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I'm considering setting up a MythTV DVR using an old box I've got kicking around, and I'm wondering if it's up to the task. It's an old Dell Precision 330, 1.4GHz P4, 400MHz FSB with a 300GB IDE HD and only 512MB of RAM; unfortunately it's Rambus RAM so it'd be more costly than the computer itself is worth to upgrade this.

If I bought reasonable PCI video capture and display cards, I'm assuming that they would do most of the heavy lifting, so would the 512MB RAM matter?

Also, could anyone with MythTV experience suggest MythTV-compatible PCI capture and display cards (or a combination card if a plain-old PCI one exists) that would work well for this setup? I'm looking to be able to just plug it in between the cable box and the TV in as simple a fashion as possible.

*Edit: * I should clarify that I just want standard-def TV/DVR -- no HD necessary.

Thanks very much for your input.

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closed as off topic by random Oct 24 '10 at 20:53

Questions on Super User are expected to relate to computer software or computer hardware within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Shopping questions are off-topic. – random Oct 24 '10 at 20:53
@random, I see from searching on meta that the mods have collectively taken the position that questions asking for specific hardware or software recommendations are "shopping" questions and off-topic. I hope this line of thinking is reconsidered -- I understand that obsolescence makes these questions stale eventually, but the same could be said about any question about a specific technology. – nedm Oct 26 '10 at 0:13
I appreciate you're trying to improve the level of questions, but lots of the most upvoted questions on SO and SF involve recommendations about specific hardware and software and wouldn't meet this standard. I know SU is not SO or SF, but where else in the current SE environment would one ask this kind of question? – nedm Oct 26 '10 at 0:15
You can use the chat to ask for help on shopping. Recommendations in a broad set are also too localised. Some do survive, but not many. – random Oct 26 '10 at 21:53
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I was running a MythTV box on a Via Epia board (it was a M 10000 - IIRC) with 512 MB of RAM. Everything went quite smoothly for a backend + frontend installation, Fileserver, etc, pp.

The Via board was perfect because it had an onboard MPEG2 DEcoder. I used a WinTV USB 2 as external capture card. It has an MPEG2 ENcoder (and i'm still using it).

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This is a motherboard rather than a PCI card, correct? So you're saying I could swap out the mobo for something like this rather than add video capture and/or display cards? – nedm Oct 24 '10 at 20:36
no, i just wanted to give an example for a rather underpowered mobo/CPU that can handle a MythTV frontend and backend at once. The WinTV PVR USB 2 is an example for a quite nice external (non-HD) Receiver with integrated MPEG2 encoder. – lajuette Oct 25 '10 at 5:13
Thanks, I appreciate it -- that's a help. – nedm Oct 26 '10 at 0:03
i wanted to edit my response yesterday but SU was down: The creator of the WinTV series - Hauppauge - has a line of PCI cards, too (i.e. the WinTV PVR 350 or 150). These are usually fully compatible with V4L and MythTV, even the integrated IR receivers work out of the box. – lajuette Oct 26 '10 at 5:09

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