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  • AFQ - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Awesome theatre you got there man. Do a tour of your studio too plzzz! Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    The added on blue touch around the starlight night sky ceiling looks great in the one pic.
    Hopefully that settles anyone with claustrophobic tendencies.

    On another note I could help laugh, shake my head, and exclaim aloud "What a nutball" - when I read the disappointment with the 23 watts pulled on the under clocked Intel system.

    I see hundreds of watts of lighting and I suspect the projector is sucking down 300W to maybe 1200W playing a movie. ( I don't remember from reading the old build thread so long ago).

    So that's what bothered me. I just don't get it. It appears people are feeling guilty nowadays using electricity for extravagance, so besides the electric bill (obviously moved very little as the theatre doesn't run all day and night), they need some outlet to massage their tender "I'm destroying the earth" propaganda that has been fed into their heads.

    So saving 20 watts on some under clocked cpu while cooking 2000W otherwise on the rest of the show, is the key, so it seems.
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    I think he underclocked it just to save on noise, not power or energy. Projectors do this to - most have a lower setting to save on energy and fan noise. Reply
  • JNo - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    True. But building an itsy bitsy mini ITX case when you could build a full size desktop as your HTPC running super cool and quiet with plenty of room for passive heatsinks and large slow fans if you need them seems a little daft to me. I mean, you have built an ENTIRE ROOM for your home theatre; it's not like a large PC tucket away somewhere is going to fill it.... Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, May 26, 2012 - link

    Did you read the article? He clearly mentions that he doesn't want something big anymore since he moves the HTPC around a lot and doesn't need the space either. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Saturday, May 26, 2012 - link

    Right, but in my other estimation to factor in it just shows the enthusiast geek that cannot get enough of the whole tweaking thing.

    I have a few close friends like this - where it's a hobby one could say and the endless parts and combos and predictions and tests and "disappointments" or pleasing results are what they go on about as well.
    Reply
  • mnasub - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - link

    Recomiendo teléfono inteligente muy barato! Sólo necesita el euro 58.79 euros! Otro párrafo Parejas 3,2 Pulgadas Android2.2 WIFI dos Cámaras Bluetooth! Realmente genial! Usted puede mirar en: http://me2.do/IFP5KCm Reply
  • Purpose - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    I've been looking for a good case. The only one that I think might be better than the isk is the the Habey EMC 800 line.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    However, optimally I think an HTPC should be about the size of a receiver. All the HTPC cases that size are haphazardly arranged and waste a ton of space.
    Reply
  • Metaluna - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    I'd love to see more cases that are designed like slim A/V components. I have an Antec NSK 2480, which is a big bulky beast compared to most mITX cases. But, I can stack any other component, like my Bluray player, neatly on top of it. Furthermore, front-to-back depth is kind of irrelevant in an A/V rack, so other than being about twice as tall as I'd like, (and kind of fugly) the extra size doesn't really reduce my useable space all that much.

    Contrast that with these shoebox-style mITX cases that are so common. The form factor is kind of oddball. You can't stack much on them, and often there are vents in inconvenient places that make finding a place to put them difficult.
    Reply
  • Khato - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Can't help but be curious as to what might have brought you to Folsom? I'm assuming that it'd be the Intel campus here, but that seems somewhat odd as I'd have expected that all those sort a meetings would be at Santa Clara. I guess we do have better representation of certain groups here, especially on the graphics side. Did they keep you isolated to the nice and pretty FM3 that the rest of us in our drab grey cubicles are jealous of? Reply
  • Parhel - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    What brought Anand to Folsom? He shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die. Reply
  • kkwst2 - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    That's the nicest prison I've ever seen...but there is lots of blues. Reply
  • wrkingclass_hero - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    I wish I could uprank you. Reply
  • Aikouka - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Anand, I noticed your comment on HTPC cases, and I always had a bit of trouble finding a good case too. Well, that was until I saw a thread on the AT forums awhile ago about HTPC cases, and someone linked to a site with some nice brushed aluminum cases from Wesena.

    Here's the link in question:
    http://www.shop.perfecthometheater.com/Wesena-chas...

    and the thread:
    http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=21840...

    I'm a fan of the HTPC-ITX5 myself. I'm considering replacing my older Core i3-540-based HTPC with an Ivy Bridge-based system once Intel releases the low wattage parts. I use a Core i3-2100t in another system. The nice part about the t-series processors is that they are pretty much what you want (low clocks, low wattage, etc.).
    Reply
  • Chapbass - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Haha, funny you found that thread Aikouka, I just came on here to post the exact same thing. Wesena cases seem pretty slick for the money. I ended up building my HTPC case on the extreme cheap (as in, 130 dollars for basically the whole thing, minus a couple parts I already had), but I've been eyeballing a newer wesena case for a while. Reply
  • pseudo7 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    XBMC - nice choice! Reply
  • Aikouka - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    XBMC has one large annoyance with it that I just cannot figure out. If I leave XBMC open for days, any video played will stutter. It's a very slight stutter, but it is definitely noticeable. If I close XBMC and reopen it, it will return to normal... for a couple of days. Reply
  • Pirks - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    XBMC is crap written by fat pimply opensource penguin fellating dorks in moms basements. I installed it yesterday, switched to different account in Windows 7 - shit, the stupid POS forgot all its settings. No language, no plugins, nothing. I have to run the idiotic thing under admin account all the time. I switch to my original account - it runs well. I switch to second (limited) account - it requires admin password again to run, if I want to get my settings/plugins back.

    Opensource is usually pretty lowly POS and google's crapdroid and other pengion fellating abominations prove it again and again. Opensource == low quality stuff. But FREE! Woohoo! FREEE CRAAAP! EVERYONE REJOICE! It's crap but it's FREE crap. It must make me fucking happy about it, yeaaa
    Reply
  • l3bowsk1 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Tell us how you really feel...

    "I have to run the idiotic thing under admin account all the time."
    Things are incapable of idiocy. People on the other hand...

    XBMC doesn't meet your misguided expectations, and you complain that its a flaw in XBMC? It's acting like *any other application* would in a multi-user Win7 envorinment. Don't like it? Run it under only one user ID. Problem solved. Personally, I like that it stores separate user preferences, since I can set up different source settings and skins depending on who's logged in.

    And your attitudes around open source are poorly informed and frankly, not even worth the effort to try to correct. I could talk about how a majority of top-tier multi-billion $ products and services are built in some way around open source projects (Mac OS X and iOS, Facebook, PS3's system software, Salesforce.com, the list goes on). Or I could talk about how modern concepts of agile development - that make possible Microsoft's quick fix turnarounds on Patch Tuesdays, Firefox and Chrome's rapid version releases, etc. - draw directly from development frameworks and processes developed in the open source community.

    I could talk about a lot of stuff, but you wouldn't listen, because you're a moron, with a piss-poor understanding of how technology works, which you've so deftly illustrated by confirming that you don't even know how Windows User accounts work. So sit down, and STFU.
    Reply
  • Pirks - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    You shut up, idiot. You're trying to lie to me that "It's acting like any other application would in a multi-user Win7 envorinment."? Really? Then try to run a NORMAL closed source app liek uTorrent or something under different accounts and you'll notice how it is smart in keeping separate use profiles in appropriate \users\<username> folders. If you don't know how normal apps (not opensource crap) work under multiple accounts your better shut your dirty hole. Reply
  • jwcalla - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    That's how XBMC works. I thought that was your complaint in the first place, that different user profiles had different settings?

    Sounds like user error to me.
    Reply
  • Denithor - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    Guys - quit feeding the troll.

    Pirks is a well-known idiot flamer from Daily Tech.

    Just ignore him.
    Reply
  • mcnabney - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Not a big fan of XBMC.

    I have been using Media Browser through WMC and it provides the right mix of functionality, usability, and customization. I should I also point out that my HTPC is in a well ventilated and silenced Norco case and sports a 560ti for my gaming pleasure.

    Now when will the RED 4K projectors arrive....
    Reply
  • ltfields - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the update Anand, I loves me some Home Theatre pr0n... Reply
  • vision33r - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    The latest gen Mac Mini or the upcoming ones with Ivy bridge is better. These ITX solutions aren't cheap and they're so ugly.

    A Mac Mini has zero AC/DC power bricks. A Core i5 model is about $500 refurb and it is pretty quick and you can install Windows 7 on it and the only thing it lacks is USB3 or ESATA but it's got bluetooth and Wifi standard and it runs so much cooler than these 90watt desktop CPUs.
    Reply
  • zaccun - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Good thing Anand isn't using a 90w CPU then, huh? He even posted that his system uses 23w while watching a movie. Reply
  • Assimilator87 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    What steered you away from Llano? Reply
  • Taft12 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    There's almost no ITX Llano motherboards on the market. Certainly not with mSATA. Reply
  • amdwilliam1985 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    I remember reading somewhere about having ~$75 thumb drive size htpc that runs with ICS, I think it'll work well especially with Andriod apps that lets you stream the media from the web. Will like to see more $50 to $100 thumb drive size htpc :)

    also, I used to have a HTPC, can't find a nice small case for it, it eventually became my main desktop. And then I use an old core2duo laptop as the htpc instead. It's running 24/7, and draws about 12 watts on idle, and 20 watts playing movie. A great usage for an old laptop.
    Reply
  • jwcalla - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Maybe Cotton Candy? Though I think that one's more like $200.

    But yeah, ARM devices should soon fill in the HTPC market fairly easily. Unless one has super fancy requirements.
    Reply
  • Alexvrb - Sunday, May 27, 2012 - link

    Does the ability to work with WHS (for backup/restore purposes, primarily) count as "super fancy"? I'm hoping Windows RT (ARM) will, but seeing as how mobile devices are its primary target, there's no guarantee. Reply
  • Full Ctrl - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    How did you connect to the Pegasus R6? Doesn't it only have thunderbolt connections? Reply
  • l3bowsk1 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    I have a Pentium G850 in my HTPC, and it is perfect - low power envelope/heat/fan noise, but gets the job done for playing anything from Netflix and Hulu to HD rips and DVD ISOs. It's also no slouch in the gaming dept. either - mine is in a full height Silverstone case (http://goo.gl/am51j) so I could put in a GTX 560 in order to game and the G850 pushes enough frames that I can't complain. The whole system stays very cool and quiet.

    I've considered scaling down to a Mini-ITX, but I like the look of full-sized components - my Apple TV 1.0 and PS3 stick out like a sore thumb.
    Reply
  • XZerg - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Either they cost too much or leave a lot to be desired. All other parts are there but yet HTPC cases cost either too much or are too bulky. Seriously a nettop style case can't cost as much as many of these HTPC cases do. Reply
  • l3bowsk1 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Define too much - if I'm putting something under my desk or on my server shelf, I might not want to spend more than $50 on the case, but if I'm putting it front and center in my living room for all to see, a little bit more $ goes a long way.

    The case I linked to above for instance can usually be found for around $85 - to be fair, since I had to add a PSU, lets call the whole mess around $150, since a nettop case usually has a DC/DC PSU included.

    For that money (about $100-120 more than the average entry-level nettop case), I've got a case that seamlessly blends in with my stereo equipment, is built like a brick house so has zero flex when I move it around, and is laid out so meticulously that it is only 12.5" deep and fits fine on my shelf, but still has room for several hard drives and a full-size video card. You can't say that about most cheap nettop cases.

    Of course - I've got my fair share of cheap cases around the house, but they're not sitting in my entertainment center.
    Reply
  • XZerg - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    That $150 exactly... a nettop can be had for $300-400 fully loaded with cpu, hdd, memory, motherboard and pre-loaded os. For HTPC, one does not really need a powerful system, just a decent cpu and gpu that can decode most media formats at a respectable fps and quality. Reply
  • XZerg - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    I meant to add that many of the nettops are the same size as most cable boxes and so they don't occupy much room either. Reply
  • A5 - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    Those nettops also all run Atom or AMD's equally slow E-series CPUs.

    They're not really up to HTPC tasks and you can build a SB Pentium system for like $30 more that will handle everything just fine and not use that much more power.
    Reply
  • Cygni - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Would love to see an updated HTPC round-up using the Ceton Cablecard.

    I've been using an old Dual Core Phenom and 785G with a Ceton and it's been pretty fantastic, but I'm always on the lookout for ways to upgrade the experience.
    Reply
  • somedude1234 - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    After reaching my frustration limit with PS3mediaserver + the PS3 as a front end I finally bit the bullet and built a dedicated HTPC for the living room.

    I chose the prior generation mITX Intel board (DH67CF) and paired it with a Pentium G630 (in hindsight I may end up wishing I spent a bit more on the CPU but so far no complaints and I can always upgrade to an Ivy Bridge proc if needed).

    Windows 7 boots off of a Crucial C300 64GB SSD that I already had available, I put in a single stick of 4GB DDR3 and don't anticipate I'll need to upgrade this but I can easily double it if needed.

    I have auto-login and XBMC set to auto-start.

    There are two things that I absolutely LOVE about the Intel Media Series motherboards:
    1. Quick boot: Skips all of the unnecessary scans during POST
    2. Consumer IR (CIR): I can power the system on and off via an IR remote

    For a case, I chose the Wesena ITX7 in black, which looks fantastic with the rest of the AV kit. It's a little taller than it needs to be (supports a slot loading ODD that I haven't yet installed and probably won't), but does allow installation of a half-height PCIe card. I selected this case as a hedge against being disappointed in the Sandy Bridge HD2000 graphics that I get with the Pentium G630. So far I've been completely happy so no need to add a separate GPU.

    With quick boot and a lean Win7 install running off of a 6 Gbps SATA SSD I can go from pressing the power button on my IR remote to the XBMC main screen in well under 10 seconds. I can be watching a movie WAY faster with this HTPC than I could with my PS3.

    Finally, I'm using a 120W "pico" style PSU, at idle the system draws 15W and with 2 instances of CPUburn + FurMark I can barely crack 50W of power draw.

    The total system was a bit pricey but it's blazing fast and expandable.

    Couldn't be happier.
    Reply
  • SlyNine - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    What remote do you use. What skin do you use for XBMC. My biggest problem is making my media center easy to use for everyone else.

    I'd be interested in the "other" user experience that your media center offers. Do you turn it on by hand every time you start it or do you somehow boot it up via remote?
    Reply
  • azimut - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    I would love to built a such small htpc based on intel but I was I little worried about the 24p bug in Intel gpu.
    The good thing is that VERY nice solution are coming the artict cooling MC101 Barebone looks very nice!
    Reply
  • owan - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    I too built a mini-ITX HTPC, hoping to downsize from my capable but unwieldy mATX rig in an Antec Fusion Remote case. I wound up building an AMD E-350 rig, which easily handles my rather straightforward BD rips (in mkv) plus a handful of lower bitrate re-encodes. Unfortunately, I ran into a major problem pretty quickly. For whatever reason, the Realtek 8111E implementation for GbE had major issues streaming content over LAN. This would have been a simple fix in a mATX build, just throw in one of the spare intel NICs I had lying around, but in a mini ITX build, the single expansion slot was already slated to hold my InfiniTV4. Ultimately I had to host the CableCard tuner in my main rig and bridge the tuners over the network (thank god Ceton finally released that software) just so I could put a decent NIC in there.

    Takeaway message:
    1) lack of expandability can hurt sometimes
    2) its hard finding an ITX board with a decent ethernet chip (aka NOT 8111E)
    Reply
  • Taft12 - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    Realtek NIC chipsets indeed suck, but head to realtek.com and get the driver straight from the source. For me that's worked better than using the driver off the motherboard CD or Windows update. Reply
  • Soulkeeper - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    Used AMD memory in an intel system funny. Reply
  • MadAd - Saturday, May 26, 2012 - link

    I welcome more threads like this, to evolve the desktop PC needs to shrink right now, not next year, or in 5 years time, now.

    The current motherboard format is too big, PSU companies are just as much to blame. Intel tried to supersede ATX with BTX at one point but the market just ignored it, it was the same size and it didnt help us upgrading from ATX, it was a perfect format back then. With the invasion of tablets laptops and mobile devices there is less of a need to keep a behemoth ATX format machine at home and im sure many of those that do have more space than hardware inside, the format really needs to shrink now to turn PCs into the appliance they are destined to be - but how?

    I like ITX, I built a car computer with one many years ago but for a desktop its a couple of inches too small to load a decent amount of hardware on it, corners have to be cut yet mATX still has that bulkyness about it that comes with the ATX format but the only alternative if we want 1x16 + 1x4 + 1xPCI, 4xRam, 6xSATA.

    Seems like no one in the PC industry wants to take the reins of the decline and modernise the format properly so small gaming systems and large desktops alike dont have to be constrained by this dinosaur of a case standard.

    Last comment, My friend bought an old pc to me to make into something for his daughter - since we built it around 2002 absolutely everything in it was junk by todays standards so when he said 'i guess theres nothing we can reuse if we upgrade it' I had to say 'actually the case is still fine', which just shows how long the standard has been with us.

    Its time for a change?
    Reply
  • kappa7 - Saturday, May 26, 2012 - link

    Nice report!

    Do you have measured the idle power consumption of the system?
    I'm curious to know if the DH77DF is good as the old DH67CF(one of the most power efficient mini-itx board for socket 1155) regarding the idle power consumptions.
    Thanks
    Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, May 28, 2012 - link

    Wouldn't the processor use its lower speeds if it's being underused anyways?

    Also I use Throttlestop on my processor to set the voltages, I have it so that the highest multiplier uses the same voltage as the lowest and it's perfectly stable, your mileage may vary but that might be worthwhile.
    Reply
  • mcquade181 - Monday, May 28, 2012 - link

    The big problem I have with Mini-ITX boards is that generally there are no PCI-e expansion slots, which means to add tuners to your HTPC you need to rely on either USB or ethernet based tuners. My experience with USB tuners has not been good.

    I'm a big user of HTPCs, not just for myself but also friends and relatives. Most that I have built use Micro ATX motherboards, generally the Antec Minuet 350 case, and one or two dual channel DVB-T tuner cards.
    Reply
  • WT - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - link

    I am currently using a 780G for my HTPC, the unique MSI 7411 Diva AM2 mATX board with a 5.1 amp as a discrete audio card.

    I love this board so much that when it died on me about 2 months ago, I briefly looked for another board to replace it, but ended up buying a refurbed Diva board off of Ebay (it had its bad caps replaced - the same thing that did in my board.

    So far so good on the 'new' board, and I'm back to watching my DVD library. I know HTPC enthusiasts will scoff at the notion of using WMC, but under my circumstances it works very well for how I view my content.
    Reply
  • kvnobrien - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - link

    I recently put together a Intel base ITX system for my boss for his home computer. I thought how great it would be for a HTPC but my current one is finally setup the way I want it. I used an old P4 Biostar board I had and a GTX7900 that was collecting dust. I just got suspend working with the IR remote and it takes about 3 seconds to come out of S3. The network card takes a few seconds more to wake up and find the NAS. It's amazing how much entertainment you can get out of using spare parts and put together something cool.

    Thanks for this article I love the site. Great theater room too!
    Reply
  • ezridah - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - link

    I don't know where to request such things, but since this is about a mini ITX build I figured I'd throw it in here. To make it relevant to the article I'll say maybe this case will be a worthwhile candidate for others in the future. The Bitfenix Prodigy!

    I was wondering if you guys will be reviewing it? That case looks really cool and you guys are the best reviewers around :)
    Reply
  • Burticus - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - link

    Nice little ITX board! I wish I could find one like that in AM3+ for my HTPC that was affordable. They all run $100+ when my micro ATX one cost $20. Reply
  • Motoxmuseum - Sunday, June 03, 2012 - link

    In Win has announced and will show at Computex 2012 Nangang Hall 1F, J0212. The K1-HTPC is based on the new thin Mini-ITX form factor and is designed to specifically support the Intel DH61AG with Sandy or Ivy Bridge CPUs. The K1-HTPC is approx the same size as a Sony Blu-ray player and features internal W-Fi Antennas, support for internal USB based tuners, HDMI-CEC, RC6 IR remote and a USB Ver 1.2 Charging port featuring always on operation. Reply
  • StardogChampion - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    This site has some nice mini-ITX HTPC cases: http://www.ecosmartpc.com. Reply
  • davos555 - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    The antec fusion is a pretty cool looking case (albeit a bit hifi)

    Havent bought it but the images look good. (Uk based store but you can probably get it in the US!)

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/antec-fusion-remote...
    Reply

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