Monday, February 06, 2006

Updates - XP installed along with DTV Dongle...

Well, XP installed with no issues. Patched it up to SP2 and installed a bunch of applications, and generally everything is running very well.

Although I installed the OS on an IDE drive in the end, I had a look in the BIOS at the suggestion of a reader, and sure enough, there's a setting to make SATA drives look like IDE. In fact, there's very little reason not to do this, since there's only one SATA port, so RAID features are not a factor. If you must use SATA mode, it's possible to install SATA drivers via a USB floppy drive.

In terms of heat, this is dissipated very quickly. If the CPU is pushed, and airflow is restricted, temperatures can reach 50 degrees C, but quickly drops back down to 40 or below. Should you want to install a fan, there is a single header for a CPU fan, but the supplied monitoring software can only report temperatures and fan speeds, not set them, so you may need a fan controller (or some better software).

My biggest gripe so far is one that is apparently not unique to the Epia-N, but affects any Epia boards purporting to have hardware MPEG acceleration. Unless you use specific (and rare) software capable of supporting this hardware acceleration, you're stuck with maximum CPU usage and lots and lots of dropped frames. In fact, it's unwatchable. I tested with a DVB-T USB dongle (Freeview digital TV) and Showshifter (application capable of using that dongle) and found I couldn't get it to work anywhere near satisfactorily. Same goes for playing back an MPEG2 file in Windows media player (ripped using another PC).

Unfortunately for me, that scuppers the idea I had for using this board. I'd intended to use it for recording TV shows, since the low power and lack of noise would have meant that I could leave the PC on all the time with a clear conscience.

If anyone has any suggestions about speeding up video support, including applications to use, BIOS / OS settings I may not have tried, etc., then please do get in touch. Otherwise, I'll be selling the board when I've finished reviewing to someone not wishing to use it for video...


Blogger pocketmoon said...

try the following DVB-T App for you freecom...*119530/action*2598

They have some BDA and non BDA (but with dxva) drivers.

10:19 pm  

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