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Cheapest XBMC 1080p Capable Device Not Named Raspberry Pi
#1
I know there are many RPi fans out there. I bought a RPi a month or so ago and tested literally every option (Xbian, Raspbmc, Openelec) with various peripherals and power supplies. None of the combinations really worked for me.

So, I wouldn't mind a list of lowest budget devices that are known to run a stable XBMC that you guys have experience with.

So far in my search I have put together the following:
Craigslist Desktop + video card - ~$80
- Pros: Cheap, can run more complex skins, replaceable parts
- Cons: Ugly, power hungry, loud, old.

MicroCenter OpenBox mAtx build - ~$120
- Pros: Same as above. Hardware warrantees.
- Cons: Same as above (except old), cheap components

Pivos Xios - $120
- Pros: Pivos XBMC support. Small, efficient.
- Cons: Sluggish? Stable?

Arctic MC001-N - $175 (including US Shipping, 2 GB ram, USB stick)
- Pros: Efficient, Good openelec machine, small.
- Cons: A little expensive compared to the rest

Apple TV 1-2 - $150 (on a good day)
- Pros: Very low wattage, multipurpose.
- Cons: Not too powerful. Overvalued due to lack of Apple TV 3 jailbreak. Not always stable.

FoxConn/Zotac Barebones - $200
- Pros: Form factor, prebuilt, energy efficient, powerful enough.
- Cons: Expensive. Could build good, new mAtx machine for same price. Paying for form factor.

Anything I'm forgetting about? Looking to keep it under $150. Not including android sticks for stability reasons.
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#2
I'd get tghe Arctic one... small, nice, cheap, stable.. yeah.
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#3
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#4
Atom are not so power-efficent, i would go with Pivos if you want run on Linux.
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#5
I'm in a similar position, and I will be getting a Acer Revo L70. I cant see another box where you get the same bang for your buck.
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#6
(2013-02-15, 12:20)Stuart_75 Wrote: I'm in a similar position, and I will be getting a Acer Revo L70. I cant see another box where you get the same bang for your buck.

For the Newegg price of $350 is roughly how much I spent making my last HTPC with an i3-3225, 8 GB of Ram, H77 mobo, Silverstone ML03 case, and a 2 TB hard drive using MicroCenter. So I think, unless you are totally opposed to building your own, you can do much better.

In my case I can't quite afford to keep it all. Will be selling both my HTPCs and going with a cheap unraid server paired with a roku (or one of the cheap options above) for now.
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#7
If you can find one of the AMD E-350 barebones on sale it'll run fine with OpenELEC. You just don't get HD audio bitstreaming or 3D so if you don't care about those...
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#8
I don't know about the US, but if you're in Europe then you can get the barebones version of the Artic MC-001 for 99 EUR on Amazon right now:

http://www.amazon.de/ARCTIC-MC001-N-Ente...broad02-21

This model has no RAM, hard drive or remote, but does have the TV Tuner.

I picked one up the other day, works out at about £95 delivered to me (in the UK). I stuck in 2x2GB of laptop RAM I had kicking around, grabbed a spare USB stick (I don't need a HD has my files are all on NFS server) and stuck Openelec on it it - and it seems to work well so far. It does get very warm to the touch though, so give it the space for ventilation that it asks for. You must stand it vertically.

The only problem I've had thus far, is some occasional jmupy/stuttering playback (files that worked fine on a Pi) but the official Openelec build for this is not finalized yet, so I'm opening that'll clear it up. It's probably just some settings I need to adjust, but I have not had much time to play around yet.
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#9
Here's my dilemma:

I live with a bunch of people who like watch movies and tv shows. I recently spent the money to build the HTPC/Server I described in my last post. Since I have built it I have found that I personally use it (the htpc part) less than once a week. Everybody else uses it multiple times a day. Nobody uses it for anything other than watching media. Since I only have 1 - 2 TB hard drive that serves all the media I have found that at times it can be bogged down. There is always a possibility that 5 clients are trying to access it at any time (a few family remote rokus with plex, local plex clients, and a few xbmc machines). So I think it is a little out of it's element as HTPC and Server.

As of right now I would like to get some of my investment back since I am pretty poor. I could sell it all (including my last HTPC that was turned into a desktop that I don't use) and build an unraid server. MicroCenter has the AMD combo deals right now and I could build a FX 4100 based server for around $200 that can handle anything I throw at it in the future.

So my dilemma is how to replace the HTPC portion of the current HTPC/Server combo. Not to turn this into a Plex/Roku vs XBMC/build debate, but I'm wondering if the extra $75 is really worth it just to be able to watch media on XBMC. I prefer XBMC and Openelec because of the skins and airplay, but if I never use the client... what do I care?
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#10
(2013-02-15, 15:25)cwide Wrote:
(2013-02-15, 12:20)Stuart_75 Wrote: I'm in a similar position, and I will be getting a Acer Revo L70. I cant see another box where you get the same bang for your buck.

For the Newegg price of $350 is roughly how much I spent making my last HTPC with an i3-3225, 8 GB of Ram, H77 mobo, Silverstone ML03 case, and a 2 TB hard drive using MicroCenter. So I think, unless you are totally opposed to building your own, you can do much better.

In my case I can't quite afford to keep it all. Will be selling both my HTPCs and going with a cheap unraid server paired with a roku (or one of the cheap options above) for now.

I'm in the UK, so a new Revo L70 is £180, add a Mele F10 remote and stick my own copy of Win7 I have lying around. I should be good to go then.

I don't mind building my own IF its cheaper or the performance is better, but I just don't have much of an idea on what motherboards and processors are suitable for HTPC.
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#11
AIUI the L70 is based on the Celeron 887 isn't it? Has the Intel HD graphics Macroblocking issue been fixed in XBMC on Windows with DXVA (which I believe is needed with that CPU)? I have seen some suggestions that it might have been but can't find anything conclusive yet.

There are also reported issues with the L70 running Linux / OpenElec with the EFI BIOS confusing the loading of graphics drivers I believe (so the Linux Intel drivers aren't loaded) - which are still tricky to get round if you try Linux?

I was seriously considering an L70 (£149 on eBuyer at the moment with 4GB/500GB) but the potential issues with XBMC on either platform caused me to rethink - and I've gone for a slightly different build instead.

**EDIT - ignore this - got the L70 and L80 confused. ***
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#12
Pivos will do what you want - flash it to Linux. It's tiny, sips power, and makes zero noise. Make the other family members all chip in $20 apiece and you're done. I'm pretty sure this will outperform a Pi.
Openelec Gotham, MCE remote(s), Intel i3 NUC, DVDs fed from unRAID cataloged by DVD Profiler. HD-DVD encoded with Handbrake to x.264. Yamaha receiver(s)
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#13
(2013-02-15, 18:10)noggin Wrote: AIUI the L70 is based on the Celeron 887 isn't it? Has the Intel HD graphics Macroblocking issue been fixed in XBMC on Windows with DXVA (which I believe is needed with that CPU)? I have seen some suggestions that it might have been but can't find anything conclusive yet.

There are also reported issues with the L70 running Linux / OpenElec with the EFI BIOS confusing the loading of graphics drivers I believe (so the Linux Intel drivers aren't loaded) - which are still tricky to get round if you try Linux?

I was seriously considering an L70 (£149 on eBuyer at the moment with 4GB/500GB) but the potential issues with XBMC on either platform caused me to rethink - and I've gone for a slightly different build instead.
I think you are getting mixed up with the Intel L80 which is cheaper at £150. The AMD L70 looks like a better spec at £180. I still dont think I could build better for the same money if I bought the components off Ebuyer or Scan.
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#14
(2013-02-15, 21:12)Stuart_75 Wrote:
(2013-02-15, 18:10)noggin Wrote: AIUI the L70 is based on the Celeron 887 isn't it? Has the Intel HD graphics Macroblocking issue been fixed in XBMC on Windows with DXVA (which I believe is needed with that CPU)? I have seen some suggestions that it might have been but can't find anything conclusive yet.

There are also reported issues with the L70 running Linux / OpenElec with the EFI BIOS confusing the loading of graphics drivers I believe (so the Linux Intel drivers aren't loaded) - which are still tricky to get round if you try Linux?

I was seriously considering an L70 (£149 on eBuyer at the moment with 4GB/500GB) but the potential issues with XBMC on either platform caused me to rethink - and I've gone for a slightly different build instead.
I think you are getting mixed up with the Intel L80 which is cheaper at £150. The AMD L70 looks like a better spec at £180. I still dont think I could build better for the same money if I bought the components off Ebuyer or Scan.

Yep - you're quite right - confused the L70 based on the AMD E450 and L80 based on the Intel Celeron 887.
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#15
(2013-02-14, 23:41)PobjoySpecial Wrote: The Pivos XIOS and ATV2 will have near equivalent performance to the Pi.

If you are dead-set against getting your Pi working right, I'd look into the new, cheaper Intel NUC.

They're not desktop fast, but both ATV2 and Pivos are much faster than the R-Pi :P
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