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foxconn netbox

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  • foxconn netbox

    So I just bought a foxconn netbox 330i and thought I'd share some of my experiences with it over the past couple of days, for anyone interested or just bored.
    I won't bother much with the specs of the device, but it's basically another intel atom + nvidia ion device wrapped in a small plastic case - I use it as a multimedia system.
    It's quite a barebones system; I had to buy ram and an internal hard disk extra, although some prefer to boot off a usb stick. Only 2GB of ram here - figured I wouldn't need much more than that for what amounts to playing movies & music.
    I put Ubuntu (lucid) on there. As there's no cdrom drive with the device, I had to create a bootable usb stick (unetbootin to the rescue) to install an os. I should state that I prefer Gentoo over Ubuntu, and even more so now, so I may do a Gentoo system for it one day, but for now Ubuntu was quicker.
    The unfortunate thing about the foxconn netbox is that heat dissipation could have been done better. I did notice that once it starts doing a few things then the fan spins up and gets quite loud. I did try running things purely from a usb stick in case it was the hard drive, but no it was the system in general. Pop the top off for some better air flow and it will remain quiet for almost everything you do - people be wary of that one! I'll be cutting a few ventilation holes in the top soon enough, which is something really annoying to have to do: foxconn really could have designed things better than this.
    I didn't touch the standard install much - used the latest nvidia drivers from the package manager, and put xbmc on there too. It all works ok (so far) though I'll need an external dvd drive or something to test that out. Needed to poke at the audio settings to get that running over hdmi. Only have the one file for some 1080p stuff - and it really doesn't run properly. Jittery, slow, and with some graphical "noise" (really, looks like noise that you might see on scanned magazine pages or something) - all using vdpau of course. Same with xbmc and mplayer, so it's likely a bandwidth bottleneck somewhere (file plays fine on a full desktop system). I'm currently finding some other 1080p files to have a look at, so I'll see if they fare better.

  • #2
    Slight update: other files work fine with 1080p (movie trailers at any rate).


    • #3
      The noise you see is in the movie itself, that's an encoder problem. When you would watch lots of bluray then you would see that h264 encodes tend to add more noise than vc1. I don't know if you properly configured mplayer or how old your xbmc version is. xbmc usally is better with m2ts as it can show subtitles.


      • #4
        Well the noise is sort of like amplified film grain, and not present when I played back on my desktop. Changing decoders (vdpau, opengl, etc) will affect it, but it does run better off the internal drive than an external hard drive over usb. So I think it's more of an IO bottleneck (I'm thinking more of an 'I' than an 'O' problem).
        I'll keep poking at it to find out what's going on, but I really don't have much use for high def stuff (I keep that one file around for testing, but otherwise don't have anything high def).