I’ve had my HTPC for a while, without doing much apart from the occasional upgrade to add a disk or what-not. The original was built back in 2010. It was still doing the job perfectly fine, but it was always a little heavy on power, too much so to leave on permanently. LAst year, the new Celeron systems caught my eye (the J1800 and J1900), offering low power and silent running.
I did some digging and compared them against their AMD equivalent: the AM1 platform. The latter had some advantages, notably in graphics. It also had a socket, so the CPU could be upgraded. Power consumption, although worse on paper, looked to be on a par. The price was right for a punt, so I placed an order.
(This was mostly done back in July 2014, but I only bought the case recently to complete the build.)
The problem with both of the platforms I was looking at was SATA ports. My media centre machine houses the hard drive storage locally, so it needed six ports. I did (briefly) consider splitting it into two machines, but I was never going to get low power consumption that way.
Thankfully, the AM1 platform offered a Micro-ATX board that gave me more PCI-e slots (I needed one for the TV tuner), so I could add a SATA expansion card (I already used one of these on my HTPC, but only a two-port card, I needed four).
I also dragged my heels on the case. The previous machine had been housed in a Fractal Design Define R2, which is awesome, but massive. I wanted something a bit smaller, but kept struggling to find the right combination of dimensions with sufficient 3.5″ disk space.
With those out of the way, I got on with ordering. Continue reading…