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Looking to buy a new media center PC

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April 20, 2012 5:43:16 AM

Hey guys, I've recently started looking into buying a nettop or other small PC to use as a media player with my home theater. To be specific, I'm looking to be able to play 1080p videos smoothly for around or under $200. I don't need a lot of storage space since all of my media is stored on a separate server, and I plan on accessing it through my home network.

As far as I can tell from reviews across the internet, the 2nd gen NVIDIA ION chips seem to be able to handle 1080p, but I would love some first hand feedback if anyone has any.

This ASUS EeeBox caught my eye, but I'd definitely appreciate recommendations or more information on the ION's ability to handle 1080p video.

Thanks in advance for any advice/ suggestions!

More about : buy media center

April 21, 2012 4:35:28 AM

Anyone have any input? I'm really looking at the EeeBox, but I'm also curious about how the AMD E-350/ 450 stack up against the Atoms.
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April 22, 2012 2:27:54 PM

Hi Kenny,

Post over on the HTPC forum to get much better advice then here. This forum tends towards gaming upgrades.

I have an E450 based 11" laptop. It does what I want and was cheap, but if I were buying today I'd skip the E450 and get something a bit faster, say AMD a4/A6. I'd totally pass on the atom. But you are looking for a dedicated headless media server with a separate server providing the media. (AMD Trinity is coming out, that may change price points for E450 based systems).

As a price compare, this is $285 HP Pavilion p7-1130z AMD A6-3650 2.6GHz 6GB 500GB Radeon HD 6450 512MB refurb here http://www.ubid.com/HP_Pavilion_p7-1130z_AMD_A6-3650_2....
but the box is probably too big for you.
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April 23, 2012 12:44:02 AM

tsnor said:
Hi Kenny,

Post over on the HTPC forum to get much better advice then here. This forum tends towards gaming upgrades.

I have an E450 based 11" laptop. It does what I want and was cheap, but if I were buying today I'd skip the E450 and get something a bit faster, say AMD a4/A6. I'd totally pass on the atom. But you are looking for a dedicated headless media server with a separate server providing the media. (AMD Trinity is coming out, that may change price points for E450 based systems).

As a price compare, this is $285 HP Pavilion p7-1130z AMD A6-3650 2.6GHz 6GB 500GB Radeon HD 6450 512MB refurb here http://www.ubid.com/HP_Pavilion_p7-1130z_AMD_A6-3650_2....
but the box is probably too big for you.


I was trying to find the HTPC section before I posted here, but I couldn't seem to locate it. Would you mind posting a link? As I mentioned, this computer would be used for absolutely nothing besides video playback and possibly light internet browsing. I do have my gaming rig hooked up to the TV/ receiver right now, but I find it a little wasteful to leave it on just to watch a movie when a smaller, more efficient computer could do the same job. I definitely am looking for a small form factor too, which is why the EeeBox caught my eye.
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April 26, 2012 3:56:47 AM

Interestingly enough, I happen to have a somewhat more expensive Asus Nettop. Main difference is that it has the ION-2 and an Atom 2 (which is the 64-bit Atom chip). Under Windows it was a constant fight to get 1080p, though 720 was never really an issue. However once I converted to Ubuntu 64-bit and setup SMPlayer with the vdpau library I've had no trouble with 1080 even with embedded, styled subtitles (I'm a bit of an anime fan).

Hope this helps...
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April 26, 2012 4:01:23 AM

The problem that I'm having is that I've found a LOT of conflicting information about the viability of an Atom/ ION setup. I've seen plenty of people who have said that their setup handles 1080p with no problems, but I've also found a lot who have said the same as you. My main concern is that I don't want to end up spending $200 on a nettop only to find out that I get choppy 1080p playback. I have no real experience with Ubuntu or Linux in general, but I suppose that could be an option.
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April 26, 2012 4:58:04 AM

The form factor was important for us. My family still can't believe it's a computer since it's so small. That said, I would emphasize that you really need an ION-2 if you want 1080. Am not sure if you can find one at your $200 price point, but maybe used or refurbished.
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April 26, 2012 5:52:39 AM

The form factor is definitely an important consideration for me too, I want something small and low power, since I'd like it to mesh well with my existing setup. I currently have my gaming rig hooked up as I mentioned in a previous post, and it feels like a waste to leave it on just to watch movies.

The EeeBox I originally linked has the 2nd gen ION in it, which is something that I was looking for specifically when I was browsing my options.

Out of curiosity, can you link the model that you have?
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April 26, 2012 1:06:39 PM

kennyj313 said:
The EeeBox I originally linked has the 2nd gen ION in it, which is something that I was looking for specifically when I was browsing my options.

Out of curiosity, can you link the model that you have?


Acer Aspire:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00433SP6G/ref=oh_deta...

Hope this helps!

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