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 Post subject: Asus EeeBox EB1501 ION Mini-PC
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:46 am 
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Asus EeeBox EB1501 ION Mini-PC

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:52 am 
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Typical awesome SPCR writeup, thank you!

Any chance of taking the case apart and showing what it looks like "under the hood"?

In particular, I'm curious about the fan. Is it a "system" fan, attached to the case, or a cpu/chipset fan?

Most of the Ion + Atom 330 standalone motherboards I've seen have one of those little fans attached to the chipset heatsink (maybe Zotac is the only fanless one?).


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:43 pm 
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I am also curious on the innards. I'd love to get one of these with a SSD drive, as it would be perfect speed and silence.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:52 pm 
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are they as tippy as the look like they would be on that stand, once all the cables are hooked up?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:08 pm 
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Really nice looking system. I'm just amazed that they managed to fit an optical drive, 2.5" HDD, and full-featured chipset into such a small package. I'd also be interesting in seeing the innards if you have any inclination to take it apart.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:31 pm 
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xan_user wrote:
are they as tippy as the look like they would be on that stand, once all the cables are hooked up?

Not really, and if you have stiff cables that make it less stable, you can always just mount it on the back of a monitor.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:54 pm 
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i like the keyboard that it comes with, does anyone know where i can buy one or a similar keyboard?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:54 pm 
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Seems pretty expensive compared to the Acer Aspire Revo. That system comes with a GeForce 9300 which can decode full 1080p video and costs $199*

For that you get a 160GB HDD, 1Gb RAM and Windows XP license. It's an ideal system for a media centre. It's well supported by XBMC, for example.

* Newegg. Should cost about £150-160 in the UK but as usual we get ripped of to the tune of about £100.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:56 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
xan_user wrote:
are they as tippy as the look like they would be on that stand, once all the cables are hooked up?

Not really, and if you have stiff cables that make it less stable, you can always just mount it on the back of a monitor.


Having to reach behind wall mounted 50" kinda kills the accesses to the opti drive doesn't it?

Besides for me there's no room, TV wall mount goes where eeepc would bolt on.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:15 pm 
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Meh, we wouldn't all be here if we'd let something minor like a having to making your own mounting bracket stop us. ;-)

Given right tv wall bracket, it shouldn't be that hard to make a mount that can position the Eee behind the tv but at the left, right or top edges so you could reach the optical drive.


xan_user wrote:
Having to reach behind wall mounted 50" kinda kills the accesses to the opti drive doesn't it?

Besides for me there's no room, TV wall mount goes where eeepc would bolt on.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:26 pm 
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Great review as always. It's great to see you guys reviewing these little machines now. I was wanting to get one of these, but lost patience waiting for it to be released in the US. I ordered a Dell Zino HD instead.

How well does it do with Windows Media Center 7? Any slow down or stutters when browsing through menus or when the album art wall starts when listing to music? Do you have a USB HDTV tuner you can try it with?

Also, did you try Hulu Desktop? If not, please do. Most people buying these small PC's are using them as Hulu boxes. It would be nice to know how well it handled the Hulu Desktop and movies at the High stream setting.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Dell Zino HD ?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:15 pm 
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How do those Atom+ION mini PCs compare to the Dell Zino HD ?

At first glance, the Dell seems much more powerful and versatile, I'm just doubtful about acoustics (noise) and... acoustics (sound out: 2.1 officially, but doesn't the 780g do 5.1 over HDMI, and the 4330, 7.1 ?)

The Zino HD starts at $229 (single-core 1.6Ghz, 2Megs, 250 Gigs, no wifi) but the $399 one seems worth the extra (dual core 1.8GHz, 3Megs, 320Gigs, Wifi).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:48 pm 
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AlexNC wrote:
Great review as always. It's great to see you guys reviewing these little machines now. I was wanting to get one of these, but lost patience waiting for it to be released in the US. I ordered a Dell Zino HD instead.

How well does it do with Windows Media Center 7? Any slow down or stutters when browsing through menus or when the album art wall starts when listing to music? Do you have a USB HDTV tuner you can try it with?

Also, did you try Hulu Desktop? If not, please do. Most people buying these small PC's are using them as Hulu boxes. It would be nice to know how well it handled the Hulu Desktop and movies at the High stream setting.

Good luck with the Zino. Sounds like a lot of people's orders are getting delayed on that, too. As for Hulu, when Flash 10.1 gets released, yeah sure. As for now, the beta's awesome when it works but I keep getting some crashes here and there.

obarthelemy wrote:
How do those Atom+ION mini PCs compare to the Dell Zino HD ?

At first glance, the Dell seems much more powerful and versatile, I'm just doubtful about acoustics (noise) and... acoustics (sound out: 2.1 officially, but doesn't the 780g do 5.1 over HDMI, and the 4330, 7.1 ?)

The Zino HD starts at $229 (single-core 1.6Ghz, 2Megs, 250 Gigs, no wifi) but the $399 one seems worth the extra (dual core 1.8GHz, 3Megs, 320Gigs, Wifi).

The 780G chipset in the Zino will do 2.1 LPCM and 5.1 AC3/DTS via HDMI. The Zino beats the ION/Atom 330 when it comes to processing power, but I think the integrated graphics on the ION is better (at least for HTPC stuff). For $500, though? I don't think so...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:32 am 
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Here's another related product: Zotac MAG HD-ND01. My guess is that's it just one of their IONITX boards in a cutom-fit case.

I wonder if these types of devices will follow a path similar to the netbook: explosive popularity, and a million suppliers offering slightly different versions?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:53 am 
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matt_garman wrote:
I wonder if these types of devices will follow a path similar to the netbook: explosive popularity, and a million suppliers offering slightly different versions?

There's one thing preventing that - price. These ION machines are more expensive compared to better performing computers utilizing normal desktop parts. It seems the primary target market for these is the HTPC crowd and that's not a very big one compared to the computer market in general.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:33 am 
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Ginta wrote:
Meh, we wouldn't all be here if we'd let something minor like a having to making your own mounting bracket stop us. ;-)

Given right tv wall bracket, it shouldn't be that hard to make a mount that can position the Eee behind the tv but at the left, right or top edges so you could reach the optical drive.
the tv is in a recess. there is no easy way to access the back of my TV, and youd also have to lean way over the turntables and stereo equipment. hence my question.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:54 am 
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xan_user wrote:
the tv is in a recess. there is no easy way to access the back of my TV, and youd also have to lean way over the turntables and stereo equipment. hence my question.

As I said, it's not unstable. But it's also easy enough to set it flat on its side if you want. It'd be perfectly stable then.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:12 am 
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True, I just figured having it on edge would help with convection slightly, especially around the hot EQ of a HT. Placing it on edge without the silly stand that angles it up, would probably be a good solution for me.
Now my HTPC just has to die first. :lol:

Its too bad the eeeboxes are 19v not 12v, if it was 12v it be perfect for my solar camping trailer!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:22 am 
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ilovejedd wrote:
matt_garman wrote:
I wonder if these types of devices will follow a path similar to the netbook: explosive popularity, and a million suppliers offering slightly different versions?

There's one thing preventing that - price. These ION machines are more expensive compared to better performing computers utilizing normal desktop parts. It seems the primary target market for these is the HTPC crowd and that's not a very big one compared to the computer market in general.


Even netbooks are starting to get chipsets capable of full 1080p now though. It's simply a matter of time until the tech filters down. Well, saying that, the Aspire Revo is pretty much there already.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:53 am 
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MoJo wrote:
Even netbooks are starting to get chipsets capable of full 1080p now though. It's simply a matter of time until the tech filters down. Well, saying that, the Aspire Revo is pretty much there already.

Yeah, the Revo is the most attractive of the bunch given it's $329 price point. However, it seems like Acer usually has the lowest prices and the other manufacturers have higher MSRP's. I remember I got an Acer Aspire One because it was the cheapest at the time. Looking at the current wave of CULV laptops, the AS1410-2285 ($399) is also unmatched in price. I was in two minds between the ION EEE Box and the Revo, but now that I've seen the EB1501's MSRP, I think I'll go with the AR3610 when it comes back in stock.

Another thing to consider, back when netbooks were first released, the minimum price laptops were going for was $450~500. Thin and lights were at the $800 mark and ultra-portables were well above $1000. The netbook gave a number of benefits of ultra-portables while being cheaper than mainstream laptops. I reckon that's partially why they became so popular.

However, I've seen SFF quad-core PC's for around the same price as the EB1501. You can get SFF dual-cores (Athlon X2, Celeron E3000, Pentium E5000) for less than the EB1501. For people who don't require the absolutely smallest PC they can find, these would certainly look like better options. Unless prices go more in-line with Acer's pricing, ION machines will have limited appeal outside the HTPC crowd.

If the EB1501 cost around $400, sure I'd go that route, no question. For almost a $200 difference compared to the Revo, though? No thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:00 pm 
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ilovejedd wrote:
If the EB1501 cost around $400, sure I'd go that route, no question. For almost a $200 difference compared to the Revo, though? No thanks.


And even more difference if the single-core Revo is suitable for your intended usage. Once again, I'm hoping for a review of either/both of the Revos here.

The inclusion of an optical drive, for my particular use case, is an unnecessary expense as I would be using it as an extender to a media server (specifically as a Mythtv frontend). Even then, an optical drive wouldn't be *bad* - handy for quick impulse viewing, rental discs, etc., as opposed to having to tote the disc down to the backend machine.

The inclusion of a wireless keyboard and remote is nice, though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:13 pm 
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The single core Revo, and indeed any single core Atom, will be adequate to play back 1080p video as long as the GPU supports hardware acceleration (the Rivo one does).

For comparison I have an Athlon x2 4200 with 780G chipset and CPU usage never gets above 15% when watching a 1080p movie with 5.1 sound downmixed to stereo, all on HDMI. On it's own the CPU drops frames on 720p/24fps video - all the work is done by the GPU.

At $200 the Revo is pretty much unbeatable I think. Only thing I'm not sure about is if it supports HD audio over HDMI because the Bluray spec doesn't allow it over an unencrypted link. I only use my TV's built in stereo speakers anyway.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:24 am 
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As I said with the previous eeeBox, I would rather have seen thiswithout a fan, they are able to make even more cramped Atom-notebooks fanless, it shouldn't be impossible to make this one fanless either.

AtW


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:50 am 
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ATWindsor wrote:
As I said with the previous eeeBox, I would rather have seen thiswithout a fan, they are able to make even more cramped Atom-notebooks fanless, it shouldn't be impossible to make this one fanless either.

AtW


That's not easily possible. The Ion + desktop Atom dual-core use more power than your average netbook. The netbook Atom N270 processor TDP is 2.5w, while the dual-core Atom 330 (really just 2 4w Atom 230 processors o a single die) is 8w. They bin the lower-TDP parts for the mobile processor.

Just check these comparisons:

Atom 330 with Ion

20w idle, 39w load (note that mobile DVD drive adds ~1w and 802.11n adds ~1w at idle, and they remain that low since load does not stress them).


Atom N270 with Mobile 945G

11w idle, 18w load

Even when you remove the effects of the DVD drive and the wireless, the mobile platform has much lower idle and load power. Much easier to cool the mobile platform without a fan.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:58 am 
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Asus knows a ton of folks will lock these up in a steamy home theater cabinet or on the back of a hot monitor, and probably doesn't want to deal with replacing a ton of failed drives.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:33 am 
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Mike,

Any idea if the internal hard drive can be replaced with the newer 750Gb and 1TB WD 2.5 drives? From what I understand, those are slightly larger than the normal notebook hard drives. I was wandering if there is enough wiggle room to allow this slightly larger footprints of the WD large capacity notebook drives.

Also, where can I buy one of these? I live in the US, and see not retailers selling them yet =(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:01 pm 
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AlexNC wrote:
Mike,

Any idea if the internal hard drive can be replaced with the newer 750Gb and 1TB WD 2.5 drives? From what I understand, those are slightly larger than the normal notebook hard drives. I was wandering if there is enough wiggle room to allow this slightly larger footprints of the WD large capacity notebook drives.

Also, where can I buy one of these? I live in the US, and see not retailers selling them yet =(

Nope, I don't think so. Sure to increase but 640GB is the biggest standard thickness notebook drive right now.

afaik, Asus is just getting to market now. We might have got an early sample.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:05 pm 
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Thanks buddy.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 10:39 am 
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So does this make the Intel Atom 330 (dual core 1.6Ghz) the lowest power consumption x86 processor that could play 1080p H264 movies in software (without GPU acceleration)?

Someone mentioned that the single core 1.6Ghz atoms stutter while playing even 720p videos.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:54 am 
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Edirol wrote:
So does this make the Intel Atom 330 (dual core 1.6Ghz) the lowest power consumption x86 processor that could play 1080p H264 movies in software (without GPU acceleration)?

Someone mentioned that the single core 1.6Ghz atoms stutter while playing even 720p videos.

Uhh... The Atom 330 is incapable of playing 1080p H264 movies (at least the Blu-ray rips I've tried) without hardware acceleration. renethx from AVS Forums did a test and with the videos he tried, the minimum processor for smooth 1080p with CoreAVC was a 2.4GHz Core 2-based CPU (Pentium E2220?).


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