Finally got my HTPC up and running with all hard drives working after much frustration. I will be adding to this as I get further in.

Pro’s:

  • HDMI out – no more S-Connect!
  • Cheap!
  • Lot’s of modern stuff (12 USB sockets!)

Cons:

  • For some reason the PATA-IDE converters I bought to bring my hdd’s worked, but got into a weird any two but not the third situation. Eventually after a lot of cajoling I got all three harddrives working (by putting the third on the legacy IDE channel).
  • You don’t get a lot of connectors with the motherboard (Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H) – you have to purchase most of them yourself, but it was cheap.
  • Has support for 1920x1080p but not for 1366×768 (or 1360×768 or 1368×768 which are the more likely options). Instead the output is getting stretched from 1280×768 by the TV in the most unintelligent manner possible: Every 12 or so pixels it is simple doubled, so panning windows causes a weird ripple effect. I’ve installed PowerStrip, and some people claim to have got it working at 1366×768, but not with my TV or my onboard GFX.
  • Network dropout. I went with using one of the two PCI slots for 54g but now there is an entire PC between it and the router (as well as the lounger and sometimes door). Since I have half of all the additional USB 2.0 slots in I might go with one of my USB adapaters attached to the extender cable so it is less obstructed.