Date Joined: 12/07/04
Pros: - low power consumption
Cons: - It took a long time for this board to finally be released. I've been waiting about a year. But it's finally here so now the demand will be high so it will just be out of stock.
Overall Review: I upgraded a headless Zoneminder system that was running on a J5005 to get a bit more umph. Load average seemed to go down by about 1/3 so that is good. (The J5005 NUC is now a MythTV frontend.)
I also upgraded a MythTV frontend that had been running a J1009. The J1009 worked fine but was limited to 1080p. The J5040 boots in less time and also does 4K.
Like the J5005, the J5040 loaded Ubuntu 20.04 with no issues. Everything just works. Also like the J5005 the J5040 has no problem handling 2 8GB DIMMs and providing 16GB (minus a bit for the video mem) for the OS despite Intel and ASRock both saying 8GB max total memory. (I suspect it may actually be 8GB is the max capacity of a stick but that's not what they say.)
If you liked the J5005 you will like the J5040 as it is a the same but a little faster at the same price point. I wouldn't buy one to replace a J5005 unless you were planning on buying another J5005 anyway in which case you just buy this.
Pros: Small, quiet, low heat and power. Low power is great for a system that is on 24/7.
Cons: Limited to 8GB of RAM and while that is luckily just enough for my needs it would be nice to have the option of having more for some headroom. Note that this is a limitation of the J5005 SoC and not of the board design or UEFI; Intel chose to place this limit the processor itself presumably to limit its market and not have it eat into more expensive and more profitable chips. (Let's face it, this processor has enough horsepower for a lot of applications but 8GB puts a cap on things.)
Overall Review: I'm using this as a headless ZoneMinder box to monitor 5 HD/UHD cameras. Motion dectection is done on VGA resolution streams and when triggered both VGA and higher resolution (HD or UHD stream depending upon the camera) are recorded to a nfs mounted drive.
Installed and ran Ubuntu 18.04 without issue.
Pros: - Compact
- I didn't get cut up working on it like often happens with inexpensive cases.
Cons: - I can see how this would be very cramped and difficult to deal with if using a conventional power supply along with multiple hard drives.
- The four thumbscrews used for the top of the case are rather tight. Not a major problem but it just seems like something wasn't quite machined right.
- The Cool Master logo on the front is the power button and power light. It's a fairly bright blue. I may see about either adding a series resistor or perhaps scuffing the LED end of the light pipe to dim it some.
- The hard drive activity LED which is on the side appears to be a conventional circular jumbo red LED from casual observation. It is kind of big and not the best look IMHO. It would have looked better if smaller, not as bright, and perhaps blue instead of red.
Overall Review: It worked well for me. I would buy this again.
This is to re-house a MythTV backend server / NAS box into a smaller form factor. Intel J1900 based mini-ITX board, SSD boot drive mounted on the side, and two 4TB drives mounted up top. I used a Mini-Box 80W picoPSU with an external 12V brick instead of a conventional power supply and simply covered the power supply hole in the case with some sheet plastic. I can't imagine trying to deal with a conventional power supply inside this case with all of the hard drives and the cables. It would have been a challenge.
I understand the reason for the length of USB cable as the makers of the case don't know where it needs to plug into on the MB. Unfortunately in my situation the USB3 header is very close to where the cable emanates from the case and it made cable management kind of interesting. In the end I wound up coiling the USB cable to effectively make it shorter. Not the nicest looking solution but it is functional.
Pros: I picked this up for my daughter who is a sophomore in high school taking honors this and that as well as an AP course. She wanted something she could use to read "fan fiction" during her down-time. On the utility side, I wanted it to be able to run MS Office so she could use it for school work. This has fit the bill perfectly. It upgraded to Windows 10 (free upgrade) and I was able to network map the DVD rom drive on my PC so I could install MS Office. It's not a powerhouse but it boots quickly (due to the SSD), had plenty of horsepower for MS Office, streaming netfix, etc. and it has excellent battery life. It's certainly not a gaming PC but that isn't what we expected or even wanted.
Cons: The display is fine for her young eyes. I'm a software developer that is used to huge 30" monitors and can get by with a 17" for surfing and email. Yes I can read things if have my glasses on but if you are in the 45+ club like me and are starting to have the typical eye issues associated with this age, then you probably want more real estate.
Overall Review: It's not super rugged but my daughter, who can be rough on things at times, hasn't caused any damage in the few months she's had it. This is a great system for someone who wants a small system to surf, check email, and type up term papers.
The eMMC doesn't have a ton of space but I was able to install MS Office 2013 and still have a few gigs left over. I've installed a microSD card for data storage but honestly I don't expect my daughter to really load this thing down.
Pros: Using as boot drives on mythtv HTPCs. Boot time is incredible -- particularly for the price I paid.
No moving parts so quite. No moving parts so fast. No moving parts so reliable.
Cons: They don't get hot enough to pop popcorn.
As with all SSDs you need to take care so they don't die a premature death and if you are easily distracted it is easy to forget to do one of the suggestions that will minimize writes (and maximize drive lifetime.)
Overall Review: I see they now cost 50% more than I paid for them. I'm glad I bought them when I did as I probably wouldn't pay the current price as I was on a budget.
Pros: Low cost very low power fanless system with a fair amount of umph.
I rebuilt a 10+ yo mythtv setup using 3 of these boards. I first bought one to test with modern (0.27 as opposed to my old 0.20) mythtv SW and see how it handled the video decode task. I was so impressed I immediately bought two more.
The first board is now a low power back end only system (from a mythtv perspective but it performs many other server functions). It's a headless system that lives on a shelf in my laundry room and boots with only a power cable and network cable. It's been running reliably 24/7 for about three weeks now and I have no reason to believe that it won't go for many years.
With 4GB RAM, a SSD boot drive, two 4TB drives, and a gigabit network link it is drawing about 28W at the wall using an old 80+ power supply that would really like to be delivering more power. I may pick up another pico-supply as I would expect that it would be closer to 20W at the wall. (80+ isn't 80+ if you are only drawing a little more than 5% of the supply rating.) The CPU utilization rarely goes about 10% on this system and it runs cool even though it is behind bifold doors.
The two front end systems are in small cases with SSD boot drives, pico-supplies, and remote control receiver HW. They connect to their TVs using HDMI to deliver a 1080p image. The cases have adequate ventilation so the systems are fanless and create no noise. Even after an extended viewing period decoding OTA HD MPEG2 being streamed over the network from the back end, I find that the CPU core temperatures are just shy of 60C while the SSD is usually 32C.
The CPU has enough horsepower to decode OTA HD (720p and 1080i) in SW with about 20% utilization on 3 cores and 35% on the 4th. With HW decode (using VAAPI) the utilization drops even more. This means that even with SW decode there is plenty of CPU bandwidth left to ensure that response to user input is quick. These make great little HTPCs.
Cons: One of the memory sticks is adjacent to the end of the heat sink. If one were inclined to use a fan to blow over the end of the heatsink the memory is blocking the flow.
Overall Review: Awesome fanless HTPC. No issues with any of the three boards I bought.
Pros: Works great. Just plugged it in and away she goes...
Great price -- same as DDR2 would have been.
Cons: The smoke won't come out!
Overall Review: No heat spreader but seems to be stable without it.
I haven't run any benchmarks or anything or verified the MB picked of the correct timing.
No issues using with my ASUS P5G43T-M Pro MB.
Pros: Nice case with rolled edges, etc. Has a nice feel despite being a hybrid of plastic and metal. Seems to have good air flow yet it is quiet. Noise reducing rubberized mounts for drives. Built in cable management (see the cons on this though.)
PS noise is "buried" somewhat because of the bottom/back PS placement. Also the PS operates in it's own cavity and thus is relatively isolated from a thermal perspective. Thus the PS doesn't add to the MB heat and visa versa.
Cons: While the case design incorporates some cable management/hiding aspects, they can be a bit difficult to work with. Luckily it's something that I won't be dealing with very often.
The filter on the bottom of the case is obstructed slightly by my power supply which means that if I want to remove/clean it I will need to loosen the PS. It may not be an issue for all supplies.
Front door must be opened to access power button. While in some ways it may be nice for it to be somewhat hidden, I would prefer that I be able to access it without opening the door. (Either don't put it behind the door or make a hole large enough for me to stick my finger through.)
Overall Review: As others have mentioned, the fans do not realistically have the option of being controlled via the MB as they lack the tach sensor lead. They do however have externally accessible three speed controls which can be manual set to what is needed for your situation. (I have them both on low with no problems.)
I have a modular supply. While I may have difficulty adding/removing modular cables due to cramped quarters in the future (I'm not there yet as I only have two cables attached right now), I imagine that it would be real fun dealing with a non-modular supply.
At the discounted price that I paid ($20 off), I would definitely buy this case again.
Pros: Makes a nice fast desktop for a relatively low thermal footprint and a great price point.
Cons: Processor lacks virtualization which means that a major feature of Windows 7 is not supported. I have a few apps that appear to need to be able to be installed in XP virtual mode in order to work on Win7(64 bit) and I can't do that. (It sure would be nice to be able to sync my palm!)
Come on Intel. This is a relatively new processor and apparently one of the few in the Core 2 Duo line that doesn't support VT. Must have been the marketing people that came up with this one... D*mn I hate Intel marketing people.
Overall Review: May end up doing a "double purchase" and buying a processor with VT unless I decide to use my wife's laptop to sync or I decide to do it in linux once I get around to dual booting my desktop machine.
Pros: Using this as a replacement for a GeForce 5200 that I had been using in a MythTV HDTV frontend system. Apparently the 5200 just couldn't quite handle playing video back at 1080p. This handles the task just fine. Fanless so it's quite which is important for a PC that is near your TV.
HDTV playback via DVI is beautiful.
Cons: I would have rather had svideo rather than composite out. At this point I'm not using it but if I repurpose this card/system to another (Analog) TV then it would be better to use S. Oh well, the price and performance are great.
Overall Review: Wish they would have had fanless 6200s back when I bought the 5200 because it would have saved me the trouble and expense of buying two cards. Oh well, at least they are cheap.
Pros: Plugged it in, loaded the stock XP SP2 drivers that MS suggested (the CD that came with it has never touched my drive) and started moving pictures off my Motorola phone. Looking forward to editing/creating ringtones to upload when I have the time.
This thing is small!
Cons: It doesn't have infinite bandwidth.
Overall Review: Not sure about range but it worked fine for the few feet away that was convenient for me to use.
Pros: The scenario: Pentium-M based HD MythTV backend with three drives that is in a laundry room behind bifold doors. Needless to say it get's a little warm in there. Two of the drives have thermal sensors and they typically registered 118 to 122F before the fans and they are now down to 98 to 100F -- the same as the CPU. Next I'll work on getting some ventilation to the room and I'm sure things will drop even more but 20F+ is a huge improvement.
Cons: The fan/heatsink mounts to the under (PC board) side of the drive. This adds a small amount of thickness from the bottom of the drive to the mounting screws. On cases that have a tab/flange that the drives rest on, this can cause problems as the fan heatsink will now be resting on the flange and the drive will be on top of that resulting in the case holes for the drive mounting screws no longer lining up with those of the drive. Of course this can be worked around but it is a problem nonetheless.
Overall Review: This is going to be a regular part of any PC that I touch. Heat is a drive killer and these things just plain work.
Pros: Wireless! RF so it doesn't require line-of-sight.
Cons: 2.4GHz which might be a problem in some cases although I have not had any problems and I have the computer side of this as well as an 802.11b AP and a 2.4GHz AV transmitter all within a 5' sphere of each other.
Overall Review: It didn't work out of the box but by resetting the channel selection once, something the manual said I shouldn't need to do, it worked fine.
The stick/mouse buttons would be a little ackward for general computer use but it works just fine for a home theater system and light web browsing.
It works well within 10' or so and gets flakey by 20' but <10' is all you need for a home theater PC.
Not the best feel or the most ergonomic keyboard I've used but then again neither are laptop keyboards. Plus on a HTPC you typically aren't doing a lot of typing -- the quality/feel tradeoff is reasonable for getting something that's wireless and only used for light use.