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Intel BOXDQ77KB LGA 1155 Intel Q77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: This board has been running 24x7 in my system with an Intel i5-3475S CPU for several months. No problems. Great little board for a SFF HTPC.

I'm running Windows 7 Pro x64 with Windows Media Center, and I didn't see a need to update the BIOS. If it ain't broke, don't fix it... especially with BIOS. If a new version of BIOS actually fixes a problem that you are experiencing, then this is the ONLY reason to update BIOS. Otherwise, leave it alone. Same goes for drivers... especially for an HTPC.

My system has a 4TB HDD, a 120GB mSATA SSD, a slim slot-load BD/DVD-RW combo drive, and 8GB of RAM, which is plenty for a dedicated HTPC. With all software installed and running, the system idles at 25 watts! Prior to installing the software (antivirus, Media Center plugins, etc), it idled at 18 watts. Without the software, HDD and ODD, it idled at 11 watts.

I have no need for the extra Ethernet port, and have never tried to use it.

This isn't mentioned in the specs nor the manual, but the analog audio output jack doubles as a mini-TOSLINK (optical audio) jack. Very nice.

Cons: It's frequently out of stock on NewEgg. I had to buy it at an auction site.

Other Thoughts: I installed this in a Morex 887 case. It's perfect for my needs, but unfortunately this case isn't carried by NewEgg. I had to buy it from a small online retailer in California. That retailer only lists the case as a barebone (with motherboard, PSU, etc). I contacted them to buy the case by itself, and they were happy to sell it to me.

Ceton Echo – Windows Media Center Extender Watch Live & Recorded TV/HDTV Access Personal Media Libraries on Any TV on Home Network, HDMI Interface, Remote Included
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: It's small, and uses very little electrical power.

The packaging is nice.

It comes with cables.

That's about all the Pro's I can think of.

Cons: It hangs and reboots often while you're trying to watch TV. It was impossible to watch TV for more than an hour without a problem. I used it for recorded and live TV, and it couldn't even do that.

It has been a year since Ceton updated the firmware, and there are still plenty of known bugs that haven't been fixed.

Many users report that it doesn't have a good picture when watching certain channels. I did not experience this problem, but the fact that this thing can't run for more than an hour without a hang made it unusable for me.

I had mine for 6 months and I returned it to Ceton at the end of the extended warrantee period that was given to early adopters.

Other Thoughts: I was part of the beta of this device. I bought mine directly from Ceton. They rushed this product to market before it was ready. The beta was terrible, and they didn't fix the issues that were reported by the beta testers before they started selling these to everyone.

Then, they promised to make it run Android. They didn't fix the problems that already existed because they said that they were going to roll those fixes into the Android release. However, the Android release never came, and they still didn't fix the problems that already had been reported.

I recommend to buy a different extender. The best extender is the XBox360. You can buy the XBox360 new or used. You can also find other used extenders on auction sites.

ASUS EAH6450 Silent/DI/1GD3(LP) Radeon HD 6450 1GB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: more than 1 year

Pros: Good inexpensive card for HTPC or other non-gaming uses.

Cons: None

Other Thoughts: I don't understand why so many people are complaining about the lack of DVI-I. DVI-D is all digital. DVI-I is both digital and analog. The only thing that DVI-I gives you is the ability to use an inexpensive adapter from DVI-I to VGA... but the card already has VGA, so this only matters if you need to drive two VGA monitors! If that's what you want, then buy a card with two VGA connectors.


Brian R.'s Profile

Display Name: Brian R.

Date Joined: 02/19/04

  • Reviews: 54
  • Helpfulness: 23
  • First Review: 01/25/10
  • Last Review: 03/25/14
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