There were a number of other questions and comments in the original HTPC/Windows 7 coverage, but these were the few that I felt belonged together in the first follow-up story.
There will be a Part 3, where I address niknikktm’s request to see an alternative operating system. While I thus far haven’t been very impressed with the performance of Nvidia’s Ion platform, I’m going to do something about it (rather than just lament Windows-based performance) and try getting the mini-ITX machine still sitting in my lab working—functioning fully—under Ubuntu. We’ll see how that goes. Of course, if you have any experiences you’d like to share about Linux-based HTPCs, please feel free to speak up in the comments section.
Part 4 of this series is going to revisit the hardware scene for movie buff. I do think it’s possible to do better than Maui for the folks looking to output to a receiver. And at least until the chipset guys are able to offer something better than CD-quality sound via multi-channel LPCM, the Xonar HDAV 1.3 stands out as the sole enabler of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.
We’re also going to have some coverage of a wireless technology that might just make it possible to stream Blu-ray-quality content without the need for a wired Gigabit connection.
Hopefully this HTPC/Windows 7/Maui-revisited piece has answered some of your questions and concerns from the original story. We now have a better idea where the AMD-based platform shines (sound quality, upgrade potential, dollar savings on other HT components) and where it still needs some improvement (protected audio path, poorly-implemented speaker block).
The good news is that, in the process or revisiting our HTPC, I had a chance to try Asus’ Xonar HDAV 1.3—a card that knew some serious teething pains, but is now in significantly better shape and backed by a company that hasn’t forgotten about its customer base. Asus is taking strides to get the card working smoothly in Vista before the operating system is even final, it’s going to be upgrading users to ArcSoft’s TMT3, and it remains the only vendor able to bitstream TrueHD/DTS-HD. For that, I’m comfortable giving the HDAV 1.3 a Recommended Buy award.
- What Has Happened Since Then?
- Give Me Discrete Graphics
- What’d You Use For A Remote Control?
- Amp Up: Give The MSI Five Channel Card A Shot
- Amp Up: Using Maui’s Amp, Continued
- Building The Perfect One-Box HTPC?
- Do We Have A PAP? Is 7.1-Channel LPCM The Answer?
- Show Me The Dolby TrueHD And DTS-HD MA
- Asus' Xonar HDAV (And Xonar HDAV Slim)
- Let’s Get Organized