Top positive review
22 people found this helpful
Good value HTPC if you upgrade and tune it
on September 13, 2012
I bought this during the labor deal amazon had with rebate. Even after all the bad reviews I've read I couldn't resist the price. Reviews said this system is under powered for HD content because of the ATOM processor. I would have to agree with how its built out of the box.
But if you're a techy like I am, it's easy to make this HTPC awesome.
Based on all my research there are a few things you can do bump up the performance:
1. Upgrade to 4GB and ditch the 2GB factory stick. I bought this from amazon. Corsair Vengeance 4 GB (1x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz PC3 204 Pin 10666 SODIMM Laptop Memory CMSX4GX3M1A1600C9. You can buy value Kingston or Crucial RAM to save money, but I splurged for $5 more to get the 10666 speeds to give it just a bit more performance. Search for Q180 in youtube on how to take it apart. There are 7 screws that hold the case together and most of them are hidden!
2. Ditch the 5400RPM HDD and upgrade to a SSD. There are deals all the time for 128GB SSD's now. This will make read/write I/Os blazing fast and improve your system response time not to mention the boot time. Follow the instructions on how optimize SSD for WIN7. I.e. disable system restore, file caching and etc.
3. Download all drivers directly from the manufacture of the hardware. I.E. realtek, AMD/ATI, etc. Replacing all the drivers will help the system.
4. Once AMD/ATI GPU drivers are installed launch Catalyst Control. Start > Performance > Clock Control > AMD Over Drive. Check mark the box where it says "ENABLE GRAPHICS OVER DRIVE". You can over clock the GPU to your liking.
I overclocked my GPU to MAX settings. GPU: 725 MHZ, MEM: 900MHZ, MANUAL FAN: 100%.
Caution: Overclocking can cause damage. Proceed at your own risk.
Note: the Fan can be left to auto if you wish. I didn't hear any noticeable decibel difference leaving it from auto to manual. Auto 40% fan sounded exactly like Manual 100% fan to me so I just made it manual instead.
5. I uninstall Mcafee based on other reviewers saying that this was the cause of the choppy 1080 Youtube playback. It has seemed to resolved the poor HD playback.
Summary: I rate this 4 stars out of 5 based on the price I paid for it. I was in the market for either a GoogleTV, AppleTV, Roku device to play Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc. streaming content. This fits the bill nicely and provides a full Windows 7 OS to do more than the other set top devices. It's stylish, slimmest PC on the market as of date, DVD-RW (detachable if you have a DVD player for your entertainment system already), HDMI video/sound, plays 1080 content, saves energy and very quiet. It comes with a VESA mount to mount in back of your TV. That however doesn't work for me since my VESA mount is already attached to my wall mount. I used the PC mount to attach to another stud behind the tv. You can't even see or hear it behind the tv, it's that slim! It cost me just under $325 after all upgrading. My system idles at 0-1% CPU load, 26% MEM and GPU TEMP 61C.