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This review is from: Shuttle DS61 V1.1 Intel H61 2 x 204Pin Black Mini / Booksize Barebone System
Pros: A really fun build! Small.. so very small. Easy install -- the quick setup sheet seemed straight-forward to me. The external DC supply helps heat stay under control inside the box.. mobo voltages look good.. it supports a ton of ram and a 65W processor . all just fantastic! win8.1 is running great after some performance tweaking but did lag under the default install. paired with a G540 sandy bridge 2.5ghz dual core and 8gb ram
Cons: Win8.1 did need tweaking to run smoothly, though that's more of a flaw in the new windows than this bare-bones box. This isn't the cheapest HTPC setup available, but is a really unique build, and I could upgrade to quad-core later.
Other Thoughts: some people said they had trouble with RAM so I opted for a low voltage Patriot 1x8GB (1.33v), but the voltages to the ram look solid @ ~1.56v.. so probably could've saved a couple dollars there.. I haven't setup an intel box in a long time, but had no issues with the LGA1155 or any thing else..READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: First time installing a mPCIe wireless adapter -- this was easy and effective
Cons: none really
Other Thoughts: I used for an HTPC box and forgot I would l need to think about an antenna.. I salvaged one from a broken laptop.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: YAMAHA RX-V373BL 5.1-Channel AV Receiver
Pros: similar to another reviewer on here, I started shopping for an AVR after I got a new LG TV. my old receiver didn't have the SPDIF connection for it or HDMI passthru. This AVR solved both issues and finally brings me into the age of digital sound. The YPAO mic thing is very cool -- when shopping around for AVR's it didn't seem like any other brands in the same price range had this type of feature. it probably saved me hours of configuration (and then worrying if I have it right, tweaking, etc).. the on-screen display is so much better than trying to read the little display on the unit.
still exploring the features!
ordered Tuesday morning, received Wednesday afternoon!! using the free shipping! newegg is the best!
can't beat the $$$. The used ones on auction sites were selling for the same price newegg is offering new.
Cons: can't think of any. this purchase compelled me to pair it with a new 5.1 POLK Audio speaker kit -- that's not really a con though!
Other Thoughts: the free wiring kit is very nice! thanks!
there's a bit of a learning curve for me here -- trying to get surround sound from my HTPC to the AVR via HDMI connection. The key seems to be the codecs. Load up a video player that uses them and viola! audio sweetness! I'm using Arcsoft Total Media Theater which supports DTS and a few others and seems to be kicking out surround even though windows sound config only shows a 2 speaker setup..
still working on getting the HDMI CEC to work with my TV..