Jun 25 2010

News - SilverStone Grandia GD05 HTPC Case

Silverstone has been making HTPC cases for the longest time, and they're always a pretty solid option. They make some that are roomy enough to handle any specs you'd want to throw at it. And at $140 it's not an unreasonable asking price either, although no volume knobs or VFD displays...if that sorta stuff interests you.

SilverStone Grandia GD05

Today we look at one of their newest cases in the Grandia line, the GD05. The Grandia GD05 is for the HTPC crowd but can also be used as a Small Form Factor (SFF) case in other areas. At a shallow 325mm (12.8") in depth the Grandia GD05 can fit in tight entertainment cabinets, but still accommodate full height video cards up to 11” in length. The Grandia also supports Mini-DTX, Mini-ITX and micro-ATX motherboards, full size 5.25” drives, 2.5” and 3.5” hard drives, standard power supplies up to 180mm long (220 if you remove a fan), as well as having three SilverStone Golf Blade 120mm fans. That’s a lot of hardware stuffed into a 12”x17” footprint that stands 6" high.


Jun 25 2010

News - AC Ryan PlayOn!HD Review

Shocking....another extender device :-) But hey, it's Friday.

HTPCs and media centres are growing in popularity as our houses become far more linked in terms of media. However, these systems can still be too expensive for some, or too big, too complicated; what's a guy to do? One option it seems is to get yourself a network media player. Today we're reviewing one such device, the AC Ryan Playon!HD.


Jun 23 2010

News - HTPCs will soon have motion sensors

This is pretty neat stuff if they can get it working well enough. And with Kinect sure to sell a bunch of Xboxes, the opportunity to be in lots of living rooms is already there.
The company is looking to change the way the consumer interacts with their media, and as such could eliminate the need for TV remotes, and HTPC keyboards. PrimeSense VP Adi Berenson says the aim is to "provide natural human control over TV-based media consumption."


Jun 22 2010

News - Shuttle SG41J1 Plus Barebone Review

Shuttle really started the whole SFF (Small Form Factor) trend, but they kinda got quiet in the DIY crowd when it looked like they cared more about their own pre-built systems. Good to see them still evolve their line for us DIY-ers.

The SG41J1 is an entry-level (Shuttle 'J-series') barebone unit, and if the integrated graphics have enough chops for the end user's application then all it needs is an Intel LGA775 socket processor, a bit of DDR3 RAM, a hard drive and some software. A mouse, keyboard, display and speakers also come in handy, and don't come in the box.


Jun 22 2010

News - Hands On: SiliconDust Dual-Tuner HDHomeRun

 I know, I know, this isn't the CableCard version everyone is waiting for, but it's still one of the best tuners out there. External, dual tuners, network accessible....figured it was worth the attention still!


he HDHomeRun is an Ethernet based TV tuner.  Nothing less and nothing more.  Being Ethernet based, it has one tremendous advantage over other types of TV tuners, it can connect to any computer in your LAN (Local Area Network); not just a single computer.  It also easily gets past the PCI/PCIe and USB limitations of a virtual operating system!


Jun 19 2010

News - Mac Mini Review

Eh, pretty much what I expected. This new mini is really just an upgrade to the old, with HDMI as a connector, nothing much more than that. Still makes for a sexy HTPC if you're willing to take the time to get it there, but I can build something better for that much coin.



First, you should note that all the HDMI port really gets you is a simpler interconnect story; otherwise you're still dealing with a full-on computer, not an integrated media device. Second, the fact that you're using a real computer means that you need some sort of keyboard and mouse to do anything of value -- sure, you can click through Front Row using an Apple Remote, but that's a pretty limited experience compared to even the Apple TV, and you didn't just pay $700 for a limited experience. Apple was pretty upfront about this: they told us that the mini's HDMI port is about offering flexibility, not making a play in the living room, and that mini customers who wanted to hook it up to a TV were probably savvy enough to find their own software and input methods.


Jun 17 2010

News - Ceton Quad Tuner Unboxing Video - Still not available

Gotta hand it to Ceton, trying to keep their customers who already pre-ordered happy with some teasers. Good unboxing video of what you pre-order people can expect when the time comes. Hopefully sooner than later! Kudos to GeekTonic for the heads up.


Jun 17 2010

News - Beware the WD Green Drives

I actually was speaking to an OEM buddy of mine yesterday about these. This particular OEM had spec'd in the WD Green Drives for some of their systems, and had also noticed a failure rate rather unusual. They confirmed with WD that the Green drives are NOT good with RAID due to the amount of vibrations that are caused by having multiple drives running concurrently. I couldn't get an official word of this, but in seeing the following article, I felt I had to share. WD Black drives are still solid though from what I'm told.
After all of this trouble, I started losing faith in the reliability of the server and got a Synology DS1010+ to move my DVD images to - the primary bulk of my data. While researching compatible drives for the DS1010+, I found that there are actually specific notes on their compatibility list about certain model numbers of the WD Green drives testing well and most others causing problems.


Jun 16 2010

News - ASRock officially intros its Core 100HT HTPC duo

Apparently ASRock didn't sell too many of their original boxes, but that isn't stopping them from releasing a new version. We reviewed the original box a bit ago, and it's a solid system with the exception of its rather bland design. Unfortunately it looks like that isn't changing.
ASRock' new HTPCs measure 195 (W) x 70 (H) x 186 (L) mm and pack a Core i3, i5 or i7 mobile processor, Intel HD (integrated graphics), two DDR3 slots for up to 8GB of RAM, support for one 2.5-inch SSD or HDD, a DVD writer (100HT) or Blu-ray combo (100HT-BD) drive, 7.1 channel audio with THX TruStudio Pro, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, and a HDMI output.


Jun 11 2010

News - Boxee Box Delayed Until November

Yikes! Another big blow to us lowly HTPC fans. First the Ceton tuner delays, now the Boxee Box is delayed. Hey Boxee, how about a teaser and just letting us buy that groovy remote for now!??!?
Development of the software took longer than expected, Ronen said, stressing how important it was to get things like Flash 10.1 including Flash hardware acceleration as well playback of 1080p HD content in a variety of codecs right. And while it involved multiple parties, including chip vendors, DRM makers and the Boxee team itself, he didn’t want to say who’d fallen behind schedule. “I don’t want to put the blame on anyone specifically,” Ronen told me.


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