Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gadget Nut

I admit it, I am completely a gadget nut. I constantly look for new things to improve my life. A few years ago, (I know this is old news for some technogeeks out there) I became a huge fan of XBMC. I love this program. It works almost flawlessly, and is the best home theater pc app out there, bar none. I've tried many different ones out there, and this is it.

Now, this is a few years later, and after upgrading my TV, I'm starting to stare down the 1080p arena. XBMC with the proper cables will do 1080i, which is absolutely amazing for a piece of hardware that is already going on 8 years old. (Xbox)

I am a huge advocate for power saving. I run low power consumption servers, NAS devices, network devices, etc. When I'm looking at building my own HTPC to do Bluray and 1080P, low power consumption is near top of my list.

I've been very impressed with the simplicity and speed of the Intel Atom processors. One year ago, I picked up a N270, which is a 1.6Ghz box. That little box ran my server for a year straight, barely hitting 35 to 40w of power consumption. This ran my email/web server flawlessly. I recently upgraded to the dual core atom. Again, this is a great box that is low power.

So, having said that these are my goals for an HTPC:

  1. 1080p with HDMI
  2. Low power consumption
  3. Price (keep it low as possible)
  4. Up to 7.1 Dolby Digital with Optical out
  5. One PCI slot to record Standard Def tv for my kids' TV shows.
  6. Remote
So, this is what I think I'm looking at for hardware.
  1. Zotac Atom Motherboard (link)
  2. 2GB of Memory
  3. Case (note: I'm not big into the fancy HTPC cases. I just want something that isn't ugly)
  4. 7.1 is taken care of on the motherboard.
  5. The remote is tricky. I don't have a solid solution for that yet. I'd like to use the Xbox remote, as it works very effectively for what I want.
  6. Bluray Player
NOTE: The Zotac doesn't have a PCI slot, it has a PCI-E slot. This might be ok though, as I can always go to a USB Hauppauge.

I'm hoping to build this sometime in the next couple of months. By then, there might be some new hardware, but I honestly can't wait to do this.

One other thing I'm looking at doing, is making everything boot off of a compact flash. Why? Silent, low power, and they are cheap.

If anyone has some other options for me, especially for a remote, let me know.

No comments:

Post a Comment