Go Back   Team-BHP > Around the Corner > Shifting gears > Gadgets, Computers & Software


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 22nd June 2010, 16:51   #1
BHPian
 
Ponmayilal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 46
Thanked: 5 Times
Default A cute Mini-HTPC - Preview

This is a preview of the cute Zotac Zbox HD-ID11 barebone Mini PC - order placed on e-bay.in on 19 June 2010 - Rs 14499/= -yet to be shipped.

Name:  Zotac HTPC.jpg
Views: 3093
Size:  42.4 KB

A cute Mini-HTPC - Preview-zboxbrochure.jpg

To complete the project I have already ordered/purchased the following:

Seagate 500 GB SATA Internal 2.5" HDD - Rs.4624/- - e-bay - shipped

Kingston 2GB, DDR 2 800MHz 200 Pin SODIMM memory - Rs.2300/- - Local purchase from SP Road,Bangalore.

Windows 7 Home Premium -Rs.6000/- -Staples, Bangalore.

To complete the system, I have also ordered an LG Slim USB DVD writer, another cutie - Rs.3439/- - e-bay -yet to be shipped.

Name:  LG Slim.jpg
Views: 2607
Size:  6.1 KB

That should give an overall idea of the cost involved.

Hope to receive the shipped items in good working condition and nothing is DOA.

A detailed hands-on review will follow once I put them all together and the system starts playing.

Till then keep musing.
Ponmayilal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2010, 20:42   #2
BHPian
 
Ponmayilal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 46
Thanked: 5 Times
Default

I missed a key peripheral that will go with the system.

Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard - USD 59.99 from Lenovo Direct, U.S.A (not yet available in India; bought and brought by a friend a month ago) - will be reviewed alongwith the completed system.

Name:  RemoteKB Trackballmouse.jpg
Views: 3139
Size:  35.4 KB
Ponmayilal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2010, 21:24   #3
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,891
Thanked: 19 Times
Default

Hi Ponmayilal

it is indeed very interesting option if one already has an LCDTV + DVD Player + HTiB + STB. this particular HTPC can be a lifestyle add on to the set up
can be used to replay downloaded movies, music etc, store and replay digital photo album in living room, browse internet / check e-mails etc.

the keyboard image you uploaded look interesting.
i am not sure about the use-ability of that in a living room application.
StarVegabond is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2010, 21:33   #4
Senior - BHPian
 
sandeepmdas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Varkala
Posts: 1,094
Thanked: 509 Times
Default

The Nvidia platform should give you an outstanding (almost unmatchable) video reproduction. I used a 8400GS in a PC to connect my HD CRT TV and the difference was massive; I tested with Kung Fu Panda

Last edited by sandeepmdas : 23rd June 2010 at 21:35.
sandeepmdas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2010, 22:12   #5
Senior - BHPian
 
TaureanBull's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Indore
Posts: 1,066
Thanked: 309 Times
Default

Thats some very interesting configuration you have in this PC. I would like to know how are you intending to use this particular piece? Is it going to be a carputer?

Waiting eagerly to see your setup
TaureanBull is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2010, 00:37   #6
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Chennai
Posts: 82
Thanked: 11 Times
Default

Hey Interesting hardware setup for the HTPC. I was planning on building one at a budget of 11k including the hard drive and Ram. But this makes more sense as its compact.

I would suggest you to try boxee. Boxee - Movies, TV Shows and Video from the Internet on your TV.

its a media player for TV system, freeware open source system. Plays all kinds of media formats, online capability for both video and music and supports RSS readers. The only thing it dosnt support is TV tuner, which you havent invested on either. You can have your DTH setup plugged either via video cable or hdmi to your TV.

Boxee is free and will work fine on your system. Boxee can utilise your ipod touch/iphone/windows mobile as a remote with complete details of media being played over wifi.

once your media files are linked on boxee, it will provide both sub title and movie info by itself. its just 40mb!
haithereitsme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2010, 10:35   #7
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Utopia!
Posts: 577
Thanked: 84 Times
Default

Boxee is essentially a fork of XBMC (XBMC) but I feel XBMC is a lot better.

Zotac box is a cute looking hardware and will not appear out of place in the living room alongside the LCD panel. Acer Revo is also a good alternative. The only issue with these small boxes (SFF PC's) is that the Ion chipset used does not seem to support TrueHD and DTS-MA.

I was torn between buying one of these small boxes or build a dedicated HTPC from scratch... Finally decided to go with the latter option.

Last edited by Digital Vampire : 24th June 2010 at 10:40.
Digital Vampire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2010, 13:23   #8
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Chennai
Posts: 82
Thanked: 11 Times
Default

Vampire, whats your hardware specification and whats your cabinet like.

Post some pictures of it. I used boxee before figuring out XMBC. I ve seen many preferring XMBC !
haithereitsme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2010, 15:09   #9
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Utopia!
Posts: 577
Thanked: 84 Times
Default

Quote:
Vampire, whats your hardware specification and whats your cabinet like.
My build is not complete yet. Aiming to finish it soon.
It is strictly not an HTPC but doubles up as my media server/store as well. The following is the final configuration.

Processor: Intel i3 530
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H55M
RAM: 4GB DDR3 1333 (2GB + 2GB)
OS Drive: Kingston 128GB SSD
HDD's: 2TB x 1, 1TB x 6 (WD, Seagate)
HW RAID Card: Silicon Image
Power Supply: TBD
Casing: TBD
OS: Win 7 64Bit Enterprise

I'm temporarily running the basic HTPC install from an Iball Cabinet and bundled power supply but wont suit the full build.
Digital Vampire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2010, 15:15   #10
Senior - BHPian
 
ashthedivx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Delhi
Posts: 1,351
Thanked: 22 Times
Default

Great stuff there... Just FYI.. Picked up a couple of 500GB 2.5" Sata HDD for around 3200/- in Delhi & Samsung Slim External DVD Writer @ 2500/-. If you haven't paid for the stuffs till yet, try to look out another source.
ashthedivx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th June 2010, 15:20   #11
BHPian
 
Ponmayilal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 46
Thanked: 5 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
Hi Ponmayilal....the keyboard image you uploaded look interesting.
i am not sure about the use-ability of that in a living room application.
A mini wireless KB with trackball mouse with good range is absolutely essential for a living room PC. The HTPC can also be used as a normal PC. One has to increase the font size, icon size, etc., in Windows Appearance
for the large size TV/monitor and then you can operate comfortably from your TV viewing distance. Short of typing long texts, you can do all other tasks that you normally do on a desktop and that includes web browsing. I have increased the zoom level in IE to 150% for viewing on my 42" LCD TV. Coventional large wireless keyboard/mouse occupy a large space on your coffee table and out of place there. Further the limited range forces one to get out of his seat and move nearer to the HTPC for it to capture the key strokes. I have experienced these problems practically before calling upon my friend in U.S.A to bring the Lenova Remote KB. I shall post the real pictures that will reveal its mini size.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandeepmdas View Post
The Nvidia platform should give you an outstanding (almost unmatchable) video reproduction. I used a 8400GS in a PC to connect my HD CRT TV and the difference was massive; I tested with Kung Fu Panda
Do you mean the movie or game? I am not a gamer and generally do not consider animated movies as movies at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
Thats some very interesting configuration you have in this PC. I would like to know how are you intending to use this particular piece? Is it going to be a carputer?

Waiting eagerly to see your setup
The Zbox will be the living room Media Center PC and not in my car in any case. ( I have hardly run my Ritz 5000 Kms in the last 9 months. )

Quote:
Originally Posted by haithereitsme View Post
Thanks. Sure I am going to try XBMC and also Boxee but let me first walk before trying to run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Vampire View Post
Boxee is essentially a fork of XBMC (XBMC) but I feel XBMC is a lot better.

Zotac box is a cute looking hardware and will not appear out of place in the living room alongside the LCD panel. Acer Revo is also a good alternative. The only issue with these small boxes (SFF PC's) is that the Ion chipset used does not seem to support TrueHD and DTS-MA.

I was torn between buying one of these small boxes or build a dedicated HTPC from scratch... Finally decided to go with the latter option.
Bigger can be better with the right combination. But honestly I am not aware of any that gives all. I do have PS3 slim which can do Dolby Digital Plus, DolbyTrue HD, DTS-HD etc., but then we do need apart from the source material a recent and capable AV receiver that can take them in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashthedivx View Post
Great stuff there... Just FYI.. Picked up a couple of 500GB 2.5" Sata HDD for around 3200/- in Delhi & Samsung Slim External DVD Writer @ 2500/-. If you haven't paid for the stuffs till yet, try to look out another source.
I do think I have rushed into ordering the HDD online (its already delivered) but then I was too lazy to move out. Eventually I did move out for getting the memory and that cost me another Rs.17300/- in hard cash in the form of the Zotac MAG (Mini All-in-one Giant), a full-pledged Mini-PC sans the OS - a birthday gift to my mom. I have just finished installing the OS and my trials and tribulations alongwith the pictures will be rolled out in my next post. For now some details here.

Zotac MAG HD-ND01: Intel Atom 330 (Dual core 1.6MHz), Nvidia ion Graphics Processor, 2GB DDR-2 800, 160GB HDD. 7.32"x7.44"x1.50"

A cute Mini-HTPC - Preview-wei2.jpg

I have just got the Zotac Zbox and yet to open it. A review is going to take a few more days. And this post rolls out of the Zotac MAG.
Ponmayilal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th June 2010, 17:25   #12
Senior - BHPian
 
sandeepmdas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Varkala
Posts: 1,094
Thanked: 509 Times
Unhappy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ponmayilal View Post
Do you mean the movie or game? I am not a gamer and generally do not consider animated movies as movies at all.
Movie. I am not a gamer either (I'm 42 ). I was talking about the performance of the Nvidia PureVideo.

Try watching Kung Fu Panda, Ratatoullie and may be CARS for a change
sandeepmdas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th June 2010, 19:49   #13
BHPian
 
Ponmayilal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 46
Thanked: 5 Times
Default Zotac MAG HD-ND01; Lenovo KB/TB mouse - Images

Here are a few images of the Zotac MAG HD-ND01 and Lenovo Mini Wireless Keyboard N5901.

1. The box:

A cute Mini-HTPC - Preview-1the-box.jpg

2. The spread:

A cute Mini-HTPC - Preview-02the-collection.jpg

The box, the Vesa mount with screws (my 42" LG LCD TV requires a larger Vesa mount), the stand for vertical mounting, the Zotac MAG CPU, the 19V DC 3.42A adapter, the power cord, the Lenova mini KB/TB mouse ( not part of the package - shown here just for size comparison)

Not in picture: a tiny Quickstart Manual, User manual and Driver CD.

3. On the stand:

A cute Mini-HTPC - Preview-03on-stand.jpg

4. The RF mini Keyboard/Trackball mouse:

A cute Mini-HTPC - Preview-04remotekb.jpg

5. The tiny USB RF receiver:

A cute Mini-HTPC - Preview-05usbrecr.jpg

Note the small ON/OFF switch on the top of the KB.

A tiny USB RF receiver fits into a slot in-between the batteries in the battery compartment for safe-keeping when not plugged into he CPU's USB port. Leave it out and you are sure to lose it.

Last edited by Ponmayilal : 26th June 2010 at 19:51.
Ponmayilal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th June 2010, 17:06   #14
BHPian
 
Ponmayilal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 46
Thanked: 5 Times
Default Setting up the Zotac MAG HD-ND01 -the grand finale

Bringing home the Zotac Mag, I set it up alongside my other Windows 7 Machine sharing the same Dell monitor with its VGA output. Switching it on I expected a "No system disk" message but to my surprise it booted into Windows 7 Ultimate Desktop. It came loaded with Winamp, WinZip and MS Office 2007 with a price list of Zotac products in excel. And in the bottom right hand corner was the "This copy of Windows is not genuine". Obviously this was installed by the distributors Adithya Infotech to make the customers feel that everything is OK with the system. Anyway it allowed me to play around with the system for a while before I embarked on installing the "genuine" Windows 7 Home Premium.

The manual instructs one to install it from an optical drive and dead silent of any other process. Nor does it explain the Bios features - not even how to enter the Bios setup. This led to some surprises during the installation process and made me scratch my head for sometime before I could find my way out. When I hit F11 during the boot process to bring the bootmenu I could only see the Samsung HDD and no USB device. That was resolved and one will know how as he reads on.

Setting up the Zotac MAG Mini PC:

1. Prepare an ISO image of the Win 7 installation disk using ISO Recorder. (I used ISO Recorder v3.1 - installed on my Windows 7 machine.)ISO Recorder v3

2. Use this tutorial to prepare a bootable Windows 7 USB drive. Install Windows 7 From USB Drive/Pen Drive

25 Jun 10 - Windows 7 Home Premium installed using USB pen drive

Procedure:

1. Insert the USB pendrive into the computer and switch it on. Enter bios setup by hitting <DEL> key during post

2. Go to <ADVANCED><USB Mass storage device configuration> . Select <Forced FDD emulation> (the USB device will now be recognised as a boot device- not otherwise.And no mention anywhere.). Save and exit. Reboot, enter Bios again and setup the Hard drive as the first boot device and the USB drive as the second device. (This will prevent Windows from rebooting and initiating a fresh setup when it restarts after copying Windows files into the RAM during the setup.) Save and exit. Reboot and hit F11 during post and select the pendrive as the boot device. Hit enter and Windows setup starts.

(If you loathe the 100MB "system reserved" partition forced on you during the OS installation , follow the procedure in this tutorial How to Prevent Windows 7 from Creating a Hidden /Recovery /System Reserved Partition during Installation )

After installation of the OS, all drivers downloaded from the Zotac website (except PhysX, and Raid driver) installed.

Windows updates installed

Power options changed to High Performance.

AVG, Java Runtime,CCleaner,Glary utilities, Flash player 10.1 installed.

There are two nvidia control panel applets in the Control Panel. Go to System 32>nvcpl.cpl and rename it nvcpl.bak to remove one . Now you will have only one nvidia control panel applet.

Installed Shark007 Windows 7 32 bit codecs.

This is not going to be my HTPC (only 160 GB HDD) but still just for testing I moved it to my living room and connected it to my TV & amp, after loading two .mkv movies into it. Here are some pictures and screen shots.

In place:

Attachment 377959

The Desktop:

A cute Mini-HTPC - Preview-desktop.jpg

Shark007 codec: (the only selections I made in the Audio Tab)

Name:  Shark Codec.jpg
Views: 2492
Size:  136.6 KB

The movie -details:

Name:  details.jpg
Views: 2051
Size:  85.0 KB

The movie - Screenshot:

A cute Mini-HTPC - Preview-moviess.jpg

The movie - Image:(see the Zotac MAG to the right of the speaker)

A cute Mini-HTPC - Preview-movieim.jpg

No stutter, no skips, smooth play all the way with 5.1 surround. Have a popcorn and enjoy.

The cons: The Atheros Wi-Fi was a total let-down. I tried to copy a 70 MB file from my Primary PC (10' away with two walls in-between) and it took almost 15 minutes at a speed of 65 KB/s. Disabled it and plugged in my D-Link DWL-G122 wireless adapter and the same file was downloaded within seconds at a speed of 25MB/s. I didn't even have time to take a screenshot.

Time to unpack and build the Zotac Zbox.

(The vendor was unable to deliver the LG DVD USB external optical drive ordered on e-bay and refunded the money. Now Sony-NEC Optiarc USB external BD-ROM drive is available on e-bay. The first time I saw the cost was Rs.11700. After a few days it has now become Rs. 8000+. Shall be ordering one today or tomorrow.)

Last edited by Ponmayilal : 30th June 2010 at 17:11.
Ponmayilal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th July 2010, 12:54   #15
BHPian
 
Ponmayilal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 46
Thanked: 5 Times
Default Breaking news

With my Zotac Zbox HD-ID11 build almost nearing completion, and with the external Sony Optiarc BD ROM BC-5500S USB drive on hand (delivered on 03 Jul 2010), I started looking for the best software BD player. (WMP/WMC7 do not natively support Blu Ray.)

With the Corel WIN DVD, Cyberlink Power DVD and Arcsoft TotalMedia Theater equally rated with only some minor differences such as included codecs, ease of use etc., the one aspect that tilted me in favour of Arcsoft TMT was this Jan 2010 news item that read:

Name:  TMT ION.jpg
Views: 2006
Size:  92.7 KB

When I reached the Arcsoft website, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Arcsoft is giving a 35% rebate on their products in celebration of U.S. Independance Day celebrations on 04 Jul 2010. This offer is valid for 3 days till 07 July 2010. (U.S. time - whether ET, PT,MT or CT not mentioned.). No sooner I was poorer by USD 65, though I saved 35. ( List price USD 100.)

It integrates well into the Windows Media center better than the other two as per expert reviews.

Anyone who wants a Software BD Player may use this opportunity - but do read all three player reviews before putting out your cash.

The Zbox is likely to move out to the living room in a day or two after it receives the finishing touches and then a hands-on review will follow.

So here it is till then on my computer-table inputting to my old Dell 20" monitor. The blue loop flashes slowly when it is in sleep mode.

A cute Mini-HTPC - Preview-onbench.jpg


A cute Mini-HTPC - Preview-tmt.jpg

Last edited by Ponmayilal : 5th July 2010 at 12:57.
Ponmayilal is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
1st ever Mini meet in Calicut. Post here for all future Calicut mini meets.. MaserQ The Team-BHP Meet Section 17 8th August 2017 04:32
Mini Cooper S and Mini Convertible : Driven suhaas307 Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports 62 24th October 2016 15:17
New Mini "Mini/ Minor" CARDEEP The International Automotive Scene 0 17th July 2010 10:46
frankmehta needs® an HTPC: Help me build one!! frankmehta Gadgets, Computers & Software 17 17th February 2010 22:58


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 08:07.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks