Ok, well it started out I wanted to get one of those Pico-ITX boards and build a really tiny pc that is totally without moving parts. But as seeing those are well over $200, ive decided to make one with mostly components I already have. The guts:
Pentium Dual-Core E2200 @2.2GHz (might underclock to keep temps down)
ECS cheap-o motherboard (micro-atx)
2x 1GB Adata DDR2 800
Radeon HD 2400Pro (low profile)
2-8GB Compact Flash as harddrive (still working this out)
Custom acrylic case
Windows XPe Operating System
Still unsure if I will be using a mini-itx + onboard processor or the micro-atx with the E2200. I want something that is very low power consumption. Somehow I went from wanting to build a router with linux to building a tiny HTPC. So that would be something I needed info on. If a board with the VIA C7 (1.5GHz cpu) would be capable of handling 1080 content. It will have the HD 2400 vid card, so I am not positive if the GPU can do most of the work for that aspect. Currently I am highest bidder on a Via VB7001 + 1.5GHz CPU ($32 total w/ 30hrs remaining)
This is something I really wanted to do. As a router, it should work great (could even set it up to read-only access). But as for handling larger files, I know the speed take a huge hit. Would this impact the performance of playing off a USB harddrive?
Ive read the life of a Compact Flash drive isnt really something to worry about theoretically (should be +/- 50yrs at full speed reading/writing). And it should extend total life by running multiple cards in a Raid0 setup. Since the access will be spanned out. I was planning on getting 2 cards anyways. Im looking at the Lexar 300x cards right now. As for as I know, those are the fastest available ATM.
Just heard about Windows XPe(mbedded). Can use that to remove unwanted stuff. Even load it into RAM on bootup? That way most the reading/writing is to the RAM and not the CF, preserving its life. Or should I just use XP + xplite? Ive seen people get the size down to 800MB, so even a 2GB card would be plenty. But I do really like the idea of loading into the RAM, unless that would take away the possibility of playing the 1080 content.
Most likely go a low profile PSU off ebay and mount on the top of the case, as with the CF. Was thinking of something like this
Im hoping this to be a possible guide for other people when im finished.
I plan on the total system size to be around 10x10x3". It most likely will not have a dvd drive. Or else it will cover up most of the visual aspect of the acrylic case Can still use a laptop/thin drive but it will drive up the total cost + the power consumption.
Anyways, I am in need of some design help. I need to cram everything into as small of a case as possible. Obviously I cant go smaller than the size of the motherboard (9.6 x 9.6 x ~2"). The highest points will most likely be the fan on the CPU (e2200) and the vid card.
For the CF, I will most likely get a IDE-to-CF adapter. But I am also looking at the SATA adapter. I will probably get 2 of the SATA ones because the price is so high for the adapters with a 2x connecter for CF. Im thinking it will be mounted on the top of the case (if the case top flips open).
Would a "flip-top" be best? Or designing a way to slide out the motherboard. I dont want a mobo tray, maybe little pegs/spaces made out of the same acrylic material that the motherboard screws into. So it give it the appearance of floating on air. Well, not really but you get the point. How would put in the screw holes? Pre-drill it slightly smaller then put the screw in?
Ive never worked with acrylic before. A tile saw should be able to cut through, say, plexyglass with no problems, right? Then simply solvent weld the pieces together. If I went with the "flip-top" method, would it be best just to "weld" everything together then take the tile cutter and chop off the top portion. Should make it look more professional. Then make some mortis and tenon joints so it all fits together snug.
Looks like ill be going by TAP tomorrow to check prices. I hear they'll even cut your pieces for you for free with the purchase. (where clocker be @)