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Discussion Starter #1
There has been enough banter about the use of the new Montevino chips that this might be useful info. I personally don't see the point since the cost will be much greater than desktop solutions, but for those wondering about using the newer mobile chips...



I will say this however... the CF underneath the board poses some interesting possibilities depending on the OS you want to run, etc... 32GB is pretty cheap these days ~$99. 64GB exist, but pricey. Enough to run even Vista though. Since most here use network attached storage arrays...




http://mini-itx.com/2008/07/16/msis-...tx-motherboard



MS-9818 Specifications


* Supported processors: 45nm Socket P Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo/Celeron processors

* FSB: 1066/800/667 MHz

* Chipset: Intel GM45 North Bridge;Intel ICH9M-E South Bridge (with integrated TPM)

* Memory: 2x DDR2 800/667MHz SO-DIMM (up to 4GB max RAM)

* Graphics: Intel GMA X4500 Graphics with DirectX 10 support

* Display Outputs: VGA, DVI-D, HDMI, LVDS

* Audio: Realtek ALC888 5.1 Channel HD Audio; 6W Class-D Amplifier

* LAN: 2x Gigabit LAN ports (82567LM & 82574L)

* Storage:4x SATA II with RAID 0/1/5/10; 1x 44pin IDE

* Peripheral Connectivity: 4x USB 2.0 ports + 4x additional USB 2.0 headers; 1x RS-232/RS-422/RS-485 + 5x additional COM headers

* Expansion: 1x PCI; 1x Mini PCIe; 1x PCIe x1; 1x Compact Flash (underneath board)

* Size: 17cm x 17cm









 

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Nice platform, even for storage applications I think. Any idea as to the price?


Too bad it's only for mobile CPU's and not core 2 duo...
 

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Well since you're posting about this in an HTPC forum, then within the scope of using it as an HTPC I would wonder if its actually HDMI 1.3a compliant, if the 5.1 audio is available over the HDMI output as LPCM or whether its analog 5.1 output only.


This board uses X4500 IGP, whereas the DG45FC uses the X4500HD - not sure what the tech differences are, but both supposedly decode all three BluRay codecs at 1080p. This board also uses Realtek ALC888 versus 8-channel IDT 92HD73E on the Intel desktop board.


The increased cost of this MSI board coupled with the steps down in integrated audio and video chips make me wonder if it's worth it, at least for an HTPC. Sure, the 25W thermal output of something like a P8400 sitting on this motherboard is impressive, but you can get an even cheaper desktop Core2 or Celeron processor and have it run noiseless as well, albeit at a higher wattage.


Ultimately I think an HTPC is better served with the desktop class G45 variant given the extra CPU muscle, video and audio muscle.


Interesting thread in any case! I would love seeing an Intel-branded verison of this board.
 

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Compared to DG45FC, lacks eSata and digital audio out other than possibly HDMI.


Perhaps CPUs on the DG45FC can be underclocked and undervolted to close the TDP gap with Montevinos?


Regardless, some variation of this board could well be the future of HTPCs.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I agree that the eSATA is a bummer, but with dual Gig-E it may not matter for folks with network attached storage. I does seem to have a lot more PCI expansion compared to the similarly sized DG45FC.


While I agree that desktop parts are likely the way to go, I personally think it would be interesting to try to run the OS from the CF slot underneath the mobo.


As for audio... I'm assuming that I'll have to add the Asus HDAV 1.3 to just about any HTPC I'd be building right now.


I'm already situated pretty well right now since I have everything -except- DTS-HD MA being decoded and sent out of 7.1 analog on my Panny DMP-BD10A Bluray player. Everything else is being decoded properly and sent to my pre-pro. I figure at some point I can swap it out for a PC and get support for that last audio codec.
 
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