Archive | Small Form Factor PCs

PCAlchemy Pre-Configured M1B Mini Media Center PC Reviewed

Posted on 22 September 2006 by

PCAlchemy had their Mini M1B HTPC reviewed by Mobility Guru (one of the Tom’s Harware sub-sites)… Just to be clear, it’s the PC’s that are mini, not the review 😉

I’m going to share the conclusion of the review here as I’m kinda proud of the crew over at PCAlchemy for scoring such high marks…

“The winning unit in this field of candidates is the PC Alchemy M1B Mini Media Center PC. With an absolutely tiny footprint, and a great combination of built-in and bundled components and capabilities, this unit looks ready to slide into entertainment centers all over the place. With at least decent performance characteristics (if not typically better than that, as our scoring shows) and lacking only wireless networking, Bluetooth capabilities, and an HDTV tuner out of the box to be as fully equipped as one might wish, this unit offers a great combination of small size and capable power. In fact, when combined with an external USB hard drive of 300 GB or larger, it occupies only slightly more volume than does the WinBook Jiv or M2B (when combined with our Acomdata 300GB USB drive, the total volume for both units is only 139 in3, or just 17 in3 more than the Jiv or M2B case). The tiny powered, four-port USB hub and the equally small IR transceiver make it easy to use and expand on, and offer a great value for the $1,200 discounted price currently available from PC Alchemy.

PCAlchelmy had another unit in the review that hadd a slightly larger footprint which you can also scope out on the mini preconfigured MCE systems page.

thanks to Miller for pointing this out… discuss this article in the byopvr forum

SnapStream Builds Mac Mini “SnApple” PVR

Posted on 03 May 2006 by

SnapStream has posted another cool DIY PVR project to their SnapStream Community Articles section… SnApple PVR: Apple’s Mac mini and SnapStream’s Firefly Mini together at last

g808 started a discussion about the intel Mac Mini BeyondTV project over in the forum

While we are on topic, don’t forget to enter the SnapStream/BYOPVR giveaway,

Also of similiar interest is byopvr forum member SuperG’s Mac Mini PVR project

VIA EPIA EN15000 Mini-ITX Review

Posted on 24 April 2006 by

Our buddies over at EPIACenter have gotten their mitts on a VIA EPIA C7 powered EN-15000 mini-itx mobo for review

“Well, compared to the C3 the C7 is a big step forward for VIA. You can immediatly feel the performance increase on your desktop and of course you can easily check it with some benchmarks.”

Also of interest a story from a few weeks ago, for those who like their mobo’s *really* small Epia-N8000E Nano-ITX review

Mini-ITX Linux PVR

Posted on 24 March 2006 by

Home theater PCs have taken many shapes and forms, perhaps none more interesting than this Mini-ITX PVR. In part three of its Mini-ITX project, XYZ Computing has turned its Mini-ITX box into a Linux PVR, using Ubuntu and MythTV. This is a lot of computer in a very small package and designing it, putting it together, and then getting it to work was an interesting process. The article is a great guide for people who are interested in their own Mini-ITX Linux PVR, but also goes over the problems and pitfalls with a built like this

Super Small, Super Sexy Next-Gen Shuttle SFF Media PC

Posted on 22 February 2006 by

*whistles* The Register has the scoop on a new Shuttle XPC X100 uber sleek Media Center

“Shuttle has taken the wraps off its upcoming next-generation small form-factor PC which crams an Intel 65nm dual-core processor, memory, hard drive, optical storage and other goodies into a case that’s just 5.4cm high and has a footprint the size of an A4 page.”

Shuttle XPC M 1000 Super Slim XP Media Center 2005 Platform

Shuttle XPC M 1000 Super Slim XP Media Center 2005 Platform

Posted on 18 October 2005 by

Shuttle XPC M 1000 XP Media Center 2005 PC

From the site:
“The Shuttle XPC Media Center brings you to the forefront of home multimedia convergence. Say goodbye to your VCR, CD, DVD, and receiver appliances.

The Shuttle XPC Media Center’s built-in analog TV tuners, FM radio tuner, dual format DVD writer, and 8-in-1 card reader, make it easy to enjoy TV, video, music and photographs with your friends and family.

Based on Shuttle’s all new ‘M’ chassis, the Shuttle XPC Media Center sits stylishly within any home audio/visual entertainment center. But don’t be fooled by its simple exterior. Inside the attractive case you will find; analog TV tuners* supporting HDTV, time shifting, and real time or scheduled recording, high definition 7.1 channel audio, FM radio with pause and replay capabilities, and 3D graphics processing power from NVIDIA®.”

I’d be interested in knowing more about the included analog tuners, which I presume are hardware encoding in order to be supported/certified by MCE 2005, and the HDTV card as well. Check out the Shuttle XPC M1000 tech specs (pdf), XPC M1000 product page and XPC M1000 Europe page

hat tip HTPCnews
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Mad Mac mini multimedia machine, Part 1:

Posted on 11 May 2005 by

Lewin A.R.W. Edwards posted a neat howto on the IBM developerworks blog Mad Mac mini multimedia machine, Part 1: Load Yellow Dog Linux on the Mac mini.

I’m dying to see part 2 and get more information as to what type of additional hardware he’ll use i.e. plextor convertX PVR or will he stream content / programming from across his network? Stay tuned I guess…

VIA Releases Source to CN400 & CLE266 Unichrome Drivers

Posted on 10 April 2005 by

I was visiting EPIAcenter to see how they were doing post slashdotting and noticed a post about VIA releasing source code of some of their video chipsets including CN400 & CLE266 unichrome integrated video chipsets. (The CLE266 and CN400 have MPEG accelerated decoding and are commonly used in the )

The “official” announcement is over at VIA Director of Marketing Richard Brown’s Blog which ironically uses the open source CMS Mambo.

I couldn’t find any information as to what license the source is being release under on the download site or within the source packages themselves.

VIA Epia SP 13000 Review

Posted on 05 April 2005 by

Our good friends over at EPIACenter posted the first review VIA Epia SP 13000 mini-itx mainboard It’s the first VIA Epia board with the CN400 chipset and, together with the new epiOS Linux distribution that is announced in the review, it seems to have a very good performance during MPEG2/MPEG4 playback.

Their review even made the front page of slashdot! Congrats (and condolences to your webserver)!

They are also reporting some interesting info on the new dual processor EPIA DP fanless dual 800mhz chips with a CN400, where do I sign up? earlier EPIA DP story

I’m anxious to get my hands on one of these to see if the CN400 gives better tv out and playback performance than the CL266 on my VIA EPIA M10000 motherboard.

Mac Mini vs Mini-ITX

Posted on 12 March 2005 by

ExtremeTech article: Mac Mini vs Mini-ITX

We at ExtremeTech decided to look at how much tiny PC can you build for about $800, and pit it against the cute new Mac. We had some choices of similar-size machines, though more will be forthcoming when Pico-BTX motherboards arrive in earnest later this year. Does a Mac mini make sense on your home network or for a less technical friend? Or would a similarly priced and sized Windows machine be a better bet? Let’s find out.

Also of interest in the mac mini vein intel flaunts mac mini knock off zdnet article on intel’s mac mini clone and inquirer: Intel demonstrates would be Mini Mac killer

(and why yes I do feel a little dirty for linking to one of those free gratis sites, but a mac mini would compliment the free ipod nicely)