HTPC Credentials

The GIGABYTE GB-BXBT-1900 does have a small fan (as shown in one of the pictures in the hardware gallery on the first page), but it is quite inaudible compared to even the quiet GB-BXi7-4500. As such, for users unwilling to digest the premium pricing of passively cooled PCs at this performance level, the BXBT-1900 is an ideal choice. The only issue, as we will see in this section, is that the HTPC capabilities offered do not go beyond what the lower priced ECS LIVA can deliver while being fanless. Since both are based on Bay Trail chipsets, this is not an issue.

Another aspect that HTPC users need to keep in mind while considering Bay Trail systems is the HD audio bitstreaming capability. The hardware is indeed capable, and we do get Dolby Digital Plus bitstreaming with the Windows 8.1 Netflix app. However, XBMC and other commercial software Blu-ray players are unable to bitstream DTS-HD and TrueHD audio on Windows 8.1 due to a missing software component for the Bay Trail chipset. OpenELEC (and other such bootable operating systems) has no problems, though, because it doesn't rely on the Windows component (obviously) for HD audio support.

Refresh Rate Accuracy

AMD and NVIDIA have historically been able to provide fine-grained control over display refresh rates. The default rates are also quite accurate. Intel used to have an issue with 23 Hz (23.976 Hz, to be more accurate) support, but that was resolved with the introduction of Haswell. As expected, the GIGABYTE GB-BXBT-1900 has no trouble with refreshing the display appropriately in the 23 Hz setting.

The gallery below presents some of the other refresh rates that we tested out. The first statistic in madVR's OSD indicates the display refresh rate.

Network Streaming Efficiency

Evaluation of OTT playback efficiency was done by playing back our standard YouTube test stream and five minutes from our standard Netflix test title. Using HTML5, the YouTube stream plays back a 720p encoding, while Adobe Flash delivers a 1080p stream. Note that only NVIDIA exposes GPU and VPU loads separately. Both Intel and AMD bundle the decoder load along with the GPU load. The following two graphs show the power consumption at the wall for playback of the HTML5 stream and the Adobe Flash stream in Mozilla Firefox v32.0.1. For HTML5 streaming, the GPU load averaged around 36.96%, while it was 24.31% for the Flash version.

YouTube Streaming - HTML5: Power Consumption

YouTube Streaming - Adobe Flash: Power Consumption

Netflix streaming evaluation was done using the Windows 8.1 Netflix app. Manual stream selection is available (Ctrl-Alt-Shift-S) and debug information / statistics can also be viewed (Ctrl-Alt-Shift-D). Statistics collected for the YouTube streaming experiment were also collected here. The GPU load averaged around 4.74%.

Netflix Streaming - Windows 8.1 Metro App: Power Consumption

Decoding and Rendering Benchmarks

In order to evaluate local file playback, we concentrate on EVR-CP and madVR. We already know that EVR works quite well even with the Intel IGP for our test streams. Given our results from the evaluation of ECS LIVA, we decided to test only EVR-CP with DXVA2 native decoding for the BXBT-1900. The decoder used was LAV Filters bundled with MPC-HC v1.7.7.

GIGABYTE GB-BXBT-1900 - Decoding & Rendering Performance
Stream EVR-CP
  GPU Load (%) Power (W)
480i60 MPEG2 24.56 8.02
576i50 H264 45.74 8.89
720p60 H264 63.79 10.44
1080i60 MPEG2 82.65 12.25
1080i60 H264 93.68 13.32
1080i60 VC1 89.07 12.83
1080p60 H264 76.63 11.49
1080p24 H264 32.99 9.38
4Kp30 H264 91.91 12.46

Entries in bold indicate visible dropped frames. For non-4K and non-interlaced material, the system has no trouble keeping up with the playback. The target market for this type of system will probably not be interested in anything other than vanilla 1080p24 content, and for those folks, the system can act as a good HTPC with EVR-CP as the renderer.

Networking & Storage Performance Power Consumption & Thermal Performance
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  • LoneWolf15 - Thursday, October 30, 2014 - link

    I would buy one of these --or another Bay Trail NUC in this price range --if they made a good faith effort to support Linux. This particular system config is tailor-made for an appliance style box. But I've read time and time again about NUC-style vendors (this particular Gigabyte model, and others) saying "We only support Windows on this unit". I'm a Windows guy and all, but the use I'd have for this is like an Asterisk server at home for VoIP or something of that type. Reply
  • ArushaMan - Saturday, September 19, 2015 - link

    Has anyone upgraded one of these from Win7 to Win8/Win10? I made one attempt and it failed with no explanation. I suspect it has to do with the BIOS setting which requires you to set it for Win7 or Win8 at first install. I installed and activated Win7 OEM, using the Legacy setting. Is the trick to change the setting to Win8 when it re-boots during the Win10 install? Reply
  • BorgDog - Thursday, October 8, 2015 - link

    Just got mine yesterday and installed Win7 Starter then upgraded to Win10. Basically the first time windows reboots you need to press the Delete key repeatedly until it goes into Bios then change the setting from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1, then save and exit and it will go back into the Windows 10 install and finish that setup. So short answer, yes that is the trick. Reply
  • andwan0 - Saturday, November 4, 2017 - link

    Can the 1900 play HD movie/films @ 1080 or 720 smoothly directly from the HDD or SSD? Reply
  • ansva - Thursday, April 23, 2020 - link

    How does this compare to a Raspberry pi 4? Reply

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