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Discussion Starter #1
NOTE: There are two Intel G45 motherboards: DG45FC (mini-ITX) and DG45ID (microATX).

Click here to go to the sister thread for the microATX version of this motherboard.





Is this thing cute or what? You're looking at the most powerful mini-ITX motherboard to date, mostly thanks to Intel's most powerful IGP (integrated graphics processor) to date, the Intel GMA X4500 HD. To get a sense of just how small it is, scroll down to the picture with the CPU and heatsink/fan mounted. So why is there so much talk about the G45 chipset lately, especially in the HTPC community? Simple:

√ Full hardware-accelerated decoding of MPEG2, H.264 AVC and VC1 (all three Bluray codecs) thanks to the Intel GMA X4500 HD IGP

√ 8 Channel (aka 7.1) uncompressed LPCM audio over HDMI output (HDMI v1.3a)

√ Integrated HDMI/DVI/PAVP/Display Port

√ Dual memory channel support (4Gb max memory - 2 x 2Gb DIMMs)


Consider that all the "HDMI + 8 Channel LPCM" motherboards up to now with chipsets from Nvidia, AMD and even Intel have all had varying degrees of truth to their "8-channel LPCM audio" claims - some are really only 2-channel, some don't work properly.


This motherboard is also future-proof for BITSTREAMING audio since it's got PAP capability built-in, so as soon as Intel works out a PAP arrangement with one of the playback software manufacturers (at first probably Cyberlink or Arcsoft, and eventually Windows (Vista SP2, or Windows 7 - who knows) will reportedly have PAP supported natively which will mean partnerships with software player companies will no longer be required). The bitstreaming audio issue is discussed at length in other threads.


Manual: Intel Desktop Board DG45FC Product Guide (PDF)

BIOS/Drivers: Latest DG45ID Motherboard BIOS and driver updates page

More info (including FULL SPECS): Official product page for Intel DG45ID motherboard

Built on the mini-ITX form factor, Intel® Desktop Board DG45FC is a small but powerful desktop board with integrated HDMI display output and hardware accelerated decode during high-definition playback. With support of Intel® Core™2 Duo processors and up to 1333 FSB, you can expect a lot from this tiny desktop board!


Intel Desktop Board DG45FC supports Dolby Home Theater* and is Microsoft Windows Vista* Premium WHQL certified.







Additional photos:



Techdata stock status as of 7/20/2008 (note this is distribution information only - online retailers like Newegg may have it on or around the ETA's noted below.




This gives you an idea of how small this board is - look how the stock Intel HSF dwarfs the motherboard!


Size comparison: ATX versus MicroATX versus Mini-ITX
 

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Discussion Starter #2
If anyone wants to chime in with links to their "perfect" mini-ITX case to drop this motherboard in (as small and cute as possible), please do! Specifically I mean cases that were built *for* mini-ITX, rather than microATX cases that also take mini-ITX. That is, unless there's a really cool microATX case you have found that just has to be considered even though it's probably much bigger than we need for a mini-ITX motherboard.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hmm... I'm all about minimalism, which means no tons of jacks and connectors on the front panel since that cheapens the look - at least they should be hidden behind a panel. All I want to see it a power button, power light, and a slot for slot-load drive. I honestly couldn't stomach building this cool of a motherboard into another one of those cube type cases with the handle on top (I'm looking at you shuttle) - I think an HTPC case should be a statement; contemporary and artistic - a work of art. Not some cheap plastic case that has boring written on it.


Check these out (note these are ALL mini-ITX cases):

Atech Fabrication Heatsync Mini-client 2500 - fanless case (all other mini-ITX cases tremble in it's shadow)

NOTE: Also available with black faceplate



Atech Fabrication Mini-server 5x - fanless

Note: Available in black or silver


NEXUS PSILE 10A (aluminum/white) - from Psile.com


NEXUS PSILE 10B (black) - from Psile.com


iStarUSA S Storm Series - from Newegg.com


Silverstone LC19 - from Newegg.com (available in silver and black)


Omaura TF8 - from Omaura.com


Omaura TT (concept)



SolidLogic GA-L01 - from Logicsupply.com (too expensive though)



Chenbro SV Home Server Chassis
 

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Discussion Starter #8

Quote:
Originally Posted by anthonykappa /forum/post/14328149


Could anyone recommend a mini-ITX HTPC case that takes a full optical drive? My LG hd/bd combo wont fit in those.

That's where things are going to get tricky - most of these nice small cases only take a slim tray-load or slim slot-load optical drive. Right now the only choices for BluRay disc playing in an HTPC are:

Panasonic UJ-120 (slim, tray-load, $275 on ebay) BluRay Read-Only

Panasonic UJ-450 (slim, SLOT-load, $500+ on ebay) BluRay Reader/Writer



These crazy high prices mean we have to wait for the price to come down on them, but that doesn't mean we should wait to build our mini-ITX HTPC. I'm planning on running my mini-ITX case based HTPC with NO optical drive for a while, especially since I do all my BluRay ripping with the LG and Liteon 5.25" drives in another computer on the network.


..that is unless someone figures out how to rip the slot-load BD-ROM drive out of the PS3 and connect it to a PC motherboard!


If you're willing to settle for DVD (no BluRay) playback in your slot-load, perhaps as a placeholder drive until BluRay slim slot-load drives come down in price, then for $50 they're obviously more affordable (and there are more makes/models than this):

Panasonic CW-8124-B Slim Slot Load DVD/CD-RW Combo Drive
 

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Intel opened an official desktop mini-ITX board page.


- Intel Desktop Board Mini-ITX


Intel is considering two classes of mini-ITX systems.

- Atom processor - 945G/SiS mb - 60W PSU

- Desktop processor - G45/Q45 mb - 150W PSU



The contents are scarce yet, but you can find


- Intel Desktop Board Mini-ITX Chassis


Several companies are releasing mini-ITX cases, including Thermaltake, Antec, Morex, AOpen, IN WIN, HEC.




Where is Thermaltak Mozart IX now (photo taken at CES 2007, January)?

 

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I was looking at the Silverstone Lascala LC05 or LC06 to fit a full-size optical drive with a mini-itx MB. I was going to use a 120W PicoPSU to power it.


Another option is the Mozart IX, if you want to wait for a release that may never happen, since according to Intel's page that renethx linked, it also fits a full-size optical drive.


Edit: The Thermaltake Mozart IX looks perfect, it's tiny and doesn't have an internal PSU which is what I want. But I read somewhere that it may not fit a full-size optical drive.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by odditory /forum/post/14328070


"... I'm all about minimalism, which means no tons of jacks and connectors on the front panel since that cheapens the look - at least they should be hidden behind a panel. All I want to see it a power button, power light, and a slot for slot-load drive."


"...I think an HTPC case should be a statement; contemporary and artistic - a work of art. Not some cheap plastic case that has boring written on it."

Totally agree. That's mostly my gripe about current cases.
Quote:
Originally Posted by odditory /forum/post/14328070

Omaura TF8 - from Omaura.com


Omaura TT (concept)


The Omaura TF8 looks great and would complement my current AV set-up beautifully but it's too deep for my AV rack. The Omaura TT is absolutely gorgeous. Hopefully, we'll know more about availability and pricing soon.


So far, the closest I've found that would fit (dimension-wise) is the HIPER HMC-2K53A-A0 but the 2.1" height is a big concern. I don't know if even the stock HSFs would fit.


Found the black counterpart of the SolidLogic case. Looks like it would make for a very nice looking HTPC case but the same concern as for the HIPER case applies.
SolidLogic GD-L01
 

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Discussion Starter #13

Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx /forum/post/14328358


Intel opened an official desktop mini-ITX board page.


- Intel Desktop Board Mini-ITX


Intel is considering two classes of mini-ITX systems.

- Atom processor - 945G/SiS mb - 60W PSU

- Desktop processor - G45/Q45 mb - 150W PSU



The contents are scarce yet, but you can find


Several companies are releasing mini-ITX cases, including Thermaltake, Antec, Morex, AOpen, IN WIN, HEC.

Good find, but the other two motherboards on that page, the DQ45EK and the DQ45EK are basically useless for HTPC purposes due to the weak IGP, at least for anyone that wants HA decoding of BluRay video (who doesn't?). Also, many of the cases in that list kind of dated or just boring. There are tons of mini-ITX cases on the market, the issue I raised wasn't one of a shortage of choices of mini-ITX cases, but rather a shortage of cases that actually look nice without costing more than all the components going inside of it combined. Atech Fab's stuff looks great but costs way too much, but at least it gives ideas about what a case SHOULD look like.
 

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Agreed. HTPC is just a small part of Intel's mini-ITX project (which just began) according to Intel.
Emphasis is still on Atom processor (processor itself is OK for HTPC, but there is no good chipset!)


- Intel Desktop Board and Small Form Factor - As defined by smaller than micro-ATX (sorry, it's Japanese)


If DG45FC succeeds, we will see more mini-ITX mbs and cases (from various manufacturers, aimed at HTPC market) in future.
 

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Discussion Starter #15

Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx /forum/post/14328506


Agreed. HTPC is just a small part of Intel's mini-ITX project (which just began) according to Intel.



- Intel Desktop Board and Small Form Factor - As defined by smaller than micro-ATX (sorry, it's Japanese)


If DG45FC succeeds, we will see more mini-ITX mbs and cases (from various manufacturers).

Well if lots of people start buying into the mini-ITX form factor, I suspect the market for specialty low-profile heatink/fans will open up too. I worry that the stock Intel HSF's are going to be a challenge in some of these cases with the short 1.5" - 2.5" heights.


I've noticed Intel started shipping a shorter stock heatsink/fan on their latest CPU's (i.e. 45nm Penryns) assumably due to the lower heat output of these chips. For example I measured the stock Intel HSF that came with my Q9660 against the stock HSF of the 45nm Q9450, and the HSF for the Q9450 was .5 or .6 inches shorter.


I don't know how high the stock HSF is for the latest dualcore 45nm CPU's, but hopefully it's short enough for most mini-ITX cases!
 

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Any cases that fit a mini-itx board only - no optical, no hdd?


How about mini-itx with no optical but one 2.5 hdd?
 

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I'm planning to pair a DG45FC with a P8400 CPU. Should that work?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobSalita /forum/post/14328972


I'm planning to pair a DG45FC with a P8400 CPU. Should that work?

No, DG45FC is designed for desktop processor with Socket T (LGA775) while P8400 is a mobile processor, Socket P (478 pins).
 
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