Small HTPC w/ Firewire 800? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 07-03-2013, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Can anyone recommend a smallish pre-built HTPC that comes equipped with a Firewire 800 connector, if such an animal exists? I'm looking to use my HTPC more as a home server to stream audio and HD recordings off my Drobo storage array via the network connection to my LG HDTV. I'm looking for something that can run Windows 7, but want the footprint to be as small as possible. I've done a lot of searching, but haven't come across any mini pc's with Firewire 800 yet.
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post #2 of 10 Old 07-03-2013, 07:02 PM
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You might try a NUC and add one of these bad boys:

http://www.superwarehouse.com/p.cfm?p=1645532&CMP=KAC-GoogleShopping&sourcecode=SW09W002&gclid=CKWxlaXelLgCFUVyQgodEDsARw

My brother and I record in our spare time, so we've had to find pretty creative solutions to keep 1394 connections alive on our newer systems. My desktop mobo didn't even have a 1394 port on it. I don't have any experience with that particular product but it looks like an option for you.

NUCs are very SFF and come in a variety of processors now. Check out Assassin's NUC review thread for more info.

I don't know anything about Drobo...may I ask if it comes with a NIC, USB, or other connector that you might use?
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post #3 of 10 Old 07-03-2013, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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It comes with USB, Firewire 800, and eSATA. I can use USB, but the performance suffers substantially. I have it on a Dell desktop now and the eSata has never worked consistently, but it might on another PC. It might be worth a shot. I was going to go with a Mac Mini, but I was hoping for a cheaper solution and the Drobo uses NTFS... which is a no go with the Mac Mini.
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post #4 of 10 Old 07-03-2013, 07:40 PM
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A NUC is going to be cheaper than a Mac Mini (probably)...though not by much depending on which one you get. I'd stick with a PC-based solution from what you're telling me about the Drobo. It's funny that I see most of them billed as "NAS" but that it doesn't have a network connector...

You could piece together a mini-ITX build...that might be able to do what you want for a few less dollars. How many clients are you going to be streaming to? What client software are you using (is it built in to your TV??)

Realize that unless you have gigabit NICs end-to-end you're going to run into a bottleneck there...not at your connection point to the Drobo. There are some issues with certain motherboards and multi-drive boxes via eSata, but I can't speak intelligently on it.
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post #5 of 10 Old 07-03-2013, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm only streaming to one client at a time, and only on occasion. the LG TV has built in apps that pull from a DNLA server on a PC. I really want it for that purpose, but it also will be streaming a scanner feed to RadioReference and hosting Fingerprint so I can use Airprint with an older Dell Printer. Apple actually makes a Thunderbolt to Firewire 800 adapter, not sure if it requires drivers though. It's a long shot, but the cable might make it possible to connect the Drobo to a NUC if I can't squeeze in a firewire 800 card.
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-03-2013, 08:45 PM
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I would suggest a base Mac Mini. I have a base i5 one as well as the i3 NUC, and the mini fans are quieter under similar load than the NUC. It also seems to be a bit more powerful than the NUC, but still in same ballpark (my mini is a 2011 Sandybridge). When you throw in the capability to have up to two 2.5 drives, the built in ports including thunderbolt, no power brick (internal PSU), I'll buy another mini before another NUC of this particular configuration. I love 'em both, but if you need built in FW800, the mini a good candidate, even if it will never see OSX and just run Windows.
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post #7 of 10 Old 07-04-2013, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roberyu View Post

I would suggest a base Mac Mini. I have a base i5 one as well as the i3 NUC, and the mini fans are quieter under similar load than the NUC. It also seems to be a bit more powerful than the NUC, but still in same ballpark (my mini is a 2011 Sandybridge). When you throw in the capability to have up to two 2.5 drives, the built in ports including thunderbolt, no power brick (internal PSU), I'll buy another mini before another NUC of this particular configuration. I love 'em both, but if you need built in FW800, the mini a good candidate, even if it will never see OSX and just run Windows.

I believe your solution is the best.... adding it up I'd easily have $400 just to outfit an NUC with memory and an SSD... plus with no onboard audio on the NUC there is no way I could get away with the three USB ports it has. By the time you add Firewire 800, a powered USB hub, and all the accessories I could buy a refurb'd Mac Mini and have everything I need (sans the pain of installing Windows 7)
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post #8 of 10 Old 07-04-2013, 11:00 AM
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You need legacy audio connections? Sorry I must have missed that above.

Then the NUC isn't going to fit the bill. For a quiet SFF, I agree the Mac Mini is probably your best bet. You could probably still build a cheaper mini-ITX. Just depends on what your tolerance for system building is and how much you want to shop around for parts.
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post #9 of 10 Old 07-04-2013, 08:12 PM
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I just posted my 2011 Mac mini on eBay (same username as eBay ID) that was recently replaced by my i5 Intel NUC. The NUC worked for me because I run the HTPC headless with extenders and record to iSCSI target.
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post #10 of 10 Old 07-04-2013, 09:44 PM
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The Intel DH77DF motherboard it has a FireWire port. You can have something custom built for you with that motherboard.

 

 

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