ASRock’s ION nettop really rocks!

A little over a year ago, I got myself the cheapest media center PC ever, on the form of an old refurbished office machine. It was fast enough to handle most of what I wanted it to do, but it was lightly too big for my AV setup, and decidedly beige. Ugh. But my main issue with it was that it was also making long hours. The Pentium 4 series of processors is notorious for its high power consumption, and I was starting to feel guilty.

I’ve had a couple of Atom based PCs in my home (a netbook and that really small PC I wrote about earlier), but found them to be slow, especially when it came to graphics. Intel’s ancient 945 chipset was a real bottleneck, and the newer US15W had terrible driver issues in Linux. That’s why I wanted to try nVidia’s Ion chipset. I decided that an ASRock Ion 330 would be the perfect little HTPC for me.
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Conceptronic’s YUIXX: truly all-in-on?

YUIXX media playerEarlier this week, Conceptronic, the people behind the highly acclaimed CFULLHDMA media streamer announced a new media box called YUIXX. Yikes? Not at all. It seems like this product might well bridge the gap between media streamers and full-fledged media center PCs. Judging from the specs, this thing will play back any type of file or stream you throw at it, either from the optional internal hard drive or through your network. In full HD. But what really sets it apart is that it can also record TV from one or two DVB-T tuners.
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A 39 euro HTPC?

Last weekend marked the return of the ‘HCC days’ here in The Netherlands. Ever since the dawn of the home computer, enthusiasts would gather in Utrecht once a year to admire the latest models and buy stuff a discount prices. In the age of the internet, with prices being even lower in web shops and blogs detailing every new gadget long before it hits the shops, this formula lost most of its appeal. What I found most interesting about the event however was to browse through old an refurbished stuff and find stuff worth gambling a few euros on to see if it still works. Luckily, the new formula still allowed for this kind of stand. Because this year, I wanted to replace my ‘TVPC’.
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