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 Post subject: Hiper Media Center Barebones PC
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 10:03 pm 
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Hiper Media Center Barebones PC - H2

Hiper Media Center Barebones PC - A3

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Last edited by MikeC on Sun Jan 06, 2008 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 10:22 pm 
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Great review. Looks like a great system, if a bit cheap to look at.

Quote:
When a media PC being used, we can expect the sound of the movie or TV program, or music to have a significant masking effect on the PC's noise.

Except for those silent scenes and the sound of the fans and humming of the drive that totally destroys the movie.

There should be no sounds other than the move (and your own bodily sounds :roll:)


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 11:26 pm 
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Third generation model is already available at Newegg. $400! That's too damn much for a barebones. By the time you add CPU, RAM, HD, and OS, you're up to what $700? Even more if you swap crappy PSU for a pico and brick. For that money, why not just buy a Mac Mini?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 12:38 am 
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Matzon wrote:
Great review. Looks like a great system, if a bit cheap to look at.

Quote:
When a media PC being used, we can expect the sound of the movie or TV program, or music to have a significant masking effect on the PC's noise.

Except for those silent scenes and the sound of the fans and humming of the drive that totally destroys the movie.

There should be no sounds other than the move (and your own bodily sounds :roll:)

Having lived with a PVR from a satellite TV supplier for over a year now, I tend not to agree with you. The PVR has a fan that always runs and a hard drive thats hard-mounted to the chassis. It's not quiet, but I have it sitting on foam feet to reduce the vibration transfer into the cabinet that it's in; the overall noise is definitely audible as a low hum when the TV is off.

The TV room is quite small, maybe 10'x9', and the seated position is just 6-7 feet away. It measures somewhere close to 30 dBA/1m, though the overall acoustic signature is smoother than the Hiper. But when we watch the odd TV show (or more often) a movie, the noise of the PVR is never an issue, we never notice it. This is even with artsy films that sometimes have no sound in the track at all.

There are 2 reasons for my apparent noise tolerance (despite my many years of work against PC noise!):

1) The volume level is always much higher than the residual PVR noise. Even when it's turned "low", the peaks are much higher than 30 dBA/1m, and the minimum must be around that level or higher for speech intelligibility.

2) My focus when watching a movie is on the movie, so the PVR noise simply doesn't even enter my consciousness.

jessekopelman --

$400 does seem high especially when the cost of an OS is considered too... but I wonder if a Mac Mini is a good substitute. It also runs $600~800... and can you add a tuner? I guess an external USB tuner. I've heard of overheating and noise issues with the thing, too. Personally, I prefer the form factor of the Hiper. It's an honest effort to really make it fit in with other AV gear. It's not as cheap looking as you think the photos make it look.

FYI, Shuttle's complete Media systems range $1100~1550. w/o monitor.

EndPCNoise's media PCs start at $1300.

No one sells them for cheap, it seems.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 2:09 am 
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Great review, Mike! About the (relatively) high power consumption: I think that's also due to the motherboard, not only the PSU.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 11:51 am 
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Any tests of power consumption in Vista w/Aero OFF? I wonder if that would bring the non-CnQ results more in line with XP.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 12:07 pm 
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Jumper wrote:
Any tests of power consumption in Vista w/Aero OFF? I wonder if that would bring the non-CnQ results more in line with XP.

No tests were done, but it's clear that if you turn enough of the eye candy off in Vista, it becomes very similar to XP. At which point you have to ask why you'd bother with Vista when MCE XP can be had for $120.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 2:55 pm 
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There's a mistake in the label of the photo with 3 cases in the first page. The bottom one is not an antec fusion (which would be much smaller!) but a zalman hd160.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 3:29 pm 
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Telstar wrote:
There's a mistake in the label of the photo with 3 cases in the first page. The bottom one is not an antec fusion (which would be much smaller!) but a zalman hd160.

No mistake. It's a black Fusion. The Zalman is taller by 1-1.5".

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 3:34 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
No mistake. It's a black Fusion. The Zalman is taller by 1-1.5".


Uhh then this is really tiny! :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 4:17 pm 
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I LUV SMALL PROFILE!!! Or rather, I don't understand why "HTPC" cases should be fatter than P180.

Looking at the wattages of stock PSU vs pico, the first thing that came to me is "wow, 21W needs to be removed using a 50mm fan with little area for heat dissipation". When an external PSU was all it took to power the system - and it has been done in other HTPCs. One point down.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:35 pm 
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jessekopelman wrote:
Third generation model is already available at Newegg. $400! That's too damn much for a barebones. By the time you add CPU, RAM, HD, and OS, you're up to what $700? Even more if you swap crappy PSU for a pico and brick. For that money, why not just buy a Mac Mini?
Yeah, that struck me too, expecially since my personal system is a very close parallel of this 3g one -- I also have the K9AGM2-FIH in my HTPC, except in a Fusion Black case. I built it right when Fusion Black cam out a few months ago; I got board + case (w/ PSU) for about $240 total. So looking at it that way, this case is a $160 upgrade from a Fusion Black?

I was not surprised to see the K9AGM2-FIH show up in 3rd gen version. This was the obvious board to put into it, when I started reading the review and saw the system was using the 6150 version, I thought to myself "why the heck did they choose that over the FIH?" It a nice, affordable, reliable HTPC mATX board with just about everything you'd want -- integrated HDMI, firewire, and x1250. Its working great for me running Vista Ultimate OTA HTPC, even with a cheapo AMD 3800+ x2. Yet if you search SPCR forums, you'll find I am apparently the only one who has it! I could never figure out why no one else is paying it any attention here, it is the perfect HTPC board IMO. Reading build threads, I guess everyone likes the Biostar more because it has overclock options or something, but ... why the heck are people overclocking an HTPC board with integrated graphics??? To me it's like turbocharging a Toyota Corrolla, you're kinda missing the purpose the thing was created for.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 4:30 am 
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I agree that the price is on the high side. But I also agree with Mike as to the relative price of the thing. HTPC cases are unnaturally high as a rule. The astonishing low profile of this case will certainly command a premium in today's HTPC market. But at this price, the lack of a packaged riser card is inexcusable.

To me, it's a given that the PSU needs to be ditched in favor of a Pico. In addition to the noise benefits described in the review, removing the stock PSU from the case should lower the system temps somewhat by increasing the volume of air the components are heating. In a case that small, it should make a difference of a degree or 2. But then again, you'd lose some of that with the displacement of an internal optical drive. An external optical drive kind of defeats the sexiness of the low profile case you're paying the premium for in the first place. Also, removing the stock PSU might make room for a more reasonably sized exhaust fan.

I'd have to see more information with the system fully tricked out before I'd lay down this kind of money. As reviewed, it's just a box that lets you surf the web and plug an external drive into.

If the temps remain manageable with an internal optical and tv card installed, this could be an interesting thing, despite the limit of only one tv card. If you have to use an external optical drive and tv tuner (in addition to the external HDD that you will almost certainly need to store recorded programming) I'd rather go for a taller case and avoid the clutter.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 5:04 am 
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Thanks, Mike, for another interesting review.

I was looking at the Hiper case when I set out to build my slim factor HTPC for a 1080p HDTV a few months ago. It was a very nice looking case. The only thing that turned me off was the lack of HDMI output.

Things have changed. Mainboards with the 690G chipset and built-in HDMI started to emerge. And Silverstone came out with a new case, the ML02, that's comparable to the Hiper. I built a nice looking, and more importantly, a really quiet HTPC around the ML02. For those interested, jump over to the Cases forum.

I'm glad to see that box makers are starting to embrace the ATI 690G as the natural successor to the Nvidia 1650 for all-in-one solutions.

I want to point out that the 53mm height dimension on the Hiper is probably understated to not include the feet in order to make it sound slim. Afterall, the case must accommodate a 50mm fan on the PSU, and you need to also figure in the total thickness of the metal of the case. In comparsion, the Silverstone ML02 overstates the height (98mm), which includes the feet/bracket, giving you the false impression that you can use a larger heatsink. Make no mistake about it: both the Hiper and ML02 barely have enough interior space to clear the 50mm fan.

Second point I want to make: The Hiper HSF, HFC-20820-C1, is what makes building AM2 based slim HTPCs possible. Its 80mm fan and low profile design is the only one in the market that I know of that's made for the AM2. In your article, you mentioned it as a 1U HSF. This is not true as 1U HSF (for servers) have different mounting holes (2 vs 4 on the Hiper). That Hiper HSF is unique and is made specifically for the AM2. [BTW, for those in the US who are shopping for this HSF, newegg.com has it back in stock].

Finally, one should consider the slot-load optical drive required by the Hipper case. It's not widely available, especially DVD R/W.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 10:53 am 
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frank2003 --

Using a micrometer, the height of the Hiper is just shy of 61mm, including the feet. You're right that a 50mm fan just fits sideways.

As to the 1U reference, I was alluding to the height and basic design.

I agree the slot-loading optical drives are not that common & run a little more $ than standard ones. Google search suggests ~$80.

BTW, I've asked Hiper for an A3 sample (fully equipped with all the extras like optical drive, and riser cards) for a followup review. Seems a natural.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:08 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
jessekopelman --

$400 does seem high especially when the cost of an OS is considered too... but I wonder if a Mac Mini is a good substitute. It also runs $600~800... and can you add a tuner? I guess an external USB tuner. I've heard of overheating and noise issues with the thing, too. Personally, I prefer the form factor of the Hiper. It's an honest effort to really make it fit in with other AV gear. It's not as cheap looking as you think the photos make it look.

I don't find it cheap looking. I just think it offers no benefit over the Mac Mini for the same price. The Mini is even smaller and, depending on taste, better looking and is already put together for you. The Hiper may blend in with existing AV gear, but the Mini can blend in with locations that don't have much beyond a flat screen. I'm sure some people have overheating issues, but those people are stupid. The Mac Mini is basically a notebook PC in a custom case. If you put it in a location with absolutely no airflow, it will overheat. As for noise -- defective units? The loudest thing is probably the little fan on the bottom, which most report as pretty quiet. I bet if that fan starts to go, the thing gets noisier. As long as that doesn't happen, I'd be surprised if it is any noisier than the Hiper with a PicoPSU -- little bottom Mac fan = Hiper CPU fan?


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 Post subject: I can think of one benefit...
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:13 pm 
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jessekopelman wrote:
MikeC wrote:
jessekopelman --

$400 does seem high especially when the cost of an OS is considered too... but I wonder if a Mac Mini is a good substitute. It also runs $600~800... and can you add a tuner? I guess an external USB tuner. I've heard of overheating and noise issues with the thing, too. Personally, I prefer the form factor of the Hiper. It's an honest effort to really make it fit in with other AV gear. It's not as cheap looking as you think the photos make it look.

I don't find it cheap looking. I just think it offers no benefit over the Mac Mini for the same price. The Mini is even smaller and, depending on taste, better looking and is already put together for you. The Hiper may blend in with existing AV gear, but the Mini can blend in with locations that don't have much beyond a flat screen. I'm sure some people have overheating issues, but those people are stupid. The Mac Mini is basically a notebook PC in a custom case. If you put it in a location with absolutely no airflow, it will overheat. As for noise -- defective units? The loudest thing is probably the little fan on the bottom, which most report as pretty quiet. I bet if that fan starts to go, the thing gets noisier. As long as that doesn't happen, I'd be surprised if it is any noisier than the Hiper with a PicoPSU -- little bottom Mac fan = Hiper CPU fan?


The Hiper Media system has one benefit over the Mac Mini - it has a PCI slot so you can add a tuner card.

Other than that, point taken.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 5:44 pm 
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jessekopelman wrote:
I don't find it cheap looking. I just think it offers no benefit over the Mac Mini for the same price. The Mini is even smaller and, depending on taste, better looking and is already put together for you. The Hiper may blend in with existing AV gear, but the Mini can blend in with locations that don't have much beyond a flat screen. I'm sure some people have overheating issues, but those people are stupid. The Mac Mini is basically a notebook PC in a custom case. If you put it in a location with absolutely no airflow, it will overheat. As for noise -- defective units? The loudest thing is probably the little fan on the bottom, which most report as pretty quiet. I bet if that fan starts to go, the thing gets noisier. As long as that doesn't happen, I'd be surprised if it is any noisier than the Hiper with a PicoPSU -- little bottom Mac fan = Hiper CPU fan?


The mac mini can't be upgraded, biggest HD option is a meager 160GB hard drive (then again it's a laptop hard drive). Upgraded to the max with no extras, it costs $1,024 (2gb ram and bigger hard drive, 2.0 GHz x2).

Oh yeah, mac mini can't take a tuner card, unless you go external via USB.

Mac mini is great for what it is, but an HTPC it is not. And it is proprietary and inflexible, hard to compare that to products that are very customizable.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:28 am 
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djkest wrote:
The mac mini can't be upgraded, biggest HD option is a meager 160GB hard drive (then again it's a laptop hard drive). Upgraded to the max with no extras, it costs $1,024 (2gb ram and bigger hard drive, 2.0 GHz x2).

Oh yeah, mac mini can't take a tuner card, unless you go external via USB.

Mac mini is great for what it is, but an HTPC it is not. And it is proprietary and inflexible, hard to compare that to products that are very customizable.

Not true at all. A quick Google would show you that it is easy enough to open up a Mini and upgrade the RAM (although with OSX, 1 GB is likely plenty for a HTPC). Replacing the hard drive is a little trickier, but not that bad. Anyway, it's got Firewire and USB to easily handle external drives. Anyway, if you need storage measured in terabytes, why would you cram it into the head-unit? Wouldn't you put it in some sort of NAS? Tuner card: pretty much asked and answered, but in many cases hardly necessary. Tuner cards are important outside the US. But for people stuck with the likes of Comcast, a better option is to keep the cable company's DVR and control it with the Mini via Firewire (by law, the cable company must support this and they have to provide you a compatible unit if you ask). Anyway, HTPC is about a lot more than DVR functionality. I pretty much guaranty you that there are more people using the Mac Mini as an HTPC right now then will ever buy the Hiper bare bones. The Mac Mini has a giant advantage over the Hiper. If you are DIYer, you could build comparable systems based on both for the same money, but if you are not the Mini gives you a perfectly functional system right out of the box. For $200 the Hiper would be compelling. For $300 it would be worth considering. For $400, it just seems like a waste. Perhaps the pricing is the fault of the weak dollar more than any marketing decision on Hiper's part?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:17 am 
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I dont' have digital cable, so I don't have a "box", and I don't have a $300 DVR from comcast.

I agree with your statements about pricing. I was hoping to see some retailers with this.

@$400 it's too much, to be sure. You can get shuttle boxes with similar features from $150-500 with motherboards in them. But there are also alternatives out there.

Mac mini is essentialy a small motherboard w/ onboard graphics and sound, sitting on top of a laptop hard drive, using a C2D and laptop memory? Also has lappy optical drive- so it's like a laptop in a box.

It's an interesting and compelling product, but probably not something I would get.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 10:37 am 
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Looks like Newegg might have paid attn to this discussion -- the price has just dropped to $359 & shipping is included.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 1:04 pm 
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anyone using this with Linux as a mythfrontend? thoughts if so?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 2:48 pm 
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As I read the review I noticed that there was no mention of the antenna for the Wi-Fi system. Does anybody know if the antenna is an external plug-in affair or is it somehow integrated internally to the case?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:53 pm 
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ktriebol wrote:
As I read the review I noticed that there was no mention of the antenna for the Wi-Fi system. Does anybody know if the antenna is an external plug-in affair or is it somehow integrated internally to the case?

There was no identifiable antenna; it must be integrated into the case in some way. Worked fine ~40' & a wall or two between it and the wireless router.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:40 am 
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MikeC wrote:
Looks like Newegg might have paid attn to this discussion -- the price has just dropped to $359 & shipping is included.
OK, at this price I would have seriously looked at it if it had been available earlier this year. It looks like from pics that the riser board is included, thank god. As I wrote earlier in thread, I have the same k9AGM2-FIH board but in the fusion Black case. The VFD on that has underwhelmed me, so getting this for $120 more than the combined cost of those, with a MCE remote added, it's a reasonable price to pay for the smaller form factor -- assuming Mike's hoped-for follow up review of this gen3 build doesn't reveal any big flaws.

Although I suppose you'd have to figure the price of the picopsu into it too -- there's no way i think i'd want to leave the stock one in there. It's a shame Hiper doesn't consider selling a model with Pico as stock. Without that economics might still drive me back towards my current Fusion Black choice, which is near inaudible now that I've got the passively cooled Scythe mini ninja & single 120mm sflex temp-controlled case fan in there. I had the space to fit this in, but if I didn't ... I might've been placing an order with newegg today.


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 Post subject: PSU
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:48 am 
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Hi,
i have bought that model (here in Italy) and i really appriciate it, noise apart.

I see you suggest PicoPSU as a smart way of reducing noise and heat; i like this solution but i am wondering about how much power is needed with my configuration:

- AMD Athlon FX 4800+
- NEC DVD slim drive
- Samsung 400 Gb SATA II Hard Disk
- (in the next future) Skystar HD PCI + Smartmouse USB for Sat TV

Will a 120W PicoPSU be suffcient, or i'll need the 200W version (from mini-box too) ?

And then...who the hell produces a 200w fanless external power brick ?

Thanks.

Ale


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 Post subject: Can anyone help me out?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:12 am 
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Hi,
I,m new to this site. I live in Sweden and i,m trying to get one of 2 possible htpc/barebone cases that not yet have reached Sweden. I have a friend thats going on vacation to New York in a week and he's promissed to pick one up for me if he can find one. The problem is that i.ve searched the net and cant find a store that sells them(only newegg but i cant imagine that he can order one to his hotel room) and was wondering if anyone could tell me where in New York(what store) i could purchase the case at. The cases im looking for are either Hiper HMC-2K53A-A3 Living Room PC Barebone or Omaura TF5.
im greatful for all the help


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:41 am 
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at the bottom of page 2, you mentioned that the adapter for the slim optical drive was loose. You do know you can screw it on to the back of the optical drive so that its secure right?


Also i thought it was sort of odd that they would take 1 of 2 memory slots to get power for the IR reciever, when they could have used one of the 2 PCI slots, since the enclosure only allows one of the pci slots to be used anyhow.

Also, is the expansion slot on the case a full size, or half hight? i couldnt really tell from looking, and didnt notice if you specified. Granted i did only skim over most of the review.

Is the included riser cable for a PCI slot or the PCI-E 16x slot?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:17 pm 
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Aris wrote:
at the bottom of page 2, you mentioned that the adapter for the slim optical drive was loose. You do know you can screw it on to the back of the optical drive so that its secure right?


ive found that neither the drives or cases come with these long securing screws so the judicious use of electrical tape was the easiest solution



i apologise for this rant in advance but the comments about the IR receiver and RAM slot seem to show a total lack of basic knowledge of electronics.
if its plugged into a 5v USB header why would it need any other power?! why would you use the 1.8v from a DDR2 slot when it would be hazardous to the motherboard and power can be supplied direct from PSU?
i have seen pictures of both sides of the board and cannot see a single trace running into the ram slot, so where did this conclusion come from?
at a guess the board is located there as they did not want to engineer a mounting point in the case. did you actually try removing it from the ram slot to see if it still worked?

this for me was such a glaringly big mistake in the middle of a decent article. the fact that the board occupies a ram slot does create an issue but not for the reasons of power as outlined in the article.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:06 am 
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I have to question the comments re:resolution. Catalyst Control Centre can force custom resolutions, and will go into any resolution you want. It's used alot by the HTPC crowd to take care of overscan and underscan on their TV's.

The comment "Since it gave us the option of several resolutions outside of our monitor's range, we can assume that these are all the resolutions (1152x648, 1280x720, 1776x1000, and 1920x1080) it supports." is not accurate. The monitor sends it's supported resolutions to the IGP, which is what it will display as options

For example my plasma is 1366x768 but the options available were 1080i and 720p. 1080i filled the screen properly but the icons were so small as to be unusable. 720p left me with underscan (dark edges all around). I had to use something like 1388x775 to get it to fill the screen.

ATI has had this function in CCC for a few years at least. It's very easy to use, all that happens is the screen turns blue and you hit the vertical and horizontal expand/contract on screen buttons until the screen fits. If you can't do it then it is a serious problem but I know for a fact that people have been using this functionality on Vista with the 690g chipset.

If you could please give this a go and if necessary add a postscript to the article that would be nice. As it stands it's most likely inaccurate.


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