AVS Forum banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to build a small, quiet (possibly fanless) HTPC that will be used primarily for streaming internet video. Current TV is only 1080i, but I would like to have the power to be able to do 1080p in the future. Don't need any PVR or tuning capability or games. Just a simple box to watch Hulu and network sites.


I would most likely run some flavor of Linux and would want to output via component (although I'm not against converting outside the PC).


I've looked at Intel's Atom and am not impressed, although paired with the ION it seems a little better. The best I've seen is the VIA Nano with its VB8002 board.


What would be a good build for this setup?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,515 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by scott_blasingame /forum/post/17010539


Just a simple box to watch Hulu and network sites.


What would be a good build for this setup?

The problem is, Hulu is flash based, and currently the flash plugin doesn't support offloading the video decoding to the GPU, so you need a reasonably powerful CPU for Hulu.

If you want small, my suggestion would be Zotac GF9300-D-E ITX with a E5300 cpu, but you won't be able to run that passively (although there are plenty good quality fans around to make it quiet).

I don't think the Nano can cope with Hulu and Linux drivers for the VIA GPUs are very limited (no video acceleration).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,360 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by tux99 /forum/post/17010686


The problem is, Hulu is flash based, and currently the flash plugin doesn't support offloading the video decoding to the GPU, so you need a reasonably powerful CPU for Hulu.

If you want small, my suggestion would be Zotac GF9300-D-E ITX with a E5300 cpu, but you won't be able to run that passively (although there are plenty good quality fans around to make it quiet).

I don't think the Nano can cope with Hulu and Linux drivers for the VIA GPUs are very limited (no video acceleration).

For the price, consider the E6300.. as tux points out, Atom will choke and die on Flash
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,712 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by zim2dive /forum/post/17019687


For the price, consider the E6300.. as tux points out, Atom will choke and die on Flash

I'm going to try it with Boxee. Supposedly there's GPU support for Flash with Boxee. The ION Atom mobo and 4 gig RAM just arrived today. 1T HD will arrive tomorrow and then I'm off to the races!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,360 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by erkq /forum/post/17024256


I'm going to try it with Boxee. Supposedly there's GPU support for Flash with Boxee. The ION Atom mobo and 4 gig RAM just arrived today. 1T HD will arrive tomorrow and then I'm off to the races!

Ok, please let us know... I've not heard of ANY acceleration for Flash anywhere... I would think (99.99999%) that it would have to come from Adobe, not Boxee, Hulu, XBMC, etc, BUT.. I would love to be proven wrong.


PS. I think we have settled that one VERY good test of Flash is to try to view "Legend of the Seeker", episode 1, on Hulu, the HD version, at full screen (full screen is key). It opens with a flyover and then a horseback chase (very high motion)... in most cases is shows Flash to be the pig that it is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Hi, Just thought I would let you all know the experience I have had with Zotac IONITX platform for my HTPC.


I went with the IONITX D-U, so I got a case with a 150w PSU included. It's not very quiet. The fan for the mobo is okay. I actually added a speed controller to it to make it even quieter, but my current issue is the noisy PSU fan.


As far as video playback, the accelerated video in Media Center is great. Blu-Ray plays beautifully. The built in 5.1 channel audio isn't bad. I could use some better speakers though.


I also use the Boxee alpha/beta for Windows which is the only thing that I have found that is able to playback hulu shows at an acceptable quality. The hulu desktop, and going full screen in the browsers is no good. The video is way too choppy. I think this has to do with how Boxee resizes hulu content (through firefox).


I have yet to find encoding software, other than Badaboom that uses the ION GPU appropriately. There are plenty of encoders that support CUDA, but I have not been able to get them to work. So far, I have tried TMPGEnc and DVDFab.


Overall, I have been pleased with the performance v. price index. Considering that I have a machine with 1TB HDD, 4GB RAM, that plays Blu-ray and other content at 1080p for just over $500, I would say it is a pretty good deal. Throw in the possibility of adding on DVR functionality with a HomeRunHD networked tuner for $150 and the value is even better.


Hardware accelerated flash is in the works, since Adobe joined the Open Screen Project, but it won't be implemented until 2010. Let's hope the ION platform doesn't get left behind when the technology is finally implemented.


Let me know if any of you have suggestions for quieting my existing machine or have any information about taking advantage of CUDA that I might not know about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,515 Posts
afterwords, thanks for sharing your experience and you are very welcome here, but maybe you haven't noticed that this is a Linux forum, so your experience with boxee and Media Center on Windows isn't really very useful for others here.



The Windows HTPC forum on AVS is here:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=26


Of course should you be interested in trying out Linux then feel free to partecipate further here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,712 Posts
afterwords:


Boxee runs very well on Ubuntu Linux if you want to try it. You can also overclock the Zotac board to 2GHz. It's easy and runs at 32-40 degrees (depending on the day) with 100% stability.


What speed control did you use for your fan? It runs faster than necessary. I'd like to quiet it down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,045 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by scott_blasingame /forum/post/17010539


I want to build a small, quiet (possibly fanless) HTPC that will be used primarily for streaming internet video. Current TV is only 1080i, but I would like to have the power to be able to do 1080p in the future. Don't need any PVR or tuning capability or games. Just a simple box to watch Hulu and network sites.


I would most likely run some flavor of Linux and would want to output via component (although I'm not against converting outside the PC).


I've looked at Intel's Atom and am not impressed, although paired with the ION it seems a little better. The best I've seen is the VIA Nano with its VB8002 board.


What would be a good build for this setup?

AMD has 45W desktop cpu's coming out this month. Sounds like a nice low noise/power setup to me. Athlon II x2 and athlon II x4
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,712 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro /forum/post/17127794


AMD has 45W desktop cpu's coming out this month. Sounds like a nice low noise/power setup to me. Athlon II x2 and athlon II x4

Why have notebook CPU's (the T series for example) never been made available on desktop mobos? Is their power consumption not that much less than the E series? It seems we jump from an ION to a desktop Pentium or Core Duo... nothing in between.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,515 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by erkq /forum/post/17128133


Why have notebook CPU's (the T series for example) never been made available on desktop mobos? Is their power consumption not that much less than the E series? It seems we jump from an ION to a desktop Pentium or Core Duo... nothing in between.

I have asked myself the same thing quite a few times. I think it has something to do with product politics and marketing decisions from Intel (like they restrict Atom boards , see here too) who impose restrictions on how their cpus get used by OEMS, so that one cpu doesn't eat away market share of others.

They should be fined billions for these illegal practices...



In the past I have occasionally come across desktop mobos for laptop cpus but they usually were hard to locate and rather expensive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,712 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by tux99 /forum/post/17128462


I have asked myself the same thing quite a few times. I think it has something to do with product politics and marketing decisions from Intel (like they restrict Atom boards , see here too) who impose restrictions on how their cpus get used by OEMS, so that one cpu doesn't eat away market share of others.

They should be fined billions for these illegal practices...



In the past I have occasionally come across desktop mobos for laptop cpus but they usually were hard to locate and rather expensive.

Thanks... I've never seen these restrictions before. It is fortunate that the Atom is now available with digital video (HDMI and DVI) and 2 memory slots as well as the nVidia 9400 chipset. I'm running a Zotac mobo and can do full screen 480p Flash under Boxee. But I would like the power to do it from Firefox and have the same, or near same 25 watt power draw I have now for the mobo and 1T hard drive. Maybe the answer will come from the Adobe and nVidia partnership, results of which "they" say we should see by early next year. Then I think I'll be happy with power use, size, silence and capability.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,412 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by erkq /forum/post/17128133


Why have notebook CPU's (the T series for example) never been made available on desktop mobos?

The T series chips are available. How much money do you have? E.g. here are the specs for my iMac. It uses the T7700 CPU.


The simplest explanation is that most "desktop" manufacturers would sell their mothers into slavery for $1/unit cost savings. So they're not about to pay more to use a mobile CPU in a desktop application. Apple is one of the few people willing to pay.


And, yes, I don't doubt that there is also a lot of "politics" and/or "product positioning" as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,515 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Gremlin /forum/post/17143769


The T series chips are available. How much money do you have? E.g. here are the specs for my iMac. It uses the T7700 CPU.

Yes, but are there any current desktop motherboards (uATX or mITX) available that support these cpus?

I'm not aware of any but I would be interested to know if there are any I don't know of.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
I use newegg as a gauge for what's generally available on the market, as they have the widest online selection. They list 10 mobile CPUs, Intel only, socket P and socket 478, ranging in price from $205 to $550.


There is only one socket 478 motherboard, Biostar, no HDMI, no SPDIF, limited I/O, and an S3 IGP, $55. Forget that.


There is only one socket P motherboard, Jetway, full HTPC support, GM45 chipset, $199. P8400 CPU, 25W, $219. $419 for motherboard CPU combo.


There may be other options, but that's probably typical. For less than half, you can get a desktop CPU/motherboard, so most people just go that route and use a bit more power and a fan.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,793 Posts
I concur- no need to pay extra for special notebook/Atom CPU based mobo's.


The latest Athlon II X2 series like the 45nm X2's

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...e=&srchInDesc=


give you all the speed you need, low power/heat, overclockable easily over 3Ghz. Coupled with a VDPAU Nvidia 8xxx or 9xxx fanless GPU, and you're good to go.


Just use a silent CPU cooler like

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835185125

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835186030


or simply use the factory fan/heatsink with a speed controller to slow down the fan until you can't hear it-

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-129-_-Product


Be sure the PSU has a 120mm fan for silence and good cooling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,712 Posts
Thanks ajaxmike and rgb. Very helpful. I did end up paying some extra for an Atom ION 330. It and a WD 1T drive draw 25 watts but I'm wishing I'd gone a little more mainstream when I watch Hulu. BTW, Hulu through Boxee does fine so when Adobe and nVidia get a driver together native Flash will be fine... someday.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,360 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by erkq /forum/post/17196668


Thanks ajaxmike and rgb. Very helpful. I did end up paying some extra for an Atom ION 330. It and a WD 1T drive draw 25 watts but I'm wishing I'd gone a little more mainstream when I watch Hulu. BTW, Hulu through Boxee does fine so when Adobe and nVidia get a driver together native Flash will be fine... someday.

How much Hulu HD can you get at? (At one point there were very few you could find?)
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top