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Old 07-10-2003, 09:21 PM
comptechltd comptechltd is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 6
Question VIA Epia Newbie Questions

I am new to the PVR scene although I do have a Tivo. Can someone give an update about making the inexpensive box using a VIA Epia mini itx MB. How is the performance??? I have read that some areas have problems or slowdowns.

I am going to make a dedicated box that will be a PVR, Play DVD's, and play MP3's through my stereo receiver and that is about it. I will be using the PVR on an attached TV (No Monitor, maybe wireless keyboard and mouse). I figure I could use remote desktop or VNC for administration or the wireless keyboard if necessary. As far as the PVR I want very Tivo like performance.

As it is going to be a dedicated strictly STB, I don't want to sink $1,000 into hardware that I will be utilizing for nothing else. By the same token, I want it to be able to play DVD's, MP3's and record TV without glitches. As the Epia has a built in MPEG decoder I know this will help. I was going to use an epia MB with the built in 933 MHz Processor, a PVR-250, an approx. 80 gb Harddrive and a DVD drive.

Anyone have any other input or suggestions about components?

Thanks for your help,

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Old 07-10-2003, 11:18 PM
insomniac's Avatar
insomniac insomniac is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Concord, Ca.
Posts: 1,104
Im sure that there will be a lot of positive votes for the EPIA, but I will be the first negative :P

Even know the price does seem right, I have been very unhappy with the performance of the "claimed" hardware acceleration. Nor am i impressed with the tv out.

It seems to work ok with the pvr cards w/ dxva , but forget it with DVCR cards. In either case, i have randomly lost sync on both. This due to high processor usage, etc..

Epias are very picky about ram, so if you do get one, make sure that you check for a compatability list ( i had 3 chips on that compatability list, which did not work till i clocked the memory down a lot).

In general, i would say that the inconvenience outweighs the affordability of this board.

I have cut my losses with this board and am now looking for a more robust setup and form factor (mini-atx and cube case).

Just one mans opinion of course...

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Old 07-11-2003, 03:52 AM
bodgadle bodgadle is offline
Sage Advanced User
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Cymru, UK
Posts: 132
I have an epia M9000 based PVR setup using a PVR350 to do all the hardware encoding & decoding for me and must say, not had any problems yet. The only downside is that because i'm using the PVR350 entirely for tv-out i dont get the OSD but Jeff has said that he is working on this so hopefully we'll see it in a future version.

CPU usage was a little high with sage initially, but the registry hack mentioned here on the forums (do a search for quick performance boost) as well as the new option included in 1.4.3 (which i'm currently not using because of other issues) put cpu usage down to a constant 10-20% for me.

The machine's not been switched off in Months and definitley gets a thumsb up from me.

Do a search, there's lots of other miniITX users on there.
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Old 07-11-2003, 07:14 AM
mangriotis mangriotis is offline
Sage Aficionado
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Elgin, IL
Posts: 345
I began my search for a dedicated HTPC with the mini-itx and an EPIA board, but ended up with a full size ATX mobo, Athlon proc and the Digitalis Nexus case (expensive but has everything I was looking for)...

The expandability, robustness, and look of this unit fit my needs...
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Old 07-11-2003, 12:58 PM
sub sub is offline
Sage Advanced User
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 127
The PVR350 tv out has an excellent picture compared with the tv out on my EPIA M10000. The decoder also bring the CPU usage down to just about nothing.
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