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Best Mini-ITX download and media PC

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December 20, 2012 5:56:57 PM

Hi guys and gals,

I am looking to buy/build a mini-ITX system with the following requirements:
- small as physically possible
- very quiet or silent
- HDMI connection
- able to stream 1080p smoothly

How will it be used:
- will be running idle 24/7 but downloading a couple of hours per day
- will be used to watch movies a couple of hours per day
- will be used to stream online SkyGo TV

I have heard about the following as options but I am not sure:
- HP Proliant N40L
- Xtreamer Ultra (1 or 2)
- ASUS eee box

Budget:
~Cheap as possible meeting my requirements, but no € signs attached.

I look forward to your comments.
December 20, 2012 6:25:15 PM

An AMD E-350 based build might be worth some consideration, it has ultra low power consumption so that's good with it being on all the time and also helps to make small and quiet PC's. The performance isn't exactly fantastic but it is supposedly enough to play any kind of 1080P video.

In all honestly, I have one in my laptop and I just tried it. It seems to struggle but I haven't tweaked any settings or looked at it in any detail yet. I googled it and everyone seems pretty sure it's perfectly capable.

EDIT:

ASRock E350M1/USB3
Mushkin Enhanced 4GB (2 x 2GB) 1066Mhz C7
Seagate Momentus 750GB 7200RPM 2.5''
Antec ISK 300-150

That only comes to about $250 and it should be cheap, quiet, have ultra low power consumption, it's small and has a pretty decent amount of storage for the price. The performance isn't exactly going to blow your mind though.
December 20, 2012 6:36:55 PM

As long as your player supports hardware acceleration, most modern cpu's and onboard video should be able to handle 1080p video.

My media center while not ideal seems to work well, but is not silent(damn power supply, fan swap helped lots).

i5 750
gtx 650 ti(cyclone II cooler. much more quiet now)
h55n usb3
SG05 case with some extra mods. I do not think this case meets your small as can be needs.
128gigabyte M4 SSD Boot
WDC Blue 1TB media(not as quiet as my old Seagate)

I would for sure look at the AMD APU's as they offer better video without needing an extra card(honestly 1080p is not that hard any more). This allows smaller cases. Just ensure you can get a decent cooler to fit because the AMD stock coolers tend to run loud(if the system is loaded).
Related resources
December 20, 2012 7:01:59 PM

I have read some negative things about AMD E350 not getting smooth playback on Netflix (which uses Microsoft Silverlight). You might reconsider if that is important to you.

In that case, the next step up would be an Intel Celeron build:

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/toIG
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/toIG/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/toIG/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Celeron G540 2.5GHz Dual-Core Processor ($42.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Asus P8H61-I R2.0 Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($79.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1066 Memory ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: Antec ISK 300-150 Mini ITX Desktop Case w/150W Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $272.95
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-20 16:01 EST-0500)
December 20, 2012 7:05:22 PM

Aristotelian said:
I have read some negative things about AMD E350 not getting smooth playback on Netflix (which uses Microsoft Silverlight). You might reconsider if that is important to you.

In that case, the next step up would be an Intel Celeron build:

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/toIG
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/toIG/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/toIG/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Celeron G540 2.5GHz Dual-Core Processor ($42.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Asus P8H61-I R2.0 Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($79.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1066 Memory ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: Antec ISK 300-150 Mini ITX Desktop Case w/150W Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $272.95
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-20 16:01 EST-0500)

If only Silverlight would support hardware acceleration. Yeah, that i can see being an issue for sure.
!