My bedroom project continues…

By | July 9, 2010

Well, I got everything done last night and actually got to watch an episode of Criminal Minds on it.  I was happy :)

However, with the good, there comes the bad.  I am not happy with the IR extender’s performance when using Media Center.  It controls my AV receiver just fine, but there was entirely too many skipped button presses and lagged responses for me to consider using it full time for Media Center.  I tried everything I could possibly think of to get it to work more reliably, but it just would not.  I think it could have to do with the SmartHome branded dual emitter I bought instead of the Xantech branded one, but I’m not paying $20 to see.  I simply snaked my third-party Microsoft-compatible IR receiver (it’s MUCH smaller than the Microsoft one) out the top corner of the closet door and used a piece of two-sided velcro to fasten it to the corner of the molding.  It’s barely noticeable and Media Center responds perfectly with it being placed there.  I’m sure I’ll tinker around with it a little more, but for now, it’s considered “fixed” for me.

Second problem – with all the wiring and DVI-HDMI adapter sticking out the back of my current ATX-cased HTPC, it just doesn’t fit on the shelf it’s on.  I had to sit it at an angle to keep it from flipping off the shelf and I still can’t guarantee my wife that it won’t brain her as she’s walking in to get clothes sometime.  So, I need a smaller case which, subsequently, requires a smaller motherboard.  I have solved both predicaments.

A little while ago I decided to see where pricing was on ITX boards and cases and became pleasantly surprised.  My local Fry’s has a very nice ITX case for just $39.99!  It’s the Raidmax ITX-0907-BP and it even comes with a 300W PSU.  I don’t expect that to be much, but it will do.  The case also accepts full-size 5.25″ DVD and 3.5″ HDD, which is good since I don’t have any slim/notebook drives to use for this.  There’s not a whole lot on the Internet about this little case, so I will be sure to write as much about it as I can once I get everything in it.  For $40, I don’t see how I could go wrong.  It’s not even on sale!  There is one write-up about it at the SilentPCReview forums in this thread.  That’s about as extensive as it gets and it’s used as a file server, not an HTPC.  Still some good (if not only) info.

For the remaining issue of the motherboard to fit in this little case, I decided on another product at Fry’s – The Zotac GF9300-G-E.  I considered one of the Atom-based boards, but I’d rather use hardware I already have which will also provide me with a more powerful CPU…I can either re-use my E6600 or go with an E1600.  The hardware accelerated ION video would be nice, but I was afraid I would suffer during CPU intensive tasks – mainly related to Media Browser.  In the end, the integrated GeForce 9300 video coupled with a more powerful processor will be more of an advantage to me…as was saving $25.  I’ll toss 4GB of DDR2-800 at it and I have a spare 120GB SATA drive to use, so I can actually set this whole thing up without even taking my current HTPC offline…always a plus.

I may get around to starting some of this tonight…my wife’s cousin is supposed to be staying over, so she’ll keep the kids busy.  I will be sure to take pictures and post next week on how it all went!

6 thoughts on “My bedroom project continues…

  1. Adam

    By your selection of motherboard, I’m assuming you do not have plans to purchase Ceton’s InfiniTv?

    Reply
    1. Jon Post author

      It has a PCI-e slot, but if it’s just not compatible, then no, I don’t care…I don’t subscribe to TV service.

      Reply
  2. Sinjen

    Just an FYI. The latest version of Harmony coupled with the latest version of mediabrowser running on my ION330-HT from Asrock is MUCH improved over previous versions. I have confirmed (at least for myself) my suspicions that backdrop transitions were the cause of my scrolling issues. When Throgmorton added support to Harmony for shortening the time it took to transition from one backdrop to the other( cutting the animation workload down in the process), my performance for Coverflow went back to being “snappy” again. And, if you use a theme where you can’t quicken transitions, you can simply turn them off in MediaBrowser (uncheck rotate in the backdrops settings). You’ll get a snappy interface and will still get randomly generated backdrops.

    -Sinjen

    Reply
    1. Jon Post author

      Where is he hiding Harmony? I looked for it and appeared he still had all his themes yanked.

      Reply
      1. Sinjen

        Yep, they are still unavailable. Fortunately, I had them all installed at the time.

        -Sinjen

        Reply
        1. Jon Post author

          Actually saw that I had them all on my living room HTPC this weekend. I realized then that it was the watched and unwatched number indicators that turned me off of using Harmony…they’re all way too white and just don’t look right. I’d be using it if that were changed. Hopefully the source will make it public again so it can be changed.

          Reply

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