I'm looking for a Windows 7 PC as a movie server (streaming 1080p content as seamlessly as possible), but would like a small (eg, Mini PC) form factor. Unsure whether Shuttle, Zotac, Lenovo, etc are sufficient (eg, Atom D510 or 525, ION 2). Ideally, I am looking to keep height under 2RU (about 3.5 inches). Any leads and thoughts would be appreciated.
Well, the movie servers/players are effectively the clients. They access content off the Web or from local NAS drives (generally GB Ethernet, possibly 100Mb in some cases), and play it on various TVs throughout my house (via video and audio switchers in a central location with the servers/players). I currently have larger PCs playing that role, but would like to begin using smaller, cheaper ones (preferably 2RU or less).
I have read some reviews that indicated choppy playback on various mini PCs (eg, streaming from Netflix, Hulu, Blu-Rays, etc), and dont know anymore where the bottlenecks really are (CPU, Graphics chip, memory, network, etc).
My use of the term "server" was misleading. I actually have multiple (2 or 3 generally) clients/players (just PCs accessing content off the Web or local NAS drives). I locate them centrally to avoid having decoders and amps in every room. I do use another PC as a real server to control all of the equipment (with SW control from laptops, iPhones, iPads, etc over the network).