on October 30, 2011
I was looking for a low-power usage system to use as a home server and ocassionally HD movie playing. I could compromise on power usage during load as long as idle power was low.
I read the missingremote website review of this MB and decided to take a chance.
Due to budget constraints I decided to use the Celeron G530 ($39 - $49 range), which has most of the features of its bigger i3 cousin. I don't need 3D graphics and basic HD decoding is enough. I had 4GB of SO-DIMM Laptop RAM I pulled during my Macbook Pro upgrade that I could recycle.
I added a 2.5" laptop HDD to be used as main drive for low power usage (as opposed to 3.5").
I installed all this and used a Dell Laptop Power supply. I added an optical drive via eSATA connector for OS install and ocassional movie playback. Here are my preliminary results:
I had to install the NIC drivers from the CD as W7 didn't recognize the LAN port. As I did this I installed all drivers haven't tested HDMI audio yet, but it shows). The system idles at 15-16 Watts (measured with Kill-A-Watt at the wall). I can play Blu-Ray fine, with PowerDVD 11. System spikes up to low 20s watts during BD playback which is perfectly fine. I added a 3.5" 2TB Caviar Green and it adds 4 to 5 watts when spinning but not in use.
Tested 10.04LTS , didn't see the NIC. Loaded 11.10 , saw the NIC. For some reason it idles at no less than 21Watt, 5 more than W7. Then I saw that Ubuntu 11.10 doesn't give you an option to use the old desktop environment (you need to manually install it) and I don't like Unity environment at all, so I decided to switch back to OpenSUSE, which is also better for my Desktop/Server mixed use as I can customize the install more easily.
Loaded fine, NIC was fine, idles at 16-17 Watt. Without tweaking and out of the box this is 4 to 5 Watt less than Ubuntu. I didn't compare the kernel versions, but I will stick with OpenSUSE anyway. I still need to test integrated graphics etc, but I plan to Dual boot W7 for movie playback for a while.
In summary, this board has an OK price for a Home (Media) Sever build, and idle power usage is excellent when combined with Laptop drive and using integrated graphics. The CPU fan is also pretty quiet.
I just wish it had an extra SATA port to add a fixed Optical drive id addition to the 2.5" main HDD and 2TB media drive. At some point I might move the OS to the mSATA slot but these drives are too expensive at this point.
on September 23, 2011
Great board with many good features:
- CIR header for internal R6 compatible remote (MCE).
- HTPC header for CEC (will be supported in the future, hopefully).
- Board has its own 19v power supply. While other PICO PSUs use 16v, its nice to have a 19v and just use an ordinary laptop power brick to power your entire PC. Pin compatible with HP and Dell bricks (be sure to measure the barrel size first).
- Using SoDIMMS and an MSata Hard drive, you can make a build that is extremely low profile with practically no cable clutter.
Using the above my PC on 65w i5 intel it idles at 15w.
on December 6, 2011
This board paired with a low power i3 or i5 CPU makes for a solid CarPC build. Windows 7 installs without issue using only the included driver CD. Intel's 3 year warranty, on-line support drivers, software and technical information are all top notch.