I took the plunge and bought the first ION-based nettop I found in Toronto, the ASRock ION 330
CPU - Intel® Atom™ 330 (Dual-Core CPU)
Chipset - NVIDIA® ION™ graphics processor
Memory - 2GB DDR2 800 MHz memory, support dual channel, maximum memory capacity 4GB
VGA - NVIDIA® ION™ graphics, support DX10 / Full HD 1080p (Blu-ray / HD-DVD)* playback (*Blu-ray/HD-DVD disc is supported by Blu-ray/HD-DVD drive.)
HDD - 2.5” HDD 320GB
DVD - DVD Super Multi (Slim type)(some configs come with Blu ray drive for extra $$)
I/O - 1 x HDMI (with HDMI to DVI adapter), 1 x D-Sub VGA, 6 x USB 2.0, 1 x S/PDIF (Optical)
LAN - Gigabit LAN
Sound - HD Audio 5.1 channel
System Acoustic - Below 26dB
Power Unit - 65W /19V Adapter
Dimension - 195mm (W) x 70mm (H) x 186mm (L)
Volume (liters) - 2.5L
Weight - 1.69Kg
Its a little lacking in styling, but very small, clean, and shiny. In terms of size, its about the size of 2 Wii's stacked. Here's a pretty good review
that covers all the basics.
Unpack (2 mins):
It comes in a small box, well packed, with its external power supply (smaller than most laptops), HDMI->DVI adapter, and a non-slip pad, which I recommend using since the unit is so small and light and has no rubber 'feet', its possible that ejecting a disk could cause it to recoil. I hooked up the HDMI to my TV, and powered on. The blue power button is probably bright enough to be seen from the space shuttle, I'll have to hack it a bit.
OS Install (20 mins):
With plans for this to be my Media Center, I installed Windows 7100. Installation went smoothly, except of a rare problem that few others will run into... I have no wired USB keyboards, so I could only start the default OS installation with my USB mouse. NOTE: have a standard, no-drivers-needed-in-DOS USB keyboard handy.
This is the first MB I used with a fully integrated Nvidia chipset (I'm an ATI guy since they were in Toronto), but so far I really like all the built in features. For some reason, when I load up the supplied drivers disk, it doesn't seem to want to install anything, so I went into the drivers folder on the disk, and started the setup from there. Everything then seemed to install correctly (I have to find out if 'FirstGate' on the NIC is worth activating).
Once Windows was installed and stable, I dove into setting up Media Center (7MC). I plugged in my WinTV 950Q USB tuner, and started the 7MC setup, telling it yes I am in USA (not really, ATSC + Canada still not supported in 7MC, WTF?), and here's my zipcode (nearby US town) as per my Vista MC setup. Once the channel scan was done, I was able to receive approx 28 digital stations, half in HD, with my CM4221HD antennae. I made a few quick corrections for the guide listings, and I was back in PVR land.
The unit runs a little hot, but it was also very hot in my apartment, so ambient air wasn't helping much. It's very quiet, in a dead quiet room, you might hear it, but most other devices are louder, I think my TV even gives off more noise on mute. The parts inside look to be very standard, and *upgradable* (desktop ram, 2.5" HD, laptop optical drive), so that's nice not being locked into them.
I haven't tried playing back Blu ray yet, but will soon. Playing back 1080i HD looks great so far, no stutters. Navigating the guide listings is a bit slower than my previous media center pc, but barely noticable.
To sum up, "I'm lovin' it".