Atom-based Media Center: Part 1

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Parts and Pictures or was that Pictures of Parts?

At the risk of sounding lewd, I should note that I like to take pictures of parts. Specifically, I like to take pictures of silicone parts. Of course, given my little intro here, you’re unlikely to be thinking of silicone bits inside a computer and are instead thinking of grotesquely augmented mammaries (which are disgusting). If you weren’t, you are now. Innuendo and maybe even explaining innuendo is a beautiful thing.

Anyway, let’s cut to the chase, strip down some boxes, and snap some photos.

Still sorta boxed.

Here’s where I demonstrate that I have no manners. I was unpacking everything on my mother’s kitchen table.

A little close up...

Yay parts! Building computers, especially for other people, excites me. Whenever I do stuff for myself it doesn’t seem as fulfilling.

Mostly unboxed.

See the screws on top of the case? This is where I started to worry. I had ordered two SATA devices, and upon an initial examination I couldn’t tell if the AthenaTech case had more than one SATA power connector. I was delighted when I made this discovery:

AthenaTech packs a lot of parts.

No kidding. Sandwiched inside the case among the PSU power cables was a little molex-to-SATA adapter. Not only that, but they included a bag of screws and they included cable ties. You don’t even get cable ties with $100+ dollar cases! Hell, some manufacturers don’t even include the right screws. (No, I’m not making that up.) AthenaTech certainly seems to know what they’re doing in this department. Too bad I have a bag of slightly larger cable ties. These ones were too cute to snip.

However, should I have cats of my own in the future, cuteness will not be a valid reason to circumvent my requirement that they be snipped.

…back to our ogling over a world of silicone, here is a picture of the Anyware MCE remote. It’s also cute in its own way. More so when you consider that it’ll be controlling a machine that isn’t Windows.

Anyware MCE Remote

Note: One thing I didn’t do during my picture snapping clickfest was to take a snapshot of the IR receiver. If I think about it, I’ll try grabbing one later this week.

And now, we move on to the build process.

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2 Responses to “Atom-based Media Center: Part 1”

  • Grimblast writes:

    Took me awhile to get around to reading this but very informative! Your shopping list of hardware and the picture examples were a lot better than some of the sites I read on the topic of mythtv type boxes and hardware. It helps to have visual examples and it’s too bad a lot of pages dont seem to be very creative in that sense. I look forward to seeing the next part about the software.

    I’ve started saving up to get some of the hardware so this way I can start building sooner rather than later.

  • Benjamin writes:

    One thing I think I didn’t stress much in the article is that the Intel 945-based boards are a little under powered (or feel that way). The NVIDIA Ion systems might be a bit more appropriate, but I haven’t found one that has a decent expansion option! I’m hoping this will change. All things considered, though, the Atom 330 + i945 is a pretty decent mix for a basic HTPC. It probably won’t do HD well and flash movies are a little jerky (maybe it’s just the Youtube videos–some of them are pretty awful quality-wise).

    If you want something a little more powerful, there’s a lot of mini-ATX boards out there that support Core 2 systems–I even found one by SuperMicro that’s based on the Atom. Though, one thing about the Core boxes–they can’t beat the Atom when it comes to power consumption. I think the processor idles at about 8 watts.

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