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Atom based netbox HD HTPC

1894 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Wiz33
It seems that a bunch of Atom based mobo/Netbox PC with the nVidia Ion Chipset will be available in the next few months (some already available). What are everyone's thought of using them as a HTPC?

For those unfamiliar with Ion. It's nVidia's answer to the problem that most netbook/netbox does not have enough power to render HD playback. Their solution in a mobo chipset with a Geforce 9400M built-in.

Early review of Atom/ion netbox like the Acer Aspire Revo shows that with the help of the 9400M, you can get perfect BD playback from an external BD drive even with the baseline single core N230 atom processor. See link


The Acer unit recent went on sale in Europe for ~$270 (2GB RAM, 160GB HDD). Couple that with a Panasonic UJ-120 Slim external USB powered BD-ROM (~$75) and you have a BD HTPC for under $350.

Ion based mini-itx mobo are also available with options for the faster M series Dual-core Atom processor. with external case the size of a large hardback novel.

The advantage with a setup like this is the extreme compact size and very low noise (since most uses laptop style power supplies).

There are however a few possible limitation that I can see with a setup like this (and was not mentioned in any or the preview articles).

1) Can it perform DVR function using a USB based ATSC tuner

2) Requires an offboard HDMI capable Recevier for audio decode for true high quality audio playback.

Anyone else have done any research into this? I maybe able to get a hold of a Acer Revo to try. I'll report back if I am successful if there are people interested.
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I was waiting for the Asus Eee Box B208 that was announced in March, but now it seems that the Eee Box B1006 will be available sooner (or instead) in the USA. Such a device would be ideal a for mobile/RV entertainment PC. I would expect to use a USB ATSC tuner as you mentioned; I do not know why these computers would be any different from using those tuners on a bigger box, which I have done with Windows Media Center 2005 for a few years now. Any new box I buy will get Windows 7 for its Media Center. Yes, I would like to hear about your experience if you get one of the Acer boxes.
I just don't know if the Atom is fast enough to handle something like the Nero Liquid TV w/TIVO. If it can that would be nice.
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