Silent out-of-the-box systems in Europe?

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Dirk
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Silent out-of-the-box systems in Europe?

Post by Dirk » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:57 am

Hey there,

I am looking for a preferably completely silent system (alternatively very quiet system) in Europe. I will be using it for office work, web surfing, listening to music and watching the occasional movie. In other words, no heavy computing.

The system should:

(1) be physically as small as possible,
(2) be hackintosh compatible (so Intel chipsets preferred)
(3) have digital external monitor connection
(4) and also have firewire, as my soundcard needs to be connected through FW.

Can you recommend any out-of-the-box solutions or alternatively provide info on an easy-to-assemble rig requiring no advanced modding?

Thank you!

Dirk

MikeC
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Post by MikeC » Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:13 am

mCubed hfx fanless systems are obvious choices, if pricey.
http://www.hfx.at/

Ditto similar systems from Hush Computers and Tranquil PC http://www.tranquilpc.co.uk/
http://www.hushcomputers.co.uk/index.html
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Dirk
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Post by Dirk » Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:39 am

Thanks Mike,

They look like pretty gorgeous systems!

However, I don't see any FW and Digital video out on them. Lots of USB and VGA, but unfortunately I need FW + HDMI/DVI.

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Post by MikeC » Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:20 pm

Dirk wrote:Thanks Mike,

They look like pretty gorgeous systems!

However, I don't see any FW and Digital video out on them. Lots of USB and VGA, but unfortunately I need FW + HDMI/DVI.
That's just a function of what motherboard is being used. Most of the vendors can customize to some degree, I'm sure. DVI & HDMI is no problem these days, I'm surprised you say they don't have em....

here, this one has it for sure:
http://www.hfx.at/index.php?option=com_ ... Itemid=120
"Gigabyte GA-EG45-DS2H with VGA, DVI and HDMI onboard" -- this board also has firewire onboard.
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Dirk
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Post by Dirk » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:34 pm

MikeC wrote:
Dirk wrote:Thanks Mike,

They look like pretty gorgeous systems!

However, I don't see any FW and Digital video out on them. Lots of USB and VGA, but unfortunately I need FW + HDMI/DVI.
That's just a function of what motherboard is being used. Most of the vendors can customize to some degree, I'm sure. DVI & HDMI is no problem these days, I'm surprised you say they don't have em....

here, this one has it for sure:
link removed
"Gigabyte GA-EG45-DS2H with VGA, DVI and HDMI onboard" -- this board also has firewire onboard.
You're absolutely right, that one does have the required specs. Next problem (as always) is the price tag. That particular system costs roughly $2.800, and I'm looking for something more along the lines of $800. Bear with me here, 'cos I'm out of touch with the market, but is $800 completely unrealistic if I am willing to sacrifice bleeding edge processor speed, RAM and graphics card?

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Post by MikeC » Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:37 pm

Dirk wrote:You're absolutely right, that one does have the required specs. Next problem (as always) is the price tag. That particular system costs roughly $2.800, and I'm looking for something more along the lines of $800. Bear with me here, 'cos I'm out of touch with the market, but is $800 completely unrealistic if I am willing to sacrifice bleeding edge processor speed, RAM and graphics card?
Wow, $2800??? That's rich, all right.

You're seeking small, silent (or nearly so), with modern video play capability. That puts you into systems with mATX or mini-ITX boards, probaly with good integrated graphics (like nVidia for Intel CPUs or AMD 780G/790G). There are mini-ITX boards which meet your requirements and don't sell for more than ~$150. Add RAM, an SSD (like a 128gb Corsair, which is samsung-based and very good performance) and a 45W or lower TDP processor and you're probably at $600. Can you add a fanless case + PSU for an additional $200? Probably.

Coolermaster has a fanless mITX case which is unfortunately not well distributed and may not have heatpipe fittings for a wide range of boards, but it should sell for not much more than $200 w/a PSU.
http://www.coolermaster.com/products/pr ... il&id=5795

But this means building your own.

Tranquil has much lower prices, and they seem to suggest they will put in whatever mini-ITX board you want -- probably for a price. But their base Intel Atom 330 dual-core system -- http://www.tranquilpc-shop.co.uk/acatal ... om_cd.html -- starts at £350.75 so this looks promising.

You could do worse than one of the Zotac GeForce 8200-ITX for AMD processor we recently reviewed ($130). No firewire, but if you really needed it, you could add an adapter. There is also the Intel DG45FC board. mITX boards are offered by almost all the major board makers these days. Just do your research.
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Dirk
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Post by Dirk » Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:27 am

MikeC wrote:
Dirk wrote:You're absolutely right, that one does have the required specs. Next problem (as always) is the price tag. That particular system costs roughly $2.800, and I'm looking for something more along the lines of $800. Bear with me here, 'cos I'm out of touch with the market, but is $800 completely unrealistic if I am willing to sacrifice bleeding edge processor speed, RAM and graphics card?
Wow, $2800??? That's rich, all right.

You're seeking small, silent (or nearly so), with modern video play capability. That puts you into systems with mATX or mini-ITX boards, probaly with good integrated graphics (like nVidia for Intel CPUs or AMD 780G/790G). There are mini-ITX boards which meet your requirements and don't sell for more than ~$150. Add RAM, an SSD (like a 128gb Corsair, which is samsung-based and very good performance) and a 45W or lower TDP processor and you're probably at $600. Can you add a fanless case + PSU for an additional $200? Probably.

Coolermaster has a fanless mITX case which is unfortunately not well distributed and may not have heatpipe fittings for a wide range of boards, but it should sell for not much more than $200 w/a PSU.
http://www.coolermaster.com/products/pr ... il&id=5795

But this means building your own.

Tranquil has much lower prices, and they seem to suggest they will put in whatever mini-ITX board you want -- probably for a price. But their base Intel Atom 330 dual-core system -- http://www.tranquilpc-shop.co.uk/acatal ... om_cd.html -- starts at £350.75 so this looks promising.

You could do worse than one of the Zotac GeForce 8200-ITX for AMD processor we recently reviewed ($130). No firewire, but if you really needed it, you could add an adapter. There is also the Intel DG45FC board. mITX boards are offered by almost all the major board makers these days. Just do your research.
Thanks again, Mike. I'll do some more research and return with some suggestions. Hopefully, you or someone else will then be kind enough to let me know if I am on the right track.

jaganath
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Post by jaganath » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:04 am

what about the new Mac Mini? slightly out of your budget, but ticks all the boxes.
[size=75]JFK:
What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean...someone who looks ahead, who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions,who cares about the welfare of the people, who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad...then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."[/size]

Dirk
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Post by Dirk » Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:32 pm

jaganath wrote:what about the new Mac Mini? slightly out of your budget, but ticks all the boxes.
I know! It looks very much like the computer I have been waiting for. I will have a second look at my options, and if nothing more hand-in-glove comes along I will probably opt for the Mini. With a student discount it's around €565, which is something along the lines of $710 (I know, you get it with no discount for $599 ex. vat. in the States - don't get me started).

Anyways, when and if I make a choice, I'll be back to report on it. Decide for yourself whether you are interested in reading my thoughts on the matter :roll:

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Post by MikeC » Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:34 pm

jaganath wrote:what about the new Mac Mini? slightly out of your budget, but ticks all the boxes.
Not sure they're quiet -- they never were very quiet from the start. A better bet might be the new Asus Eee Box 206. Asus has bundled an ATI Radeon HD3450 graphics card with 256MB of DDR2 memory; it runs on an Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz processor, 1GB of DD2 RAM and a 160GB Sata hard drive. The video card is supposed to give it HD capability, and we found the original 202 to be pretty quiet, so if the vidcard doesn't change the acoustics, it could be a good choice for the OP. Supposed to be available in the EU right now for €347, which is US$438.
http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/03/02 ... e_box_206/
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anotheradrian
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Post by anotheradrian » Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:59 pm

Hi All,

I'm looking for something nearly identical to Dirk. I'm based in the UK, so something available to buy here would be great. I'll be hooking it up to my HDTV, so being able to handle 1080p is very desirable. I believe this would put the Asus Eee range, or any Atom based solution, out of the running. Am I right? An optical drive of some sort would also be a nice feature that the Eees don't have. I'd consider small size to be more important than complete silence (I've been putting up with my far too loud desktop for a while now, so anything will sound silent in comparison.)

I'm on a similar budget to Dirk and have also been looking at the mac mini for a while, but with the upgrade came a £100 price increase so I was wondering if you good people had any alternative solutions?

Dirk, I'd be really interested in hearing what decision you made in the end.

Thanks a lot everyone,

Adrian.

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Post by MikeC » Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:51 pm

anotheradrian wrote:I'll be hooking it up to my HDTV, so being able to handle 1080p is very desirable. I believe this would put the Asus Eee range, or any Atom based solution, out of the running. Am I right?
I don't think you should write them off so fast. The whole point of the Radeon HD3450 chip in the new Eee PC is to offload the video decoding from the CPU tp the GPU, and Asus reps have said it does 1080p.

I have to back off on my comment about the noise of the mac mini -- a quick search for web forum posts about its noise suggests the new one is pretty quiet, tho there are exceptions (bad fan, bad controller, whatever).

And if you're considering the mac mini, you might as well also consider the AOpen -- http://www.scan.co.uk/Product.aspx?WebP ... ce=froogle
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anotheradrian
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Post by anotheradrian » Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:04 am

Thanks for the info Mike. I like the look of the aopen, but when you add RAM, a HDD and a CPU it looks like it'd probably jump above the mac mini in price.

I had another look at the Eee Box 206 and if it can do 1080p, which everywhere is claiming that it can, it might well be ideal for me. The only downside is the lack of optical drive, but there's always the option of an external one. Are you likely to be getting your hands on one for testing purposes any time soon? :)

Thanks once again,

Adrian.

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Post by MikeC » Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:29 am

Here in North Am, I'm told Asus eee 206 samples won't be available till April.
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