube?

> 
> Anyway, I was hoping for suggestions as to what I might be able to
> upgrade for the hardware in order to improve the performance so that I
> might be able to get rid of the stuttering video problem.  I always
> been told that increasing the RAM is the cheapest and best way to bulk
> up a computer, and I guess I could do that.  Any other ideas?
> 
> This is what I've got:
> 512 MB RAM
> 1.70 GHz Pentium 4 Processor
> 40 GB Hard Drive
> PVR-350 Tuner Card

RAM is the best way to increase performance on a desktop, but that
doesn't translate over to a myth box really. Of course if you don't have
*enough* RAM things will be terrible, but once you cross that threshhold
more isn't going to help. Try watching your streaming video and watching
the page ins/outs numbers in top and/or the hard disk light. If they're
going wild (i.e. you're swapping) then you need more RAM. Otherwise you
don't.

What you need to render video is enough processing power. I think 1.7
GHz should be enough for standard definition video (you're not streaming
HD are you?), but even if it's not it should be plenty in conjunction
with a video card using Xv. What kind of video card do you have? A basic
nvidia card (you can even find an AGP one) will run you $30-$50 and will
do Xv which offloads a lot of the video rendering. Older ATI cards (and
maybe newer?) support vidix acceleration but it's a pain to setup and
myth doesn't support it anyway (although you can get mplayer to do it).

Unless you're streaming video that's of higher quality than that
captured by your tuner card, I bet your problem isn't guts at all but
network-related. Maybe you need a bigger buffer or fatter pipe.

-- 
Hans Fugal ; http://hans.fugal.net

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the
right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
    -- Johann Sebastian Bach



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