Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

A selection of parts

AMD is without a doubt going through some very tough times with massive personnel issues as well as some problems with products and profitability.  But that doesn’t mean the current product line from AMD is without merit and that you can’t build a great system for various environments, including those users looking for a mainstream and small form factor gaming and home theater PC. 

While preparing for Quakecon 2012 we needed to build a system to take on the road for some minor editing and presentation control purposes.  We wanted the PC to be small and compact, yet still powerful enough to take on some basic computing and gaming tasks.  I happen to have some AMD Llano APUs in the office and thought they would fit perfectly.

If you are on the hunt for a small PC that can do some modest gaming and serve as an HTPC, then you might find our build here interesting.  And while it isn't nearly as exciting as building a Llano PC while blindfolded - it's pretty close.

Case: Lian-Li PC-Q08B

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Continue reading our AMD Llano APU Build article!!

Kontron Readying Mini-ITX Form Factor ARM System

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2012 - 11:39 AM |
Tagged: quad core, arm, SoC, Android, xbmc, htpc, mini-itx

This week has been rife with ARM computers. The latest ARM system comes in the form of a mini-ITX form factor motherboard and quad core ARM processor combination from embedded system manufacturer Kontron. Named the KTT30/mITX, it measures 17 cm x 17 cm, the little motherboard provides a plethora of IO ports and the relatively short (depth-wise) motherboard would be great in a HTPC box, assuming the software is there (an XBMC release ported over from the Raspberry Pi build would be nice to see, for example).

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The motherboard is paired with a quad core ARM Cortex A9 processor running at 900 MHz, video hardware acceleration coprocessor, and up to 2GB of DDR3L memory. It is reportedly capable of playing back 1080p H.264 videos. Internal connectors include two SD card clots, a SIM card socket, and two mPCIe connectors. Rear board IO includes three USB 2.0 ports (one micro, two regular-sized type A), an HDMI port, Gigabit Ethernet NIC, S/PDIF audio, two RS232 serial ports, and three analog audio output jacks.

It looks like a neat little board, though only if the price is right. If it is prohibitively expensive, it may be bumping up against AMD’s APU and accompanying motherboards. And because the APUs can utilize x86-64 software, that is a big positive in its favor. With that said, if this board is cheap enough, it could make sense as the base of a cheap HTPC.

Read more about the Mini-ITX ARM-powered system over at Fanless Tech.

Source: Fanless Tech

Computex: MSI Debuts New Z77 Mini-ITX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | June 6, 2012 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: Z77, msi, motherboard, mini-itx, Intel, htpc, computex

MSI is showing off a lot of motherboards at Computex 2012. One in particular that stuck out to me was a mini ITX motherboard that sported Ivy Bridge compatibility, four SATA ports (2 which are SATA 6Gbps), and PCI-E 3.0 compliant making it perfect for an high performance HTPC build. The motherboard in question is the MSI Z77IA-E53 and as the name suggests it is based around Intel’s Z77 chipset.

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The mini-ITX form factor motherboard sports MSI’s ClickBIOS II UEFI BIOS and its OC Genie II technology as well as THX TruStudio Pro audio. Other features include an LGA 1155 socket for Ivy Bridge or Sandy Bridge (Core i7, i5, i3, Pentium or Celeron) processors, two DDR3 DIMM slots (up to 16GB of 2800MHz), and a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot at the very bottom of the motherboard.

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On the back of the board, the Z77IA-E53 features HDMI and VGA video outputs, two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA port, Gigabit LAN, PS/2 port, optical audio outpu, three 3.5mm jacks for analog audio output, and WiFi and Bluetooth radios.

Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or availability.

Source: MSI

Logic Supply has an interesting way of sizing their smaller HTPCs

Subject: Systems | April 13, 2012 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: SFF, mini-itx, Logic Supply, LGX AG150 Fanless Mini PC, htpc, Atom N2800

Defining the size of the Logic Supply LGX AG150 Fanless Mini PC as being 1.2 litres is a unique way of describing just how small this machine is.  You can see from the picture below that a pair of serial ports takes up a significant portion of the front panel.  Part of the reason for this is the completely fanless design, the heatsink obscuring the Atom N2800 has TIM on it to allow the entire top of the case to distribute the heat.  The SSD drive also helps slim the machine down and also adds snappy performance as well.  The Intel DN2800MT mini-ITX board powers the SSD and can fit up to 4GB of RAM in its two slots and the Intel GMA 3650 powers the HDMI and VGA ports with enough processing power for you to watch HD video.  As it is a totally silent HTPC, it should come as no surprise that it was Silent PC Review who received this box for testing.

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"This new PC from specialist Logic Systems is based around the recently released Intel DN2800MT "Marshalltown" mini-ITX Atom board, a long-awaited follow-up to the original "Thin ITX" board, the Intel D945GSEJT. Super low energy consumption, 1080P video capability and a tiny 1.2 liter form factor should be compelling for Mini PC enthusiasts."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Meet the Z77 motherboard family

Subject: General Tech | March 6, 2012 - 12:16 PM |
Tagged: Z77, mini-itx, maximus v gene, maximus v formula, asus, Sabertooth, p8z77-V deluxe, p8z77 work station

Ryan wasn't the only one to get a preview of the new Intel Express Z77 motherboards, other models have been spotted on the web.  [H]ard|OCP had the same preview of the mATX Maximus V GENE, the SABERTOOTH Z77, mITX P8Z77-I Deluxe, ROG Maximus V Formula and the P8Z77-V Deluxe and a WorkStation version of the Deluxe as well. All are LGA1155 boards with built in video out to take advantage of the next generation of Intel's onboard HD graphics and all but the Gene feature Lucid's Hydra technology.  These are the first examples of this chipset and the boards are something to behold.

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"If you find new motherboards to be worthy of eye candy, then we have a treat for you as ASUS pulled back the curtains on its Z77 model motherboards last week here in Dallas, TX. While there is a whole lot we can't tell you about the next generation Intel processors to occupy the LGA1155 socket, we can run down a very new software feature set."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

7-series based motherboards from ASUS

This is going to be an interesting couple of months as the industry balances the move from Sandy Bridge to the 3rd Generation of Intel Core processor and the 7-series chipsets.  We have documented the rumored delays of the Ivy Bridge CPUs but it looks like Intel is moving ahead with the Z77/H77 chipset launch as planned.  This means that from now until whenever those new CPUs actually launch we will see quite a few new motherboards announced from the typical vendors claiming "future platform compatibility." 

Recently we spent some time with our friends at ASUS to learn about its plans for the Z77 launch and I must say I came away quite impressed with the technology and features being integrated.  Today I am allowed to share with you some photos and basic information about the features being offered on the ASUS Z77 lineup, though without much hands-on time we are limited in what we can say.  

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There are going to be options ranging from the high-end Maximus V Formula to the budget priced P8Z77-V to the ultra-niche with the mini-ITX P8Z77-I Deluxe.  Enjoy!

Continue reading our preview of the upcoming ASUS Z77 motherboards!!

Zotac thinks small with their new Z68 motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 15, 2011 - 10:50 AM |
Tagged: zotac, mini-itx, z68

If you are looking to bring the benefits of the Z68 chipset to your LAN box, look no further than Zotac's Z68-ITX WiFi mini-ITX board.  They've done everything possible to trim down the size while keeping the functionality you need to play games. While there is only a single PCIe 16x slot and 4 SATA ports in total, you have 8 USB 2.0 ports and a pair of USB 3.0 as well as a variety of audio and video output ports.  As well there is a serious WiFi add on card with dual antenna to get you connected to your friends and enemies.  Check out the full review that TechPowerUp posted here.

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"ZOTAC recently announced their mini-ITX Z68 motherboard. Supporting standard desktop parts for expansion, the ZOTAC Z68-ITX WiFi offers all the features of the Intel Z68 chipset, including some decent overclocking. We put the Z68-ITX WiFi through the paces, and take this little roadster for a wild ZOTAC ride."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: TechPowerUp