Build a very small footprint (size and energy consumption) media center computer.
Computer must be attached to my large living room television.
This setup must enable the following:
- Play Internet video (youtube, hulu, ect.) on the TV.
- Stream media from other networked systems (desktop, freeNAS server).
- Emulate and play roms from NES, SNES, Sega, Gameboy, N64, PS1.
- Small Phillips head
- Small Flat head
- Memory DDR2 (2GB 200-Pin DDR2 SO-DIMM DDR2 800 PC2 6400)
- Laptop sata harddrive (80gb)
- ubuntu iso
- 2gb+ flash drive
Remove hardware from the box.
Remove 4 screws from the computers chassis.
- Remove side cover.
- This step was very difficult, I used a thin screw driver and slowly pried. I worked my way around the case.
Remove the 4 screws on the harddrive bracket.
- Place harddrive into bracket and screw in in with supplied screws.
- The bracket has a peg on one of the corners and forces you to insert the drive in that angle first.
Place drive and bracket into place on the motherboard and slide its connection into the SATA header.
Screw the bracket back into the chassis / motherboard.
- Install the ram.
- Ram inserts on a slight angle, slide the contacts all the way in. Gingerly press down on the stick to lock into place.
Replace side of case. Replace 4 screws on external case.
- Create a bootable live ubuntu installation on the flash drive.
Boot to flash drive and install ubuntu to local harddrive.
This section documents some other things I encountered and thought about when configuring the nT330i.
I had to manually install nvidia-185 driver from Synaptic.
System > Administration > Synaptic
Search for nvidia and install it and any dependent packages.
Once the driver is installed click:
System > Administration > Hardware Drivers
Run a scan and enable 3d support.
I found that the video quality was poor when I full screened hulu. I could almost see the video scanning.
After wasting time with different flash versions I found an trick. Instead of using full screen I used compiz enhanced zoom.
The compiz enhanced zoom cleans the image up really well and gets rid of the scanning / strobing. Give it a shot!
Hold down the super key and click down the middle mouse button (scroll wheel) and drag a square on the screen you would like to be zoomed into. When you are finished you may hold the super key again and use the wheel to scroll back to normal size.
You can hold super and 'r' to zoom a window too, great for when I play starcraft in wine window mode.
- VERY small computer. Very thin. Smaller then most personal routers.
- Structure "feels" strong and expensive. The engineering is amazing.
- 6 USB 2.0 ports.
- Wifi or rj45 connections.
- Memory card drive on front, MS/SD/MMC
- Dual Core and hyper threading! (looks like 4 cores)
- Hdmi OUT! (Audio and Video sent to the TV over one wire!)
- The video card 3d graphics are amazing for a little unit. (Compiz Cube, lots of eye candy turned on!)
The nT330i is a green computer, don't feel guilty leaving it on!
I used the kilowatt meter to find the following energy consumptions:
- IDLE approx 15watts
- LOAD approx 30watts
I get 1080p resolution out to the television but I'm having overscan trouble. Not sure if this is a TV issue or the computer. Some people have resolved this issue using a custom X11/xorg.conf mode and scan resolution.
I'll write more if I figure it out. Either way I'm happy because I full screen the video most of the time anyways