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Hardware Thread, Budget HTPC/Steam Box Spec in Technical; Really got me thinking now on the optical drive... I never buy games on discs and reading up, BluRay playback ...
  1. #16

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Really got me thinking now on the optical drive... I never buy games on discs and reading up, BluRay playback sounds like a dog in XBMC. I still have my PS3 acting as BluRay/DVD player so perhaps I ditch the ODD all together and instead put in something like this (though I can't actually find one for sale anywhere!): Antec.com - Product: VERIS Elite

  2. #17

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    OK so now I'm thinking install this instead of the BluRay drive but could do with some advice: Soundgraph iMon VFD 5.25" Multimedia Controller - Black [iMON VFD-bk]

    First off, has anyone here used one of these? If so, how simple is it to setup to show what you want? My worry is that it will only really work with the bundled software. Not the end of the world if the screen is a fixed message (though obviously I'd like it to display some info) but it's the remote I'm worried about - if that will only work with the bundled software, this is a waste of £45 IMO.

    Also, can anyone confirm/deny that BluRay playback is still a PITA in XBMC, or is it relatively simple/seamless now? Bearing in mind this is going to be for the whole family to use like a media center, it needs to be as simple as inserting the disc and choosing Play/BluRay, if you have to faff around manually opening up and configuring other software every time just to play them then I won't bother.

  3. #18

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    OK, I've decided (for now at least!) to keep an optical drive, but only DVD. I have a BluRay player already and from what I've read online, BluRay support is still touchy at best on a PC. To make myself feel better about ditching BluRay support, I've gone for a slimline slot loading DVD drive and got a 5.25" bezel that matches my case... this will make the missus very happy (and hopefully make her miss the fact I've gone £20 over budget because I decided to get some Crucial Ballistix memory instead of the Avexir listed above).

    Won't be purchasing until pay day, but I'm happy with my base now. Only reason it may change is if there's a significant price drop on any upgraded components that would bring them within my budget - just have to wait and see!

  4. #19
    chazzy2501's Avatar
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    if you want bluray support then everything needs to support HDCP the hardware, drivers and playback software (including OS) and I don't believe Linux does this.

  5. #20

    ZeroHour's Avatar
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    Sorry I missed this, I use bluray on pc and it works semi-well. I gave up buying internal drives for my rig a few years ago and bought a bluray burner thats usb powered to work everywhere I need. Software wise powerdvd is okay, its the best I have found so far if you want to have full TrueHD output (HDMI Only fyi)

  6. #21

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazzy2501 View Post
    if you want bluray support then everything needs to support HDCP the hardware, drivers and playback software (including OS) and I don't believe Linux does this.
    I'm going to be basing the machine on Windows 7 as it'll be doubling up as a Steam Box

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroHour View Post
    Sorry I missed this, I use bluray on pc and it works semi-well. I gave up buying internal drives for my rig a few years ago and bought a bluray burner thats usb powered to work everywhere I need. Software wise powerdvd is okay, its the best I have found so far if you want to have full TrueHD output (HDMI Only fyi)
    Yeah I have got a BluRay drive in my main PC but I never use it any more. Used to use PowerDVD but I can't imagine how you could integrate it with XBMC without physically having to close the window when you're done. I know that sounds trivial, but the idea is the whole thing will be as simple as possible to use so the whole family can jump on and use it. If I knew I could get BluRay to work seamlessly (i.e. the same as DVD playback in XBMC) then I'd do it, but I don't think it's possible...

  7. #22

    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3s-gtech View Post
    their APUs (starting with Llano) have mixed a decent enough CPU (especially the Llano line, using Stars instead of Piledriver CPUs)
    Fixed as I can't edit.

  8. #23

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    OK, missus threw a pipe in the works last night by announcing she'd rather have the machine inside a different cabinet, one which only has spaces 33cm square

    They are open backed so can get away with up to about 40cm deep. Anyway, we looked at the options and, much to my surprise, she loves the BitFenix Colossus mATX:



    I think it's a lovely case but I'm surprised she went for it as I thought it'd be too in your face for her with the light - she's more of a geek than she likes to let on!

    Now, it's exactly 33cm tall, but I plan to remove the feet and put on some small rubber pads instead (to give the door clearance) so it should fit fine. The only question I have left is whether or not it's possible to fit both a large GPU and an optical drive at the same time. I've watched various videos and looked at various photos, but none seem to show this setup. It looks like it should fit, but it's going to be infuriating if I get the mobo mounted only to find it won't fit everything.

    I've emailed BitFenix to ask the question but in the meantime thought I'd see if anyone here has this case and if so, is it possible?

  9. #24

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Gonna take a chance on the case, it looks like it should fit...

    Parts ordered, can't wait for the build

  10. #25

    3s-gtech's Avatar
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  11. #26

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Can't access that link at work, it's the Micro ATX version I've ordered - please tell me it doesn't say that you can't fit an ODD and GPU at the same time!

  12. #27

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    Duh, so it is. The relevant line here is:

    "GPU length is a rather limited 180mm with all the FlexCage storage caddies in the way. With the adjacent caddy gone, this stretches to a healthier 330mm - enough even for a monstrous graphics card such as the AMD Radeon 7990 6GB. "

    On the preview of the mATX and mITX cases, there's this line:

    "Out of the box, the case supports five 3.5in drives or eight 2.5in SSDs and by removing the middle hard disk cage, there's room for 330mm graphics cards too."

    The photos support that - on both case sizes, full length graphics cards can be used without losing the 5.25" bay. Good news!

  13. Thanks to 3s-gtech from:

    LosOjos (16th January 2014)

  14. #28

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3s-gtech View Post
    Duh, so it is. The relevant line here is:

    "GPU length is a rather limited 180mm with all the FlexCage storage caddies in the way. With the adjacent caddy gone, this stretches to a healthier 330mm - enough even for a monstrous graphics card such as the AMD Radeon 7990 6GB. "

    On the preview of the mATX and mITX cases, there's this line:

    "Out of the box, the case supports five 3.5in drives or eight 2.5in SSDs and by removing the middle hard disk cage, there's room for 330mm graphics cards too."

    The photos support that - on both case sizes, full length graphics cards can be used without losing the 5.25" bay. Good news!
    Thanks for that - it did look perfectly reasonable but there wasn't a single photo/video that I could find that showed that setup - are ODDs really that outdated? I still like to own my purchases (i.e. physical media)! Then again, with space becoming more and more of a premium, I am starting to see the benefit in going all digital...

  15. #29

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Now that it's all built just want to advise other EduGeeks - avoid the BitFenix Colossus mAtx/ITX cases, they're awful.

    No tool-less components apart from the expansion slots, which are too loose.

    Case IO cables are so short that once connected, the slightest slip and they get ripped back out of the mobo. On my case the pins were bent.

    HDD caddy in a ridiculous spot meaning it needs removing (4 screws, not tool-less) every time you need to get in to the case, which happened to me twice due to aforementioned short case IO leads needing reconnecting.

    PSU will only fit with the fan pressed against the front of the case which is half covered, massively restricting air flow.

    Front door's hinges are loose and rickety.

    The plastic clip to hold in place the ODD slot's face plate snapped off in my hand, even though I only applied just enough pressure to remove the face plate.

    Light bar doesn't light up all the way around, one side is clearly much dimmer than the rest. Plus the light needs turning on manually every time you turn the PC on (as if I'm going to be bothered with that!)

    Apart from a couple of loops near the mobo there's very little you can do to properly route cables.

    All in all, a really badly designed case and poor quality for the price.

    I did post a review on overclockers but they've not published it.
    Last edited by LosOjos; 24th January 2014 at 10:08 AM.

  16. Thanks to LosOjos from:

    sonofsanta (24th January 2014)

  17. #30

    nephilim's Avatar
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    Do you have a picture to show us at all?

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