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 Post subject: Abit AN-M2HD Experience
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2006 6:10 am
Posts: 8
I bought the following hardware to use with my Westinghouse LVM-37W3 1080p LCD monitor. This ultra quiet HTPC was designed for OTA HDTV, standard DVD, networked file server access and the internet use.

Antec NSK2400 Case (2x120mm Nexus fans installed)
Abit AN-M2HD Motherboard (Latest BIOS)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000 CPU
Thermalright SI-128 CPU Cooler (Fanless)
Corsair XMS2 2x1gb 6400C4 DDR2 Memory
Seagate Momentus 5400.3 160gb SATA 2.5" Hard Drive (Low noise)
LiteOn LH-20A1L-06 SATA DVD Burner
Logitech EX110 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
Dvico Fusion 5 RT Lite HDTV PCI Card

First Build using Windows Vista Ultimate.

Installed the operating system, latest motherboard drivers, applications, and software updates. Dvico Fusion 5 RT Lite Card had problems. Dvico states that they will not release a Vista driver for this card but the XP driver can be used in Vista 32 bit mode. Media Center and Dvico player software ran but the HDTV video stuttered. Analog sound lagged the video. I tried many settings and switched the PCI card to the second slot. Nothing fixed the problem.

Second Build using Ubuntu with MythTV.

The Ubuntu install went fairly smooth. Updates to the operating system was easy. Updating to the latest nVidia graphics drivers was more difficult but I quickly found help on the Ubuntu forums. MythTV install was easy. Recognizing the Dvico Fusion 5 RT Lite Card took more effort (hours of web searching, posting questions on a forums, and trial/error with terminal command lines). I did get MythTV to work. Image quality was OK. Analog sound output worked. I installed additional MythTV upgrades and got some of them to work. Generally, MythTV is pretty cool but a PITA to add/update software. Also, MythTV user interface seemed to be either Keyboard or IR Remote. Unless I am missing something, it is not a point and click application. Seeing that this will be a family room device, this build is probably too complex for the wife and kids (especially if/when problems pop up).

Third Build using Windows XP SP2

Installed the operating system, latest motherboard drivers, applications, and software updates. I had some initial problems with analog audio noise after installing Realtek drivers. This problem went away when I changed the installation order of the audio drivers. The Dvico Fusion 5 RT Lite Card ran fine. The Dvico application allows you to select decoders and modify their settings. After playing around with settings, I got better HDTV video output compared to the Ubuntu MythTV build. PowerDVD 6 ran fine. No problems web browsing. Easy connection to our networked file servers.

Recent additions

MPC and ffdshow for DVD playback (still evaluating).

PureVideo Decoders for 7050 onboard graphics (still evaluating).


Future additions

HDMI to HDMI cable for digital video/audio and HDCP.

Toslink for digital audio to existing 5.1 DD receiver.

5.1 speakers for surround sound.

HD or BluRay DVD drives (when prices drop below $150) for 1080p.

nVidia 8600GT or better silent video card ($100) for 1080p.

Summary

NSK2400. It is an inexpensive desktop case that works well with mATX motherboards. I do not like the silver front, a black front model was seen at a trade show in Japan. I bought mine from Antec as a B-stock unit for $49+15 shipping.

ABIT AN-M2HD. This motherboard has all the features needed for a HTPC. HDMI, HDCP, Optical SPDIF Out, FireWire, Integrated Video. The only shortcoming might be the nVidia 7050 for HD-DVD at 1080p.

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000. This CPU seemed to be at the best performance for the price point at the time of purchase. I did not want to over clock or step up to the higher wattage processor.

Thermalright SI-128 CPU Cooler. Silent, it works well with Artic Silver 5 thermal compound.

Corsair XMS2 2x1gb 6400C4 DDR2 Memory. Seeing that main and integrated memory is shared, I'm hoping that the faster C4 memory might improve performance.

Seagate Momentus 5400.3 160gb SATA 2.5" Hard Drive. Laptop drive = Low power/noise. Storage is not a problem here because of networked file server access. The only problem of using this credit card sized drive is where/how to mount it. My first thought was to mount it near the 3.5" drive bays. That changed when I saw that the power supply only had two SATA power connectors on one string. For my HTPC that meant that the SATA DVD-RW and SATA 2.5" Hard Drive needed to be near each other. Without any clips or brackets to mount the drive, I figured that I might as well suspend the unit in the bottom drive bay. The NSK2400 has a 5.25â€


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 1:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 2:10 pm
Posts: 1803
Location: Northern New Jersey
i have the same KB/M as you...on a general basis would you say the battery life of the mouse could be better? mine kills the batteries quickly while i don't have to replace the keyboard batteries nearly as much.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 6:33 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2006 6:10 am
Posts: 8
I have only had the mouse and keyboard in use for about a week. I'll post if there is a battery life issue.

I've seen online posts of battery life issues with the mouse. I'll probably buy some NiMh rechargeables for the mouse and keyboard.

The LED for the optical tracking and the RF transmitter puts a huge current drain on the batteries. Also, whenever the mouse moves, it's sending a lot more data than a keyboard (needs to send every dpi x/y movement and mouse clicks). The keyboard only sends data on key down and key up.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 2:50 pm
Posts: 675
Location: Milwaukee, WI
I also have the NSK2400, and am using a very old i865 Intel motherboard and northwood P4 processor that I got for free.

I am exclusively using this computer to play ripped DVDs upscaled with ffdshow and output at 48Hz (via powerstrip) to my projector. The problem is that ffdshow's LimitedSharpenFaster is so demanding that I can't use it without stutter.

Have you experimented with ffdshow, LimitedSharpenFaster, or Avisynth on the AN-M2HD?

If you're unfamiliar with this, see the massive thread at avsforum here: FFDShow Walkthrough. Basically, you can run Avisynth scripts inside ffdshow. LimitedSharpenFaster is one such scrip, that employs very decent sharpening algorithms. But using this scrip after resizing is just too much for my P4.

I'm curious to know if your X2 5000+ and the AN-M2HD can handle lancos resize to 1280x720 (or higher) with LimitedSharpenFaster (the "Intermediate" config in the link above).

Thanks
Jay

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