Sapphire's snappy ION 2 powered Edge HD

Subject: Processors, Chipsets, Systems | May 19, 2011 - 06:10 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, ion 2, htpc

At an estimated $450, the Sapphire Edge HD mini PC, powered by a dual core Atom D510 1.66 GHz with ION 2 graphics is a pretty good deal for those looking for a nettop.  With only 250GB of storage you will probably want this connected to a large storage device either over ethernet or USB, though with services like Google Music Beta, Wolfgang's Vault and YouTube that might not be a problem.  From InsideHW's testing you certainly won't have to worry about videos skipping just because your email is open.

IHW_edgehd.jpg

"A dual-core CPU that won’t be stricken down by several programs running at the same time, GeForce that chews on any video that you put in front of it, sufficient RAM to make Windows 7 jump around, complete support for all types of video/audio formats and subtitles, and all this for a price of a good Blu-ray player - what else could you wish for?"

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Source: InsideHW

Ceton's InfiniTV Network Tuner Wizard makes it easy for everyone to watch what they want

Subject: Systems | May 10, 2011 - 05:26 PM |
Tagged: htpc, tv, tuner, ceton

One drawback of using an HTPC is that you can only watch one thing at a time, which sounds odd unless you consider multiple person households.  In order to dump your cableboxes in favour of an HTPC you need to be able to send different signals to different TVs, laptops and monitors.  The InfiniTV Wizard allows you to bind a specific TV Tuner to a specific client's IP address allowing each user to watch what they want, as long as you have enough TV Tuner cards installed in the main HTPC.  Check out how easy multiple tuners can be used over at Missing Remote.

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"One of our most popular guides in the past several months has been Michael Welter’s guide and tool for configuring the InfiniTV for use by multiple PCs. Now, Ceton has released the InfiniTV Network Tuner Wizard to provide an easy way to configure and officially support the InfiniTV when used by multiple PCs. We’ve had the opportunity to use the wizard and produce a guide to help you learn what it does and how to use it."

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Atom versus Zacate, a nettop showdown

Subject: Systems | May 4, 2011 - 06:33 PM |
Tagged: htpc, atom, ion, ion 2, nettop

Pairing an Intel Atom processor with an NVIDIA Ion2 GPU has become a popular way to power an inexpensive and low powered PC, often an HTPC.  That changed when AMD finally managed to get the Zacate APU into the market and manufacturers like Zotac were suddenly given a choice as to which company they used to build their nettops and HTPCs.  Zotac's ZBOX AD02-Plus U is based around the E350 APU and Bjorn3D pits it against the Sapphire Edge HD Intel D510.  Check out the performance comparison here.

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With computer components being integrated, systems are getting smaller, yet the performance is getting better. Both Intel and AMD integrated memory controllers onto the CPU die, and the latest Intel Sandy Bridge comes with native on-die integrated graphics. The need for a large system with various chips is no longer needed--small and integrated is definitely the trend.

Intel spearheaded the Atom platform where a very small processor is powerful enough compare to a desktop processor from 3-4 years ago, yet consumes only a fraction of the power. AMD’s latest Zacate APU is their answer to the Intel Atom platform. Like the Atom processor, the Zacate APU is designed for low power consumption with decent performance. The Zotac ZBOX retails for $339.99 on Newegg."

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Source: Bjorn3D

The Biostar THX1138 ... make that TH67XE

Subject: Motherboards | April 29, 2011 - 07:01 PM |
Tagged: biostar, sandy bridge, htpc

Biostar is still kicking and is doing it in style with the Sandy Bridge based TH67XE. With a 7.1 +2 channel Realtek ALC892 HDA codec onboard, Firewire, 2 USB 3.0 ports, up to 14 USB 2.0, VGA, DVI, HDMI 1.4,DisplayPort and even eSATA this is one incredible HTPC board.  Of course this comes with a price as the features leave few PCIe lanes open and overclocking is not good, though not overclocking an HTPC seems like a small sacrifice.  Check iXBT Labs for more.

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"Biostar currently offers as many as five microATX motherboards based on the H67 chipset. And today we shall review the most advanced of those, TH67XE."

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Source: iXBT Labs

Just Delivered: Rii Mini wireless USB HTPC Remote

Subject: General Tech, Systems | April 21, 2011 - 02:56 PM |
Tagged: remote, htpc

Just Delivered is a new section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less.

Every once in a while I get a wild desire to buy some junk from Amazon.  Actually, it's more like every day.  This time though, the item that I got in actually seems to be somewhat reasonable in terms of price, function and quality.  

One of the biggest headaches for HTPC (home theater PC) users is that controlling the PC remotely with any kind of precision is hard to do.  There are TONS of remotes and wireless keyboard/mouse combinations on the market but I happened to come across one called the "Rii Mini" on Amazon that only cost $35 and seemed to be a perfect, yet simple solution.

rii1.jpg

Yes, it is a cheap Chinese knock-off on the Logitech coloring and branding, but that isn't our problem.  The unit combines a keyboard, touchpad and laser pointer (what??) in a small form factor with some impressive features that have made it useful in my limited testing time thus far.

More photos and details after the break!

Author:
Manufacturer: AMD
Tagged: turks, radeon, htpc, amd, 6670, 6570

Introduction and the new Turks GPU

Introduction

It seems that the graphics card wars have really heated up recently.  With the release of the Radeon HD 6990 4GB and the GeForce GTX 590 3GB card it might seem that EVERYONE was spending $600 on their next GPU purchase.  Obviously that isn't the case and the world of the sub-$100 card, while way less sexy, is just as important.

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This week AMD has announced a slew of new options to address this market including the Radeon HD 6670, HD 6570 and even the HD 6450.  Topping out at $99, the Radeon HD 6670 offers good performance, strong HTPC features and low power consumption.  NVIDIA's competition is still reasonable though as we compare how the now price-dropped GeForce GTS 450 sits into the stack.

Hauppauge's new high powered capture card

Subject: Systems | April 20, 2011 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: pvr, htpc, hdmi

At AnandTech you can take a look at Hauppauge's new HD PVR cable card dubbed the Colossus. Input-wise you get HDMI, two breakout connectors for component connections and a pair of TOSLINK connectors so you really are not going to have any problem getting a signal into the card though it does not meet HDCP.  Check out the full review.

AAT_colossus.jpg

"When Hauppauge introduced the original HD PVR in 2008 its component plus TOSLINK (optical S/PDIF) capture of 5.1 Dolby Digital and up to 1080i analog video was a revolutionary, and long overdue, shift for the home theater PC (HTPC) based digital video recorder (DVR). Finally there was a viable option for recording DRM-free high definition (HD) content. The device was far from perfect however, suffering from stability (I RMA’d four personally); furthermore, as a large external USB device, it didn’t provide the most appealing form factor for many installations. Today we’re looking at Hauppauge’s second iteration of the HD PVR concept, this time as a standard height PCIe x1 device dubbed Colossus. It offers all of the previous capture options while adding HDMI input to the feature list."

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Source: AnandTech