Mini-ITX motherboard with Sandy Bridge mobile Celeron 847 and Intel HD Graphics - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I came across this very interesting motherboard recently. I've never taken any interest in Biostar products due to the poor reviews but this one is very compelling since I don't see anyone else offering something like this (at least not for sale in the US). This is available at Newegg, Superbiiz, et. al. It has a 17W TDP Sandy-Bridge mobile Celeron processor with Intel HD Graphics. The price is well under $100.

http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-NM70847
http://www.biostar.com.tw/app/en/mb/introduction.php?S_ID=617

MB-NM70847_LG.JPG
Intel celeron 847 (dual-core Sandy Bridge-MB running at 1.1GHz) and Intel nm70 chipset
• 2 x DDR3 memory slots (up to 16GB).
• 1 x SATA II port.
• 3 x SATA II ports
• 1 x PCIe 2.0 slot (x8)
• Gigabit Network (Realtek 8111F)
• 4 x USB 2.0 ports
• D-Sub (VGA) and HDMI
• 5.1 analog audio

http://www.superbiiz.com/newg/M/B/-/MB-NM70847/MB-NM70847.3_LG.JPG
http://www.superbiiz.com/newg/M/B/-/MB-NM70847/MB-NM70847.1_LG.JPG

It looks like ECS is also coming out with a Celeron 847 / Intel HD graphics mITX motherboard

http://www.ecs.com.tw/ECSWebSite/Product/Product_Detail.aspx?CategoryID=1&DetailID=1424&DetailName=Feature&MenuID=1&LanID=0

I was very interested to see how these Celeron 847 / Intel HD graphics mITX motherboards perform as HTPCs.

Passmark
Celeron 847 = 1016
AMD E-350 = 786
Intel Atom D2700 (2.13GHz) = 842

I ordered one to try and built a test HTPC with it.

S197-H80 case
picoPSU-90 with 60W AC adapter
4GB DDR3-1333
128GB SSD

It played 1080p flawlessly in WMP and handled Netflix HD using IE/Silverlight without any problem though with pretty high CPU usage (but at least it worked!). Windows seemed very responsive though launching programs did take a little longer than I would have liked. Overall, I was very impressed with the performance. It was much better than the Atom D2700DC I'd tested a few months ago. The biggest problem was the little 40mm fan being used for cooling. For a 17W TDP CPU/GPU I was very surprised how hot it ran, around 60C the whole time. Interesting is that the max. temp. spec'd for this is 100C so maybe it's supposed to run hot. I replaced it with a Scythe Mini Kaze 40mm and it worked much much better -- much quieter and a bit cooler.

 

 

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post #2 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
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2iu3hvm.jpg

Power draw (measured with Kill-a-Watt)

Desktop: 15.0W
1080p MKV playing: 17.7W
Prime95 FFT: 26.2W

I tested with a few MKV blu-ray rips from the network (WHS2011 server)

Disney's Secret of the Wings
Tinkerbell's the Lost Treasure (there is a nasty panning scene at the beginning)
Star Trek

All played very smoothly. It did very well on the panning scene. CPU usage was around 20-28% or so.

I also tried the Birds sample (40mbps "Birds" clip (1080p MKV h.264 high profile 4.1 40mbps) from here: http://cybernetnews.com/xbmc-high-bitrate-sample-videos/. Also smooth, not stuttering, no drops. For Netflix HD testing, I tried Serenity. CPU ranges from 78%-95% and it plays as good as Netflix can play. Netflix is never smooth and perfect so this as good as it gets smile.gif. I also tried the 80Mbps and 120Mbps samples from here with no problem: http://jellyfish.satch.com/.

XBMC/Windows unfortunately didn't test well. Video plays very smoothly with DXVA turned on but I see the macroblocking issue. With DXVA turned off, CPU usage is 99-100% and video does not play smoothly. The Celeron mobile CPU is not powerful enough for the XBMC software renderer. The alternative here then is probably to launch an external viewer like MPC-HC or Windows Media Player that doesn't have this DXVA issue. I used to do this to get HD audio bitstreaming. So, it can at least be worked around. It's a bummer though. I also installed Aeon Nox and transitions, etc. run very smoothly. Confluence ran smoothly as well. I did hear from another user who said OpenELEC ran very well with the board so that's an alternative too.

 

 

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post #3 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
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My conclusions:

Pros:
- Faster than Atom/Zacate
- Plays Netflix HD (albeit at 90% CPU)
- Has Intel 2000 HD GPU so plays everything it does
- Very low power
- Inexpensive for CPU/GPU/motherboard combo
- Fits in very small cases where a desktop HSF would get in the way

Cons:
- Noisy stock fan
- Runs warm (although upper limit is 100C so maybe it's meant to)
- Apps are a bit slow to start (I worry about lag here for day-to-day stuff)
- Biostar brand doesn't have best reputation
- XBMC on Windows with DXVA turned off stutters and skips

 

 

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post #4 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
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post #5 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 08:00 PM
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post #6 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 08:21 PM
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Same CPU Acer put in their Chromebook

To note, price-wise you can get the ECS H61 ITX mobo for $35 AR from Newegg and the G550 for $35+tax from Microcenter

However, this looks intriguing for lower power options

edited: thought microcenter offered the g530, but it's the g550 at that price
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post #7 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 08:28 PM
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I'd rather get a proper CPU - G540 at least. That would be barely enough for an all rounder NAS, never mind a "proper" PC biggrin.gif
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post #8 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 08:40 PM
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I didn't think to mention, but I suppose you have to add another $10-$25 to the options I listed for an aftermarket "low-profile" cpu cooler
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post #9 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

I didn't think to mention, but I suppose you have to add another $10-$25 to the options I listed for an aftermarket "low-profile" cpu cooler

Well, add $6.50 to replace the 40mm fan on this one with a Scythe Mini Kaze or similar too. The stock fan is too noisy and the CPU fan control is constantly up and down. It's super easy to replace though, four screws about 2-3 minutes of work.

I'd say it's a definitely step above Atom and Zacate but still below the G530 for sure.

It does fit much much better in this case (197x197x80) than a mini-ITX board with desktop CPU:

1zwkuhx.jpg

or this case, the Realan E-i3:

q3-3-200x153.png

to make a nice little STB and pretty cheap at that, especially w/ OpenELEC.

 

 

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post #10 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiddles88 View Post

I'd rather get a proper CPU - G540 at least. That would be barely enough for an all rounder NAS, never mind a "proper" PC biggrin.gif

My choice for weak CPU/motherboard combo for a NAS is the ASUS C60M1-I over this one, for sure.

I am finding this makes a fine "bedroom" HTPC, even quieter than my G620 + Gelid Slim Silence i-Plus.

Yes, no doubt you can get a cheaper and more powerful setup with a cheap H61 + G530. However, that doesn't fit all the same places this does.

 

 

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post #11 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I'm intrigued.

I was too. I had to have it to try (which is becoming a real problem since I now have an expensive pile of things I've tried). smile.gif.

 

 

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post #12 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

My choice for weak CPU/motherboard combo for a NAS is the ASUS C60M1-I over this one, for sure.
I am finding this makes a fine "bedroom" HTPC, even quieter than my G620 + Gelid Slim Silence i-Plus.
Yes, no doubt you can get a cheaper and more powerful setup with a cheap H61 + G530. However, that doesn't fit all the same places this does.

Where wouldn't an ISK case fit? I wouldn't bother with something this wimpy. Its too limited.
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post #13 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tiddles88 View Post

Where wouldn't an ISK case fit? I wouldn't bother with something this wimpy. Its too limited.

For something wimpy, it's handled just about everything I've thrown at it with the exception of the native renderer in XBMC. It's basically a laptop on a mini-ITX motherboard.

By fit I mean I have a couple of small mini-ITX cases where this board is a much better fit than a desktop CPU is.

An embedded mobile CPU in a mini-ITX motherboard that's actually available for under $80 and at a retailer in the USA is interesting to me. But, that's cool you're not into it. It's not everyone's thing.

 

 

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post #14 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 09:53 PM
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Thanks for the thread. Definitely has me intrigued. Would make a nice build for a bedroom HTPC. I'm interested to see how well OpenELEC runs on it.
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post #15 of 43 Old 11-13-2012, 07:32 AM
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Ugh, such a shame to see a tiny heatsink with a mini-screamer style fan on top of it, waste of potential.

That kind of board is a prime candidate for a fanless, but due to the mounting etc you need to have it come with the board it or its way too expensive to bother. (unless you happen to have a milling machine on hand)

I have seen some good fanless coolers for atom designs, and they would easily handle this cpu.

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post #16 of 43 Old 11-13-2012, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aluminum View Post

Ugh, such a shame to see a tiny heatsink with a mini-screamer style fan on top of it, waste of potential.
That kind of board is a prime candidate for a fanless, but due to the mounting etc you need to have it come with the board it or its way too expensive to bother. (unless you happen to have a milling machine on hand)
I have seen some good fanless coolers for atom designs, and they would easily handle this cpu.

My feelings exactly. Atom is 18W TDP and Celeron mobile is 17W TDP. You would think the Atom heatsink would work since it needs to dissipate pretty much the same amount of heat. I'd love to see Intel come out with this kind of motherboard with their passive heatsink.

Luckily, the fan is easily replaced with the Scythe 40mm which works fine. Even with that expense, it's still pretty cheap.

 

 

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post #17 of 43 Old 11-13-2012, 06:51 PM
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Anyone else manufacturing this mobo/chip combo? Seems perfect for what I need: a cheap, small, bedroom htpc that either plays media off a server, or from a streaming service. No harder work than that. Neflix HD seems like the thorn in the side, since many low power platforms like Zacate stumble with it.
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post #18 of 43 Old 11-14-2012, 05:41 AM - Thread Starter
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The only other one I've read about is this one from ECS but I have not seen it available in the USA yet.

http://www.guru3d.com/news_story/ecs_nm70_i_motherboards_have_embedded_celeron_cpus.html

NM70-I.jpg

 

 

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post #19 of 43 Old 11-14-2012, 05:55 AM
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Awesome! Honestly, I'm hoping we see more of these things in the future, because I think they're going to be the next big thing for HTPC users. Full voltage CPUs were necessary for HTPC usage a few years ago, but these days low voltage should have plenty of oomph for general HTPC use (although this model seems a bit too underpowered). Smaller, cheaper, quieter, and less power hungry would be great!
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post #20 of 43 Old 11-14-2012, 06:18 AM
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Let's see,

Mobo+CPU: http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-NM70847 ($75+$5 shipping)
Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147131 ($50)
Memory: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231393 ($10)
Storage: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820239003 ($10)
OS: OpenELEC (free)

The stuff from newegg includes free shipping (well, $2 for the case). So not counting IR receiver and remote, that's a capable HTPC for $150.
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post #21 of 43 Old 11-14-2012, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

[...] (although this model seems a bit too underpowered)[...]

When talking about "underpowered" it's important to keep things in perspective since it's all relative.

In my testing the only thing I found it underpowered for was the XBMC/Windows native renderer and apps took a bit longer than "usual" to launch. Everything else was fine with low CPU usage. As long as it's HW accelerated, it's around 20-30% CPU usage. Netflix HD was 88%-95% CPU usage but even then remember the power draw is still only ~25W.

If your tasks are beyond video, live TV and music then yes it's way underpowered -- no Diablo III or video transcoding -- but that's expected given it's a low-end laptop processor. But for those specific tasks I did not find it underpowered at all. It was as smooth as butter smile.gif.

 

 

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post #22 of 43 Old 11-14-2012, 07:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

When talking about "underpowered" it's important to keep things in perspective since it's all relative.
In my testing the only thing I found it underpowered for was the XBMC/Windows native renderer and apps took a bit longer than "usual" to launch. Everything else was fine with low CPU usage. As long as it's HW accelerated, it's around 20-30% CPU usage. Netflix HD was 88%-95% CPU usage but even then remember the power draw is still only ~25W.
If your tasks are beyond video, live TV and music then yes it's way underpowered -- no Diablo III or video transcoding -- but that's expected given it's a low-end laptop processor. But for those specific tasks I did not find it underpowered at all. It was as smooth as butter smile.gif.

My major concern would be smooth playback of high bit-rate mkv's in XBMC without hardware acceleration (because of XBMC's buggy support for the HDxx00). You mentioned that someone said it worked well on OpenELEC. Does that mean they were able to play back high bit rate movies on OpenELEC with or without hardware acceleration?
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post #23 of 43 Old 11-14-2012, 07:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

My major concern would be smooth playback of high bit-rate mkv's in XBMC without hardware acceleration (because of XBMC's buggy support for the HDxx00). You mentioned that someone said it worked well on OpenELEC. Does that mean they were able to play back high bit rate movies on OpenELEC with or without hardware acceleration?

AFAIK, the XBMC issue is with DXVA which is Windows only. Perhaps with Linux there's workable HW acceleration? Here's what the OpenELEC user said: http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=143433&pid=1234244#pid1234244. This was also the user that pointed me to the high bit-rate MKV clips I tried in WMP that all played just fine. I have yet to try OpenELEC myself. I am hoping to find some time to do it though.

The rest of the thread really isn't worth reading -- it's mostly some guy trying to crap all over it to show how smart he is(n't).

 

 

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post #24 of 43 Old 11-14-2012, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

AFAIK, the XBMC issue is with DXVA which is Windows only. Perhaps with Linux there's workable HW acceleration? Here's what the OpenELEC user said: http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=143433&pid=1234244#pid1234244. This was also the user that pointed me to the high bit-rate MKV clips I tried in WMP that all played just fine. I have yet to try OpenELEC myself. I am hoping to find some time to do it though.
The rest of the thread really isn't worth reading -- it's mostly some guy trying to crap all over it to show how smart he is(n't).

Thanks for the info! I actually have OpenELEC installed on a HD2000 machine, so I will test hardware acceleration when I get home today and report back.
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post #25 of 43 Old 11-14-2012, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info! I actually have OpenELEC installed on a HD2000 machine, so I will test hardware acceleration when I get home today and report back.

Awesome!

 

 

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post #26 of 43 Old 11-14-2012, 02:31 PM
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Okay, so I just tried turning on hardware acceleration with my i3-2100 (HD2000 graphics). This is OpenELEC 2.0, the 32-bit Intel build. For some reason I had trouble turning it on at first. I enabled it and then played a video but CPU usage didn't drop at all. Then I turned it off and then back on, and OpenELEC would crash when I tried to play any video. I then rebooted and tried again, and it worked! Cpu utilization was <5%, and video played smoothly. I tried playing the scene in The Dark Knight where the bus goes through to front of the bank, which goes 40+ mbps, and there were no dropped frames at all. I tried a couple other blu-rays and they played smoothly as well (other than the few dropped frames immediately after playback begins which I always see). Seems to be working great!
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post #27 of 43 Old 11-14-2012, 04:00 PM
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That is very good news. Now on to the next barrier - recording protected content without WMC.
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post #28 of 43 Old 01-13-2013, 01:29 PM
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Here's a Celeron 847 + NM70 on an mATX board with completely passive cooling...

http://www.msi.com/product/mb/C847MS-E33.html

I know it's not mini-ITX, but it would go nicely in the Antec Micro Fusion I have gathering dust in the garage. The board should be available around the end January.
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post #29 of 43 Old 02-20-2013, 07:52 AM
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Gigabyte makes one with a decent heatsink, plus standard desktop memory. Seems to solve the limitation of zacate, mainly inability to to HD netflix.
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post #30 of 43 Old 02-20-2013, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I just tested the Celeron 847 build I have with the latest Intel drive + XBMC Frodo + the internal player with DXVA on + Win7 x64 and the problems I described earlier still persist. I tried it in WMP and it's smooth as butter. An easy workaround then is to launch WMP from XBMC for .MKVs. Strangely, MPC-HC exhibited the exact same behavior as XBMC.

 

 

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