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mini-ITX build


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I need a new HTPC since I have FiOS and my 2-year old daughter broke my current pc (how, I have no idea). And since I have FiOS w/ DVR, all I would need this new system to do would be to serve as a front end to play DVDs stored on my home-built NAS and any local DVDs (Blu-Ray option?) people happen to bring over. That means I don't need a big hard drive or a super powerful processor. I would love to build something the size of my Wii that could do all that. Anyone have any experience building something using the mini-ITX form factor?

Are there any websites or resources to look at other than www.mini-itx.com? I'm also considering the possibility of network booting so I wouldn't even need a hard drive in this system. Is there any benefit to that? I couldn't find any online resources for network-based booting (probably wasn't using the correct search words) so if I prefer MCE 2005 because I'm used to it and I like it, but what are people's experiences with MythTV compared to MCE?

Anyone have any suggestions for a good build? I know via puts out little systems for use in really small computers, but I don't know what their processing capabilities are as far as handling Hi-Def DVDs and streaming video. I have heard good early reviews of intel's G45 chipset, so that's an option as well.

Your assistance is appreciated as always

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Oh you lucky bastard, you have TV in your area? I used to work for Verizon but in an area where just the internet was available.

I like this board, the AOpen i965MGT-LA


Unfortunately I only have experience with AOpen ITX boards. You only need something small eh?

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BluRay decoding requires either a powerful CPU or a powerful dedicated GPU. I can tell you from experience, the D201GLY2 does not have enough power to decode high-def material, nor does it have a PCIe slot for a dedicated graphics card. The processor on the D201GLY2 is far more powerful than anything VIA has to offer, so those boards are simply out of the question.

There are quite a few people interested in mini-ITX systems over a SilentPCReview.com. From what I've read, Intel is due to release a set of new mini-ITX boards that support most of their Core2Duo lineup. See here.

Is there any reason why the HTPC has to be mini-ITX? If you were to go with a mATX setup, you'd save quite a bit of money, and the system would be much easier to cool (in other words - it can be quieter). There are some nice pre-built HTPC barebones systems that can be bought for very reasonable prices. Something like the Hiper Media Center PC HMC-2K53A-A3 might be up your alley. I've played with the setup at SPCR's lab and I have to say - it's very slick.

I wouldn't recommend going diskless. Buy yourself a notebook hard drive for the system drive, and then use a mapped network drive for your actual storage medium. I've got a setup similar to that in my XBMC and I couldnt be happier. :)

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@ Tripredacus:

Yeah, TV moved in about 5 months ago. I couldn't wait to drop Cox Cable.

@ Zxian:

There's no particular reason it has to be mini-itx, I was looking at mini-itx specifically because of the size and my requirements. I hope Intel does a good job w/ the g45 chipset. At this point it looks like my best option if I want to go super SFF. I'll still look at micro-atx as there's certainly more head-room. I didn't know about SilentPCReview, so thanks!

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One miconception about mini-ITX systems is that they're always smaller than microATX setups, but it all comes down to the additional hardware and the case you put it all in. :)

Depending on whether it fits, I'd rather go for a slim, wide case than a narrow, taller case. It usually looks better as part of a home theatre setup.

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