Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 7th Aug 2011 22:46 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems And yes, another item, right away. I'm on the hunt for a mini-ITX motherboard for use in a living room HTPC, and considering there's so much choice out there, I'm a little confused. Then I realised I have you people to help me out, and, well, one thing led to another.
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ASUS AT5IONT-I
by twopt0 on Sun 7th Aug 2011 23:30 UTC
twopt0
Member since:
2011-08-07

I like the ASUS AT5IONT-I that I use. It has an Intel Atom D525 (dual-core + hyperthreading) and ION graphics that work great for HD video playing. Has optical audio out, but no VGA.

Edited 2011-08-07 23:31 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: ASUS AT5IONT-I
by kwanbis on Mon 8th Aug 2011 21:12 UTC in reply to "ASUS AT5IONT-I"
kwanbis Member since:
2005-07-06

The question would be, why not buy a WD TV Live Plus for around 90, that does streaming, and usb drives, AVI/Xvid/Divx, MPG/MPEG, VOB, MKV, VC-1, MP4/MOV, M2TS, WMV9, FLV, MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, AIF/AIFF, OGG, Dolby Digital, DTS, JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP, PNG, Subtitles, (SRT, ASS, SSA, SUB, SMI)?

Edited 2011-08-08 21:16 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: ASUS AT5IONT-I
by intangible on Tue 9th Aug 2011 00:16 UTC in reply to "ASUS AT5IONT-I"
intangible Member since:
2005-07-06

I have this as well, running it as a dedicated minecraft server and htpc ;)

The biggest hangup all the small atom boards have is limit on memory to 4G max, this one is no different.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Mon 8th Aug 2011 00:21 UTC
Luminair
Member since:
2007-03-30

I find a dedicated media client to be much more convenient than the ultimate convergence scenario. A "popcorn hour" or another appliance works when your complicated server is broken... and is also one less thing to maintain regularly. Combined it still feels like maintaining two separate things.

Also, you can add a new video card and a usb-to-optical adapter to your P4 to modernize its video and audio output. Modern software can use modern video cards to decode video.

If you want new stuff, I think the hardware reviewers have found that nothing is perfect right now. But everything is pretty good. Even the new AMD Llano with gamer-level graphics is not the perfect HTPC platform (see anandtech review?).

The only thing that will work fanless in that chitty case is a platform with similar power output to the Atom. So your only choice is another Atom or an AMD Brazos. Both those current platforms will be replaced with new stuff in 6 months or so according to leaked roadmaps, FYI.

Edited 2011-08-08 00:24 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Luminair
by AdamW on Mon 8th Aug 2011 17:34 UTC in reply to "Comment by Luminair"
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

This. I used to have a big-ass HTPC which was also a poor man's NAS, and it was a pain to keep it all maintained and so on. Now I have a dedicated NAS box - a D-Link DNS-323 - sitting in the server closet, and a dedicated media streamer - a Patriot Box Office running medebo - sitting under the TV. Hell of a lot more efficient setup, I'm finding.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Luminair
by j-kidd on Tue 9th Aug 2011 01:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Luminair"
j-kidd Member since:
2005-07-06

This largely depends on how often you "take down the server for maintenance". With the frontend-backend split, when you break the frontend, you can still use a laptop to play the media off the backend. And when you break the backend, you can still use the frontend to play the media off an external hard disk.

On the other hand, with the one-HTPC-to-rule-them-all setup, you can't afford any downtime.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Mon 8th Aug 2011 00:29 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

I've tried several different Intel Atom/Nvidia ION[2] mainboards and there simply isn't much difference between them. They all perform within the same ballpark and the Nvidia ION/ION2 has certainly proven to be a great choice for a cheap htpc. Keep in mind you may need to throttle temporal-spatial deinterlacing back to temporal for things like high-action sports in 1080i, but this isn't a problem for most users. If it's a sticking point for you, you need to forget mini-itx. Also, "cheap" is relative so you'll have to decide what's "best" for you & your wallet. I would go with an ION2 system as it has a little more horsepower in my real world experience with them. They also work just fine as a file server. You definitely get the most bang for your buck.

I strongly recommend you read:
http://www.linuxtech.net/features/nvidia_ion_products_overview.html

Although there are references to Linux, you'll be just fine with Windows assuming you've given your little buddy enough RAM and keep things in perspective. As a fully capable htpc & usable desktop, most of these will suit your needs. If you're looking for a full blown htpc, full blown desktop, full blown bla bla...you are barking up the wrong tree in many regards, starting with the mini-itx requirement.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by v_bobok
by v_bobok on Mon 8th Aug 2011 00:51 UTC
v_bobok
Member since:
2008-08-01

Can't wait till Haiku is all R1 in it's full glory. And some multimedia front-end like XBMC on top of it. These lil machines was made for Linux-based (and Haiku some day) media stations.

Reply Score: 1

E-350
by j-kidd on Mon 8th Aug 2011 00:55 UTC
j-kidd
Member since:
2005-07-06

I got a Sapphire Pure Fusion Mini E350 inside a Gigabyte MIB-T5140 Mini-ITX Case. It can handle HD video, has SPDIF optical out, and has a VGA port. I also didn't put in a case fan, and it runs silent and stable.

And it's cheap. Just add a SSD for OS, a HDD for media, and some spare RAM from laptop upgrade, and you are good to go.

Reply Score: 3

RE: E-350
by ilovebeer on Mon 8th Aug 2011 01:05 UTC in reply to "E-350"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

And it's cheap. Just add a SSD for OS, a HDD for media, and some spare RAM from laptop upgrade, and you are good to go.

A much cheaper alternative to using an SSD for your OS drive is using a USB flash drive or an SDHC card. I use both and they work great for this purpose. Additionally, I make an occasional image/backup to another UFD/SDHC so in case there's any problems I simply pop the busted one out and plug the backup in. Downtime would be practically nil were I ever to have a problem.

I've been using UFDs and SDHCs for this purpose for about 5 years now and have not had a single problem. Not one.

Reply Score: 1

AMD
by Kasi on Mon 8th Aug 2011 01:18 UTC
Kasi
Member since:
2008-07-12

Any AMD E-350 board will make an ideal HTPC in terms of compute power for transcoding, streaming, etc. They also meet the demands of low power draw, quiet running and low heat generation.

Reply Score: 3

Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...I frequent this site http://mini-itx.com/ to keep up on motherboards and CPUs ...

Reply Score: 3

"Best" is in the eye of the beholder
by chithanh on Mon 8th Aug 2011 02:18 UTC
chithanh
Member since:
2006-06-18

If you are sensitive to the 23.976 Hz refresh rate issue, then avoid Intel graphics.

Post-processing is usually done in GPU shaders, and the lowest end graphics often lack the punch to offer you all post-processing options. So if that is important to you, you might rather want to aim for more mainstream graphics.

ASUS F1A75-I (Socket FM1) would be an option here. However, it lacks a VGA port so you need a DisplayPort->VGA adapter which costs around 30€/$.

Reply Score: 1

ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Post-processing is usually done in GPU shaders, and the lowest end graphics often lack the punch to offer you all post-processing options. So if that is important to you, you might rather want to aim for more mainstream graphics.

ASUS F1A75-I (Socket FM1) would be an option here. However, it lacks a VGA port so you need a DisplayPort->VGA adapter which costs around 30€/$.

Two problems with this suggestion.. First, the cost of the mainboard and llano is likely to be nowhere near the "cheap" cost the OP had requested. Then you also factor in a video card.

Second, although the pci-e slot accepts 16x cards, does it actually have a _full_ 16 lanes? These days you have to pay close attention to details like this because not every 16x slot is a true 16x, the same as not every sata connector is full bandwidth -- many use port multipliers which trash the bandwidth and slow your sata devices to a crawl.

I look forward to giving the F1A75-I/Llano combo a spin once the price is reasonable.. But if I were to buy another htpc system today that needed to be solid, stable, cheap, low power, and be able to double as a file server, there's no question I would go Intel Atom/Nvidia ION/ION2. I haven't paid more then the $120-$140 range out the door for any of my systems in this configuration, and I don't plan to.

Reply Score: 1

chithanh Member since:
2006-06-18

With "mainstream" I was actually referring to the Llano integrated graphics, which offer about Radeon 5570 equivalent performance. A discrete card does not fit into his case anyway.

And he specifically asked for the "Best" HTPC board. The Atom+Ion, Clarkdale and AM3+ IGP boards are all lacking in one or more departments. The cheapest solution that remains and will fit into the R10-D3 case is Llano.

Reply Score: 1

ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

With "mainstream" I was actually referring to the Llano integrated graphics, which offer about Radeon 5570 equivalent performance. A discrete card does not fit into his case anyway.

And he specifically asked for the "Best" HTPC board. The Atom+Ion, Clarkdale and AM3+ IGP boards are all lacking in one or more departments. The cheapest solution that remains and will fit into the R10-D3 case is Llano.

ALL mini-itx configurations are lacking in something. What's "best" for him is what best suits _his_ needs. It's okay to look at specs initially but you want to pay attention to real life experience from people with the same or similar needs.

For example, the ASUS E35M1-I advertises that it has a 16x 2.0 PCI-E slot... However, what the specs don't tell you is that it only has the bandwidth of a 4x. If you want the best deinterlacers and support, vdpau easily surpasses xvba. If you want to add an Nvidia card to that mainboard to get it, you'll unfortunately discover the downfall of having a bandwidth crippled slot.

Mini-ITX htpc solutions are not so cut and dry.. And you will certainly have to compromise somewhere -- ideally in an area of little value to you. And going on 'specs' alone is a big mistake.

Reply Score: 1

chithanh Member since:
2006-06-18

Lacking in one HTPC department I meant.

The PCIe slot doesn't matter, as no PCIe card will fit into his case anyway.

On Windows 7 there is no VDPAU or XVBA. (Article says that this will be the OS)

Reply Score: 1

grat Member since:
2006-02-02


On Windows 7 there is no VDPAU or XVBA. (Article says that this will be the OS)


Partially true, since both technologies you mention are linux. However, DxVA is available, and the fusion chips do UVD2 quite nicely.

I built a "hudson" E350 based system with a Ceton InfiniTV card, and it handles 4 HD streams no problem. The ceton card runs a bit hot, however, so extra cooling was required (apex MI-008 case).

Reply Score: 2

garyd Member since:
2008-10-22

First, the cost of the mainboard and llano is likely to be nowhere near the "cheap" cost the OP had requested.

That really depends on how/where you buy it. Barebones systems are almost invariably cheaper than buying piece by piece.

Then you also factor in a video card.

Llano are APUs, id est CPU/GPU combinations. Please do your homework.

Second, although the pci-e slot accepts 16x cards, does it actually have a _full_ 16 lanes?

That would depend on the specific motherboard byt APU most definitely supports it.

many use port multipliers which trash the bandwidth and slow your sata devices to a crawl.

Again, that's board specific.

I would go Intel Atom/Nvidia ION/ION2. I haven't paid more then the $120-$140 range out the door for any of my systems in this configuration, and I don't plan to.

Is that for a full system build?

Reply Score: 1

ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

"First, the cost of the mainboard and llano is likely to be nowhere near the "cheap" cost the OP had requested.

That really depends on how/where you buy it. Barebones systems are almost invariably cheaper than buying piece by piece.
"
The Llano alone will cost over $100USD. When you add up everything else for a complete Llano system, you are easily out of the realm of "cheap". New hardware has never come out at an unbloated price point.

"Then you also factor in a video card.

Llano are APUs, id est CPU/GPU combinations. Please do your homework.
"
The Llano is underpowered for 1080i using advanced deinterlacers and other video post-processing. Not to mention Nvidia still holds the title for the best deinterlacers. So, when you factor in a video card that is capable of what you want.................


"Second, although the pci-e slot accepts 16x cards, does it actually have a _full_ 16 lanes?

That would depend on the specific motherboard byt APU most definitely supports it.
"
I'm not aware of one that does actually support the full 16 lanes. The problem is supplying the power needed to do so.

"many use port multipliers which trash the bandwidth and slow your sata devices to a crawl.

Again, that's board specific.
"
See previous comment regarding 16x PCIe.

"I would go Intel Atom/Nvidia ION/ION2. I haven't paid more then the $120-$140 range out the door for any of my systems in this configuration, and I don't plan to.

Is that for a full system build?
"
Yes, for complete systems. It's worth mentioning that I haven't paid full price however. All of my htpc hardware has been purchased while on sale and/or with MIR.

Also note that none of these systems have a storage drive since I use a lan fileserver, and just 2GB ram (which is plenty for an htpc with hardware decoding). The OSes are installed on cheap USB flash drives or SDHC.

Reply Score: 1

garyd Member since:
2008-10-22

The Llano is underpowered for 1080i using advanced deinterlacers and other video post-processing.

I looked up the Anandtech article on AMD A8-3850 for HTPC (http://www.anandtech.com/print/4479) and it does mention problems with 1080p. So I must have been thinking of something else... though now I'm curious whether that can be fixed in software.

I'm not aware of one that does actually support the full 16 lanes. The problem is supplying the power needed to do so.

The FM1 socket boards from Gigabyte do: http://www.gigabyte.com/products/list.aspx?s=42&jid=10&p=2&v=27

Yes, for complete systems. It's worth mentioning that I haven't paid full price however. All of my htpc hardware has been purchased while on sale and/or with MIR.

That's usually the best way to buy complete bare bones systems as well.

Also note that none of these systems have a storage drive since I use a lan fileserver, and just 2GB ram (which is plenty for an htpc with hardware decoding). The OSes are installed on cheap USB flash drives or SDHC.

There's been some confusion on the thread about this. If Thom's looking to replace his motherboard, why not just by a media extender? That's certainly possible but it sounds like he wants to keep as much of his existing hardware as possible. If he's got DDR3 RAM at compatible speeds then that will help toward that goal... (which seems unlikely given the age of the system mentioned in his post)

re SATA port multipliers, I've heard a lot about this on the OpenIndiana mailing list but haven't encountered it yet myself. I had just written it off as someone trying to build a storage system with cheap desktop hardware that wasn't designed with that goal in mind.

-Gary

Edited 2011-08-09 00:41 UTC

Reply Score: 1

chithanh Member since:
2006-06-18

"The Llano is underpowered for 1080i using advanced deinterlacers and other video post-processing.

I looked up the Anandtech article on AMD A8-3850 for HTPC (http://www.anandtech.com/print/4479) and it does mention problems with 1080p. So I must have been thinking of something else... though now I'm curious whether that can be fixed in software.
"

The suitability of Llano for HTPC is extensively discussed in this AVS Forum thread: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1333378
The Anandtech article's 1080p60 issues are because of one single post-processing feature (dynamic contrast) in combination with Anandtech's use of DDR3-1333 and discussed starting from page 11.
tl;dr -> posts 343 and 353 summarize the situation.

Edited 2011-08-09 12:10 UTC

Reply Score: 1

ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

The suitability of Llano for HTPC is extensively discussed in this AVS Forum thread: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1333378
The Anandtech article's 1080p60 issues are because of one single post-processing feature (dynamic contrast) in combination with Anandtech's use of DDR3-1333 and discussed starting from page 11.
tl;dr -> posts 343 and 353 summarize the situation.

First, the people who are rambling about the Llano being a faster cpu then an Atom is completely absurd. Aside of the obvious problems with those types of statements, when you're talking about an htpc using a hardware decoder, the cpu is sitting IDLE most of the time. The fact you're using a hardware decoder practically removes the cpu from the equation.

So, now you look at the GPU... The speed of the memory, the shaders, the deinterlacers, bla bla bla.. Is the Llano capable of being used in an htpc environment? Yes, of course. Will it provide competition for Nvidia's already proven high end deinterlacers? Absolutely not.

There's no question there are areas where Llano falls short in the htpc arena. That doesn't mean it's a bad choice -- it isn't. It's just not the best. People, wrongly, cling to 1080p performance as the measuring stick.. The real test is how it handles 1080i with post-processing. Anyone that doesn't understand that has a lot to learn about this subject.

Reply Score: 1

grat Member since:
2006-02-02

Apex MI-008 case
Asus E351M motherboard/CPU
Seagate 1.5TB "green" sata 6.0 drive
4GB DDR3/1066 memory (1x4gb)
SATA 24x dvd burner

Total cost: $263 USD

Reply Score: 2

Ultimate home setup
by ducker on Mon 8th Aug 2011 02:55 UTC
ducker
Member since:
2006-12-26

I spent a lot of time working out my setup as i wanted to save power by turning off my pc and replace it with something that uses 4W not 400 ;)

The best HTPC is windows media center its the best looking most reliable easiest to use of all options. In terms of pure functionality and awesomeness Windows Media Center wins hands down.

Heres how i changed to NOT use it (to save power and hassle)
The simple setup...
Youtube / Netflix with apple tv 2 ..
TV recorder and 1080 mkv streaming off network Astone 410 running a version of unix..

The Astones a samba client and SERVER and streams off network shares and is a UPNP client. Its easy to play any type of codec and works quite well.. its UI interface sucks and its a bit unstable but what can u expect for 130$. (with all that functionality )

Apple Tv 2 is a great product especially with airplay. Combine it with some of the network airplay divx players on ipad (ie oplayerHD etc) and i can airplay an divx from my pvr to my apple tv (not that id want to!).

My suggestion get a cheap pvr box (who cares about TV anyway).. and focus more on apple tv.. and if u want to stream to apple tv without a pc.. just use an ipad (or iphone). ... if u want to play a 1080p mkv... i suggest a network player. Windows eventually gets confused when u mess up the codecs.

Reply Score: 1

It depends on the budget! :)
by vnangia on Mon 8th Aug 2011 03:40 UTC
vnangia
Member since:
2011-08-08

Hi Thom, it depends on your budget. Of late, on the high-end side, I've been recommending the Pentium G620T, a 35W part with a low-profile heatsink, and the MSI H61-E35. Total comes to about $160 here in the US, and it's a powerful enough machine that it should last at least a half-dozen years for basic video tasks. I personally have a i3-2100T and the Gigabyte H67N-USB3-B3, and once I got past the idiotic "dual-BIOS" problems, it's been relatively stable and useful.

On the lower-end side, I've been recommending the Gigabyte GAD525TUD (~$90-$100 here in the US); ASRock makes the same thing, sells it for $30-40 less and calls it the AD525PV3; the choice is basically in ters of manufacturer reputation. This will do up to 720p stutter-free, but, beyond that, it's a crap shoot.

The AMD E350 may be a better choice, but I have no experience with it really; on the other hand, no one in my circle has complained about it. Foxconn makes one for a $100 (AHD1SK ... very punny) that I think meets your need for a VGA port.

SO: it really depends what your budget is. Chances are high you're going to have to shell out for new RAM, though, and depending on the age of the P4, possibly new drives as you switch over to SATA.

So I guess one may need to start with a budget and work backwards from there? Happy to help if you need any more questions - I am something of a mini-ITX fan, and have quite a number of mini-ITX machines around the house.

Reply Score: 1

RE: It depends on the budget! :)
by ilovebeer on Mon 8th Aug 2011 03:55 UTC in reply to "It depends on the budget! :)"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

SO: it really depends what your budget is. Chances are high you're going to have to shell out for new RAM, though, and depending on the age of the P4, possibly new drives as you switch over to SATA.

This is slightly off-topic but you can easily use older ide drives with sata connectors via a cheap adapter. I even went as cheap as to get a few Chinese ones off ebay for a couple bucks each. Even those worked well. New harddrives in the 500GB-1.5GB are pretty cheap these days, even some in the 2GB range... But an ide->sata adapter is even cheaper. ;)

Reply Score: 1

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Actually, I think that 2GB hard drives would be quite expensive these days, due to the need to rob a museum and all...

Reply Score: 1

ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Actually, I think that 2GB hard drives would be quite expensive these days, due to the need to rob a museum and all...

Yes... Unfortunately this comment engine doesn't allow you to go back and correct typo's after submitting. Any sane person will realize that should be TB....of course.

Reply Score: 1

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

It does, but only for a number of minutes (20 IIRC) ;) Been there too...

Reply Score: 1

adinas Member since:
2005-08-17

lol

Reply Score: 1

Does it have to be a CISC?
by IvoLimmen on Mon 8th Aug 2011 05:20 UTC
IvoLimmen
Member since:
2005-07-06

If you would go for ARM it would mean:
-no fans,
-less heat,
-less noise,
-cheaper,
-more open.

Go for a http://pandaboard.org/ or http://beagleboard.org/.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Does it have to be a CISC?
by Neolander on Mon 8th Aug 2011 06:09 UTC in reply to "Does it have to be a CISC?"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

He wants to run Windows 7 on it, so ARM is not an option.

Reply Score: 1

IvoLimmen Member since:
2005-07-06

Windows 8 runs on ARM... why not wait on that then?

Reply Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, my guess is that if he wants to run Windows, it's in order to use some Windows applications. He only mentions that it's for work, so we never now, but that probably includes more than Office. And current Windows 7 x86 applications are not being recompiled for Windows 8 ARM anytime soon...

Reply Score: 1

IvoLimmen Member since:
2005-07-06

It's most likely possible to virtualize x86 apps within Windows 8. But I guess he will most likely opt for the WINTEL platform as a whole.
It's what I battle with every since I discovered open source. Nobody even wants to try something new even if it better simply because it's unknown.
Can't blame him for using Windows but for someone on OSNews describing the things he is going to use it for (File sharing, video streaming, etc.) I would have expected the use of an alternate OS.
Using an alternate OS can, in this case, even run on cheaper hardware.

Reply Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I run my own company, and once your income depends on it, you're not going to take any gambles.

Although, one thing I hadn't considered... I can keep the P4 in storage as a backup workstation... Would make ARM an option if the Air Video server runs on ARM?

Reply Score: 1

IvoLimmen Member since:
2005-07-06

Current ARM processors can easily stream 1080p without making a sweat (in terms of heat ;) ). The Pandaboard I suggested can stream 1080p, and only cost $174, giving you:


* Dual-core ARM® Cortex™-A9 MPCore™ with Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP) at 1 GHz each. Allows for 150% performance increase over previous ARM Cortex-A8 cores.
* Full HD (1080p) multi-standard video encode/decode
* Imagination Technologies’ POWERVR™ SGX540 graphics core supporting all major API's including OpenGL® ES v2.0, OpenGL ES v1.1, OpenVG v1.1 and EGL v1.3 and delivering 2x sustained performance compared to the previous SGX530 core
* Low power audio

This includes 1GB memory.

Reply Score: 1

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

It's most likely possible to virtualize x86 apps within Windows 8. But I guess he will most likely opt for the WINTEL platform as a whole.

Depends what he wants to run on it, I think. Chances are good that virtualizing x86 on ARM is going to be extremely inefficient, due to the differences between both architectures that have to be emulated away (remember x86 VM performance before VT-x and AMD-v were out ?). And ARM chips are not renowned for their sheer CPU power...

So whether basic apps can run smoothly is already a big question, and if Thom wants to run anything power-hungry (think Adobe software), he's probably out of luck.

I'm all for alternative OSs myself (heck, I'm even developing one myself, even though as far as I'm concerned the current ARM ecosystem could die a painful death), but his "I want it to replace my work PC and connect with my iPad" requirement is quite strong.

Edited 2011-08-08 06:46 UTC

Reply Score: 1

IvoLimmen Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm all for alternative OSs myself (heck, I'm even developing one myself, even though as far as I'm concerned the current ARM ecosystem could die a painful death), but his "I want it to replace my work PC and connect with my iPad" requirement is quite strong.


Let ARM die? Do you want a world without HTPC's, Smartphones, Network computer and iPad's (yes it's an ARM derivative)?

Reply Score: 1

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Let ARM die? Do you want a world without HTPC's, Smartphones, Network computer and iPad's (yes it's an ARM derivative)?

Only the current closed ARM ecosystem ;) Bring me unlocked bioses and easy flashing on most devices, full and free kernel developer documentation that's comparable to the Intel one, and a decent level of cross-SoC standardization, and I'm all for developing ARM stuff myself.

Edited 2011-08-08 07:07 UTC

Reply Score: 1

aesiamun Member since:
2005-06-29

Newer cable card solutions in the US do not support Linux. Windows is the only solution if you want to replace those horrible set top boxes that you get from the likes of Verizon and Time Warner.

No, the HD HomeRun Prime doesn't count, it only streams COPY-FREELY content to Linux DVRs.

Reply Score: 2

iPad streaming app
by Troydm on Mon 8th Aug 2011 06:16 UTC
Troydm
Member since:
2009-04-03

What iPad streaming app are you using? I use AirVideo and it has AirVideo server for Linux (Alpha version) and it works nicely.

Reply Score: 1

RE: iPad streaming app
by ducker on Mon 8th Aug 2011 13:46 UTC in reply to "iPad streaming app"
ducker Member since:
2006-12-26

I used to use Airvideo but sometimes had some issues with it and it requires a fair bit of cpu ( more than my pvr can do). The ipad can decode divx at up to about 720p so i just use tiod(or xyplayer oplayer etc) as it decodess divx etc streamed over samba.

iphone/ipad supports builtin windows vpn server.

Reply Score: 1

Easy route
by Matzon on Mon 8th Aug 2011 06:18 UTC
Matzon
Member since:
2005-07-06

zbox nd22 is your best bet. The increased CPU over the ad02 will be relevant for xbmc for instance.

If you know you will be using windows 7 or really like to tinker with linux, then use a zbox ad02 (fusion). The drivers aren't ready for primetime, but its getting there... (openelec)

Reply Score: 2

hmm..
by jarkkot on Mon 8th Aug 2011 06:21 UTC
jarkkot
Member since:
2010-01-14

Why buy a new mini-itx computer? Use your current/old laptop for it and buy a new laptop ;)

Reply Score: 1

Building a NAS/HTPC
by stevenodb on Mon 8th Aug 2011 07:25 UTC
stevenodb
Member since:
2011-08-08

Thom,
I've been thinking about building (or buying) a NAS lately. The hardware I've selected for building it myself is based on a "ASUS E35M1-M Pro Zacate DDR3" and I believe it has HTPC value too.

Full specs can be found in my write-up (http://opdebeeck.org/blog/2011/07/22/the-problem-is-choice-building...). But I was sort of tilting towards a retail NAS box, as my TV is pretty much set up (Mac Mini, XBMC, AirServer, etc.)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Building a NAS/HTPC
by ducker on Mon 8th Aug 2011 13:57 UTC in reply to "Building a NAS/HTPC"
ducker Member since:
2006-12-26

Astone 410 dt is about 120$ and uses 10w about 1$ per month compared to 100-300w or 10-30$ a month for a htpc Its fanless samba server dual tuner pvr and decodes 1080p mkv over a network

I highly recommend such devices as they take the pain and cost out of windows boot up faster .. Wd live playon etc are all similar but only astone has pvr as well

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Building a NAS/HTPC
by j-kidd on Mon 8th Aug 2011 15:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Building a NAS/HTPC"
j-kidd Member since:
2005-07-06

When idle, a E-350 system consumes about 10w.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by fasteez
by fasteez on Mon 8th Aug 2011 08:40 UTC
fasteez
Member since:
2007-03-13

The Zotac Fusion motherboard seems nice. Passive cooling and full featured for 150$. Never tested it though, just read some positive reviews on the web.

Reply Score: 1

AMD E-350
by koffie on Mon 8th Aug 2011 09:26 UTC
koffie
Member since:
2010-05-06

I'd go for an AMD-E350 board over Intel Atoms: more performance, better GPU, lower power consumption (18 Watt). Asus has some nice passively cooled boards (ASUS E35M1-I Deluxe) which seems perfect for HTPC and FreeNAS projects.

Reply Score: 2

RE: AMD E-350
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 8th Aug 2011 09:43 UTC in reply to "AMD E-350"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Asus has some nice passively cooled boards (ASUS E35M1-I Deluxe) which seems perfect for HTPC and FreeNAS projects.


Yes, the E35M1-I Deluxe got my attention too. It's €144 here, add to that the €10 for a 2GB RAM stick and €8 for a DVI>VGA adapter, and it'd be around €160. It seems reviews recommend this board too. More than I anticipated, but I'd rather spend a bit more for the best than spend less and end up with annoying fan whines or crappy hardware.

Would I need a case fan with this board, though?

Edited 2011-08-08 09:44 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: AMD E-350
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 8th Aug 2011 12:18 UTC in reply to "RE: AMD E-350"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Indications are I won't need a case fan, also since the PSU fan is directed towards the motherboard, which should help.

Could anybody with knowledge about this stuff confirm?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: AMD E-350
by fran on Mon 8th Aug 2011 13:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: AMD E-350"
fran Member since:
2010-08-06

cant confirm this but do have some advice on fans.

If you do have to buy a fan think of getting one with manual speed setting outside the case.

I would go with this one.

Antec Truquite (can switch between 600&1000 RPM)
http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=MjY4Ng==
On the 600rpm it's noise is a low 8.9dba

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: AMD E-350
by garyd on Mon 8th Aug 2011 19:24 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: AMD E-350"
garyd Member since:
2008-10-22

If you do have to buy a fan think of getting one with manual speed setting outside the case.


For case fans, I'd recommend anything with two ball bearings and an potentiometer for manual control. If you're going to go with AMD, there's no sense in buying the last generation unless you stumble on a really good bargain. I've recently built a system with an AMD A6-3650 Llano APU and used a Rosewill RFX-80BL case fan (80mm, dual bb, and pot). There are several FM1 socket motherboards available from the best vendors but you'll probably find that bare bones systems are cheaper to buy than if you bought all the parts separately. The AMD Llano series have reviewed well for both low-midrange gaming systems and I've seen at least one HTPC oriented review (Anandtech?).

If you want to go with an entirely passive cooled system, I'd recommend looking at the Shuttle XS35GT-804 which is an Intel Atom D510 with an Nvidia ION GPU. Expect to pay a little more since these are basically netbook parts in a tiny barebones desktop case. The oly downside is that it can only take up to 2 Gb RAM but that should be sufficient for most single task HTPC needs. Optionally, it can take a slim Blu-Ray player to round out your HTPC options. Again, this will probably be a more expensive option but its footprint is ideal if you want to minimize the space it uses near your display.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: AMD E-350
by Kivada on Tue 9th Aug 2011 05:49 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: AMD E-350"
Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

The reason to why to stick with the E-350 is the low power of 18w TDP compared to the 45w TDP of the A6 and that there are currently no A4 series APUs in the desktop market, though they would have a higher draw then the E-350.

Atom+ION2 only have an edge in Linux when using VDPAU, since Thom is looking for something for Windows, the E-350/HD6310 soundly beat any Atom+ION2 setup in any real world test for the same power draw.

As for fans, I'd get something with a beefy fanless block and see if you can mount one of those 1000RPM or less fluid dynamic bearing fans, I know some re as low as 800RPM at 12v and wont be able to spin up till after the heat load hits a point where the fan controller would push 7v to it if the fan wasn't already spun up at post. these FDB and S-FDB fans are very quiet nd are rated to have a very long life span.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: AMD E-350
by grat on Wed 10th Aug 2011 20:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: AMD E-350"
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

I didn't have a case fan on my original build (Apex MI-008 case), but the Ceton CableCARD card runs very hot, so I had to add one.

Since you're unlikely to be sporting such a beast, I doubt you'd need extra cooling.

Reply Score: 2

AMD
by abimanyu on Mon 8th Aug 2011 09:57 UTC
abimanyu
Member since:
2011-08-08

This is my recommended config
Zotac AMD Fusion Board With Wifi, HDMI, Displayport etc..
(http://www.zotacusa.com/zotac-amd-e-350-apu-1-6-ghz-dual-core-mini-...)

Dell ST2220T Monitor (HDMI, IPS, Multi Touch etc..)
(http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?sku=320-1819&...)

Good RAID Card (For Lot's lot's storage)

Chenbor Mini-ITX Cabnet (HDD HotSwap, Good Looking etc..)
(http://www.chenbro.com/corporatesite/products_detail.php?sku=167)

Reply Score: 1

RE: AMD
by j-kidd on Mon 8th Aug 2011 15:46 UTC in reply to "AMD"
j-kidd Member since:
2005-07-06

Wow, this is really the dream setup!

Reply Score: 2

AMD E-350
by nej_simon on Mon 8th Aug 2011 11:05 UTC
nej_simon
Member since:
2011-02-11

You should get a board based on the AMD E-350 CPU. IMO It's the best low-power CPU available today.

Intel have some decent dual core + HT Atom CPU:s as well but a problem is that they only support 2 or 4 GB of memory, even when running in 64 bit mode.

And the radeon graphics is of course also a plus.

Edited 2011-08-08 11:06 UTC

Reply Score: 2

...
by fran on Mon 8th Aug 2011 11:46 UTC
fran
Member since:
2010-08-06

Agree AMD E350's is a very good choice. All of them have DirectX11 for instance.
Their graphics card is an onboard HD6310 with 1Gb memory and usually triple output. (HDMI, D-Sub, DVi)
One big plus for the Brazos as well is that it has a Pci-e (x16) slot. (the biggest variation on those board is that the cheaper one's dont have USB 3)

If would like a Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX board.

Intel H67CF Clear Fork
http://www.intel.com/cd/products/services/emea/eng/motherboards/des...

Downside with this is you might prefer a lower noise factor CPU cooler than the stock fan.

Edited 2011-08-08 11:49 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Case and remote
by fran on Mon 8th Aug 2011 12:00 UTC
fran
Member since:
2010-08-06

Sometimes Micro-ATX chassis with flex PSU's is cheaper than pure Mini-ITX chassis only.

Take this Micro ATX case as an example.Coolermaster Elite 100.
http://www.coolermaster.com/product.php?product_id=6623

Other Mini-ITX cases is usually more expensive.
Many mini-itx cases is OEM as well. Cant buy it separately.

Now pair this up with an Compro K300 remote.
http://www.comprousa.com/en/product/k300/k300.html

Now if your form factor can include Micro-ATX as well your options is much larger.

Edited 2011-08-08 12:02 UTC

Reply Score: 2

AMD
by bassbeast on Mon 8th Aug 2011 14:55 UTC
bassbeast
Member since:
2007-11-11

If you are going HTPC the extra performance of the AMD setups on GPU will be WELL worth it. I have had quite good luck with the ZOTAC 890GXITX-A-E , just drop in a nice cheap triple or quad and voila! A nice basic HTPC.

The nice things about that board is the IGP is a 4290, which has good hardware acceleration for just about any major format, and it will hold up to 8Gb of RAM which is great for having a whole movie loaded up into RAM for instant seeking.

That said, does it HAVE to be mini-ITX? Personally on my HTPCs I prefer using mATX as that gives you a PCIe x16 which means the machine will have upgrade potential and last longer. Today you can get an HD4830 for something like $60 and the 256bit pipe absolutely stomps anything else out there for HD performance. if you want an ultra quiet machine there are several after market coolers for the HD48xx chips although frankly I never notice the fans on my HD4850. There are also several mATX cases that look like a DVD player so you still get the HTPC look without the limitations of the Mini-ITX form factor.

I hope this helps but if you were my customer I would be recommending a mATX with an Athlon X4 630, 4Gb of RAM, and either an HD4830 or an HD5770 depending on your budget, wrapped up with a nice DVD style case and a wireless keyboard/mouse combo. With a setup like this unless you are wanting to play Crisis on your HTPC you should be able to easily get a good 7 years if not a decade. The quad CPU gives you plenty of power while not sucking a ton of wattage, the mATX gives you future options, and the RAM and GPU speak for themselves.

I have built several along these lines and the ONLY things they come to me for now with regards to their HTPCs is the need for ever larger space to hold their movie collections. Another nice thing about the Athlon quad, its great for DVD ripping and transcoding as my customers quickly find out. Having all your movies and music loaded into Win 7 on your HTPC ready to go? that's nice, REAL nice.

Reply Score: 1

RE: AMD
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 8th Aug 2011 15:28 UTC in reply to "AMD"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Yup, it has to be mini-ITX since I don't want to spend money on a new case, PSU, and so on. Also, I like the smaller size and lower power usage.

Reply Score: 1

Logitech Revue
by jefro on Mon 8th Aug 2011 15:32 UTC
jefro
Member since:
2007-04-13

The logitech revue at $99 is a fantastic deal if you can figure out a way to hack it and add on a usb or internal drive. The basic system is by far good enough to run a tv system.

I use the Lenovo Q150 and is really isn't good enough or will ever be good enough to run Netflix in HD. I have silverlight 5 on and latest beta video drivers and it just almost runs HD.

Edited 2011-08-08 15:34 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Perfect Mini-ITX hackintosh?
by The123king on Mon 8th Aug 2011 17:26 UTC
The123king
Member since:
2009-05-28

I'm actually interested in the same question, but i need to be able to run OS X on the chosen hardware, ruling out atom hardware, what's the best thing to do in this situation?

Reply Score: 1

The GreenPC
by leeps on Mon 8th Aug 2011 18:33 UTC
leeps
Member since:
2011-08-08

Hi Thom:

I recently upgraded my old AMD Duron PC with the Gigabyte GA-D525TUD Mini-ITX board. Here is the link:
http://www.zurich.ibm.com/~rpa/homepage/greenpc.html

However, this board might not be the ideal joice for you, because it lacks graphics power. You would need to add a PCI graphics card.

I believe that the Atom D525 + ION is probably the best choice for you.

Hope this helps

Rene

Reply Score: 1

Just Been There
by organgtool on Mon 8th Aug 2011 20:05 UTC
organgtool
Member since:
2010-02-25

I just went through this and here is what I settled on:

Zotac IONITX-R-E 1.8 GHz Dual-Core Intel Atom Processor (with NVidia ION 512MB DDR3 RAM)
4GB DDR3 RAM
Samsung 2TB Hard Drive
Samsung BluRay Player with LightScribe
InWin BP-655 Case with 200 Watt power supply

This setup cost me ~$400. I went with the Intel/NVidia over the AMD/ATI because I have more faith in the graphics architecture of NVidia over ATI at this point, especially with the support for video-accelerated Flash which is a necessary evil for many sites that serve videos. If you did go with the Zotac, I should warn you that their support for the onboard WiFi is supposedly horrible. That didn't affect me since I'm going to run ethernet to my hub to access a file server.

I also bought a Ceton InfiniTV digital tuner card that can receive four simultaneous HD streams.

All of these parts should be in by the end of the week, so I will know soon whether or not I made good choices.

Reply Score: 0

HDPLEX
by dionicio on Mon 8th Aug 2011 22:18 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

Thom:

You should check this:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1201-page1.html

:)

Reply Score: 1

Fanless?
by coreyography on Mon 8th Aug 2011 22:57 UTC
coreyography
Member since:
2009-03-06

HD HTPC + server + backup workstation on Windows 7? I'm not sure you are going to like the performance you get with a fanless system (which pretty much means Atom or maybe ATI E350), unless you spring for one of those fancy heatpipe-everywhere cases (e.g., Serener).

I'm thinking about this myself, and I've resigned myself to a separate server in another room. But my goals are a bit different: RAID NAS, remote desktop server, and ability to transcode, strip commercials, etc. as well as record. I'm still not sure I can do all that in one machine ;)

Reply Score: 2

Two media boxes
by 3rdalbum on Tue 9th Aug 2011 10:53 UTC
3rdalbum
Member since:
2008-05-26

Just buy two of those media boxes that plug into your TV and let you stream media from your computer.

Make sure one of those boxes can act as a NAS if you plug a USB hard drive into it. If desired, the other box can be one with a PVR in it (they exist).

Now you've got a noiseless, low-power, appliance-style media center on a tiny budget. When my home server dies I'll just buy a third media box and plug a USB hard drive into it.

Reply Score: 2

itx hot swap case
by fran on Tue 9th Aug 2011 12:23 UTC
fran
Member since:
2010-08-06

There where some mention of ITX cases.

I rather like this mini-itx case also.
It also support hot swop function.

http://www.chyangfun.com/pro04_1_5.asp

Reply Score: 2

as HTPC
by kovacm on Wed 10th Aug 2011 09:57 UTC
kovacm
Member since:
2010-12-16
i'm falling in love with hp micro server...
by thesim on Wed 10th Aug 2011 15:42 UTC
thesim
Member since:
2011-08-10

compact,unexpensive,silent....
4 hdd bay, 8 gb ram, no fan, and 2 pcie slot for your preferred video card...

Reply Score: 1

Comment by csynt
by csynt on Fri 12th Aug 2011 11:17 UTC
csynt
Member since:
2006-03-19

I prefer my desktop ECO Friendly:

This is my current configuration:
ASRock H67m-itx , i5-2500 , 4GB, 2x250GB 2.5' SATA

average power consumption is 30w-35w !

Reply Score: 1