ASRock 330 loves XBMC + Ubuntu! (And MythTV & boxee too!) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 09-16-2009, 03:49 AM - Thread Starter
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This is a repost off the XBMC Forums, but wanted to post here since I know some of you guys were interested in my findings since I'm replacing all of my Popcorn Hour A-110's with these:

Thought I'd make a video of what the ASRock 330 Nettop (Stock) is capable of. This is an XBMCbuntu build with Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty) x86 32-bit and XBMC 9.04.1 PPA (*NOT* using SVN/bleeding edge -- Too unstable).

Also demonstrated:

* 1080P & HDMI Audio (DD & DTS Passthrough)
* Aeon Skin 0.91 (Still investigating Aeon Skin variants for speed)
* MythTV Frontend w/VDPAU Patches for running 1080i & 720p OTA ATSC (U.S.)
* boxee alpha on Ubuntu

YouTube HD:
ASRock 330 nVidia ION Nettop Ubuntu 9.04 XBMC Aeon Skin MythTV boxee MCEUSB VDPAU Testing HDMI

Some other notes:

* "Movie" playback under XBMC were all 1080P/H264 sources. The "Earth (2007)" title hits 60+Mbps and the ASRock 330 doesn't skip a beat with VDPAU.
* "TV Show" playback was an 720P/x264 MKV source with DD 5.1.

Cheers,
Kermee

Cheers, Kermee
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post #2 of 25 Old 09-16-2009, 08:53 AM
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Good video Kermee. I didn't know you could watch live TV with XBMC. Which TV tuner were you using?
I like the ASrock 330 but I'll wait to see the specs and reviews on the Dell Zino, Lenovo q700, and the Fujitsu Esprimo before I pull the trigger on another HTPC.
For now I'll continue to use my aging C2D in a Shuttle case.

Skinny
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post #3 of 25 Old 09-16-2009, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skinny_TC View Post

Good video Kermee. I didn't know you could watch live TV with XBMC. Which TV tuner were you using?
I like the ASrock 330 but I'll wait to see the specs and reviews on the Dell Zino, Lenovo q700, and the Fujitsu Esprimo before I pull the trigger on another HTPC.
For now I'll continue to use my aging C2D in a Shuttle case.

Skinny

Hi Skinny,

The "Live TV" portion of it is actually MythTV. I'm using XbmcMythtvRemote which remaps the "Live TV" button on my MCE-compatible remote to switch between XBMC and MythTV. I'm running only the mythtv-frontend on the ASRock 330.

The backend has two pcHDTV 5500's in an old JetWay miniITX PC with a VIA C7 CPU in it with 1GB RAM. Right now, it's just doing ClearQAM from a basic Comcast ($13/month) subscription.

Cheers,
Kermee

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post #4 of 25 Old 09-16-2009, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kermee View Post

* Aeon Skin 0.91 (Still investigating Aeon Skin variants for speed)

How bad is the speed hit with Aeon? Have you tried Aeon Hitched at all?
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post #5 of 25 Old 09-17-2009, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by candre23 View Post

How bad is the speed hit with Aeon? Have you tried Aeon Hitched at all?

There's definitely a slight speed hit with the "default" Aeon setup. I'm going to start tweaking and testing other Aeon-based skins this weekend to see if I can get it smoother (i.e. PM3 HD is smooth)... So we'll see. I'm sure all the meta data pulls, screen & cover art, etc. might be a bit too much for the little Atom 330 but we'll see if the other Aeon-based skins would be a good match for the Atom 330.

I'll keep everyone posted as I test some Aeon-based skins this weekend.

Thanks!

Cheers,
Kermee

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post #6 of 25 Old 09-17-2009, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kermee View Post

I'm sure all the meta data pulls, screen & cover art, etc. might be a bit too much for the little Atom 330 but we'll see if the other Aeon-based skins would be a good match for the Atom 330.

Have you tried overclocking it to 2GHz? It's easy, stable and stays under 50 degrees even on a hot day with the CPU fan running on 5 volts (very quiet).
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post #7 of 25 Old 09-17-2009, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by erkq View Post

Have you tried overclocking it to 2GHz? It's easy, stable and stays under 50 degrees even on a hot day with the CPU fan running on 5 volts (very quiet).

Oy! Yeah... I did try OC'ing it to 2 GHz but visually, it didn't seem to make a difference on how Aeon handled. So I backed it back down to 1.6 GHz...

... So there's a way to make the fan inside run off 5V? It defaults to 12V? I didn't know that!

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post #8 of 25 Old 09-17-2009, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kermee View Post

Oy! Yeah... I did try OC'ing it to 2 GHz but visually, it didn't seem to make a difference on how Aeon handled. So I backed it back down to 1.6 GHz...

... So there's a way to make the fan inside run off 5V? It defaults to 12V? I didn't know that!

Cheers,
Kermee

If they use the same fan as the mobo sold separately it's a 3 pin connector that plugs into the 3-pin 12 volt header. If you get a 3 pin to 2 pin adapter you can plug it into the 2-pin 5 volt header. If you look at the mobo with the I/O away from you this header is lined up with the left side of the heatsink midway between the heat sink and the I/O connectors.

I didn't notice much difference with OC'ing it either. But I just left it anyway. More trouble to go into the BIOS and reboot than to just leave it. Seems to be no harm done.
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post #9 of 25 Old 10-08-2009, 05:58 PM
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Kermee did you ever find an aeon skin that was fairly smooth on the ION 330?
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post #10 of 25 Old 10-12-2009, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apex82 View Post

Kermee did you ever find an aeon skin that was fairly smooth on the ION 330?

Oof. Hadn't had a chance to experiment much with it. I will this month though... The ASRock 330 has "gone into production" in my home and it's used heavily so I have to find some downtime for it when I can load up some Aeon-based skins. LOL. I'll post an update here once I'm able to get some testing in!

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post #11 of 25 Old 10-12-2009, 10:16 PM
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Alright thanks man. I am getting mine tomorrow so am interested in getting it set up with an AEON.
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post #12 of 25 Old 10-17-2009, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kermee View Post

Oof. Hadn't had a chance to experiment much with it. I will this month though... The ASRock 330 has "gone into production" in my home and it's used heavily so I have to find some downtime for it when I can load up some Aeon-based skins. LOL. I'll post an update here once I'm able to get some testing in!

Cheers,
Kermee

I'm looking at getting one of these or building a similar one off the same chipset (with the Antec ISK 300-65 case). Also interested in your findings for XMBC skins.

Few questions:
In the movie playback, the XMBC status at the tops seems to start with "Dropped: 14" and 12 on the 2 videos, but it doesn't increase, so are these actual dropped frames at the very beginning?

Are all of those 1080p movies stored locally on the 320 gigs? Is your hd full? Or does xmbc also show streamable content from another location? And can you stream 1080p movies without stutter?

And one thing I'm trying to find out is with movies encoded into h.264 .mkv's, is this device capable of playing videos encoded with profile L5.1. I have a copy of Earth 2007 and it is encoded with "Profile: 2-PASS L4.1". If you know any of your encodes are L5.1, can you see if they play.

Thanks

Edit: Found a good sample file: http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/132004/te..._high_l5.1.mp4 Can you try this and see if it gets hardware decoded?
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post #13 of 25 Old 10-18-2009, 07:00 AM
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I am using the Zotac IONITX-D-E board (Dual Core). AFAIK the relevant hardware is the same as the ASRock 330.

I always see around 10-20 dropped frames that don't increase during playback, so I believe that they are related to starting the file.

All of my Blu-Ray rips are stored on a separate server, so they are streamed over my wired network. I haven't encountered any stutter caused by the network.

I played back your file, and XBMC shows FF-H264_VDPAU with CPU usage at a couple percent, i.e., it is being handled by VDPAU.
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post #14 of 25 Old 10-18-2009, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drkdiggler View Post

I am using the Zotac IONITX-D-E board (Dual Core). AFAIK the relevant hardware is the same as the ASRock 330.

I always see around 10-20 dropped frames that don't increase during playback, so I believe that they are related to starting the file.

All of my Blu-Ray rips are stored on a separate server, so they are streamed over my wired network. I haven't encountered any stutter caused by the network.

I played back your file, and XBMC shows FF-H264_VDPAU with CPU usage at a couple percent, i.e., it is being handled by VDPAU.

Awesome! thanks very much for the info.

I'm considering that board vs the IONITX-A-U.
With your IONITX-D-E, what case/power supply are you using?
And are you using HDMI out?
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post #15 of 25 Old 10-18-2009, 07:31 PM
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The board comes with a brick power adapter, similar to what comes with a laptop. As for a case, I am using the Omaura TF-8. I use the HDMI out for video, but utilize SPDIF for audio.
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post #16 of 25 Old 10-18-2009, 07:51 PM
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Oh, you must have the A-U as that comes with a power brick where the D-E has a 20pin molex. And that looks like a really nice case, I think I want it as small as possible though.

Hm, but now I read ION 2 is coming out this year, I will have to wait
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post #17 of 25 Old 10-19-2009, 05:56 PM
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Is anyone seeing stutter-free playback with only 1GB of RAM? I get stutter-free playback with my 1GB Acer Revo using PowerDVD 8 and MPC-HC (on my Windows XP partition), but get some stutter using XBMC for Linux.

Scott R
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I'd much rather watch a great movie in B&W at 240 lines of resolution than a lousy movie in 1080p with lossless audio.
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post #18 of 25 Old 10-19-2009, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by srauly View Post

Is anyone seeing stutter-free playback with only 1GB of RAM? I get stutter-free playback with my 1GB Acer Revo using PowerDVD 8 and MPC-HC (on my Windows XP partition), but get some stutter using XBMC for Linux.


Do you have a swap partition / file created?
With only 1GB of RAM things can get a bit tight with all the random processes running. I have 1GB in my Mac Mini, and noticed better performance after adding swap space, which allowed ~200MB of rarely used stuff to be swapped out to disk.
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post #19 of 25 Old 11-06-2009, 12:27 PM
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I am thinking of picking one of these up and running this exact setup (ubuntu + XBMC). Does it do audio over HDMI by default or is there some configuration involved to get that working?
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post #20 of 25 Old 11-12-2009, 10:10 AM
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Kermee

Any updates on your Aeon skin testing?

Just got an ASRock 330 this week , collecting info to begin installing XBMC
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post #21 of 25 Old 11-12-2009, 12:18 PM
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I'm interested in the Aeon variant skins as well... have a Revo 3600 coming in the next couple of weeks. I'm planning on writing an a article on these low-end Nettops as HTPCs paired with networked storage. I originally planned on trying the 1600 ($200 Ion LE + N230 version), but the 3600 was offered by the MFG for my article.

Anyone think, one way or the other, that the N230 version could run some Aeon variant with Fan Art? If so, it seems like not only a Popcorn Hour killer, but maybe even a WDTV Live competitor.

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post #22 of 25 Old 11-12-2009, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Hopkins View Post

I'm interested in the Aeon variant skins as well... have a Revo 3600 coming in the next couple of weeks. I'm planning on writing an a article on these low-end Nettops as HTPCs paired with networked storage. I originally planned on trying the 1600 ($200 Ion LE + N230 version), but the 3600 was offered by the MFG for my article.

Anyone think, one way or the other, that the N230 version could run some Aeon variant with Fan Art? If so, it seems like not only a Popcorn Hour killer, but maybe even a WDTV Live competitor.

If it could run an Aero variant (or even if not) the additional music management capabilities alone of XBMC over WDTVLive would blow right past it.
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post #23 of 25 Old 11-12-2009, 12:57 PM
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WDTV Live. Had one. Return it. Horrible box GUI and user experience. Barely played the 1080P material I threw at it.

My Revo XBMC is running beautifully. Literally with the great skins and fanart.
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post #24 of 25 Old 11-12-2009, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Hopkins View Post

Anyone think, one way or the other, that the N230 version could run some Aeon variant with Fan Art? If so, it seems like not only a Popcorn Hour killer, but maybe even a WDTV Live competitor.

I have the N230 version of the Revo ($200). Take a look at this thread if you haven't already:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1185529

The general idea behind that thread I started is exactly what you're talking about. I think that the $200 Revo makes an excellent alternative to a Popcorn Hour or WDTV Live. It's more expensive than the WDTV Live, and will require a bit more initial setup time than either of those units, but I believe that it's worth the extra work.

I do not personally use Aeon (I like a simpler interfact and care mostly about a long list view with fanart so I use an xTV skin that I modified to support fanart). However, I have tried Aeon (and/or an Aeon mod) and can confirm that it works.

Scott R
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post #25 of 25 Old 11-12-2009, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daryoon View Post

WDTV Live. Had one. Return it. Horrible box GUI and user experience. Barely played the 1080P material I threw at it.

My Revo XBMC is running beautifully. Literally with the great skins and fanart.

I still have one & don't consider it "horrible" in either category ( at it's pricepoint). Actually it's one of the easiest to use GUIs I've seen , especially over some of it's competition.
Comparing it to a nettop running XBMC is kind of an apples to oranges thing.
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