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Hardware Thread, Small (Ultra small form factor) and powerful PC (dedicated graphic board) in Technical; Hi all, I've seen some threads regarding Ultra small form factor PC but not discovered which ones are really small ...
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    Small (Ultra small form factor) and powerful PC (dedicated graphic board)

    Hi all,

    I've seen some threads regarding Ultra small form factor PC but not discovered which ones are really small and powerful, especially regarding the possibility to have a dedicated graphic card that can drive full hd resolution in multimedia applications.

    I have dedicated some time investigating also in miniITX but again not finding what I need

    Any help is appreciated

    Marco

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    The Dell Optiplex Ultra Small Form Factors come with some very good specs. But i dont think the graphics are as good as you want.

    The Mac Mini will go full HD. They have a HDMI Port. Tech specs are here: Mac mini - Apple Store (UK)

    If you dont like Mac OS X software you can run Windows on these machines.

    I have a Mac Mini plugged into a 40" screen running full HD. I am really happy with it.

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Any system that is "Nvidia Ion" powered will munch through HD for breakfast, plenty provide all the connectivity you need and are also dirt cheap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    Any system that is "Nvidia Ion" powered will munch through HD for breakfast, plenty provide all the connectivity you need and are also dirt cheap.
    Any example of existing systems on the market? Thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by FN-GM View Post
    The Dell Optiplex Ultra Small Form Factors come with some very good specs. But i dont think the graphics are as good as you want.

    The Mac Mini will go full HD. They have a HDMI Port. Tech specs are here: Mac mini - Apple Store (UK)

    If you dont like Mac OS X software you can run Windows on these machines.

    I have a Mac Mini plugged into a 40" screen running full HD. I am really happy with it.
    Unfortunately I can't use Mac....too long to explain. Any Windows 7 based system?

    Thans a lot

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Centrico: search "Ion" on ebuyer/misco and you'll see too many products to list. I think some of Acer ultra SFF ones use them but obviosly that size wont allow for dedicated graphics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by centrico View Post
    I've seen some threads regarding Ultra small form factor PC but not discovered which ones are really small and powerful, especially regarding the possibility to have a dedicated graphic card that can drive full hd resolution in multimedia applications.
    I have a Tranquil PC ixL:

    Tranquil PC Limited INTEL i3 / i5 POWER PCS

    The case can passively cool a Core i3 or i5 and can take a 16x half-height PCI express card, so should provide all the power you'll need. I'm using mine as a home server, so I have no idea how well the on-board graphics perform, but the PC Pro podcast review from a few weeks ago sounded suitibly impressed.

    As mentioned above, the Acer Aspire Revo's built-in graphics are pretty impressive, especially in a machine small enough to be screwed to the back of a screen and costing around £200. I found it had no problem running YouTube video, either from a web browser or over RDP from Windows Server 2008 R2.

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    Ditto the Acer Revo .. we have 20 here and they run everything that we want in the school ... I wouldnt want to run Crysis in top res though .....

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    What sort of things are you going to use the HTPC for? For example, do you need to bitstream DTS-MA/Dolby TrueHD audio from Bluray's to a receiver?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I have a Tranquil PC ixL:

    Tranquil PC Limited INTEL i3 / i5 POWER PCS

    The case can passively cool a Core i3 or i5 and can take a 16x half-height PCI express card, so should provide all the power you'll need. I'm using mine as a home server, so I have no idea how well the on-board graphics perform, but the PC Pro podcast review from a few weeks ago sounded suitibly impressed.

    As mentioned above, the Acer Aspire Revo's built-in graphics are pretty impressive, especially in a machine small enough to be screwed to the back of a screen and costing around £200. I found it had no problem running YouTube video, either from a web browser or over RDP from Windows Server 2008 R2.

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    Thank you David,

    the Tranquil PC i3/i5 seems interesting. I have to understand how to integrate a dedicated graphic board on my own, there is no info on that on their website. I'll let you know.

    Marco

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    What sort of things are you going to use the HTPC for? For example, do you need to bitstream DTS-MA/Dolby TrueHD audio from Bluray's to a receiver?
    I'm using it for interactive signage, at full HD, with multimedia applications that use images, audio, video and animations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by centrico View Post
    the Tranquil PC i3/i5 seems interesting. I have to understand how to integrate a dedicated graphic board on my own
    You just plug a half-height PCI Express graphics card in the free slot, it's just a normal PC. Actually, the Core i5 comes with inbuilt graphics capability, which should be more than enough for your digital signage..

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    You just plug a half-height PCI Express graphics card in the free slot, it's just a normal PC. Actually, the Core i5 comes with inbuilt graphics capability, which should be more than enough for your digital signage..

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    David Hicks
    From my experience inbuilt graphics is not sufficient. Can you recommend some half-height PCI Express graphics card?

    Thanks

    Marco

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    Quote Originally Posted by centrico View Post
    From my experience inbuilt graphics is not sufficient. Can you recommend some half-height PCI Express graphics card?
    The Core i5 is supposed to have some swishy new on-board graphics technology, with a fancy name that I've completly forgotten, so you might be surprised by how capable it is. Otherwise, the ATI Radeon HD 5450 looks pretty good:

    ATI Radeon HD 5450 review | Graphics cards | Reviews | PC Pro

    As the review points out, it's not a gaming graphics card (although it did run their basic performance tests just fine), but it should be very capable of handling video and so on, and is half-height, passivly cooled, and cheap, which is just what you want. I actually bought one to use for a small PC I was planning to build, but it wound up being used in a server when we reliased we'd bought a motherboard with no on-board graphics port - text-only console sessions certainly seemed to refresh quick enough, if that's any help :-) Obviously, double check on the manufacturers websites before you go and buy any kit.

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    We have just got some HP 8100 Elite i5 SFF brilliant little machines £480 if I recall

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