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Dell Zino HD - New mini HTPC - Page 6

post #151 of 5041
Quote:
Originally Posted by chad473 View Post

couldn't get one through my EPP either

waiting for reviews, but so long as this thing does well on full screen flash from youtube hd, hulu, espn360, and play nice with xbmc/boxee...I'm in. Well, no reason it can't do any of those, more interested on what the lowest config would be needed for those uses.

I ordered through EPP, but there is no discount to be had on the base (or even building off of the base as I did) except the free shipping.

CD
post #152 of 5041
Can you share how did you get it through EPP?
post #153 of 5041
Quote:
Originally Posted by chad473 View Post

waiting for reviews, but so long as this thing does well on full screen flash from youtube hd, hulu, espn360, and play nice with xbmc/boxee...I'm in. Well, no reason it can't do any of those, more interested on what the lowest config would be needed for those uses.

Relatively sure the dual-core 3250e upgrade is going to be a must, at least for smooth operation. I've still got old machines that are likely on par with the base config (single-core Sempron 3200+ & Celeron 430) and performance just isn't up to snuff. I also seem to recall that the 780G can only do 2-channel audio via HDMI from reading renethx's Guide to Building a HD HTPC thread. Not overly concerned with this but I know it can be a deal-breaker for some.

Decided to put the Zino HD on the backburner pending further reviews and free shipping - with the upgrade to 3250e & Win7, the total came up to $400 (inclusive of shipping and taxes). Snapping up an Acer AS1410-2285 CULV laptop from Amazon instead. They end up being the same price ($400) but at least the AS1410 can double as a laptop should the need arise.

Might still get a Zino HD in the future. My parents' HTPC is a lowly Intel D945GCLF2 and would have to be replaced when they swap their old CRT with an HDTV.
post #154 of 5041
Same here, canceled my Zino HD order pending reviews and ordered Gateway CULV laptop in the meantime
post #155 of 5041
Quote:
Originally Posted by klas View Post

Can you share how did you get it through EPP?

interested as well. I only checked via the website..wonder if I'd have to call. I do plan on doing the processor upgrade (and possibly gpu, will probably wait on more reviews to see if I need it for my needs).
post #156 of 5041
SPDIF audio is a must for me. Can anybody think of a reason why a USB to SPDIF device would not work with the Zino?
post #157 of 5041
Quote:
Originally Posted by chad473 View Post

interested as well. I only checked via the website..wonder if I'd have to call. I do plan on doing the processor upgrade (and possibly gpu, will probably wait on more reviews to see if I need it for my needs).

Yup, I called. The rep said it isn't even on their list yet, as far as what discount EPP entitles you to...but they can still place the order. You're not going to get anything off the base, or building on the base anyway; just the shipping.

CD
post #158 of 5041
OK. Still lot's more testing to do but here are some quick things I checked today.

720P content from Hulu's website (The Seeker)
Played smooth in a window but got a little jittery full screen on 1080p Westinghouse LCD. However, even then it was not too bad and still watchable. CPU load seemed to be about 95%. With flash acceleration and a good network, it migh be OK.

Now, I don't know if it is a CPU limitation here or the internet connection here at work as web stuff can be slow here at work. Will take the box home over the weekend and try it more.

I also got my hands on a 6850e so I will pop that in and give it a try as well to see if that makes a difference.


I also tried setting the affinity of playback to 1 core and played content. It did get a little jittery when full screen as well with 1 core shut down during playback. It was more noticable than the jitter of the 720P content playback. Therefore, this would appear to make flash player in deed multithreaded as the 2nd core does help. What I don't have an answer for right now is if a faster single core would do it better.

Windowed content did play OK with 1 core shut down but full screen seemed to push the envelope a little. Now, I would not read too much into this just yet as setting CPU affinity does not really equal single core.

What is unknown is how with flash acceleration impact playback. Furthermore, I have not turned off Aero graphics, or any of the unneeded applications/processes (spelling?) that could tie up resources.

Again, this was just a quick look (about 20 mins of quick tests) so don't read too much into any of this.

Right now, 3250e seems to be a good CPU selection for HTPC stuff.
post #159 of 5041
Thanks for feedback! Looking forward to 6850e thoughts on 1080p screens.
post #160 of 5041
Quote:
Originally Posted by Java Jack View Post

720P content from Hulu's website (The Seeker)
Played smooth in a window but got a little jittery full screen on 1080p Westinghouse LCD. However, even then it was not too bad and still watchable. CPU load seemed to be about 95%.

Just a suggestion (should've mentioned it earlier), try using Google Chrome. I was getting somewhat choppy playback with Firefox and Internet Explorer on slower processors but video was silky smooth when I switched to Google Chrome.
post #161 of 5041
I am curious how it would handle HD movie watching and unzipping or downloading on the background... I doubt it would handle it, because my current dual core AMD 2.3Ghz cpu barely handles the task without choppy playback when unzipping.
post #162 of 5041
Quote:
Originally Posted by klas View Post

I am curious how it would handle HD movie watching and unzipping or downloading on the background... I doubt it would handle it, because my current dual core AMD 2.3Ghz cpu barely handles the task without choppy playback when unzipping.

Where is the HD movie located? Just a thought, if the zip file and HD movie are located on the same hard drive and you're unzipping to the same drive, I think that instead of processor speed is the cause of choppiness.
post #163 of 5041
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by klas View Post

I am curious how it would handle HD movie watching and unzipping or downloading on the background... I doubt it would handle it, because my current dual core AMD 2.3Ghz cpu barely handles the task without choppy playback when unzipping.

Since Flash is currently handled entirely by the CPU, any additional tasks that use up processor cycles will detract from its ability to decode video. It sounds like it is just barely not capable of 720p Hulu playback now. Anything else running in the background would make it even worse.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post

Where is the HD movie located? Just a thought, if the zip file and HD movie are located on the same hard drive and you're unzipping to the same drive, I think that instead of processor speed is the cause of choppiness.

No. HDD throughput is definitely not the bottleneck here. Even a slow HDD should be able to do 30MB/sec. Streaming HD video will never take more than maybe 15Mbps (megabits vs megabytes).
post #164 of 5041
I'll know more over the weekend when I can get it on my home network. I think I have a better connection at home than I do here.
post #165 of 5041
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Java Jack View Post

I'll know more over the weekend when I can get it on my home network. I think I have a better connection at home than I do here.

Just make sure you let it buffer up before you start playing the video. I have a 12Mpbs cable connection and I still get stuttering on that clip if I don't pause the video for a few sec and let the buffer fill.

To be completely fair, there is very little 720p flash content currently available. 99% of the videos on Hulu are 480p or less. Even if the Zino can't handle 720p flawlessly, it's still a decent machine if it will consistently play back 480p without stuttering. It would be nice to be able to test Netflix as well. Is there any chance you could "borrow" a friend's login for an evening and give it a try?
post #166 of 5041
Maybe my HD, btw I have AM2 X2 BE-2400 2.3GHz
post #167 of 5041
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDLehner View Post

Thanks for the reviews guys. I'm thinking about finally getting into an HTPC; the fact that no one seemed to be able to get all the components right out of the box was always a deterrent. It seemed, to get the box you wanted, you had to BYO, and futz and tweak, etc. It wasn't for me; I've gone the NMT route to this point.

However, like I said, I was finally looking to dive in. I was going to try and "convert" my old Inspiron 531S..then I thought about going with a Studio Hybrid, when I came across this Zino HD. It certainly looked like a leap forward in a small-form HT box...and now that it's gotten good reviews and an AVS stamp of approval, it seems like a no-brainer; especially at $229 (I'll probably bump to the 4330)!

CD

You serious, $229 bucks for a fully capable HTPC. No weak atop processor but a full blown laptop processor. Sounds to good to be true.
post #168 of 5041
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbone1026 View Post

I would like to see a little head to head comparison against the Ion builds like the ASRock or Acer, especially since the ASRock now has the BR Drive option.

I, too, am very curious -- especially in light of the new 'HT' models announced by ASRock (see the ASRock site if you don't know what I am referring to, or search for '330HT'). I am a newbie and cannot post URLs yet

No prices that I can find, yet. And no vibes as to when either the new ASRock line or Dell Zino HD will be available in Canada
post #169 of 5041
So, is there a definitive answer on being able to play 5.1 via HDMI? Javajack in his blog says 780 chipset supports DD & DTA 5.1?

Thats the only thing holding me up... Please advise..
post #170 of 5041
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

No weak atop processor but a full blown laptop processor. Sounds to good to be true.

You know what they say about things that sound too good to be true...

The Neo 2 processors in the Zino are AMD's Atom equivalents. They're very low power, both in wattage and in processing capabilities. I've yet to see an in-depth comparison between these chips and their Atom competitors, but they're in the same general ballpark. Java Jack's real-world review would seem to indicate that the Neo 2 chips are ahead of Atom clock-for-clock and core-for-core, but he does work for AMD, so take that as you will. Personally, I'd love to see a detailed shootout between the various Intel Atom, Intel CULV, and AMD Neo 2 processors. Since the Neo 2 is so new, I suspect I might be waiting a while.

In any case, you should not consider these processors to be in the same league as a Turion II or Athlon X2 laptop part.
post #171 of 5041
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post

One reason I'm enamoured with dual-core CULV notebooks is because they were able to pass the fullscreen Hulu HD test.

Do you mean 1080i/p fullscreen (via the HDMI output) or fullscreen on the notebook's screen (like a 1366x768 resolution)?
post #172 of 5041
Quote:
Originally Posted by plasma_cricket View Post

So, is there a definitive answer on being able to play 5.1 via HDMI? Javajack in his blog says 780 chipset supports DD & DTA 5.1?

Thats the only thing holding me up... Please advise..

This is what I am waiting on as well. We know that supposedly the 780G will do it, but will the Zino HD specifically? If this unit will push 5.1 out HDMI, then I'll probably pump the proc to the highest and leave the rest at the default... employee discount and I'm pretty sure it will come in under $300 for me.
post #173 of 5041
Quote:
Originally Posted by candre23 View Post

You know what they say about things that sound too good to be true...

The Neo 2 processors in the Zino are AMD's Atom equivalents. They're very low power, both in wattage and in processing capabilities. I've yet to see an in-depth comparison between these chips and their Atom competitors, but they're in the same general ballpark. Java Jack's real-world review would seem to indicate that the Neo 2 chips are ahead of Atom clock-for-clock and core-for-core, but he does work for AMD, so take that as you will. Personally, I'd love to see a detailed shootout between the various Intel Atom, Intel CULV, and AMD Neo 2 processors. Since the Neo 2 is so new, I suspect I might be waiting a while.

In any case, you should not consider these processors to be in the same league as a Turion II or Athlon X2 laptop part.

While I do work for AMD, I can tell you that the Athlon line used in the Zino is the same CPU architecture as our other desktop Athlon parts. They are just clocked down and voltaged down to hit lower power specs. These are not Atom equivalents, these are full fledge desktop designed processors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athlon_64

While it is an x86 dirivative, Atom parts have a completely different design criteria. They were designed specifically for the netbook, ultra SFF and MID space that had ultra low power requirements.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Atom

Basically, we worked on squeezing power out of our existing CPU line for the ultra SFF space to deliver the full computing experience (all the registers and everything) while Intel took a ground up approach to address small mobility devices.

You will note that we are not trying to push our parts into netbooks because that is not a market we want to play in right now.

These are 2 different parts aimed at different applications. They just happend to cross over in these ultra small desktops.
post #174 of 5041
Ouch, I went to the dell website and put in everything I want and the $779. I baught my regor/785 g with 4 gigs of ram and 1tb HD setup for under $350. Minus a blue ray rom say $90. Its still cheaper to build your own system. Any idea if you are going to be able to buy the neo x2 1.6ghz L625 with mobo in ITX form factor.
post #175 of 5041
I saw a benchmark that put the 18W 1.6ghz neo X2(L625) as about 25% faster then atom 330. It looked to be pretty much on par with the Core Duo T2350 1.86 GHz 2 MB 1.3V 31W. Huh, amd looks to be getting the same performance at a lower clock and lower wattage then intel here.

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php
post #176 of 5041
So I guess the million dollar question is has anyone tried running hulu HD on a T2350 based laptop?
post #177 of 5041
Quote:
Originally Posted by candre23 View Post

Since Flash is currently handled entirely by the CPU, any additional tasks that use up processor cycles will detract from its ability to decode video. It sounds like it is just barely not capable of 720p Hulu playback now. Anything else running in the background would make it even worse.

No. HDD throughput is definitely not the bottleneck here. Even a slow HDD should be able to do 30MB/sec. Streaming HD video will never take more than maybe 15Mbps (megabits vs megabytes).

Since he didn't mention Flash specifically and because there are few HD movies available for streaming, I was going on the assumption that he was playing back an HD movie stored on hard drive with working hardware acceleration. Sure, a slow HDD can easily do 30MB/s sequential read/writes. However, the scenario I was picturing is heavy on random read/write and that's a particular shortcoming of mechanical drives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by candre23 View Post

Personally, I'd love to see a detailed shootout between the various Intel Atom, Intel CULV, and AMD Neo 2 processors. Since the Neo 2 is so new, I suspect I might be waiting a while.

The Intel CULV's are just underclocked and undervolted Penryn/mobile 45nm processors. You could just use the clockspeed to figure out how their performance would compare to Wolfdales with the same FSB/cache. Given that Core 2 processors tend to annihilate the Atom clock-for-clock and core-for-core, well you get the picture. The mobile Neo X2, yeah, not enough reviews/info yet. By the way, the Athlon 3250e used on the Zino HD seems to be a straight underclocked/undervolted Brisbane. Kinda like a slower Athlon 4050e.

Quote:
Originally Posted by STL View Post

Do you mean 1080i/p fullscreen (via the HDMI output) or fullscreen on the notebook's screen (like a 1366x768 resolution)?

It was actually on a Sharp 32" 720p HDTV at 1366x768 resolution. Alas, I can't test it on higher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

I saw a benchmark that put the 18W 1.6ghz neo X2(L625) as about 25% faster then atom 330. It looked to be pretty much on par with the Core Duo T2350 SL9JK (C0) 1.86 GHz 2 MB 533 MT/s 14x 0.762 - 1.3 V 31 W Socket M. Huh, amd looks to be getting the same performance at a lower clock and lower wattage then intel here.

I do believe the T2350 is a discontinued 65nm part. It'll be interesting to see the Neo X2 compared to a Core 2 Duo SU9600 1.60GHz TDP 10W or a Core 2 Duo SL9300 1.60GHz TDP 17W. Clock for clock, I have a feeling the Intel ULV and LV chips will win, but performance on the dollar, AMD would probably nab.
post #178 of 5041
I do believe the T2350 is a discontinued 65nm part. It'll be interesting to see the Neo X2 compared to a Core 2 Duo SU9600 1.60GHz TDP 10W or a Core 2 Duo SL9300 1.60GHz TDP 17W. Clock for clock, I have a feeling the Intel ULV and LV chips will win, but performance on the dollar, AMD would probably nab.

You are probably right I think I remember reading benchmarks of core 2 duo's have a slight performance advantage over same clocked athlon II X2's. So it stands to reason that the intel part will be a little faster if they are both at 1.6ghz.

Hopefully we will see a cpu at 32nm that will clock around 3ghz and use under 20W. I think with this trend for low power consuming chips they might keep the same tranister count as the current core duo's and athlon II's when they go to 32nm. I know amd is talking about a 1billion transister chip in 2011 but maybe they will make a smaller part for us.
post #179 of 5041
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post

It was actually on a Sharp 32" 720p HDTV at 1366x768 resolution. Alas, I can't test it on higher.

I see. Thanks for clarifying.
post #180 of 5041
Quote:
Originally Posted by Java Jack View Post

OK. Still lot's more testing to do but here are some quick things I checked today.

720P content from Hulu's website (The Seeker)
Played smooth in a window but got a little jittery full screen on 1080p Westinghouse LCD. However, even then it was not too bad and still watchable. CPU load seemed to be about 95%. With flash acceleration and a good network, it migh be OK.

Now, I don't know if it is a CPU limitation here or the internet connection here at work as web stuff can be slow here at work. Will take the box home over the weekend and try it more.

What is unknown is how with flash acceleration impact playback. Furthermore, I have not turned off Aero graphics, or any of the unneeded applications/processes (spelling?) that could tie up resources.

Again, this was just a quick look (about 20 mins of quick tests) so don't read too much into any of this.

Right now, 3250e seems to be a good CPU selection for HTPC stuff.

UPDATE:
Brought the box home and did some more testing. Tried the same Hulu 720p Seeker content with IE, Firefox and Chrome. Tried pausing content to let it fill the buffer.

Results:
Content did play a little better on my home network. Still some slight jitter regardless of browser and regardless of filling the buffer.

Content is watchable as the jitter is slight, but you can see it. It was almost like handheld camera work. There were no long pauses or gaps, no missing dialog or anything like that, just a slight jitter now and again. It seems that the 3250e is just on the edge for the HD flash content. I think if someone were to release a h/w accelerated flash player that the content would play back smoothly. I guess we will find out if Adobe releases a player.

I will give the 6850e a try sometime over the weekend and see how it does.
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