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Pros: Small, light, silent, easy to assemble, does it what is designed to do (HTPC) perfectly. Has built-in wifi and HDMI output. Everything just works.
Cons: requires 1.35v memory. I had hoped to re-use some crucial memory that I had in a different HTPC box, no luck. I went for a chip on Inte's approved list (CT51264BF160BJ) and it just booted right up
Other Thoughts: I had a Windows 8.1 license and a 128G SSD lying around, so I built this box for about $180 as an HTPC to watch Hulu, AMZ Instant Video and other streaming videos (didn't try Netflix). I took other people's advice and upgraded the BIOS right away. Windows 8.1 installs easily and everything just works.
The only adjustment I had to make: if you are using Windows 8.1 and noticed HDMI audio out of sync issue (audio would go on for several seconds, stops suddenly, then continues, then go on for another few seconds, etc). I went to the audio property panel and adjusted the sound output from 48000hz (DVD quality) to 44100hz (CD quality), the problem went away. I suspect this may have something to do with my audio receiver than the box itself, but just in case this might solve your issue.
Pros: Small size, easy assembly (5 screws), takes 3.5 inch drives, can take 8G memory, interesting heatsink, relatively silent. built-in DVD drive.
Cons: Only takes 1 3.5 inch drive, would prefer for it to take 2 2.5" drives (then I can throw an SSD for OS + a laptop HD for additional media storage)
As other posters mentioned, very bright blue power+HD LED, not something you want to look at in the dark, easily fixable with some semi-transparent tape though.
single wireless antenna, no DVI output, only HDMI+VGA
Other Thoughts: Very easy to take apart and put in components, took me less than 5 minutes to put the whole thing together. Heatsink comes with thermal compound already applied.
System only stable after I installed Intel's Rapid Storage driver (RST), will crash quite often with Microsoft's default AHCI driver (Windows 7 64bit). Give it a try if you have the same bluescreen problem.
It is small, but not as small as FoxConn's ION and AMD E350 boxes, those are book-size. However, the core i3 540 CPU I put in this is far more powerful than the Atom+ION or E350 options from FoxConn. It's a trade-off that I am happy with.
I spent below $80 on the core i3 540 CPU + $80 for this unit, hard drive was a spare, so the total cost of my HTPC is just $160.
This review is from: Rosewill RC-505 - 2-Port USB 3.0 PCI Express Card
Pros: Easy to install, no problems encountered. Can support power-hungry devices.
Cons: Speed improvements not as promised. I found it to be only 2x faster compared with USB 2.0 when copying a 1G file to a WD Passport USB 3.0 drive. It could use 2 more ports, too.
Other Thoughts: I don't know if it's the issue of the adapter card, or USB 3.0 itself is overrated. I know I cannot possibly get the theoretical 10x speed up, I was hoping for 3.5~5x but only got 2x, a little disappointed.READ FULL REVIEW