Joined on 08/08/06
Pros: HDMI Low Power Consumption Good video playback Small Form Factor Relatively Quiet Lots of interface options for so small a device
Cons: Couldn't boot from rear USB (could be hardware defect) Fan is somewhat noisy Limited BIOS options
Overall Review: Bought this along with an 8GB Kingston SSD and 2GB memory. Other than a louder-than-expected fan, it serves my needs perfectly. With the accompanying mounting bracket, you can mount it to the rear of the VESA mount on your TV, and can connect it with a single HDMI cable to said TV; this keeps cabling clean and the box very much out of the way. I installed Ubuntu 11.04 on it. Note that in order to get optimal performance, you'll need to install the proprietary Nvidia video driver (Under Administration -> Hardware Drivers). To carry audio over HDMI, you'll need to unmute the SPDIF channels (this can be done by running alsamixer on the terminal in Ubuntu). Other than the above two things, ran just fine out of the box after installing Ubuntu. You won't be playing games on this machine, but it's perfectly suited to the task of HTPC. The interface options give you the flexibility to boot from CF, output via HDMI and/or optical audio, and a slew of others. I'd buy it again.
Good hardware; awful, terrible software
Pros: -- Cheap -- Reasonable range and throughput
Cons: -- Software. I'm docking three eggs for the software. Rosewill could (and probably should) do any of the following in order to make this a better product: 1) Ship with the OEM RALink drivers 2) QA their software (the bug where freezing occurs on 64-bit platforms is not challenging to reproduce) 3) Ship with no software at all and leave people free to their own devices
Overall Review: I set this up as a wireless HTPC using Windows 7 64-bit. The first thing I had to do, then, was set up the wireless. I installed the Rosewill drivers. 5 minutes later, the machine locked; it didn't respond to keyboard or mouse input. I rebooted. Again, within 5 minutes, machine failed to respond to any sort of input. I re-installed Windows. I did a 2-hour burn-in just to ensure my CPU and memory weren't to blame... then installed the Rosewill drivers. Again, hard-lock within 5 minutes. I found the proper drivers on the RALink site, here: (http://www.ralinktech.com/en/04_support/support.php?sn=500). Search for rt256x (should be the second link down). Docking 3 eggs because claiming 64-bit support and freezing machines is deeply uncool. If anybody from Rosewill reads this, I'd be happy to attach a kernel debugger to a serial port on this machine and repro the freezing for you. It'll probably save substantial grief for other customers.
Pros: -- Quiet -- Relatively inexpensive -- DVI & HDMI Output -- True 1920x1080 resolution -- Built-in wireless (Intel 2200, for some reason not listed on the spec sheet) -- Lots of I/O, with the somewhat annoying exception of no CF slot (though a lot of manufacturers seem to have discarded that)
Cons: -- Gets really, really, hot
Overall Review: This is not a very powerful machine. 2 logical cores at 1GHz apiece (with a boost up to 1.3GHz) makes this machine suitable for set-top box, kiosk, or lightweight desktop (email or browsing). However, in the set-top box/ HTPC role it excels. It's quiet; if you run it off an SSD, it'll run completely silently. I've got it running XBMC and Netflix under Windows 8.1-64, and it does so without a problem. The only complaint I have for the machine in this role: it gets ridiculously hot. Like, north of 130 degrees. The way it's designed, the entire aluminum case acts as a heatsink. The processor is spec'd at 9 watts, but that's still a substantial amount of heat without active cooling. I'll buy again for the kiosk / HTPC role if it lasts.
Great value with exception of fan
Pros: Pros are as follows: -- Very small form factor -- Comes with VESA mounting bracket -- Reliable -- Multi-output -- Decent 720p Playback -- Built-in wireless
Cons: -- Fan is noisy
Overall Review: Overall, this is a good value for what I paid. I'm using it as a HTPC; both it and a 42" plasma TV are bolted to the same plate (part of an articulating mount). The PC is so small it's hardly noticeable. I'm running Windows 7 / 32-bit off of a 30GB SSD with 2GB of RAM. For its tasks -- namely, playback of DVD's over 802.11g and Hulu, along with occasional light presentation / office work -- it performs wonderfully. The only downside is the noisy fan. On this setup, the fan is the only non-silent part, and its noticeable. One egg gets docked for it. I would purchase again.
Not worth the effort
Cons: Where to start: A) Driver CD froze two computers and didn't copy correctly in another. B) Exhibits a startlingly high rate of unreliability. C) Wouldn't post with anything other than 256MB RAM. I'm not going to dock it on stuff people should know-- yes, it's DDR, which is more expensive; no, it doesn't come with a HSF. But those are in the description. It's not stable enough for even piddly things like home servers, and it's not powerful enough for anything but the most basic of desktop productivity stuff. And even then-- Office 2007 won't work very well on this system, nor will OO.org 2.4. Drop 20 bucks more and buy something made by a reliable name-- Asus, ECS, MSI, or whatever your flavor is. I've got a 4-year-old Asrock running an Athlon 3200+ that's been utterly reliable. In shorter words-- buying this board is pennywise, but pound foolish.