Originally Posted by chappy16775
Thanks for the info DanPackMan!
How noisy does the fan get? I'm worried with these little boxes that the small fans can produce quite a whine when under load.
In general, what are you sacrificing in using a box like this versus, say a $300 build your own box. Of course the CPU and integrated GPU are less powerful but what does that mean in real world terms?
Slower boot? Less snappy? Stuttering?
This box is very quiet. I can't hear it from 5 feet away. I played a 1080p movie for several minutes to "heat it up" and there was no increase in fan noise. The CPU cores rarely got above 20%, so I can't tell you what would happen if they were fully loaded (well, it just occurred to me as I type this I could have tried with hardware acceleration disabled). If it had a hard drive, that would be the loudest part. The PSU is a power brick so it is silent.
What is sacrificed compared to a $300 budget build? I am not sure, it does depend on your needs or intended usage. The BIOS is limited, expandability is limited and there is essentially no upgrade-ability. Only one RAM slot. I am running the OS off of a medium quality usb flash drive, I can't tell you how it would be with an SSD but it certainly would improve. The menus sometimes have a slight but not annoying lag, but not always. FanArt switching when scrolling movies is surprisingly snappy. I guess if you ran Windows instead of OpenELEC, you might see some performance issues if multiple background tasks or services are running. I saw no video stutter issues, except for a second right after resuming from pause (I am sure some videophiles would find flaws, I am a bit picky but not extreme). Videos load a bit slow and some need an audio delay correction (those same files do not on my main HTPC). I would say the biggest single issue with using the thumb drive is very slow library loading time when first adding. Of course I can't tell you how this thing will hold up over time. I don't use wireless, can't compare that.
On the other hand, most low cost builds would have a bigger footprint and probably a PSU fan. I can mount this totally out of sight if I want. I like the "low brightness" LEDs on the front.... "Easy on the eyes" green when power is on, a faint but blinking red moon when sleeping. Many low cost cases have those annoying super-blue LEDs.
Boot time to the XBMC menu is about 25 seconds. Wake time is practically instantaneous.
I would not use this as my main HTPC because I like to tweek and occasionally use Windows features outside of XBMC , but it makes a very nice bedroom box.
UPDATE: I moved this to the destination TV, placed inside a shelf unit where the sound reflects outward. In that environment, it sounded a bit louder, I can hear a slight "whir" from 6 feet away if there is no other noise in the room.Edited by DanPackMan - 10/28/12 at 3:36pm