Actually it's spot on cheaper then the RPi if you are any kind of geek. I picked it up for $34 after MIR last week, I already had a 2Gb stick of DDR3 1333, an 80Gb HDD, a Mini-PCIe wireless card and antennas pulled from a junked laptop, a 400w PSU from an old build and a few mATX cases from HP and Dell laying around in storage.
Originally Posted by uid313
Not a bad little board that normally retails for around $55 US. I'll probably still sell it though for around $40-50 on Craigslist to put toward one of those 2Ghz quad Kabinis that are supposed to be out by the 2nd week of April.
An overlooked fact about these boards is that there is 2 Mini PCIe slots, one that is only half height and a second that can fit full length cards so you can use a laptop wifi card and add in a mini PCIe SSD drive in the full length slot for up to 240GB of storage while still not using the SATA or desktop 16x PCIe card slot.
I bought and installed this. Some notes from my installation:
1. At ~$30 AR for an HTPC you really cannot beat this thing. I highly recommend you snatch it up if you can next time it goes on sale.
2. I bought a 1GB stick off ebay for $7.
3. I paired it with a $20 AR Corsair 430W ATX power supply
4. I pxe booted openelec Gotham Beta so no storage needed. OS is hosted on a WHS 2011 using NFS file server and tftpd.
5. I threw it all in a plastic shoebox. I don't need a fancy case. They cost like $2. Make sure to drill some holes for veneration and to run the cord in. You also need a push switch to turn the thing on I had one liying around, but you may need to buy for $2. No need for an LED as the lan light will tell you its on.
6. I had an MCE USB adapter. But Kabini has CEC support. So your remote may work. Also, it has a serial port if you have an old serial remote adapter.
- Plays almost every single media file thrown at it. 1080p is great. No matter the bitrate. I really put it through its paces. I used high bitrate samples known to stress HTPCs and a Blue Ray .iso. Tried VC1 H.263 and MPEG4 and MPEG2. I tried an Hi10 sample that I know Raspberry Pi won't play. Sadly, it really couldn't handle it either. CPUs both went to 80-100% and framerates fluxuated between 15 and 24. So not perfect but I don't watch anime.
- You need the beta of Openelec with the latest Kernel. The hardware is too new for old versions of Linux.
- Silent. The PSU fan barely spins and the board is fanless.
- The ATX PSU is overkill but its efficient and cheap. Even at such low wattage it is working fine. At idle I am drawing 12-14 Watts at the wall. Yes 12 WATTS! Amazing. Playing a 1080p high bitrate blu-ray rip it draws only 17 watts.
1 GB of ram is fine for Openelec. Its single channel so no benefit for 2 sticks anyway.
Netboot is fast and using NFS on a wired network there is no artwork lag.
Highly recommend this solution.
NOTE: manual says mSATA is not supported so I don't think you can use a laptop HDD in the mini PCIe slots.