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bpmccauley1
March 8th, 2010, 11:05 AM
So, my Mom wants to get rid of her cable bill so I introduced her to Boxee, she is on board and I'm trying to get her set up pretty inexpensively.

She is interested in an Acer Aspire 10.1" netbook to hook up to the 27" HDTV that I gave her. For the most part this netbook would be a dedicated computer for boxee. On the rare occassion she might take it with her when she travels but that is very infrequently. So basically this will be a dedicated box.

I know the specs are a bit light but I wanted to get some second opinions. You guys think this will work? Here are my concerns.

1. VGA will be used to hook it up to the TV. Do you think there will be any resolution issues or anything like that when the TV will be set to 1080p?

2. How about the graphics card? I think it'll be fine but I would like some confirmation.

3. 1GB of RAM...kind of light in my opinion, but I got her set up with Boxee on her XP desktop with 512MB of RAM and it worked well.

4. Any issues that I'm not seeing that might cause a problem? She wants to do this as cheaply as possible so this is what I'm looking at.

Here is the link, she will more than likely buy this thing from Wal-mart so I'm linking to their site:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Acer-10.1-Aspire-Netbook-PC-with-Intel-AtomProcessor-Windows-7-Home-Starter/13378215#Specifications

Any input would be great.

Thanks.

bpmccauley1
March 9th, 2010, 08:29 AM
No recommendations?

judgeschambers
March 9th, 2010, 07:04 PM
Ok, here's my quick and dirty on this one.

The item you suggested is a bit on the light side in 3 ways:
1-the Atom N450 is a single core. The Acer REvo 1600 has N270 single and is very weak at handling some content at full screen and worse so in Boxee. Get an Acer Notebook that has the N330 (or any) dual core Atom--You'll be much, much happier with the power it has and the multitasking it can do for what it is. ;)
2-Ram needs to be at least 2 gb period. Between boot up and the video card shared memory, you'll have nothing left to run programs.

3- I see it has the Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150, I have not done the research, but if it cannot offload the video like the Intel ION card does...it may be laggy for flash and HD. It will offload all the video and do the grunt work instead of the CPU. Without it, any flash or HD content will play horribly.

3.1- VGA connections. I've not done this even though my Revo has both HDMI and VGA. VGA settings are not in HD scale but similar. How will this play out on an HDTV? I have not the foggiest as I've not connected my Revo that way.

This unit leaves me waaaaay more questions than answers with regard to video acceleration of HD, Flash and Silverlight. Then the 1200x600 VGA output out really concerns me connecting to an HDTV. The pricepoint and the idea are spot on. I'd look for an Acer book that has a dual core Atom and the ION vid card and HDMI out if possible.

bpmccauley1
March 10th, 2010, 06:47 AM
Thanks for the input Judge. I had suggested that she look into the Zino HD from Dell. I have one now that is my dedicated HTPC and I really like it. Of course I upgraded alot from the base specs that are offered by Dell. She is leaning toward a portable though for those rare occassions that she travels and might like to take it along with her.
I'll keep looking around...so you think that dual core is probably the most important thing that the netbook is lacking?
I'm not really too worried about the VGA to HDTV. I used to connect my macbook to her TV through mini dvi to vga and it worked fine. I guess I was more concerned about taxing the netbook too much. I agree with you that HDMI is the way to go...that is probably the leading factor as to why I bought the zino over a mac mini (I really wanted a mini but on the zino I could get HDMI and blu-ray).
Again, thanks for the input.

judgeschambers
March 10th, 2010, 06:39 PM
Well, the two main things I'm concerned about are:

1- the lack of dual core. I've see where this causes some issues with some high demand video types (flash or HD 1080P MKV or MP4 files) as they hit the cpu no matter what.

2- The video card should support GPU accleration (off loading).

Now, I'm hip with the Atom dual core paired with the ION vid chip and how they offer good GPU acceleration. But I know nothing about the chipset in that laptop.

Based on this link:
http://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/quick-reference-guide-to-intel-integrated-graphics/
That Intel 3150 does not support acceleration at all. No MP4 , H264, MPG2 etc. Did not mention Flash Beta for Hulu or NBC or Fox. Then Boxee, man, I don't feel it would play very well or play at all.

You need one that has the Intel Ion with the Nvidia Gforce 9400 chipset GPU. Not sure if they make a netbook that way, but I thought they did. I'll leave the homework up to you...;) If anything else, go test drive it to see....

I'm not trying to shoot your idea down, but I don't want you to plunk down $300 and find she can't run boxee or most any video. For that money you could get a REvo 3610 or the Zino with the best video card and 2 gb ram.

maximusfacq
March 10th, 2010, 07:49 PM
I'd stay away from VGA if it can be avoided. 2 GB RAM min. Stay totally away from Intel OnBoard graphics as they are currently wholly insufficient to run Boxee. You will have much difficulty finding a current "Netbook" machine that has dual cores and seperate video that doesn't share system memory. So, I would either wait for a bit or go with "net top" or "notebook" if you need an immediate solution.

judgeschambers
March 11th, 2010, 05:40 AM
I'd stay away from VGA if it can be avoided. 2 GB RAM min. Stay totally away from Intel OnBoard graphics as they are currently wholly insufficient to run Boxee. You will have much difficulty finding a current "Netbook" machine that has dual cores and seperate video that doesn't share system memory. So, I would either wait for a bit or go with "net top" or "notebook" if you need an immediate solution.

The Nvidia ION with the Intel 9400 Chipset video does work very well, actually. ;) It's designed just for this and other small formfactor low power cpu's so HD & flash video can actually play.

The problem is, as maximusfacq pointed out, is finding a netbook with dual core. Same goes for the ION video.

I just remembered, I follow a guy on another site that does ION nebook/notbook reviews. Let me look there for what he's got listed and the videos showing them in action.

Update:
I've chatted with this guy a few times and his site has exploded over the past year. He has a fair amount of netbook reviews with video. You'll need to do you due dilligence and research what he has there. The problem is going to be the price point to get a unit that has video good enough to run flash and silverlight with or without boxee.;)
http://netbooked.net

maximusfacq
March 11th, 2010, 08:38 AM
The Nvidia ION with the Intel 9400 Chipset video does work very well, actually. It's designed just for this and other small formfactor low power cpu's so HD & flash video can actually play.

Oh. My bad. To my knowledge there is no "Intel 9400 Graphics." I was only aware of "NVidia 9400 Graphics." Do you have a source I can read about it? I asked Mr. Google and I got laughed at. :(

To my knowledge, Intel has always failed at graphics acceleration. I LOVE there CPUs. In fact, every PC I own has an Intel chip in it currently. However, I don't trust their onboard video for anything further than I can jump. And trust me, I don't jump very far. lol :o

dwayne3427
September 24th, 2010, 03:56 AM
Nice posts!!!i am also interested in an Acer Aspire 10.1" netbook to hook up to the 27" HDTV . i am looking for some new skins for it...

acer netbook skins (http://www.decalskin.com/)

Mevi
September 27th, 2010, 06:40 AM
I use my Acer Aspire One 9" netbook for general around the house browsing, but I'd not consider it something I'd use for anything more than a little casual TV Catchup or YouTube while I'm cooking or something.

HD content doesn't play acceptably. Lots of dropped frames. SD video is OK though.

The onboard graphics on my AAO is limited to only a couple of resolutions, neither of which is TV friendly. Your TV may well scale it to fill the screen, but it might not be at all pretty. With a VGA output, you'll also need to feed the audio. Two cables to hook up to the back of your TV, which depending on whether your TV is wall mounted or not, could be a bit of an eyesore. Also, depending on your mum's level of tolerance to technical hiccups, you might be troubleshooting problems all the time.

As a cable replacement, a netbook doesn't fit the bill.