June 20, 2012
It’s been a long time since I updated my firewall. Right now it’s a PC Engines ALIX 2c2 that I’ve been really happy with. I used flashdist and put OpenBSD 4.4 on it.
I think that’s a winning combination, but it’s time to upgrade. First, I want to go to OpenBSD 5.1. Next, flashdist has been replaced with flashrd, which is easier to install and use, and more appropriate for larger CF cards.
I started by getting an ALIX 2d2 (just one more IDE header than the 2c2, not much change). I bought it from mini-box.com, and I also picked up the custom enclosure for it and a power supply.
I already had a 4 GB CF card: a Kingston 4GB elite pro 133X, which was new when I built the original firewall. Make sure you have a good CF writer. I’ve had failures with cheapies, but got a Kingston FCR-HS219/1 and that worked.
There are a number of steps to get a working firewall. They are:
- Getting OpenBSD 5.1 on the ALIX
- Setting up networking for the ALIX firewall
- Setting up PF for the ALIX firewall
- Setting up BIND on the ALIX firewall
- Final cleanup for the ALIX firewall
April 20, 2012
I’ve started looking around for a quiet but thermally good case for a MythTV box. My first thought was to do an HTPC case – the Lian Li HTPC C60 looked good.
But then I started worrying about airflow around the case. I’ve got a fairly narrow spot to put it in – about 46 cm – so a PC that’s 44 cm wide doesn’t leave a lot of room for cooling.
I decided to look into mini towers instead. The Lian Li V600F looks like it would be nice, but it has these ugly blue fans.
I also looked into the NZXT H2 (some were saying it was too flimsy), Antec P183 (too tall, not a mini tower) and Silverstone TJ-8e (an 18 inch fan in front, but only that. How hard to get a replacement when it dies?)
Now I’m leaning towards the Lian Li B10. It’s too bad that SPCR hasn’t reviewed it – they seem to know a thing or two about quiet and heat.
April 1, 2012
Due to decreased WAF for the old MythTV box, I’m looking into building a quieter one. I’ve decided to do a couple of things differently:
- Use HDHomeRun for capture cards. That way, I won’t be stuck to a particular bus architecture. It also means the capture cards won’t be generating heat in the case.
- Use a pair of 5400 RPM hard drives (maybe a 2.5″ one for the OS, and a 3.5″ one for the recordings? Need to have fans on all of them to cool them down.
- Replace all the fans with FDB or maglev bearing fans
- Use an external PSU like the PicoPSU or something like that. Here’s an adapter to make it fit in a standard fan bay. (This might also be a good idea for ham radio PSUs…)
- Use an HTPC case or at least a quiet PC case
- Probably end up with an nVidia video card.
- I think I want a core2 duo 3.1 MHz or so motherboard/ processor combo
- Does the Pico PSU mean I won’t be able to drive a DVD player? Maybe another external one (eSATA?) Am I going to end up with a bunch of individual set top boxes?
The CPU cooling fans, video card and hard drives should generate most of the heat (and noise). Need to figure out how much power a video card uses.