Testing ASUS P2-M2A690G as LinuxMCE media director


Yesterday I got barebone ASUS P2-M2A690G for testing as media director for LinuxMCE. That box is priced just in €100. But it’s really good: integrated ATI RadeonTM 1250 with HDMI output, S/PDIF-out (Optical) audio, slim form-factor and nice looking design.

Additionally I had Desktop Athlon 64 X2 5400+ and 2GB RAM. Installation of processor and memory took about 15 minutes (thanks to well thought-out internal design). By the way I like the quality of P2-M2A690G assembling. All wires are tied up into braid and placed around case. So, internal space looks very clear.

After installation of all needed components I connected P2-M2A690G to LinuxMCE internal network and started boot it via PXE. Box got IP but boot was failed with following error:
NET: Registered protocol family 17
ipconfig: eth0: SIOCGIFINDEX: No such device ipconfig: no devices to configure
/init: .: 1: Can't open /tmp/net-eth0.conf
kernel panic - not syncing: Attempted to kill init!

It happened because Ethernet card Attansic L1 integrated in the P2-M2A690G is not supported by LinuxMCE from the box. I solved that just making a simple modifications according to that wiki page. After that the box boot successfully. The ATI RadeonTM 1250 was recognized and default drivers were installed.

To have possibility to use maximum card functionality I made another customizations – install the latest ATI drivers. After that I chose UI2 with overlay and resolution 1080p. I played a few HD trailers and they were showed well. I didn’t see any delay or other problems. The processor took about 55% during 1080p playback under UI2. I think it’s not so bad. I found only one issue with UI2. By some reason the Video screen with list of movies was not displayed at all. I saw just black square instead of grid. I have no idea what causes that problem and how to solve that. But with UI1 everything works fine.

The next step will be configuration of Gyration remotes and testing digital audio.

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    1. Steve, 21. July 2008, 15:14

      How many watts does the system draw at idle?

  • Michael Stepanov, 22. July 2008, 11:28

    Unfortunately I don’t have a device to measure energy consumption of specific device. Possible I’ll buy something similar to Kill-a-watt. But performance of P2-M2A690G is really good. For €100 (plus proc, memory and DVD writer) it’s probably the best choice as LinuxMCE media director IMHO.

  • Sam, 27. July 2008, 22:07

    Hi Michael,

    I have followed your advice and purchased one of these to become a MD 🙂
    I have added the NIC module atl1 and launched Diskless_BuildDefaultImage.sh.
    The PXE boot starts ok, the MD announces itself to the router, but then I get a red error message “Diskless setup failed” and it stops there.
    On the core the directory /usr/pluto/diskless does not exist but the MD is seen in the Web interface.

    Did you by any chance get the same problem ?

  • Sam, 27. July 2008, 22:46

    found it, it was detected as amd64, I had to manually change it to i386 in lmce admin setup 🙂

  • Michael Stepanov, 27. July 2008, 22:48

    Good 🙂 Do not forget to install the latest ATI drivers.

  • Sam, 8. August 2008, 0:22

    did you try to get wake-on-lan to work with this one? If yes, can you share your settings ?


  • Michael Stepanov, 8. August 2008, 9:38

    Sam, I didn’t play with it unfortunately. I have more interesting task – pass sound over HDMI 🙂 But as I see it isn’t so easy do to.

    How is the box? Do you like it?

  • Dave, 11. August 2008, 9:49

    Which TV Card do you use – I hat problems with a Hauppauge?

  • Michael Stepanov, 11. August 2008, 22:31

    I use budget Hauppauge WinTV-NOVA-CI PCI . It works like a charm 🙂 What problem do you have with your card and what is model?

  • Dave, 13. August 2008, 16:06

    Obviously dirver problems – I’m gonna check it again – maybe it works now

  • Bemfica, 17. February 2009, 10:29

    Hi Michael,
    I have followed your advice too and bought this buy to become a MD. So, let me tell you the sequence that I did:
    * I’ve using this barebone with a amd athlon 64×2 5200

    1st – I added manually the MD from the Web Admin
    2nd – put the mac address and did the update (clicking on the Update button on the bottom)
    3rd – I clicked on the Diskless imagem button on the bottom
    4th – boot the md, after that I get the following error when I try to boot:

    ipconfig: No Devices to configure
    /init: 1:Cant Open /tmp/net-eth0.conf

    Kernal Panic – Not Syncing: Attempted to Kill Init

    So, can you tell me the correct sequence that I have to follow??

  • Michael Stepanov, 17. February 2009, 18:57

    Bemfica, I suspect you forgot to do modifications to load proper module for the NIC. Just do that and try again.

  • Bemfica, 18. February 2009, 3:10

    Hi Michael,

    I did what you had asked me, but it still get the same error.
    If I’m not asking you to much, can you write down step by step, what I have to do???
    I’ll really appreciate it.

    Thank you very much

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