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Thread: ZaReason MediaBox 4220

  1. #1
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    Default ZaReason MediaBox 4220

    Phoronix: ZaReason MediaBox 4220

    This year we have looked at a number of "nettop" and media oriented computers, including the ASRock Vision 3D that was the best nettop we have seen to date but not without a hefty price-tag, there were the MSI Wind Box computers, and even the CompuLab Fit-PC2 that was by far the smallest Atom-based computer we have tested today. None of the nettop computers we have tested though have been specifically designed for Linux usage, except for the one we are reviewing today. The ZaReason MediaBox 4220 is designed for multi-media use, as implied by its name, and of course, coming from this California vendor, it has designed to be used under Linux.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=15533

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Default

    Looks to me like the Thermaltake Element Q case with a custom front panel.

    A pretty decent case but I changed mine to include a Silverstone Strider 450W power supply instead of the originally included 220W version.

  3. #3
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    May 2009
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    Default

    Can you say what Zotac motherboard they're using?

  4. #4
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    Default

    There's a VA-API test system, where's the cpu/power graph comparing that to XV?

  5. #5
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    Oh and VDPAU of the Nvidia system, too. (fsck the edit limit, amirite).

  6. #6
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    600 bucks! fsck!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyRider View Post
    600 bucks! fsck!
    Yeah, it's unfortunate that Mini-ITX stuff is as expensive as it is, but I understand why it is so.

    That being said, I have to bring up one issue with Michael's recommendation to get the NVidia graphics card for this box... If you do that, you lose the slot for the PCI-e TV Tuner. This type of machine is very likely to see use as a HTPC, and a TV Tuner card is usually a requirement (or at least it is in almost every HTPC I've seen).

    Yes, you can get USB/Networked tuners, but if you're trying for a clean looking setup, that's not always an option.

    And if you don't want to attach the tuner to the computer directly, you'll end up with a split front/back-end myth setup and then the powerful front-end hardware isn't really that necessary.

  8. #8
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    This machine does NOT impress me.
    1) The case is HORRIBLE. The power supply should be BESIDE the mainboard, not above it.
    2) AMD is a much better solution than intel here... then you don't need a discrete add-on card.
    3) About $200 more than it costs to buy the parts and put it together yourself. Back when computers cost $2000, making $200 on it was reasonable. Not for when the thing costs about $400 though.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Not necessarily

    Quote Originally Posted by droidhacker View Post
    This machine does NOT impress me.
    1) The case is HORRIBLE. The power supply should be BESIDE the mainboard, not above it.
    I think that's pretty much par for the course, we're not working with full-size desktop cases here... but why should the power supply be beside the motherboard? These boards don't put out much heat, it's not like the power supply will be sucking in heat.

    2) AMD is a much better solution than intel here... then you don't need a discrete add-on card.
    Most Linux users would disagree with a choice of ATI graphics. I wouldn't touch them, myself. It's probably the wrong choice for a media center because AFAIK there's no hardware acceleration of video decoding on ATI graphics!

    3) About $200 more than it costs to buy the parts and put it together yourself. Back when computers cost $2000, making $200 on it was reasonable. Not for when the thing costs about $400 though.
    Finding a compatible TV tuner card isn't quite so easy, and with ZaReason it's guaranteed not to get broken by the next release of Ubuntu. I'd definitely consider this machine, as long as the fan isn't too loud (I have a similar case for my home server and the fan is freaking loud).

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