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Home Theater Computers > HTPC NUC
firefoxy's Avatar firefoxy 07:33 AM 06-06-2013
Hi all from Australia,

I am kind of new to this HTPC thing. I did have some research in the internet, but still bit unclear/confused on things, hence I refer them to the experts here.

Currently I am using Plex Media Server in my Windows 7 x64 desktop (in my bedroom) to stream my media/movies to my Samsung TV/Blueray device (using Plex Samsung TV/BlueRay client) in the living room via wired LAN.
It's been working OK, but definitely have some limitations, e.g. unsupported formats, no HD audio, no FF/RW functions on some formats, slow navigations, etc.

I came across XBMC, which supposedly better than Plex, but no Samsung client.
Hence, I am thinking of buying a dedicated HTPC for this, which will be directly connected to my TV via HDMI.
Intel NUC (DC3217IYE) looks to be a good candidate as from what I've read, it can do 1080p with HD audio, high bitrate and all that.
If I buy an HTPC, I plan to install OpenElec OS in it and probably get Flirc for the remote control.

The main problem with NUC solution is quite pricey because I need to buy mSATA, the RAM and even the power cable isn't included!
Since I am planning to only use OpenElec, which only 100MB installation, 30GB mSATA (the lowest GB capacity at the moment), will seem to be 'wasted' and not cost efficient at all. It will cost me around $400.
By the way, I plan to use the NUC with OpenElec to get the media/movies from my desktop PC in my bedroom (running Win 7) via local network.
Can OpenElec do this, i.e. grab media from network drive?

I did have a read about the possibility of booting OpenElec via USB thumb stick and/or SD card, but it seems that some people experiencing some slowness after a while due to increasing number of fanart pictures, etc.
A system that run smoothly and can play everything are the most important aspects that I am looking for in a HTPC system.

What options do I have here? Please help me with suggestions/recommendations/any other possibilities. Sorry if it's bit long to read, but I hope it does convey what I try to achieve..

Thanks!

Polemides's Avatar Polemides 10:40 AM 06-06-2013
A dedicated HTPC is a good way to proceed over your current "smart TV client" setup. It will provide much more flexibility.

I use W7, not OpenELEC, but have a look at GreenEyez sticky thread on XBMC setup at the top of the board. There's some info and a link to OpenELEC in there. The hardware requirements are pretty basic, and I would think a NUC would be slight overkill (also more expensive) than some other options. However, if you don't have anything lying around that you can turn into a dedicated ELEC/XBMC box then you might still consider a NUC. NUCs are also SFF (small form factor) and, in general, both quiet and power efficient. But there's a cost associated with that. Have a look at Assassin's NUC review thread around here somewhere, or just Google "Assassin NUC Review" and take a look at the pros / cons before deciding on a course of action.

If you can wait a few months the Haswell NUCs should start to appear. The primary advantage being power efficiency and the ability to properly display 24p content, if you're anal about frame rates and such.

To answer your other question, XBMC can retrieve media from network shares, and OpenELEC uses the CIFS protocol which should be supported by your server.

Best of luck and welcome to the world of HTPCs...you'll never go back!
firefoxy's Avatar firefoxy 07:01 AM 06-07-2013
Thanks for the reply

Some people commented that Intel has actually fix the issue with 24p in Ivy Bridge, is that true?
In fact, I read that using NUC + latest version of OpenElec there is no issue with 24p. Not sure if it is right..??

How about my question regarding the performance if installing the openELEC from USB thumb drive?
Current NUC model only have USB 2.0, bit concerned it is not fast enough to have smooth HTPC system, .e.g fast booting up, fanart loading, etc..

Anyone has tried installing / using OpenELEC via USB?

Thanks
Polemides's Avatar Polemides 11:12 AM 06-07-2013
They didn't completely fix it, AFAIK, but the current drivers with Ivy Bridge will get you close...so close that you *probably* won't notice anything while playing back 24p content. Like I said, if you're really Type A about it and have to have as close to 23.976 to the millionth decimal point accuracy...I would submit you're focusing your energy in the wrong place. But still, if that's your bag, then wait for Haswell, as it should provide nearly spot-on 24p performance as reported here:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7007/intels-haswell-an-htpc-perspective

Since I've never used OpenELEC, I can't answer your other questions. There are plenty of OpenELEC + XBMC users around who might know. You can also check the LINUX forum and see if anyone in there knows.
firefoxy's Avatar firefoxy 06:10 PM 06-07-2013
Thanks.
Is there price indication on has well based nuc yet?
lulimet's Avatar lulimet 07:22 PM 06-07-2013
I saw it on intel's site. $287 for the i3 and $347 for the i5 which is not bad at all.
firefoxy's Avatar firefoxy 07:51 PM 06-07-2013
is that haswell based nuc or ivy bridge-based nuc? or just the processor...?
link please?

thanks
lulimet's Avatar lulimet 06:34 AM 06-08-2013
lagittaja's Avatar lagittaja 06:40 AM 06-08-2013
Nope, not yet. Maybe Q3
lulimet's Avatar lulimet 07:18 AM 06-08-2013
firefoxy's Avatar firefoxy 07:41 AM 06-08-2013
Thanks for the info lulimet.
So it looks like the haswell based NUC price is the same as the current IB based one!
I might as well wait for haswell then :-)

I have another question unanswered though, regarding the performance of openelec when installed on a USB thumb drive or SD card
Anyone has this experience?

Thanks
LexInVA's Avatar LexInVA 08:42 AM 06-08-2013
The Gigabyte BRIX - Gigabyte's branded version of the NUC design - will have up to an i7 in it so you may want to hold out for that. It also comes with the power cable and WiFi card unlike the Intel NUC kit.
StardogChampion's Avatar StardogChampion 09:05 AM 06-08-2013
I did a lot of testing with OpenELEC and the Celeron 847 (also available as a NUC) from a 16GB Sandisk USB thumb drive serving 1080p MKVs over the network and it performed flawlessly (IMHO). It was plenty fast and video played smooth. It supports HD audio bitstreaming. It will support some 3D (SBS) but not full frame-packed 3D.
firefoxy's Avatar firefoxy 09:55 AM 06-08-2013
That's interesting, StardogChampion.
Which exact model is your sandisk USB thumb drive?
Do u have a large library? The reason I'm asking because I read that some people experience slowness over time when they use USB thumb stick to install the openelec on,eg slow in navigating, loading fan art, etc.
Do you experience this? BTW how long to boot up?

Thx
firefoxy's Avatar firefoxy 10:06 AM 06-08-2013
The LexInVA, never knew gigabyte has a device like nuc, even better with USB 3 and WiFi!

Any other alternatives like this? Doesn't have to be like nuc, but as long as it's not to big and able to play everything smoothly, that will fit the bill..

Thx
lagittaja's Avatar lagittaja 10:34 AM 06-08-2013
Can't wait to see when these will be available, probably Q3 like I mentioned earlier. Regular SATA connector is a definite plus.
http://tweakers.net/nieuws/89523/derde-generatie-nuc-van-intel-krijgt-haswell-en-normale-sata-connector.html
ToddD's Avatar ToddD 10:50 AM 06-08-2013
Quote:

Sorry but the links that you posted and the prices you quoted are for the processor ONLY. I don't believe that the Haswell NUC's have been announced or prices posted.
LexInVA's Avatar LexInVA 11:42 AM 06-08-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by firefoxy View Post

The LexInVA, never knew gigabyte has a device like nuc, even better with USB 3 and WiFi!

Any other alternatives like this? Doesn't have to be like nuc, but as long as it's not to big and able to play everything smoothly, that will fit the bill..

Thx

ASRock and Zotac both have similar products that are NUC-like but they also have more powerful HTPC-type products that might really be more to your liking. Think NUC but with a mainstream CPU and more connectivity like eSATA and several USB ports.
LexInVA's Avatar LexInVA 11:46 AM 06-08-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by lagittaja View Post

Can't wait to see when these will be available, probably Q3 like I mentioned earlier. Regular SATA connector is a definite plus.
http://tweakers.net/nieuws/89523/derde-generatie-nuc-van-intel-krijgt-haswell-en-normale-sata-connector.html

Next time, post an English article. We aint sprekin de Swedish around here.

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Intel-NUC-Haswell-SATA,22989.html
LexInVA's Avatar LexInVA 11:49 AM 06-08-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddD View Post

Sorry but the links that you posted and the prices you quoted are for the processor ONLY. I don't believe that the Haswell NUC's have been announced or prices posted.

They won't be announced until August most likely. Maybe a push for back-to-school.
lagittaja's Avatar lagittaja 12:06 PM 06-08-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by LexInVA View Post

Next time, post an English article. We aint sprekin de Swedish around here.

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Intel-NUC-Haswell-SATA,22989.html

I figured I'd rather post the SOURCE article..
P.S. it's dutch and not swedish.
P.P.S. Never heard of google translate?
lulimet's Avatar lulimet 03:50 PM 06-08-2013

lagittaja's Avatar lagittaja 04:05 PM 06-08-2013

xnappo's Avatar xnappo 06:55 PM 06-08-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by firefoxy View Post

That's interesting, StardogChampion.
Which exact model is your sandisk USB thumb drive?
Do u have a large library? The reason I'm asking because I read that some people experience slowness over time when they use USB thumb stick to install the openelec on,eg slow in navigating, loading fan art, etc.
Do you experience this? BTW how long to boot up?

Thx

I just bought a Celeron NUC and am running OpenElec. If you have GigE then it will be PLENTY fast running from a USB stick. I am just using a this:
http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-Transmemory-Flash-Drive-THNU48N16GTRT/dp/B007SRLF5C/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1370739144&sr=8-12&keywords=toshiba+usb+8gb

and it flies.

I highly recommend it! $165 for the NUC, $30 for memory and $15 for a remote. It is a thing of beauty. HIGHLY recommended.

My history:
Main living room HTPC running Windows 7
Recently using XBOX360 and Ceton Echo in my home theatre - that is what the NUC replaced.

xnappo
firefoxy's Avatar firefoxy 07:55 PM 06-08-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by lagittaja View Post

Can't wait to see when these will be available, probably Q3 like I mentioned earlier. Regular SATA connector is a definite plus.
http://tweakers.net/nieuws/89523/derde-generatie-nuc-van-intel-krijgt-haswell-en-normale-sata-connector.html

Where does it say the upcoming Haswell-based NUC uses regular SATA, instead of mSATA? From what I can find, they say it will still use mSATA...
firefoxy's Avatar firefoxy 07:58 PM 06-08-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnappo View Post

I just bought a Celeron NUC and am running OpenElec. If you have GigE then it will be PLENTY fast running from a USB stick. I am just using a this:
http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-Transmemory-Flash-Drive-THNU48N16GTRT/dp/B007SRLF5C/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1370739144&sr=8-12&keywords=toshiba+usb+8gb

and it flies.

I highly recommend it! $165 for the NUC, $30 for memory and $15 for a remote. It is a thing of beauty. HIGHLY recommended.

My history:
Main living room HTPC running Windows 7
Recently using XBOX360 and Ceton Echo in my home theatre - that is what the NUC replaced.

xnappo

Do u have a large library? The reason I'm asking because I read that some people experience slowness over time when they use USB thumb stick to install the openelec on,eg slow in navigating, loading fan art, etc.
Do you experience this? BTW how long to boot up?

Thx
firefoxy's Avatar firefoxy 08:01 PM 06-08-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddD View Post

Sorry but the links that you posted and the prices you quoted are for the processor ONLY. I don't believe that the Haswell NUC's have been announced or prices posted.

Ahh.. yes you are right.. those prices are Haswell processors only not NUC..
so $287 for the Haswell i3.. thats equal to Ivy Bridge-based i3 NUC... Haswell-based going to be more expensive (was hoping to be the same/similar price..) :-(
xnappo's Avatar xnappo 08:07 PM 06-08-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by firefoxy View Post

Do u have a large library? The reason I'm asking because I read that some people experience slowness over time when they use USB thumb stick to install the openelec on,eg slow in navigating, loading fan art, etc.
Do you experience this? BTW how long to boot up?

Thx

Boot time is 23 seconds. Never wait for that though since I just use suspend.

My library has 460 movies and 118 TV shows (with anywhere from 0 to 30 episodes).

Anyway, even if you got one and it was slow, it isn't like the extra $50 for an SSD will kill you. I figured I would try without it and am perfectly happy. Again though - I think a lot of that is due to have GigE for the art transfer - if not for that it might be painful. Should also mention my collection already had most of the art downloaded before I scraped since this is a second system.

xnappo
lagittaja's Avatar lagittaja 02:11 AM 06-09-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by firefoxy View Post

Where does it say the upcoming Haswell-based NUC uses regular SATA, instead of mSATA? From what I can find, they say it will still use mSATA...

Then what's that

firefoxy's Avatar firefoxy 02:24 AM 06-09-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnappo View Post

Boot time is 23 seconds. Never wait for that though since I just use suspend.

My library has 460 movies and 118 TV shows (with anywhere from 0 to 30 episodes).

Anyway, even if you got one and it was slow, it isn't like the extra $50 for an SSD will kill you. I figured I would try without it and am perfectly happy. Again though - I think a lot of that is due to have GigE for the art transfer - if not for that it might be painful. Should also mention my collection already had most of the art downloaded before I scraped since this is a second system.

xnappo

Thx for the insight xnappo.

I don't understand on how openelec stores the fanarts and other media metadata.
Does it get stored in your USB thumb stick where you install the openelec or you can choose to store in other (more powerful) computer?
I assume in xnappo case, the fanart and metadata are stored in another computer (not in the USB thumb drive) and use gigabit Ethernet lan to get "download" the metadata from that other computer?
Is that right?
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