case ended up being pretty awesome – it was exactly what I needed. It accepted my 3.5″ WD Raptor 75GB and 5.25″ LG BluRay/HD-DVD combo drives with no problems. I also used a stock Intel heatsink/fan which had the perfect amount of clearance underneath the combo drive. There was no room for exhaust fans, but I wasn’t going to add any anyway…I did put in an 80mm MassCool intake though. It’s a little loud, but it’s in the closet :)
I opted for Windows 7 Pro x64 edition this time around, although not exactly by choice (all of my HTPCs have been 32-bit). My first install went with Win7 x86, but as this was my first nVidia build, I ran into some major issues between the onboard 9300 GPU and my HannSpree HDTV. After much reading, it appears nVidia is plagued with issues when it comes to going out over DVI/HDMI to certain HDTVs. Color space, PC/TV mode, resolution issues, etc. I had a clear picture, but my colors were terribly off…I can’t even explain it. They were washed out and each color seemed to have another color “tinting” it, so they were always way off. It was absolutely nothing that could be fixed within the nVidia Control Panel or in my TV’s menu…it was just bad. Apparently, the 9300 treats my TV’s native resolution (1360×768) as PC-mode and screws up the color space when output over DVI or HDMI. The HDTV resolutions were all standard – 1080i, 1080p, 720p, 480p, etc. All of which cause overscan issues with my TV. Long story short, I tried everything – to include a re-install using Win7 x64 to try and solve it – and nothing worked. I tried adding an add-on GForce 8400GS, which encountered the exact same problem. I then tried my ATI HD2600 Pro and had a beautiful picture, just like the HTPC it came from had. This convinced me it was an nVidia issue.
I ended up not using the ATI card and just setting my resolution to 1080i and resizing my desktop to correct for overscan. After some color adjustments, I am quite happy with the picture now, although I would be happier if I could use my native resolution. Maybe it will be fixed one day. I could have stayed with the ATI card, but I got this ITX board with CUDA-enabled GPU for a reason, so I intend to use it. I have watched a couple of shows with it and have no complaints.
I don’t have the sleep/resume issues many have had with this board and CPU/chipset temps are decent. Actually, the first thing I did when I got the board out was pop off the chipset heatsink, clean off their over-generous amount of paste and applied my own Arctic Silver.
I’m happy, overall, with the setup. It fits perfectly on my shelf now and despite the nVidia display issue, works very well. Check back soon as my rear in-wall/ceiling speakers arrive and I wrap this project up!