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Last response: in Systems
January 21, 2013 1:39:27 AM

Hi guys, basically I'm not sure if a Mini-ITX build is worth it or not for a cheap HTPC at home. I have a 46" HDTV, and a really good wireless router 2 bedroms away.

Basically I want a fast booting Mini PC, at low cost, and low power consumption, that will be able to stay on in idle or on load for longer periods of time (maybe a full day, in between days if possible). It can work with Windows 8, or Linux (OpenELEC), and has to be under 250 U$D if possible.

The most CONS I see doing research of various motherboards, and hardware in general is:

No hardware acceleration for Silverlight under Netflix for most.
Overheating issues for most, but to be expected (will mod fans)
Wireless adapters seem to suck for the most part (will have to go wired if streaming 1080p mkv's is noticeably choppy)
Pre-assembled systems from Zotec & Foxconn seem to not last more than 2 years for most reviews, mind you, some of them use them as servers (newegg, amazon, tigerdirect, etc...)
USB 3.0 ports seem to be horrible on most mini ITX motherboards I've seen, don't know why.

And finally... ATOM microprocessors VS Socket LGA 1155... obviously the ATOM microprocessors will be much cheaper, so I have to ignore the LGA 1155 Intel CPU's...

Would this motherboard be a good start?

Intel DN2800MT Mini-ITX 105 U$D


Intel Atom Processor N2800 (Dual Core)
Intel NM10 Express Chipset
L2 Cache
512 KB x 2 L2 Cashe
System Memory
Single channel DDR3 1066/800 MHz
2x DIMMs (max 4GB)
Integrated graphic VGA port & HDMI
8-19V DC Jack
Connectors (rear)
1x VGA
Integrated IntelĀ® 10/100/1000 network connection
4x USB2.0
Realtek High Definition Audio (ALC) Incl multi-stream support
Connectors (internal)
1x PCI Express
1x Mini PCIe
AUDIO (Front panel)
4x USB
2x SATA (3GBs)
2x COM (Serial)
1x LVDS 24 bit
Drivers CD
I/O ATX rear plate
2x SATA cable
Form Factor
mini-ITX (170mm X 170mm)
Passive thermal solution

More about : choosing mini itx build htpc xbmc tiny motherboards

January 21, 2013 1:52:15 AM

I think you should be looking at E series AMD processors . Better performance and better graphics than an atom
Motherboard selection could be limited .

A usb stick takes care of your wifi needs ?
January 21, 2013 2:03:42 AM

For $250 it will be difficult to build a computer outright.

Maybe consider something like a PS3, it offers Netflix support, inbuilt wireless, BLU-Ray and can play games better than a $250 computer could.
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January 21, 2013 2:16:29 AM

Outlander_04 said:
I think you should be looking at E series AMD processors . Better performance and better graphics than an atom
Motherboard selection could be limited .

A usb stick takes care of your wifi needs ?

Thank you for your time!!!

I have to say, I'm a little scared of the AMD E350 for example... it plays HD content a little choppy on my friend's build, but then again, he doesn't really tweak Windows at all, and I love tweaking and breaking stuff, so who knows... they seem to run a little cooler though, but I want to try Atom personally a bit more really.

If the internal wireless adapters are crap, I don't mind going into the attic with a long RJ45 cable and using it wired. Keep in mind that buying the wireless adapter, plus the wires and antenna for these small mobo's will add up to the cost, but I don't mind.

I have an TP-LINK wn722n wireless USB adapter for 15 U$D that proved to be MUCH MUCH better than the more expensive counterparts out there (I tried a lot), but still has some struggle streaming HD content.

(Have comcast with 45Mbps of Download/ 20Mbps upload.. Surfboard SB6120... Netgear N750 dual channel wireless router... WRT54GS with DD-WRT as a repeater right in the living room)

I am usually not cheap when it comes to my hardware, but would really like a lasting Mini PC for under 250 if possible.