Well, there are a few kinks to work out yet, but all in all, I'm super happy with the unit.
I am new to both Linux and XBMC. My need for high WAF value in electronics is extreme. If my wife won't use it, can't use it or finds it frustrating to learn how to use etc, then it might as well be just for me and not my whole family of 4.
My Dune player, while very nice, just wasn't working. Audio sync issues with .mkv rips, never played nicely with my 4x4 HDMI matrix and a pain for my wife.
So, along comes this unit at less than half of what I paid for the Dune and closer to 70% less than they're selling the Dune for now and it seems like it is just going to work nicely.
Now, at this point I haven't played hours of high bitrate movies to see if heat or anything else causes problem. I also have not introduced it to the matrix just yet. But, it plays all my .mkv files with the exception of those with DTS-HD-MA. From what I have read, it seems a simple muxing task to decode those movies to lossless FLAC audio. I'll play around with that this week.
I have begun work on a GUI for my iRule control devices. It responds to WOL command and boots right into XBMC from a USB stick holding the openELEC OS in about 25 seconds. IRule's XBMC IP commands work well to control it as well. The menus are fairly snappy. Sometimes when scrolling through my movie lists it hangs on loading the large background images or the smaller disc cover image. This could be for a variety of reasons not necessarily hardware, but it is not too much of a concern. Once I figured out that struggling to enable NFS shares and went with SMB shares it found my movies on my unRaid server and imported them in one go for the most part. A few movies had file names that were too arcane for the movie scraper to figure out, but that is more user error on my part.
My main complaint, and maybe someone has an easy solution that I'm missing is that the Arctic case has a space for a slim DVD drive and the faceplate that is meant to be attached to an installed drive (which I don't plan on doing) won't stay attached to the case. There is nothing for it to clip to or screw to and it doesn't snap in place, so it just falls off. I am not hell bent on aesthetics, but if for no other reason than to keep extra dust out, I'd like to attach it permanently.
The wife likes the look of it and agreed to let me buy another one. The price went up $10 at aaawave.com, so with another 4GB of memory and a small USB flash drive the 2nd one cost me $145. If the matrix doesn't work then we can put 1 in the family room and one in the living room on their own and the Dune can move back to the theater.
I'm super impressed with what this unit can do at this point. I'll have some more follow up as I tinker a bit more. I'll confirm I can remux DTS-MA and have it work, I'll watch an entire movie or 2 and look for issues and I'll try to get it in my matrix and see if it will play nicely (all 4 TVs on the matrix are 1080P 120Hz but only 1 is connected through an AVR which was a problem for the Dune in that it would just lock up if connected, my PS3 has no issue).
Hope this is of help to others in my boat.