Compact but power NetBox-nT330i


Compact, energy-efficient and inexpensive HTPC or media client can be built using Foxconn nettop NetBox-nT330i. It has Intel Atom Dual Core 330 1.60GHZ processor and nVidia Ion graphics which should be enough for 1080p video playback. The nettop includes gigabit Ethernet, HDMI and DVI outputs, 6 USB ports, cardreader and supports 2.5″ HDD and up to 4GB DDR2 RAM.

The price of barebone model NetBox-nT330i is about €160.

Boxee Box: draft spec

Boxee Box D-Link

When Boxee announced its own box designed by D-Link I suspected that it should be based on nVidia Ion as a compact and the most reliable to Linux platform. I was wrong but just a little bit. The Boxee Box will use mobile nVidia platform Tegra 2. Together with a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU it should bring 1080p video to your HDTV. Except that Boxee Box will be able playback of flash HD content.

Other hardware components are RF chip by Nordic for remote control and 802.11N wireless chip by Broadcom. The box won’t have internal HDD to decrease its cost, keep it compact and chill. Many people already have USB HDDs or NASes. So, internal hard drive inside the media player is no needed. The boxee box will lack IR receiver. Sure universal remote control is good. But remote with a full QWERTY keyboard is better. In any case, Boxee team promise to add support of IR dongles in the future.

And the finally about the price and availability. Boxee Box from D-Link will be available this March at $200.

nVidia Ion 2 is confirmed

nVidia Ion2

Finally nVidia confirmed that the next generation of its popular platform Ion will be released in Q1 of 2010. That’s good news for all who’d like to have a compact and power HTPC. The nVidia Ion2 will be compatible with Intel’s new Pine Trail platform and it should be faster and more energy efficient. So, if you decided to buy Ion based motherboard or nettop it’d be better to wait a bit. Because the new Ion 2 will give you more options while price to the Ion 1 products should be reduced.

Second generation of nVidia Ion


According to information from Fudzilla the second generation of popular nVidia graphic platform Ion will ship at the end this year. It’s amazing news! Unfortunately there is no any word about exact release date and specification. It’s known that Ion 2 will have more than double the number of shaders to improve performance. Also additionally to Atom it’ll support Celeron, Core 2 and VIA Nano.

Well, regardless the Fudzilla’s information is true or not it’d better to wait a few weeks and do not buy Ion stuff. Personally I’m going to do like that. I already choose the motherboard Zotac GF9300-D-E ITX for the my new noiseless LinuxMCE core/hybrid. But didn’t buy it yet. So, the news from Fudzilla came very opportunely.

VDPAU is available as standalone library


The VDPAU is packaged as standalone library. It’ll be still included into proprietary nVidia drivers to avoid additional installations. As I understand it’s done to provide some generic way for communications between OS and hardware for Linux. Something similar to DirectX. Good idea in my mind but I suspect that the other producers of video adapters will promote their solutions instead of using and improving of VDPAU.

In any case, nVidia video cards is still the best option for Linux users. Especially with supporting of VDPAU which allows to play HD content even on Atom processor.

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