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  • kpresler - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    "The included hard disk is a Hitachi 2.5" drive this time, slightly smaller than the seagate 500GB HDD used in the Core 100HT-BD, but the ION 3D's lower cost comes at the expense performance and a few different component choices" should probably be "The included hard disk is a Hitachi 2.5" drive this time, slightly smaller than the seagate 500GB HDD used in the Core 100HT-BD, but the ION 3D's lower cost comes at the expense of performance and a few different component choices"

    Also, on page 2, "65 AC Adapter" should probably be "65w AC Adapter"
  • cjs150 - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    I will be waiting for the AMD version: simple reason the HTPC needs to be connected to high end AV receiver and I would prefer a single HDMI cable to do that.

    Other key issue for me is noise. I have a high end Sony Blu-ray player and at time I can here it when playing a movie. I am not seeing this issue being address correctly yet by manufacturers. DVD/Blu-ray drives should be soft mounted (or at least better mounted than current). There should be no need for a fan (maybe a very slow running one at worst for whole case) if the case is properly ventilated. One of the problems is that so many case builders persist with mounting HD and optical players above the motherboard. From a heat point of view this is daft, far better would be to mount below the motherboard and then have a sides and top mesh covered to allow better convection (Morena 3500 I think does it this way but is a much less pretty case and still has mounting issues)
  • tech6 - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

  • jabber - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    I pushed out around 20+ of the previous version for small office upgrades.

    Nothing but 100% positive feedback. They love them.
  • vol7ron - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    I, myself, don't have an HTPC yet. I'm looking to build one with the Ceton InitiTV4, which I've been hounding AT to do a review on (doesn't look like it's going to happen).

    That being said, if I don't use a tuner card, this looks like something I'd be interested in too - your office must have a nice setup :)
  • inaphasia - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    I've got the Asus 1215n netbook (same proc & GPU with the ASRock) but Windows experience is showing 3.2 for Graphics. It's probably just ignoring the ION, question is: should I care? ( I mean I "get" the whole Optimus business of the ION kickin' in when needed...)

    But more importantly, should I manually update the ION drivers? Keep in mind that Asus don't have newer one's ATM, and nVidia won't recognize the netbook (just keeps scanning).

  • Calin - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    Ion is not such a powerful graphic engine, I think Windows Experience is showing correctly a 3.2 (the max I've heard about was something around 6.8).
    I remember that ION is not using integrated graphics at all, it's not an Optimus platform (but I might be wrong, so take this with a grain of salt)
  • inaphasia - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    No and no... sorry:)

    It IS an Optimus platform and the ASRock's ION Graphics here are showing 5.2!
  • kilkennycat - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    I have a 1215N-PU17 and have manually updated the nV driver (from the nV website, ION-Notebook-Win7 32bit) to 260.99, the latest available for ION notebooks. No obvious adverse effects, roughly 2 months since I updated. Like you, the nV scanner did not work and Asus Update remains firmly silent. Iirc, I forced the update because the original Asus shipped driver was unable to play Blurays on the notebook screen; did fine via HDMI. The 260.99 driver has no such problem with notebook screen and Blurays. ( Cyberlink 9 with External usb2.0 portable Bluray reader/DVD-burner).

    Also the Win7-32 ION laptop driver version of 260.99 comes with an embedded tool that graphically indicates whether Optimus is enabled or not. You can enable it by selecting "Display GPU Activity Icon in the Notification Area" from the "View" drop-down on the nVidia Control Panel screen. This generates an new icon in the Notification Area. If you click on this icon, it will tell you whether ION is running on an app.... The 260.99 View drop-down also has the selection: "Add 'Run with Graphics Processor' to Context Menu". If that is enabled, it adds a new line to the (Right-click)context menu for any of your on-screen icons that says "Run with graphics processor:- " and you can either choose which graphics processor (integrated or ION) to temporarily to run with that app, or permanently set the default graphics processor for that app (brings up the nVidia Control Panel, pointing to that app). fyi: There is a bug here. If the nVidia Control Panel is already open, it may stop working after the Context Menu selection and Win7 complains appropriately. Just close the nV Control Panel app. and repeat the selection from the Context Menu; the nV Control Panel should now open normally.

    Disclaimer... "your mileage may vary", update at your own risk!!. As I recall, the Asus version 1217N shipped driver is not listed at all (nether beta nor WHQL) on the nV website. Probably because Asus had to pack something in the machine and their on-disk system backup image as early as possible to comply with manufacturing release. Certainly 260.99 was not available at that time. Very strange that Asus Update still does not offer a 260.99 update. However, if you need to back down for any reason, the shipped driver is in the Asus 1215N downloads on the Asus website. Would recommend a "Create System Restore" before attempting to install the 260.99 driver; With the 260 variety drivers, the nV install mechanism has changed... I suggest selecting ticking the "clean Install" box on the driver Install screen to be sure the old driver is completely purged..
  • inaphasia - Saturday, January 15, 2011 - link

    That's exactly the kind of answer I was hoping for. Can't thank you enough! Deeply appreciated! Reply
  • laytoncy - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    I think I'm going to wait until they start using Sandy Bridge in these. I'd love to see the Core 100HT-BD with the Sandy Bridge. I'm not holding my breath but I've been reading all these reviews and have a friend with the ION version and he loves his. I'm just not sure how much longer I can wait or if I'm going to build my own htpc. I figure I've waited this long I'll see if they can push some out this quarter. Reply
  • silverblue - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    The Brazos platform will be faster, certainly, however its GPU doesn't have the ability to decode BluRay 3D. You don't seem to have looked at this platform's ability to decode 3D, though (unless I've missed something).

    On the other hand, TomsHardware have reviewed the ASRock E350M1 and noted that Ion's CUDA cores throw out questionable quality when encoding, so it's all swings and roundabouts really.
  • erwos - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    I don't want to be "that guy", but it bugs the hell out of me to see HTPC reviews where they don't even see how many cablecard or ATSC streams this thing can record/display at a time. The modern HTPC is of debatable utility if all you're doing is streaming video; there are any number of embedded devices that will do that cheaper and better. Reply
  • stlbearboy - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    Exactly how many tuners do you expect to get in that case? My recording is done on an ATX motherboard with 13 total tuners. The reviewed system is a playback system, not a recording system. Reply
  • vol7ron - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    At least one for that case.

    Why in the world would you have 13 tuners? What kind of bootlegging business are you running?

    Let me guess, you also have Starz, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and sports packages too.
  • erwos - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    You can connect tuners via USB (ATI) or over the network (HDHR). Shoving them straight into your computer is actually slightly odd to me. Reply
  • stlbearboy - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    3 Directv
    4 OTA
    4 Cable
    3 Clear QAM

    This allows viewing to all every TV in the house via extenders. The most active at one time has been 9. I looked at the HDHR and have 3 HD-PVRs for Directv. Only Sports package is Sunday Ticket but with kids and diverse tastes I like the flexibility. You could use a NAS for storage and HDHR for tuners, although I could not imagine trying to comskip on an ION! But my point still remains, you buy that system for playback not recording. As to the question of how many streams you can record, that is a function of your HDD as ATSC does not take any encoding.
  • CSMR - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    24W is high power. Regular (non-atom) desktop computers can have similar idle power.
    Atom makes it unsuitable for anything except media use.
    But now there are dedicated devices that are generally more convenient, and lower power. (Popcorn hour, Dune, etc.).
    A full OS is not suitable for pure media use.
  • therealnickdanger - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    I'm still not sure how ANY device can be recommended for a home theater that doesn't support the full range of bitstreaming options. Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA have been in application for nearly five years. It is simply inexcusable to offer anything less than PERFECT support for these. Intel, NVIDIA, and AMD should be ashamed. Please don't take this question in a hostile way, but what kind of "home theater" are you trying to build?

    Next time a device claims to be a "home theater" device and doesn't support bitstreaming, send it back to the manufacturer. It's high time these folks learned that ANY modern HT device must support the following:

    1. Full lossless and legacy bitstreaming compliance
    2. 23.976 compliance
    3. Simultaneous multi-video and multi-audio streams

    Sheesh, it's bloody 2011.
  • Guspaz - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    So, in other words, this thing is pretty much the same as the old ION 330, except with a bluray drive and some front USB ports? I mean, the difference in both the CPU and GPU is very minor, Atom hasn't seen any major developments since it first launched a few years ago. Reply
  • jabber - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    Pretty much, just a refresh really. Reply
  • icrf - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    It seems one of the most recommended boxes from the XBMC community is from the Acer Aspire Revo family. It sounds like $350 gets you something similar, the biggest loss is BD, but it is over $100 cheaper.

    Any plans on one of these finding their way into your testing labs?
  • vol7ron - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    It says it has Component A/V, but I don't see any; but I do see DVI.

    About the USB3 Comment:
    They probably included it for marketing, even knowing it isn't full USB3. The more people you can mislead, the better your sales.
  • krumme - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    "And indeed, the Brazos platform decimates Atom in single-threaded apps, still manages to beat it decisively in more parallelized programs, and embarrasses it in anything having to do with graphics"

    All for less money. How obvious can it be.

    As stated before go to:

    What was this review about anyway?
  • silverblue - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    Until Cedar Trail, Atom isn't a viable platform. I'm interested in seeing how Cedar Trail performs, though, especially if it performs as rumoured. Reply
  • pirspilane - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    I have a Core 100HT, and it has proved problematic. When I turn off the TV, the HDMI audio stops and a reboot is required to bring it back. Playing a Sony PS3 through the same setup, I don't have this problem.

    I don't want to run my 600w plasma just to listen to iTunes. It defeats the purpose of having a low power HTPC.

    The problem I suspect is with the HDCP handshake. While the PS3 recovers its sound after the TV is switched off, the ASRock's Intel chipset/drivers can't.

    A workaround is using the Toslink output. But even then, the ASRock sometimes hangs when the TV is switched on again. Today, I had to power it down with the front panel button. But when I restarted it, the Bluetooth transceiver didn't come on and I had to get a USB keyboard to get the thing working again. So it took me about 15 minutes to get a youtube video to play.
  • thewhat - Saturday, January 15, 2011 - link

    "USB 3.0 devices may not be needed by the target users of this device"


    I was under the impression that you can copy files to/from this device. How is a fast transfer speed not needed?

    I'm personally hesitant to get anything that stores data without USB 3 nowadays.
  • Spacecomber - Saturday, January 15, 2011 - link

    I skimmed through this article, but I didn't really see what I was looking for, which is some idea of how well this would work for handling live streams of video of off the internet. Just playing around with different computer set ups that I have in the house, I've been surprised at how much processing power this kind of content seems to use. For example, I'd have thought that Pentium 4 @ 3.4 GHz or an Athlon XP at 2.3 GHz would do a better job. I'm getting the impression that a dual core is needed for these online flash video streams.

    Any thoughts on what the minimum amount of processing power is that would be needed for this kind of work (leaving aside GPU acceleration, since I find that rather iffy and perhaps best not counted on at this point)?
  • Jello1o - Sunday, January 16, 2011 - link

    I have an older Atom dual-core (the 510) server running and while it is capable of playing back standard-def flash, there will be a bit of choppiness in the video. Without GPU acceleration I would not recommend any Atoms for flash playback at the moment. Even my Core 2 Duo(technically Pentium) E5200 desktop is usually at %60 with flash video and sometimes up to %80 with the high quality flash video.

    I'm using my Atom D510M0 based system as a web/email and DLNA server. It seems to be adequate for those uses.
  • schlos - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    i just wanted to check and confirm that, you can still send TrueHD and other DTS variations via the SPDIF optical out, and an AV receiver can decode it instead, correct?

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