Today I’ll be reviewing the Lian Li PC-Q07 mini-ITX case. I picked it up this week to install my Core i3 CPU, but unfortunately, the Gigabyte H55 mini-ITX motherboard that I ordered turned out to be a micro-ATX board (wanted the GigaByte GA-H55N-USB3 but received the GA-H55M-USB3 – bummer).
Anywayz, the only mini-ITX board I had lying around was the Asus AT3IONT-I (Deluxe version), so we’ll be using that board to test the case.
Most custom HTCP builds are probably based on the Intel Atom/Nvidia Ion combo. The fact that it’s a cheap solution , widely available and supported allows it to act as a key enabler for such Atom/Ion based HTCP custom builds. However, in order to achieve the full HTCP experience, where you can enjoy key additional benefits such as :
- Hooking up a remote control
- Have low power consumption
- Emit low or even no noise
- Wireless LAN & Bluetooth
takes some additional effort to put into place. It’s easy to start with off with an Atom/ION board, but in addition to that there are a lot of other pieces of the HTCP puzzle that we need to fill in. Thus people end up buying additional components to hook up to their Atom board, adding to the cost, and the potential issue of having components that don’t work all that well together.
Asus has tried to address this issue with the Asus AT3IonT-I Deluxe. It’s a complete package, not only offering the Intel Atom/Nvidia Ion motherboard, but additional features like remote control, onboard DC/DC converter (eliminating the need for a PSU), WiFi , Bluetooth and perhaps most importantly, a complete passively cooled system. For completing your build, all you need is a case, some memory and storage, and your good to go.
Today I installed my AsRock ION box (after it sitting in some desk for 6 months). For those of you who don’t know the AsRock ION, it’s a tiny desktop PC driven by an Intel Atom CPU, and featuring an Nvidia Ion graphical chip. Although the Atom CPU is considered slow, the Nvidia Ion chipset more then makes up for that when watching high definition, 1080p video content. The Ion chip basically offloads whatever CPU processing would be required to decode the video content. As such, the GPU takes over all the work, and we’re not really bothered with the fact that the Intel Atom is slow.
When I initially bought it there were issues with the infra-red remote when using Linux. As I wanted to use it as an HTCP, and could only get the Nvidia Ion GPU acceleration when using Linux, I didn’t really bother with it anymore.
Luckily, in the meantime, AsRock have provided drivers for the latest Ubuntu 10.04, providing full support for the IR receiver through lirc, so I dediced to go ahead with it. What I thought would be a breeze turned out to be a bit more difficult.