Hiper Media Center Barebones PC

Complete|Mobile Systems
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SYSTEM ASSEMBLY

Time now to select and install appropriate components for a Media PC in this Hiper barebones. The following components were already available in the lab:

  • CPU: AMD BE-2350 45W TDP 2.1GHz / 1MB L2 cache - This is AMD's high efficiency desktop dual-core processor.
  • Memory: 2x 1024mb Corsair XMS2 DDR2 (CM2X1024-6400)
  • HDD: Seagate Momentus 7200.1 100GB 2.5" notebook drive and Seagate Momentus 7200.2 160GB 2.5" notebook drive
  • OS: Windows XP Pro and Windows Vista Home Premium
  • No optical drive was installed; an external DVD connected via USB was used.

The assembly also involved the installation of the supplied 1U heatsink/fan.


AMD BE-2350 processor installed in socket.

The hefty all-copper 1U height heatsink with 80x15mm fan is fitted with through-motherboard spring-loaded bolts. It was very easy to install.

The standard heatsink retention bracket was removed before the HSF could be installed.

Notebook drives were chosen for this system because there's no point in loading up the machine with a noisier, higher-vibration 3.5" drive when a little one will do fine. A 100GB capacity 7200RPM Seagate Momentus was used first, simply placed atop the drive cage with a layer of plastic bubble wrap to help insulate its vibration from the case. (The notebook drive pulls about 1W at idle at ~2.5W in seek, compared to the typical 3.5" drive power demand of ~8W idle and 12~14W seek.)


System fully assembled before the cover was put back on.

As barebones systems go, this one is very simple to put together. The wide open layout makes things easy even for the fumble-fingered. Besides, there's so little to be done.

BIOS

Booting up the system initially took quite some time, due to a long pause while the motherboard loads the USB device. Later, once all the drivers were loaded in Windows, this pause shortened to just a second or two.

Let's not bore you with numerous photos of the BIOS setup utility. It's a typical AMI version with a moderate level of control. The most interesting options for SPCR readers are in the Hardware Monitor menu screen.

AMD's processor speed/power management utility Cool 'n' Quiet is enabled here, as is the Smart Fan control utility. (Links: AMD's official CnQ page; SPCR's coverage of CnQ; our review of the user-customizable CnQ utility CrystalCPUID) The "speed up" trigger temperatures for the Smart Fan are at 40, 45, 50, and 55 degrees Celcius; naturally the highest temperature target was chosen for the sake of low noise. The screen shot above was taken with the system close to idle, after a couple hours of loading Windows and driver updates.



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