The “Core” is the main LinuxMCE server. The core computer can also be set up as a “Media Director” with audio/visual capability. This type of dual-use setup is called a “Hybrid”. Some considerations are as follows.
- Chipsets – If a particular hardware product is documented to work well, often other products with a similar chipset will work well (and vice versa). Its a good idea to check the chips for all hardware, including expansion cards. Certain audio, graphics, and LAN chipsets can give trouble.
- Age – Ancient gear might not be up to the task. Bleeding edge might not be fully supported in Linux, nor is it really necessary. LinuxMCE is not nearly as demanding as gaming. Probably best to stick with middle-of-the road gear. Buying last year's hardware on eBay is often cheap and effective.
- Energy efficiency. The core will normally run 24/7 so efficiency is a plus. Boards will integrated video generally use less power, but these boards are also usually mATX and might not offer many expansion slots.
- Two LAN ports. A core or hybrid must have two LAN ports – an external LAN to connect the box to the web, and an internal LAN to serve the LinuxMCE network. Users are constantly trying to get around this but it's a bad idea.
- Serial ports. Seems nostalgic, but there is a lot of gear that is best controlled by RS232 ports. Examples include certain home automation controllers, amplifiers, TVs, and security panels. Serial ports can be gained by installing a serial card, or by purchasing a GC-100 that connects to the LAN via cat5.
- Expansion slots. Its a good idea to plan you system and see how many expansion slots you'll need
- Computing power. A standalone core on a modest LinuxMCE setup need not be powerful. Some systems are running with Atom cores. A more powerful system is required if the LinuxMCE setup is more involved, or if it will be used as a hybrid.
- Memory. Its so cheap that there is little reason to struggle along with the minimum. Throw 2GB in there.
Network Adapters http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Category:Network_Adapters
RAID Conrollers http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Category:RAID_Controller
TV Capture Cards http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Category:TV_Cards
Video Capture (closed circuit) http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Category:Video_Capture_Boards
Serial Port Cards Add Category:Serial Port Cards
Core/Hybrid Tutorials add Category:CoreHybrid Tutorials