Username or Email Address
Do you already have an account?
Forgot your password?
  • Log in or Sign up

    VWVortex


    Results 1 to 15 of 15

    Thread: Micro HTPC

    1. Member Chacolla's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 19th, 2004
      Location
      RI
      Posts
      8,661
      Vehicles
      2006 GTI
      01-18-2012 03:06 PM #1
      Looking to get one of those micro form factor PCs to use as a lightweight Home Theater PC. Most likely will have Xbox Media Center installed on it streaming off my desktop computer which is networked into the router. No gaming will be used for this at all.

      I currently have one of those WDTV Live+ boxes which is great, but I've found that every once in a while I'll come across a file that won't work so well, plus I've always wanted to delve into XBMC.

      Is there anything 'new' or 'upcoming' that can compete with the Nvidia Ion2 platform?

      I was looking at the Zotac Zbox Nano and it seems to be a pretty good contender.

      With my credit card rewards I can essentially get enough money in amazon gift cards to purchase the whole thing.

      The other option was using Amazon gift cards and pitching in a little extra and picking up the entry level Mac Mini. I'm not sure if it would be overkill though.

      What do you guys think? Pull the trigger on an ION2 platform or wait for something better?

    2. Member theuean's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 11th, 2000
      Location
      Vancouver, BC
      Posts
      7,270
      Vehicles
      13 Rabbits, 92 GTI 16v, Passat 1.8t
      01-18-2012 11:13 PM #2
      I just put OpenElec on a spare box I had. Smaller form factor, meaning I can put it in the bookcase (but its not MicroITX or anything super tiny). Anyway, you mentioned XBMC so Im going to suggest OpenElec to you once you get comfortable with XBMC, as it allows you to blow away all the unecessary Ubuntu stuff and just run XBMC pretty much standalone. Means you'll need to SSH in to administer it, but I've not had any need to do it at all.

      Check it out. Mine is running on an AMD Athlon 3400+ single core with 1.5Gig RAM and an HD5450 video card, HDMI out to the TV. Super quite, and cost me $50 total (I bought the video card, rest I just had kicking around). Plays video from the local network.
      Sean
      formerly Speedemon

    3. Member theevilshiftkey's Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 19th, 2001
      Location
      Tucson, AZ
      Posts
      10,223
      Vehicles
      2003 BMW 330i, 2002 Toyota Appliance
      01-18-2012 11:48 PM #3
      Seems to me that you pay a premium for that form factor and get a performance hit compared to the more traditional mini ATX forms. If you care about something "better" than the ION2... well I guess you have to define what's "better" for you.
      I always plug in USBs right the first time.

    4. Member KeiCar's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 22nd, 2002
      Location
      Philly (now) <--> Bangkok 5555555 (later)
      Posts
      10,580
      Vehicles
      2001 Accord coupe V6 / 2013 Toyota Yaris / 2007 Kawasaki Ninja (DOA), 2005 Team Associated RC18t
      01-19-2012 01:14 AM #4
      I almost went that route, but for cost and simplicity reasons, I went with a mini ITX form factor. It also has more case options available, as I built it all from scratch, that was a concern.

      I would love a PC the size of a mac mini, which I owned 2 in the past, but I decided not to this time. My current case is about 1/4 the size of a "standard" PC tower. That leaves 1 CD drive (5.25") and 1 3.25" slot. Plus there is more room in the case itself.

      I have mostly laptop parts laying around because thats all Ive used in recent years (laptops not desktops), so it cost nothing say for the HDD and optical drives.

      Let me know if you have any other questions. Im a big fan of SFF (small form factor) and I love tiny gadgets no matter what they are. If you think of going that route let us know, or let me know. I would love a micro, nano PC build thread
      Quote Originally Posted by Adam Carolla
      "It shouldn't be called a radar detector, it should be called a rape detector. This is my own little electronic rape whistle."
      (ง'̀-'́)ง

    5. Senior Member
      Join Date
      Feb 17th, 2003
      Posts
      22,853
      Vehicles
      LG G2 / Notes 3 / Nexus 5
      01-19-2012 12:37 PM #5
      The only reason to do HTPC is for Windows media center and DVR capabilities and not just for streaming and XBMC.

      You can get XBMC installed on a hacked AppleTV or Boxee box that cost less than building a HTPC.

    6. Member Chacolla's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 19th, 2004
      Location
      RI
      Posts
      8,661
      Vehicles
      2006 GTI
      01-19-2012 08:38 PM #6
      An AppleTV will not playback 1080p video. Granted, it's 1/3 to 1/4 of the cost, but still...

    7. 01-19-2012 09:56 PM #7
      ok - what's the deal with this Raspberry Pi thing? $35? allegedly shipping?
      --
      2007 – FF, 5 cyl, 20V NA Silver – The Tractor
      1986 – MR, 4 cyl, 20V ITB Red – The Weed Whacker

    8. Senior Member
      Join Date
      Feb 17th, 2003
      Posts
      22,853
      Vehicles
      LG G2 / Notes 3 / Nexus 5
      01-20-2012 11:14 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by spoonie View Post
      ok - what's the deal with this Raspberry Pi thing? $35? allegedly shipping?
      This is basically like any other ARM based smartphones using similar hardware bits. Most up to date Android phone can do everything AppleTV or dedicated streamer boxes can do and more.

      Samsung Galaxy S2 can play 1080p videos, access DLNA content, Netflix, Pandora, and run apps too.
      Last edited by Vision33r; 01-20-2012 at 11:19 AM.

    9. Senior Member Hostile's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 29th, 2002
      Location
      NoVA
      Posts
      29,358
      Vehicles
      '15 STi & '13 GTI
      01-20-2012 02:00 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Chacolla View Post
      An AppleTV will not playback 1080p video. Granted, it's 1/3 to 1/4 of the cost, but still...
      A jailbroken one certainly will.

    10. Member Minker17's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 1st, 2004
      Location
      Franklin, TN
      Posts
      14,650
      Vehicles
      1994 Ford Temp GL
      01-20-2012 02:07 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by Hostile View Post
      A jailbroken one certainly will.
      Mine will play 1080, but I can't remember if it will display 1080 or downstream it to 720.
      Rick
      1994 Ford Tempo GL

    11. Senior Member ChrisMD's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 15th, 2001
      Location
      Maryland
      Posts
      20,812
      Vehicles
      Mercedes-Benz GLK250, BMW 335is
      01-21-2012 02:21 PM #11
      Last I heard, it'll play 1080p content but it can't push it to your TV. It outputs 720p.

    12. Member Chacolla's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 19th, 2004
      Location
      RI
      Posts
      8,661
      Vehicles
      2006 GTI
      02-29-2012 04:25 PM #12
      So I caved in and bought the Zotac ZboxNano AD-10.

      I made a little video of it here:



      I'm still in the early stages of setting up XBMC. I need to tweak a few things here and there and also need to add more of the XBMC plugins to really unleash the full potential of it.

      I threw a 500gb 5400rpm Seagate drive I had and also a 4gb DDR3 chip in it. The hard drive is a bit of a bottleneck and I'd love to get a small SSD for it, but this is a budget build and I had everything complete for less than $225 and would like to keep it that way.

      Of course, I just recently found out that there is most likely going to be an AppleTV refresh soon and it'll handle 1080p no problem, and I'm sure that it'll be jailbroken the first month, so I'll probably snag one of those for the bedroom.

    13. Member KeiCar's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 22nd, 2002
      Location
      Philly (now) <--> Bangkok 5555555 (later)
      Posts
      10,580
      Vehicles
      2001 Accord coupe V6 / 2013 Toyota Yaris / 2007 Kawasaki Ninja (DOA), 2005 Team Associated RC18t
      02-29-2012 06:35 PM #13
      Hey, don't forget to keep us updated on your box and how well it runs a month from now


      I love mini computers (well mini "anygadget") for that matter.

      XMBC is the entire OS, correct? In other words upon boot, you boot into the XMBC environment. If this is so will you dual boot with a more conventional (win or MacOS!) just for compatibility sake?

      Oh and I never knew AppleTV didn't to 1080p. That almost seems like a no brainer and I know there was chipsets with enough horsepower at the time it was released that could of pushed that res. Maybe it was a cost issue.
      Quote Originally Posted by Adam Carolla
      "It shouldn't be called a radar detector, it should be called a rape detector. This is my own little electronic rape whistle."
      (ง'̀-'́)ง

    14. Member Chacolla's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 19th, 2004
      Location
      RI
      Posts
      8,661
      Vehicles
      2006 GTI
      02-29-2012 06:50 PM #14
      No XBMC is actually installed on top of Windows 7 x64. I did it this way because I plan on hooking up Bluetooth game pads to bring me back to N64 emulator days

      Xbmc on AppleTV2 can do some light 1080p playback but bluray rips and high quality/high bitrate files will stutter.

      I've also been reading up on the Raspberry Pi board and for 35 bucks and an SD card you can have Xbmc running quick and it can playback most bluray rips.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk.

    15. Member NOTORIOUS VR's Avatar
      Join Date
      Sep 24th, 2002
      Location
      Toronto
      Posts
      3,972
      Vehicles
      E36
      03-01-2012 10:09 AM #15
      Why didn't you just buy a Boxee? Would have been cheaper
      E36 · VEMS · TUNING
      Google Talk: NOTORIOUS VR

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •