Goal: Build an audio/video workstation and personal video recorder (PVR) running Linux using a donated machine that needs a CD and hard drive. Install MythTV (mythtv.org -- version 0.17 has just been released!), be able to edit and sequence audio, video, burn CDs and DVDs.
So far, I've managed to get the CPU in its enormous server case (P600, 512M RAM), and have installed a 20G system drive and a DC/DVD burner. I replaced the existing video card with my ATI All-in-Wonder card with coax in and TV In/Out, and I have installan Mandrake 10. The 80G data driev is not yet installed.
That's just an outline, and doesn't talk about fiddling with the jumpers on the back of the CD drive, popping the CMOS battery out of the motherboard in an attempt to circumvent the BIOS password, eventually breaking down and reading the manual to discover the Much Easier Way -- just move a jumper and everything's reset.
I also tried to install the FreeBSD 5 that I bought at YAPC 2004 in Buffalo -- it failed because the installation process said that it wasn't able to detect a CD drive. (Hello? What did you boot from?)
Then Mandrake 10 wouldn't install either.
So after a lot of fiddling around, I tried replacing the fairly new ribbon cables with a ten year old ribbon cable -- and the installation worked fine. And that's not to mention the 80G drive that I had on the secondary IDE channel -- I'm thinking that both of the new ribbon cables are borked, and I'm not sure what I can do to confirm that it's OK. I sure don't want a flaky ribbon cable in this system.
How tall is this case? I still have space for two more hard drives and five more CD drives. It's 625mm high, or about 24.5 inches. Tall.
Next: Plug the 80G drive back in, build a file system (ReiserFS?), download and installed MythTV. Maybe see if I can get a better video screen than the tiny 14 incher I have now.