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Mini-ITX Computing For Everyone

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the mini-for-the-masses dept.

Hardware Hacking 259

An anonymous reader writes "So you have decided that you want an ITX system. Whether it's just to look cool or because you need to reclaim the desk space. Most people wouldn't know where to start when creating their system. Fear no more because XYZComputing.com has created a step by step process on how they created their system. Based on an MII10000 and using a USB Pen to load up Puppy Linux. No details are omitted so if you are new to Mini-ITX and do not have a clue what you need or where to start then this would certainly be a good place to start."

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No details emitted (5, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626410)

It's a good thing, they might have had to notify the EPA.

Re:No details emitted (1)

saucercrab (855892) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626439)

Or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Re:No details emitted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626493)

Or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Or "new-kew-lear", as their boss says.

Re:No details emitted (0, Redundant)

wbel_pimp4 (882477) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626714)

suspended I am?

Re:No details emitted (1, Interesting)

nfarrell (127850) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626487)

Why can't the editors do something about the grammatical and spelling mistakes of the articles they deem fit to publish? The more errors slashdot publishes, the more it'll get, as the geeks will think it's correct usage. Admittedly, if the editors can't even manage to prevent dupes every few days, I don't have high hopes of them being on top of this.

It's particularly sad when you see all the effort being put into getting the HTML semi-compliant. If only they could do a few more things about the content.

If they really HAVE to leave the original contributers' words verbatim, at least highlight or otherwise indicate the words which are wrong. We can laugh when you read 'site' and know it should be 'cite', but I'm sure there are times when we don't even realise the error is there until we've RTFA. And only rarely (and too late) will an update be posted to the original story.

If only we could moderate the editors...

Re:No details emitted (0, Offtopic)

Molochi (555357) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626520)

do you digg it?

Re:No details emitted (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626550)


Just give up. It's cool to be stoopid and some intentionally mispell just as a form of trolling - then they can always claim "I knew it was wrong, and did it just to make you reply! Hahahahaha, moron!"

Re:No details emitted (3, Funny)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626615)

That's the most rediculous thing I've ever heard! Why would /. want an editor that would actually read the submissions?!?!

Re:No details emitted (2, Funny)

Cerdic (904049) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626501)

It's a good thing, they might have had to notify the EPA.
Wouldn't have been a problem - the current admin has upped the allowable amount of detail emissions.

Re:No details emitted (5, Funny)

hamisht (197412) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626543)

Any emissions are indicated by a Light Omitting Diode

Re:No details emitted (4, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626654)

"Any emissions are indicated by a Light Omitting Diode"

Anybody know what type of censors they're using?

Re:No details emitted (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626688)

Maybe they should use an SED. [jargon.net]

Or perhaps an LER. [jargon.net]

Re:No details emitted (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626597)

Yeah, but only once every other year if the EPA gets its way.

Re:No details emitted (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626630)

I just emitted a fart from my hairy, smelly KY,shit and semen encrusted asshole. Suck my Dick!
I am Trip masterbater Monkey, Master of the first post, and of anime ascii art.
I like fisting sessions... a lot!!!1!!!1!!1!!!!1!!!!!one!!!!one111!!!!
FUCK YOU BE-ATCH!!11!!!!!!!11

Modification (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626411)

What would be involved in modifying it so that some of the details are emitted...?

emitted->omitted (0, Redundant)

arc.light (125142) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626414)

That had me confused for a bit...

Another grammar nazi (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626419)

Too bad no details were emitted, the article might have been useful otherwise...

No details are emitted? (4, Funny)

Sleet01 (122510) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626420)

How will we read about it then? What happened, did they fall within the event horizon created by the over-abundance of pr0n data on the net?

No details Emitted? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626422)

We're not going to get much from this posting, then?!? ;-)

Why not an Apple Mini? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626425)

Why not an Apple Mini?

Re:Why not an Apple Mini? (5, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626449)

No, you're thinking of the article where no details were i-mitted.

The story contains no details (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626427)

No details are emitted? So this time I really DO have a reason to not RTFA. I feel like I've omitted something though.

seems like a lot of work (4, Insightful)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626429)

when you can just buy a Shuttle [shuttle.com] or some other small form factor pc mostly put together already.

Re:seems like a lot of work (5, Interesting)

TruePaige (834087) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626441)

Some people enjoy building computers, as some people may enjoy watching a football game. Plus the savings money wise is very nice in the pocket. I assume you just don't get it. ~_^

Re:seems like a lot of work (4, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626447)

when you can just buy a Shuttle
Shuttles are fairly big in comparison and the really small form factor boards are expensive. Mini-ITX fits in the middle.

Re:seems like a lot of work (5, Insightful)

Brainix (748988) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626452)

Then the author didn't write the article for you.

Some of us don't see assembling a computer as work -- we see it as play.

DIY -- scratching the itch -- is the very spirit of Linux.

Re:seems like a lot of work (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626476)

Some of you seem like shitty nerds. Why is this article on slashdot? Slot A. Tab B. Not like you are soldering anything. Pussies.

Re:seems like a lot of work (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626517)

No shit. Since when is plugging a bunch of premade parts together considered some sort of hobby? An eight year old snapping legos together is having more fun and using more of his brain. Go paint a model plane or something. Launch a model rocket. Fly a kite.

Re:seems like a lot of work (1)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626557)

Well sure, I enjoy putting computers together too. But that's not how the article is presented, especially in the summary. It acts like if you want a sff computer, this is the way to go independent of how much you like putting them together. A better reason, as someone pointed out above, is that Shuttles are quite larger than the one in the article.

Re:seems like a lot of work (2)

Kat0325 (804195) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626567)

I agree. Many people take great pride in building computers and do it for 'fun'. Yes, go with the Shuttle if you don't want to take the time to build your own system... but there is a great joy to putting in the time to build a computer. In particular, there is something very exciting about experimenting with the unconventional form factors. Building your own computer system also fun because it's a challenging problem. What's most important about the new computer? The size, design, performance, and cost are all major factors. Building your own computer opens you up to the widest possible range of options, if you have the time to build it. In the end, it really increases your sense of ownership for a system... being able to say to spilled blood to make it happen, and also that it was made specifically for a particular purpose you had in mind.

Re:seems like a lot of work (2, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626585)

however.. you wouldn't need an article to tell you how to do this.. what fun is following someones guide anyway?

anyways, problem with mini-itx tends to be just the one mentioned: you can get a shuttle type of machine for cheaper and end up with a faster machine to boot and end up with something just as cool looking. I'd like to play around with one but at the current price/performance i'm not going to pay for a toy that's slow and premium priced. even mini-itx cases are premium priced(even crap looking mini-itx cases seem to come with a hefty pricetag). the article is basically an ad anyways and pretty boring to read.

i like diy stuff, re-using old stuff and getting by cheaper by not being afraid to solder. but mini-itx doesn't fit into that at all, mini-itx for desktop is just stupid from the geek diy viewpoint and from normal user viewpoint as well.

and if you're hauling it around.. just get the friggin laptop.

Re:seems like a lot of work (5, Interesting)

Wavicle (181176) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626703)

My server at home, which sits on a static IP address, is a mini-itx based machine. It provides me with: web hosting, email hosting, storage, inside network services and firewalls outside access to my TiVo. Why did I do this with a mini-itx instead of a shuttle? Well, there are several disadvantages to Shuttle over Mini-itx:

  • Noise. The shuttle will likely produce a lot more. The only moving part on my server is the hard drive platters, and they are hermetically sealed and use fluid dynamic bearings. As hard drives go, they are whisper quiet. I've bought a lot of fans in my time, even some rather expensive ultra-quiet ones. Given enough time, all of them eventually get dust in the bearings and start making a racket.
  • Size. Shuttle is small, this thing is smaller.
  • Heat. There is not a single fan running on my server. The hottest component by far is the hard drives.
  • Power. This goes along with heat. The power supply's peak sustained output is 60W. I'd be suprised if the unit consumed more than 25W except during hard drive spin up.
  • Battery back up lifetime. This goes along with power. A standard consumer UPS will run this thing for many hours. No, I haven't tested how long. It has survived 3 hour power outtages.


Put all this together, and I can hide the server in a closet and forget about it. Just need a power drop and two network connections.

Re:seems like a lot of work (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626773)

which is FAR from desktop use, you might notice.

Re:seems like a lot of work (4, Informative)

spagetti_code (773137) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626541)

Did you see the power supply - 60W - lets see you find a shuttle that runs on that!

I have one of these (MII12000 in fact) - idle draw is less than 20W - a dim bulb.

Power efficient, cool, quiet, small, but not very fast.

Pick the right tool for the job - in my case a PVR.

Re:seems like a lot of work (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626765)

Does your 20 watts include a hard drive and an optical drive?

wow (1)

celeritas_2 (750289) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626431)

No details were emmitted eh? That's just amazing. Editors might actually want to _read_ articles and check for large glowing errors more often then say... never, which is pretty much what happens now.

Re:wow (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626506)

I think you meant to use the word "than" rather than "then".
When mocking people for their spelling/grammatical errors it is best to double check yourself. You know what they say about people who live in glass houses...

The Previous Comments (2, Funny)

llamaguy (773335) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626432)

Off Topic, but I find it hilarious that the first 6 comments all focus on the 'No details are emitted' phrase. And I was going to make a snide reference to it as well, but I'd prefer to be modded 'Off Topic' rather than 'Redundant', since at least I have something (slightly) useful to say.

Re:The Previous moderation (1)

williwilli (639147) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626650)

your moderation preferences are meaningless to us, puny user!

Here's the TRUE STORY.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626435)

Jesus. I've got it figured out. After Roland "The French Kiss" left, the Slashdot "team" had to find a new "boi" to provide, well, the Services. This is where Zonk cums in. I mean, he must be good for something, and it's not "editiong", right? So, it turns out that Zonk is soooo good at his, er, "trade", that now, none of the other Slashdot "editors" have any time to screen stories. Hence, the pap and crap that we now see from day to day. So, next time Zonk cums up for air, ask him how his high protein diet is going? So anyway, that's how we now see this little gem of a dupe on mini-ITX "technology".

Re:Typo (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626438)

No details are emitted so if you are new to Mini-ITX and do not have a clue what you need or where to start then this would certainly be a good place to start.


I believe there's a typo in the summary. Obviously the submitter meant to say that it'd be a bad place for a beginner to start.

Huge Advertisment (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626448)

Seeing as slashdot must have a large revenue stream coming in from all of these advertisments they are proclaiming as "stories". Can i get my subscription money back???

Re:Huge Advertisment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626507)

bah. That's what you get for subscribing to an ad-funded service run by an ad-profiteering business.

Easier process (5, Insightful)

tji (74570) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626453)

go to www.apple.com
click on Mac Mini
click "Buy".

I have messed around with the Mini-ITX's for a couple years. The Mini-ITX and the VIA C3 processors they use were way ahead of their time in low power/heat small sized computers. But, the Mac Mini did a big leap frog over the Mini-ITX boxes. It's smaller, cheaper, and faster than any of VIA's offerings - not to mention all the included software, and it looks better than any of the ITX options. If you must have x86, Mini-ITX is a good option. If not, save some headaches & pick up a Mac Mini.

VIA announced the Nano-ITX a LONG time ago, but have thus far failed to deliver anything.. The Nano-ITX might offer some interesting possibilities. But, at this point I think there is little chance of them actually shipping it.

Re:Easier process (5, Funny)

callipygian-showsyst (631222) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626497)

If I got my kid a Mac Mini instead of some AMD box with an NVIDIA card, the kids in school would call him lame and beat him up! And he wouldn't be able to play any games.

Re:Easier process (5, Insightful)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626521)

So it would teach your kid not to care so much what others think, and give him more time to focus on important things instead of video games?

Sounds like a win-win to me.

Maybe you could buy him a console and a Mac Mini.

Re:Easier process (2, Funny)

callipygian-showsyst (631222) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626637)

give him more time to focus on important things instead of video games?

Absolutely! And one of the other reasons I prefer Windows is that there are some great development tools available. All your favorite GNU stuff, plus Microsoft Visual Studio .NET which is the best IDE I've ever seen/used. Even though I've been a Mac developer in the past, it's obvious to me that Microsoft cares more about third-party developers.

So for a platform to learn computer programming on, Windows with Visual Studio .NET 2005 is my first choice.

Re:Easier process (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626529)

I've got news for you: if your kid hangs out with kids who ponder the differences between a Mac and an AMD Box, he's likely to get beat up anyhow!

Re:Easier process (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626671)

If I got my kid a Mac Mini instead of some AMD box with an NVIDIA card, the kids in school would call him lame and beat him up!

Beaten up by AMD nerds and NVIDIA fanboys. There is a fate worse then death.

Re:Easier process (1)

Chalex (71702) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626787)

If you got your kid a Mini-ITX machine based on the C3 chip, the kids at school would call him lame and beat him up! The parent is not suggesting that the Mac Mini replaces a gaming rig, he is suggesting that the Mac Mini replaces a Mini-ITX setup very well. Obviously, neither is a system that plays the latest 3D games well (although the Mac Mini is much more capable than the C3-based machine).

Re:Easier process (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626502)

The Mac Mini is not a powerful computer, but has power enough for just about anything below video games or serious number crunching. My iBook has about the same specs as the lesser Mini, and it does video editing, plays most recent games tolerably well, handles Office and iWork easily and is a good development machine.

What the Mini really, *really* needs is video out, and maybe surround sound. It's almost perfect for using as a home theatre device, but lacks video out and surround sound. If Apple could add those, then I'd buy one just as an entertainment unit. It would literally be perfect for me, and I could free up 25GB of space on my iBook (my CD collection).

I love the tiny form factor of the Mini, but can't buy one until it's more significantly different from my iBook.

Re:Easier process (3, Informative)

tji (74570) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626563)

The Mini *does* support video out. You just need an adapter. From the Mac Mini prodct page on apple.com: "Televise Your Visions - You can use any TV with Mac mini as a display. Some newer HDTV models already sport a DVI connection, but you'll need the optional S-Video/ Composite Video adapter to use Mac mini with regular TVs.

Or, get an HDTV, many/most have DVI and/or VGA inputs. Mine has both, and the Mini looks great in 720P HDTV.

But, you're right about the audio. It only does analog stereo output. You need a USB audio adapter to get Dolby Digital surround output.

Also, it would have a great HTPC, if Apple opened APIs for the MPEG2 acceleration hardware onboard. With that, it would be capable of HDTV video playback. Without that acceleration, it's not fast enough to keep up with 1080i video.

Re:Easier process (4, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626516)

VIA announced the Nano-ITX a LONG time ago, but have thus far failed to deliver anything
When I talked to a rep about it there appeared to be some heat problems they needed to resolve. There are smaller form factors out there than mini-ITX (I have a little fanless VIA Eden-N 800Mhz machine that is in a 170 x 124 x 58 mm case) but you have to go looking outside of the mass market shops - industrial automation places may be willing to sell single units at a reasonable price.

Re:Easier process (1)

tji (74570) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626544)

> industrial automation places may be willing to sell single units at a reasonable price.

I looked into a lot of these back when I was building Mini-ITX boxes. There were several more powerful options (e.g. mini-itx form factor, socketed for Pentium M), but, any time I would find a reseller willing to talk to me they would want $500+ for just the motherboard in small quantities. Small volumes are apparently not worth the effort for those guys.

Re:Easier process (5, Informative)

dwater (72834) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626549)

If you want to use the DVI output of the Mac Mini with an flat panel, be careful which one you buy :

http://discussions.info.apple.com/webx?14@33.9SkZa nGL5BJ.4@.68a8dc69 [apple.com] ...or if you are dead set on one that is listed as not working, don't buy the Mac Mini.

(Why does /. join the line containing the URL with the line after it, irrespective of how many blank lines I put in between?!!?)

Re:Easier process (1)

lucas teh geek (714343) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626652)

just a guess but the line probably gets interpreted as html and wants a <br> to break to a new line

Re:Easier process (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626720)

Well, I don't remember it being a problem before....

If you must have x86 (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626569)

go to http://www.apple.com/macosx/applications/virtualpc / [apple.com] , click "Buy Now".

Re:If you must have x86 (3, Informative)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626733)

God no!

Not on a Mini!

I've tried VPC on my iBook (1.2GHz, same specs as a Mini) and it's just horrible, an abomination. On a fast Mac, you're good to go, but never a Mini.

Re:Easier process (3, Interesting)

puetzc (131221) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626595)

About a year ago I built a silent computer based on a mini_ITX for my wife. Her requests were 1) Small and 2) Silent. It went together easily and has done an excellent job of general basic service. It installed Debian (first testing, and now Sarge) without any undue problems. Three months ago, I bought a Mac mini for my daughter to take to school. Everything she has tried has worked perfectly. If the Mac had been available when my wife needed a new computer, I probably wouldn't have bothered with the homebuilt, as the mini is about the same price and is more powereful. Stability hasn't been an issue with either one.

Re:Easier process (1)

Pierre (6251) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626683)

more powerful than what?

I love the mini form factor but a 1.2 GHz G4?

What will it be like in year?

I used to love the macs for their longevity - seemed like they were usable for years longer than PCs... Just don't see it with this chip. I wonder what they will have when they go to intel processors - would love to see a mini with an AMD64 chip

Re:Easier process (1)

puetzc (131221) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626726)

At worst, I will move it to Debian - that's what I did with an old iMac that wasn't powerful enough to support OSX. With Linux, it still does a fine job of web browsing and word processing for an undemanding user. If I do that with the mini, it is still small, quiet, and cost less than the mini_ITX. I am sure Apple will support if for several years, and that is probably long enough for a $600 computer. I agree that the AMD chip might have an advantage in 3rd party software that isn't always available for the PPC.

Re:Easier process (5, Informative)

CurbyKirby (306431) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626657)

Mod parent up to 6, at least.

I was really looking forward to running my home servers on Mini-ITX boards. Then the Mini came out and almost every enticing feature of the Mini-ITX platform (for home use) was instantly overshadowed.

Power Tie, at 10W-20W for the entire system.

The other power The C3 Nehemiah is decent at integer math for its clock speed and power usage, but sucks at floating point. Google some benchmarks for more information. For a server, that's generally not a terrible problem, but it makes the Mini more flexible in the ways it can be used.

Price I can get a new mini at under $500 shipped direct from Apple, with a hard drive, CD-burner, memory, case, latest commercial software. Good Mini-ITX cases cost well over $100 just because the market is small. A recent Mini-ITX board is $200-$300. No, don't use the price of an original Epia, which can't hold a candle to a Celeron 400, not to mention a 1.25GHz G4. Don't use the price of a full-size cheapo ATX case, cause that's not a fair comparison. Then add storage, RAM, etc. Even after spending all that (easily $500-$700 for a system that can even attempt to rival a low-end Mini in terms of performance), you don't get...

Support Apple has legendary customer support (look at, say, Consumer Reports and their customer support comparisons). Via might not be terrible, but they'll only help you with the mainboard, not the components, nor integration.

Linux I haven't checked in the last few months, but I'd wager that the Mini has better Linux support for its embedded hardware overall. EPIA drivers have a history of being shakey. See also the stability problems below, if you're thinking of going with an older, cheaper board. I loaded Debian-PPC on my Mini and everything just worked. Granted I don't use Airport Express (which as far as I know still doesn't work) and the Mac's onboard hardware monitoring chip isn't easy to configure with lm-sensors, but nothing that I really needed required special drivers.

Tinkering If you insist on building things yourself, then the Epia wins here. Keep in mind, however, that you can open a Mini and make minor changes (like adding RAM) without voiding your warranty.

Expansion Be careful if you think the Epia wins here. Some boards claim to support up to 2 PCI cards, but they are plagued with DMA problems. Notice that the newest Epia SP has dropped claims of such support. The problem crops up while sending large amounts of traffic to a hard drive and PCI card at the same time, or Ethernet port and hard drive, etc. and it will tank the machine. This is a known problem apparently resulting from a slow interconnect between the North and South bridges. Via's official forums (www.viaarena.com) has threads about this issue. To be fair, the CN400 chipset has a much faster interconnect, so problems might be alleviated. As for the Mini, most peripherals and add-ons will support one or more of USB and Firewire, so there's not a big problem. Video capture may or may not be a problem (are there Linux-friendly Firewire video capture devices?), since I haven't looked into that at all.

Apple stickers Bundled with the Mini! =P

The Epia is often used to build car-puters, whereas I haven't yet heard of something using a Mini for that purpose. If you have a particular PCI card you must use, that might be a reason to go Epia. Aside from those reasons, the Mini is a better deal and probably more capable.

Re:Easier process (4, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626699)

The Epia is often used to build car-puters, whereas I haven't yet heard of something using a Mini for that purpose.

I haven't been tracking this use, but I've seen several forum posts and several web sites around puting a Mac mini into cars. Heck, just put "Mac mini auto" into Google and you'll find a few of them. There are at least two companies offering add-ons, one sells a dock to put the computer in and pull it, and another is a DC power supply rather than using an AC inverter then the power brick.

Re:Easier process (1)

Pierre (6251) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626665)

ya *but*

that cpu is a bit anemic. i've been fighting to keep from buying one of these things for myself (bought one for my mother and brother). that cpu is a wimp compared to other things on the market

My first post ever (-1, Offtopic)

MyNameIsEarl (917015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626455)

I finally registered after being an AC for years!

Re:My first post ever (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626465)

" I finally registered after being an AC for years!"

We liked you better before ;)

How stable is it? (4, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626457)

I went through 2 via boards on linux before settling on an Nvidia board because I just couldn't get the damn things stable (to be fair, the soyo board was stable so long as I didn't plug anything into the pci slots).

The other thing I'd love to know is if it can do full screen, high res divx in linux, or if there's a mini itx case that can. I figure most of these boards aren't going to run an accelerated X, but I haven't done enough research yet.

Re:How stable is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626548)

They are pretty stable, but you need to use your own PCI network card. The VIA Rhine chipset on the motherboard will get confused if you unplug the cable and plug it back in again when running recent 2.6 kernels.

mATX ITX (5, Interesting)

Fortress (763470) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626459)

For my money, the mATX boards are a much better value. Cheaper, mainstream processor support, support for the usual PCI/PCIe/AGP peripherals means a more powerful, robust, upgradeable system. Plus, you can get cases that look like a piece of stereo equipment and can be unobtrusive in your living room.

IMHO, ITX is better suited for embedded systems, not a more general purpose computer. Unless you have a very specific, limited use (like a MythTV frontend), you'll almost always be better served getting an mATX-based system.

As with everything, YMMV.

Advertisements (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626462)

Looks like an anonymous submittal just to drive visitors to the advert heavy low content pages of his own site.

Interesting Parallels to Roland? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626488)

XYZ Computing is well known to be a Slashdot Whore in much the same way as Roland Piquepaille. Both seem to be friends of someone on the staff at Slashdot. And sadly, in this case, Roland actually has a better web site with better writing than this XYZ Computing guy does (and less ads, as well). Can you believe it?

Pimp Whoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626731)

Yeh, it's pretty obvious that this is a PIMP story for XYZ Computing.

the fine print (4, Interesting)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626463)

From the last page of TFA:

With a few additions, like a hard drive and optical drive, a computer like this one could easily be a great work computer.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement....

Re:the fine print (0)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626533)

It's like saying, "With a few additions, like large breasts and a tight cunt, my wife could easily be a great lay."

Re:the fine print (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626578)

I certainly enjoyed her.

Dying a slow death? (4, Informative)

tktk (540564) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626491)

Over 2 years ago, I bought the M10000 Nehemiah boards when they came out. Since then, there have been small increases in CPU speed and a few new mobos with different configurations.

The Nano-ITX's were supposed to be the next big thing. The Nano boards would be around 4.5" square, with SATA...etc. From what I can remember, it sounded like a great little board. For the first year after they were announced Nano-ITXs were shown at the various tech trade shows. This year, I can't remember hearing about them at all.

It's been long enough without a Nano-itx release that I'm starting to think that Nano-itx boards are vaporware and taking with it the rest of the VIA epia line.

Disapointed by the old Epia-M (@933) (4, Interesting)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626565)

I have an old Epia-m @933MHz that I tried to revive just yesterday. This is an old version of the Epia, I do think (and hope) the newer ones are better.

It took my 3 tries to get Windows up and running (correct steps are 1- update BIOS, 2- Install Windows, 3-Install drivers, 4- Windows Update a few times), while keeping your fingers crossed.

It hangs while lauching powerDVD and WinDVD, and VLC is too jerky to use (at 640x480x32@75)

I checked, it still costs 2 to 3 times more than a regular MATX board+proc, for about 1/2 to 1/4 the power. Plus, cases are VERY expensive if you want something that look nice, plus a low profile DVD reader/writer (check www.mini-itx.com).

It's kind of cool to have, and makes a nice conversation piece for all my nerd friends, but usage value is very low. I don't think I could make any kind of server of it. Maybe a router, a basic Windows Office PC, or a linux experimentation platform (but drivers are an issue).

It IS incredibly small, very silent, and does work.

Re:Disapointed by the old Epia-M (@933) (1)

jelton (513109) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626640)

As I sit typing this, I am listening to my old Epia box sing its low-noise fan song. It sits in my living room, running as a local DNS, daapd, netatalk and web-based file server running on FreeBSD. I bought this for a media server a few years ago and it has served admirably well in this task.

Sure it never really gets put through its paces, but as far as a fire and forget server for my house, it has served me well. If I ever get less lazy (it's a disease) and decide to use a software router, I might get one of those dual ethernet versions.

The point is, they work great for an unobtrusive, relatively quiet server and everything's onboard, so you needn't have to deal with a parade of new hardware when you repurpose it.

Budget Breakdown (5, Informative)

sakusha (441986) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626575)

I was curious how much this whole project cost after seeing the price links for the ITX motherboard under the article. So I googled around for component prices, and after seeing the prices, I can see why the author didn't include his budget in the article.

$220 ITX mobo, 1Ghz VIA C3 processor
$139 Silverstone case
$95 OCZ 512Mb DDR RAM
$45 Flash Voyager 512Mb pen drive
---
$499 Total

Note the project breakdown as listed in the article does not include a hard drive, optical drive, monitor, kbd, mouse, etc. Just the CPU.

That is fuxxing insane. Mac Minis start at $499, come assembled, includes a 1.25Ghz G4 processor, optical drive (CD-R/DVD-ROM), 512Mb RAM, internal modem, and a 40Gb hard drive with OS X and iLife software preinstalled.

Either the ITX project builder is goddam insane for building such a ridiculously expensive, low spec machine, or Apple is goddam insane for selling such a powerful machine for almost nothing. Or both.

Re:Budget Breakdown (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626598)

itx's are an insane choice for desktop if you're looking for bang to buck(didn't walmart have a 499$ laptop or something?).. or just anything to buck.

Re:Budget Breakdown (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626625)

itx's are an insane choice for desktop if you're looking for bang to buck

I remember when they used to say that about Macs.

Re:Budget Breakdown (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626702)

used to? they still are. mac mini isn't good bang.

Re:Budget Breakdown (1)

Cerebus (10185) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626769)

used to? they still are. mac mini isn't good bang.

Yes, but owning a Mac mini is more likely to *get* you banged.

Re:Budget Breakdown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626636)

Apple is goddam insane for selling such a powerful machine for almost nothing

*teh intarweb explodes*

No details are emitted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626577)

Whew!! That's good! I'd hate to have details strewn out all over the floor after being emitted.

Oh! You meant omitted! Well, that's all right then.

How about a laptop? (1)

CheesyPeteza (814646) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626579)

It looks nice, but wouldn't it just have been easier and cheaper to buy a laptop?

Why re-invent the wheel??? (1)

Your Average Joe (303066) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626581)

Just buy a Mac Mini. Small, quiet, cool, stylish and will not devaluate like a PC. I have one and you cannot hear the fan or the hard drive when you are right next to it. The only time the fan kicks on is when decoding video and listening to iTunes at the same time.

The Mac Mini just makes sense. We have yet to see the Intel mini computer they demoed in January...

Just One Jr. High English Class Would Help (1)

jcook793 (567065) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626613)

Seriously. Two fragmented sentences and obviously using the wrong word at the end there. I'm not one to normally nit-pick over English but come the hell on.

nano-ITX (4, Informative)

renehollan (138013) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626623)

TFA says that nano-ITX isn't quite ready, and that's almost still true: I have a Via nano-ITX board and a Silverstone Lascala LC08 case into which it....

... doesn't quite fit because Via changed the board form factor at the last minute.

Silverstone says they are retooling to make new LC08 (and LC07) cases to accomodate the nano-ITX board, and I'm waiting impatiently. Sadly, what was originally to be a fanless design won't be anymore, with Silverstone's new case: Via didn't like Silverstone's heat pipe instead of a fan, and nixed the idea for the retooled case, not giving it the "nano-ITX" moniker blessing if it didn't support a fan.

Why not just use a mini-ITX?

Two words: CN400 and VT1625.

The CN400 is an HDTV resolution equivalent to the old CLE266 MPEG2 decoder chip, and the VT1625 is an HDTV resolution RGB to YPbPr (i.e. component) encoder.

MythTV with hardware-assisted HDTV MPEG2 decoding on a fanless thin clint would have been 'da bomb'! (Well, O.K. "fanless" is starting to become a matter of opinion and "do I dare not hook it up and hack a heatpipe?", but still.)

There are miniITX boards with the CN400 (Commell makes one), and there are fanless mini-ITX solutions (Hush PC makes one, heatpipe-based, but alas it won't accomodate the Commell board, and is as expensive as it is good looking), but the two sets don't yet intersect, which is why I was pinning my hopes on the nano-ITX board.

There are already patches to CLE266 and VT1623 drivers to accomodate the CN400 and VT1625, so Myth on the thing looks like a slam-dunk.

I've already got the nano-ITX board, and an (early, and therefore useless) LC08 case, so, despite the fan issue, I'm likely to go ahead and build the thing (nano-ITX, 512MB RAM, trayless DVD-ROM, hard drive/flash disk), anyway, having spent $400 for the nano-ITX board, $175 for the DVD-ROM, and whatever the RAM cost (I had a spare drive) once I get an updated LC-08 case.

Modding (1)

MrArmyAnt (847547) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626642)

I run a pc modding site, a small one, but granted still a site. You can actually get a board the same size, that can take a P4 HT (sorry no amd) dual giga lan ports, firewire, usb2.0, and 1 pcie slot for 300 bucks.

Look at me. I built a PC. (0, Flamebait)

dustinbarbour (721795) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626658)

Personally, I'm getting tired of homos building PCs and feeling they need to document the hell out of it and post it online for all to see. Seriously, there's a reason these parts all come with instructions of some sort. It's the same shit all over again. "Look, I built a PC. Everyone loves the pictures of the motherboard. Look how it has 1 slot for RAM and not 2. That's because this is a Mini-ITX board." Do they think the whole of the Internet is going to read his article and say "Oooooohhh..."? Arg.. The Internet gets more and more boring every single day.

Why boot off of a Compact Flash? (1)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626667)

If you're always going to be attaching to a network, you should be able to pxeboot off of the net. Linux works reasonably well for that. It just saves you one more part. At that point, all you need is a keyboard mouse and monitor.

Mostly I've used netboot to run classrooms where the won't let me instll Linux or Unix for the students. I've also started using it at home to boot old boxes with limited drives, or where I'm too lazy to do a full install.

Spellign on Slahsdot (2, Funny)

Fortress (763470) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626679)

This is a little off-topic, but the first dozen or so replies (emitted?) to this story made me wonder about the poor spelling in many Slashdot articles. We all know spellcheckers have been around forever, and it would seem to be a trivial task to fix errors in accepted stories. So what's going on? I have two theories:

1. The editors are shielding themselves from liability by not changing submitted stories in any fashion whatsoever. Similar to the way that comments are never deleted or modified, only moderated down.

2. They're deliberate troll-food. Slashdot seems to have more than its fair share of grammar/spelling Nazis, and the occasional error is an easy way to throw them a bone. Trolls are happiest trolling, and they generate hits just like the rest of us. I think sometimes that dupe stories are the same thing.

P.S. Since I mentioned the spelling/grammar Nazis, I'm sure you (you know who you are) are looking at this psot very carefully. The question is, did I really make an error or am I just demonstrating #2 above?

List of Compact Flash Linux Distributions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13626692)

List of Compact Flash Linux Distributions

http://www.scriptingbox.com/cfld.php [scriptingbox.com]

Mini? (1)

Donkey5555 (720467) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626706)

For a mini-itx computer that is one giant case.

A missing howto (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626715)

One piece of information I'd like to find is where the frak to buy a nice 12V power suppy to power multiple mini-atx systems.

I tried google, but the only thing I could find either could only power 1-2 or they want a bulk order of 500.

Another irritating site (2, Insightful)

Cyburbia (695748) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626725)

Yet [yak.net] another [timecube.com] irritating [tampax.com] site [datejesus.com] where [clothmonkey.com] random [wosib.org] words [virtualcrack.com] in [downsyndromedolls.com] an [victorysiren.com] article [gaytruckersassn.org] link [straightdope.com] to [kosherpets.com] irrelevant [etext.org] ads [banknotables.com] and [40ozmaltliquor.com] Web [pwdca.org] sites [forgotten-ny.com] .

My (negative) experience with mini-itx (2, Interesting)

zerojoker (812874) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626741)

Basically I spent a lot of money and ended up very disappointed. I wanted to create some kind of multimedia/streaming-box, capable of turning into a complete PVR for DVB-T oder DVB-S. The problem is: To have a smooth DivX - Playbay in any event you have to go for the 1GHz CPU at least. But even though the VIA EPIA platform is considered low-power, the CPU is cooled by this noisy 6000rpm spinning fan. Since the VIA EPIA platform is completely custom, it is very very difficult to replace this fan (and get another fan with appropriate cooling capabilities) or even cool this thing without a fan. Sure there are ways, but the point is that you're gonna spend much much more compared to a standard ATX oder microATX Board with a nice medium power CPU (Athlon XP, mobile Sempron) and an CPU Cooler with a low-spinning 80mm fan. The system turned out to be extremely hot (even with the stock fan), slow (sometimes smooth DivX playbay was not possible) too noisy to be a working solution. Linux was a problem, too, because the MPEG2 Accelerator Chip wasn't supported and DVD-Playbay was not possible because of this (the CPU alone is too slow for a smooth DVD playback). My 2 cents: If you don't really really need the form factor and want to build a nice PVR, go for a typical standard ATX system.

Why no Cappuccino? (1)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 9 years ago | (#13626796)

Why didn't this guy just get a cappucino? They are exactly what he's looking for but come with Intel processors, and the chassis is smaller than his. Ok, there's a fan inside, but it seems like he gave up a lot. Hmmm...
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