Joined on 02/28/08
Sweet HD MythTV kit
Pros: Silent HDMI out h264 1080p glitch-free Uses very little electricity (for you greeners, or people like me who just hate wasting money) Super-Awesome
Cons: Had to grab backported stuff from MythTV .22 and latest Nvidia drivers for my Mythbuntu 9.04 setup, but .22 should be shipping with Mythbuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala), so that won't be an issue for anyone getting this after October 2009. The lack of any sort of noise kinda creeps me out, so I have to tap my shoes on the floor when I feel like a Hard Drive should be spinning or something, and when the HD video starts I say "wwoooooOOOOO!" because that's what my old HTPC did...
Overall Review: I put this in a little Apex case (APEX MI-008 Black Steel Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case 250W Power Supply - Retail) (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811154091). I PXE boot, so the only thing I added was RAM and a remote control. During boot, the rig draws 27W. While playing 1080p video, 26W. While playing 720p or lower, 25W. Idles at 25W. Draws 3W while powered off. So, if you bought a nicer power supply, it'd probably draw less while idle, but 25W is nothing to shake your fist at.
Faulty scroll wheel
Pros: Cheap. Everything but the scroll wheel works fine.
Cons: The scroll wheel worked fine at first (indicating that there were no software or operator issues), but then became useless (indicating a hardware failure).
Overall Review: Scroll button is still there, so I still use it out of habit, and then my window gets scrolled all over the place. Very annoying.
Great HTPC card
Pros: (Stuff I care about) Fanless VDPAU capable (for beautiful hardware-accelerated video decoding under Linux) Low-Profile Supports component video out. (Stuff I don't care about) DVI out VGA out S-Video out Composite out
Cons: Heat sink is copper-colored aluminum (NOT COPPER), but works fine in my rig (zero airflow over the card, but there are some tiny slots in the case directly above the card) Doesn't come with the cable required for component video out (but luckily I had one that came with a previous nvidia purchase).
Overall Review: Heat sink wraps around to the "left" side of the card (as seen from the back of the computer), so it may not fit in your rig if you have a bulky card directly to the left of your PCI-E x16 slot, but it doesn't take up any space from the slot to the "right" of the card. Hardware de-interlacing in VDPAU is gorgeous.
Good card, if a little whiny
Pros: Supports VDPAU, so it's absolutely wonderful for media in Linux. Supported the component breakout cable I got with another Nvidia card from a while back, so my "progressive scan" TV (480p) doesn't look like garbage (480i) (I hate interlaced video).
Cons: A little whiny, but I'm cheap, and the fanless cards that support VDPAU are about twice the price. Maybe I'll replace the heatsink/fan someday...
Overall Review: I'm using it in a HTPC box. While I am content, I'm not happy with the noise this thing generates. Don't get me wrong, it's tolerable, but you will notice it when no one's talking on the TV.
Relatively Quiet, but Hot
Pros: Quiet 5 3.5" drives in 3 5.25" bays (sweet!).
Overall Review: I had one of these stacked on top of another similar product from a different manufacturer (10 7200rpm drives total). Two drives in the center failed from the heat (somewhere around 60C from what I can remember). Rebuilt the rig putting this unit below the other mfr's unit and set the center drive as a hot spare, and all drives stay at a reasonable 35C-40C. From what I understand, in my rig some of the heat from this unit is being transferred into the other unit and vented by the other unit's fan, preventing drive failure. Also, the center hot-spare is basically acting as a heat-sink for the other 4 drives. I would recommend this unit paired with 5400rpm drives, but not with 7200rpm drives, as they're typically hotter. Now if you go with some fancy-cool-WD-green-style drives, maybe that would work too.
Some work required
Pros: 4 SATA ports, super-cheap, does what I need it to do. I paired this card with a super-cheap atom-based ITX board and now have a very functional fileserver using Linux Soft-RAID. This card automatically passed drives through to the OS (I hate FakeRAID) with no configuration required. I was worried I'd have to load a different BIOS (as some here have done), but I'm not using an optical drive, so I'm set.
Cons: As soon as you open the box you should throw away the SATA cable included. It's way too tight, and it's responsible for a lot of people ripping the sata ports off this card. ANY OTHER SATA cable will do just fine, and won't rip ports off. Also, the notch in the PCI connector requires a bit of filing out to fit properly. I've heard sandpaper works great here, I used some rough disk that came with my dremil, and it worked fine. Finished in about 2 minutes, and the card slid right in (and out, I checked).
Overall Review: Although this card requires a little extra work, the price makes up for it. Most cards with more than 2 SATA ports cost 2-3 times what this one costs. Read the reviews, they have tips to fix all of this card's eccentricities.