[personal profile] abortrephrase
I have time off and a shiny HD display to fiddle with, so I've ordered myself a (relatively) cheap box to double-up at media-centre and house-server duties.

Specifically, it's this, an ASRock Atom D525 with ION GPU. Added 4GB of RAM and a 750GB 5400rpm disk.

Will poke around at the Windows 7 media-centre stuff first, as I have spare licenses. And with the XBMC live install. The former appeals from a "can play random DRM cruft" perspective, the latter because simpler and would do a better job at the house-server role, given I could easily jam a copy of Samba on there.

Cost all-up is AU$550, including shipping.

Why is the aTV running XBMC insufficient? Well, because it doesn't do 1080 properly (it runs the screen at 1280x1080) and it can't decode HD content. It can do some 720p stuff, but not all. It's an old slow single-core CPU and XBMC can't make full use of the video hardware. And given the very tight memory constraints and limited expandability it's not really suitable for the house-server role.

But I am otherwise very happy with XBMC. There are plugins for everything I care about (Pandora, local catch-up TV services), some really great skins, and I've even now got my usual couple of radio stations available through it as my ISP started relaying ABC NewsRadio with an MP3 stream rather than the nasty Windows Media+Real combo the ABC provides.

If I wind up deciding that Win7 is the way to go, guess I might stick a VirtualBox instance on there with Linux for the server-y bits. Shall wait and see. Expect it'll probably go XBMC-on-Linux, though.
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