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Old March 21, 2010, 05:58 PM
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Synth Synth is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Ottawa-Hull
Posts: 688

Originally Posted by biff View Post
Interesting. I've heard nothing but glowing reports about the zotac ion 330 and their BD prowess. The wife wants a tiny computer for the bedroom for web and looking at pictures and I figured we'd also use it for music/movie playback as well and I was going to go this route since they're small and a build like that sounds like fun. Undecided if I'd use MCE or XBMC there but it sounds like I should rethink this. What specifically were the issues?
I was actually one of the guys giving glowing reviews on the Ion ITX platforms some time back... but I guess the magic wore off.

To put everything in context, let's start with the setup I was using as HTPC:

- Zotac Ion ITX-G-E
- 4gb Mushkin PC2-8500 (running underclocked at 800mhz)
- Kingston SSDNow! 64gb SSD as the OS drive, Caviar green for media
- Apex MI-008 itx case
- Windows 7 HP 64bit

The footprint was tiny and the machine inaudible. Navigating through Windows 7 was speedy enough, but not without some hiccups from time to time (lagginess).

Media playback: performance was great accross the board, until you started using flash (ie. Youtube). The Ion machines perform very poorly with Flash. Even a 25$ discrete video card (ie. HD3xxx, HD4xxx) is an improvement over the nVidia gpu on Ion boards.

Also, even if the Atom 330 technically has 4 cores (dual core + ht), it performed poorly at authoring DVDs with software such as convertxtodvd.

All in all, if you can stand some chopiness and don't care about Flash performance, the Ion platform makes for a great discreet HTPC (although limited).

If you want to keep your options open, you could go with an AMD system (dual or quad) that supports Cool n' quiet, or better yet EPU4-6 and have a machine that chugs a little more power, but can deliver horsepower when required. AMD have 45watt quad cores that are pretty sweet!

I personaly am very happy now that I have gone back to my AMD 5050e 45watt dual core with EPU-4...

And my Ion board makes for a killer Ubuntu server (running: web, php, mysql, ftp server and ssh server) without breaking a sweat.

My .02

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