mini pc's (Mebbe wrong group - sorry)

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Hi, sorry if this is in the wrong ng (feel free to point me in the right

Looking to build from scratch/bearbones or buy complete a microatx/mini pc as
a MM unit to snick into hifi/TV set up.

Can anyone recommend any dealers/companies that specialise with mini/micro
stuff  (not, their attitude sucks major)



Re: mini pc's (Mebbe wrong group - sorry)

vizpa wrote:
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If you are building it using a micro-ATX MB then the only "special"
piece of equipment you need is an appropriately small case and these are
sold widely. I'm planning to build my new micro-ATX into an Apevia
X-Qpack case but that's just me. If you want a case that looks more like
a piece of AV equipment you might just do a google search for "small
form factor cases" and check out some of the hits. A sampling of some of
the styles available is shown at but many
dealers sell the same cases. You might want to make sure that the case
you choose uses a standard ATX power supply just to make things easier
on yourself. Special PS units are a PITA to replace most of the time.
Also, given the application you'll want to find a case that uses a
quieter-than-average cooling setup. I prefer a single 120mm fan but
there are other ways to go. Most PCs in this sort of application don't
need to be very high-powered so the job is a bit easier.

John McGaw
[Knoxville, TN, USA]

Re: mini pc's (Mebbe wrong group - sorry)

vizpa wrote:
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You will probably get better results on comp.arch.embe4dded.

                        cbfalconer at maineline dot net

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Re: mini pc's (Mebbe wrong group - sorry)

vizpa wrote:
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The following are examples of Intel processor and AMD processor motherboards.
They've got a few connectors on the back, which would help with a home theater

ABIT Fatal1ty F-I90HD LGA 775 ATI Radeon Xpress 1250 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

There are a bunch of 690G boards on Newegg as well. This one uses an adapter
that plugs into the PCI Express x16, to offer an HDMI connector and a component
video capability. Not very convenient though, because the adapter is full
height, and not a low profile card.

ASUS M2A-VM HDMI Socket AM2 AMD 690G uATX AMD Motherboard  $79

The Asus board with HDMI adapter, is also available as a barebones product.
The motherboard in this one appears to be the same M2A-VM HDMI AMD board.

ASUS V3-M2A690G $150

The reviews for that barebones are real handy, telling potential customers
how to fix it :-) They mention "no manual", which is a cardinal sin.
To enable HDMI apparently required a "forced flash" of the BIOS. (I.e.
Wrong BIOS, a non-HDMI one, installed at the factory.)

I don't know if any of those have HDCP (support for HD encrypted for DRM).

If you were playing High Definition content, you'd want a decent processor
for that. With the state of hardware support for multimedia content,
acceleration is kinda thin in most products. Nvidia's latest generation
of video cards, has accelerated more of the playback process, meaning
the CPU has to do less work. But to handle any situation, with any kind
of movie, I'd still want a decent processor in there. Not all encodings
are accelerated to the same degree.

If, on the other hand, the box is only doing SD (standard definition),
then you could use a cheaper processor.

There are a few reviews around, that compare the computing requirements.
This one is an example. A bit more than a "3GHz P4 equivalent" might help
with playback of some types of HD content, if the acceleration characteristics
of the GPU solution are unknown.

If you wanted a product that looked like stereo equipment (low profile),
you might have to work a lot harder at this project. Or be prepared to
shell out a lot of money. If you are willing to accept an ugly case
or form factor, you could save a few dollars.

Also note, that one of the liabilities of a bare bones or a small form
factor computer, is getting spare parts later. Say for example, the
custom power supply fails. At that point, you may have to repackage
the hardware, in which case all components inside the computer had
better fit in an ATX case. So a hardware failure in the bare bones
computer, can be a PITA to clean up. And since nobody makes
really reliable gear, expect something to fail. Some barebones
have custom coolers for the CPU, and a fan failure there can be
a problem as well.

Shuttle is popular with some people, but the price of this stuff
can be a lot higher.


To those that replied (was: mini pc's (Mebbe wrong group - sorry)

Hi, just wanted to say a big thanks to all of you who took the time out to
answer. I wanted to say more, but I'm only just out of hospital after some
idiot ran a red light and slammed his suv into me at 60mph. I'm all plastered
up and can hardly type. please accept this as my reply.


Re: To those that replied (was: mini pc's (Mebbe wrong group - sorry)

vizpa wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

The "mini pc" in the "was" sounds vaguely familiar.  Don't worry
about it.  Get better, and sue the bejasus out of the idiot.  Then
come back.

                        cbfalconer at maineline dot net

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