torstai 25. kesäkuuta 2009

HTPC reincarnation

Three weeks ago I placed an order for couple of HTPC suitable terabyte hard drives. It seems that hard drive selection has grown quite bit since last time I was shopping for drives. Seagate has long been my favorite, because of their long warranties and my personal experiences with their drives. So this time my choice was Seagate's LP (for Low Power) drives with spinning speed of "only" 5900 RPM. In exchange Seagate is promising lower wattage, less noise, less heat and better reliability for these drives compared to other desktop-grade hard drives. To me they seem ideal to my HTPC usage, they are only Seagate terabyte drives that have five years warranty and quite cheap (84€ each).

So finally getting those drives means that I can start messing around with my HTPC once again. As I mentioned in some older post, it has been working too well lately and I been kinda wanting to get something to fiddle with. I've learned from my last HTPC upgrade though and I am keeping my old installation parallel to my new installation, so we can watch TV and do the rest of HTPC stuff during the next few weeks.

Enter Debian
I've decided to try Debian this time, instead of the old trusted Gentoo. With Gentoo I seem to always to break the Portage in the end to such state that I don't want to install or update anything in fear of breaking something critical. Last episode was unsuccessful Python update and the result a only half working Portage.

As always, it has been a pain in the ass to get my machine to boot from any installation media. This time around it does not seem to care for my boot CD's and I resulted to installing Debian Lenny from USB memorystick. I wanted to install Debian Testing from the start, but I had trouble with the USB installer, which was complaining about disparency between Linux Headers on the installation image and the running kernel from the Debian Installer. I could not find a easy solution, so installed the stable Lenny and upgraded to Testing first thing after installation.

I also managed the most complicated partition setup to date (personally). I wanted to have several RAID1 devices and a LVM volume, which made the partition count reach 12!
So here is what I did:
-/boot 100MB on RAID1 with EXT3
-/ 20GB on RAID1 with XFS
-Swap 4GB on RAID1
-/htpc 20GB on RAID1 with XFS (this partition houses eg. cache data for MMS multimedia libraries)
-/safe 200GB in RAID1 with XFS (this partition is for backups, mainly our photos)
-/video 2x750GB in LVM with XFS (this partition will contain solely PVR DVB-recordings)
The reason for using LVM with /video is that I can add more capacity easily later on once I manage to fill the the 1.5TB. 1500GB sounds quite a lot, but I can fill that up quite easily by running automatic timers for our household. I also do not consider the recordings critical enough to warrant RAID mirroring.

Next up, compiling a custom kernel, hopefully it will be quite easy to have the latest 2.6.30 version.

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