[mythtv-users] Myth experiences with Zotac ION + ATOM mobo

Glen Dragon gdragon at jetcom.org
Wed May 27 03:33:32 UTC 2009

Since i figured that others might be interested, i figured that i'd post my
experiences in the past week with the 1st of the Nvidia Ion boards to come
out.  For those that don't know the Zotac IONITX is a mobo with a nvidia ion
chipset that mates a 9400 graphics core with a intel atom processor.

I managed to grab one of these boards last week right after the reviews came
out..  newegg had them (since sold out)
There are 4 different boards with various combinations of single/dual core,
and internal DC-DC power vs ATX.
I got the IONITX-C. board..   The board i got has the DC power regulator,
and the single core atom N230.  *
I would highly recommend this board.*

This board is what us myth folks have been looking for since we started this
I'm using it as a diskless frontend connected to a 40" LCD, playing off of a
network master server/backend.
Using VDPAU..

   - Can play ATSC OTA recordings both 720p & 1080i, and hdpvr *h.264
   - CPU utilization while playing is* 5-10%*
   - Can playback at 1.4x - looks pretty good.  logs show some dropped
   frames, but still watchable depending on source.
   - Power draw at the plug is *21 W.*   Power draw did no vary from idle to
   watching recordings
   - Board is stable. uptime is a 5 days. -- Replaced my main watching FE
   - Netboot works out of the box
   - Runs 64 bit executables
   - Small - fits behind TV, out of sight.
   - Fanless. Totally silent.  You need a blinky light to know that it's on.
   - (Still playing with de-interlacers)  Running 180.51 drivers.. need to
   upgrade to 180.60
   - Sensors does not find temp sensors.. GFX core as reported by nvidia
   tools runs from 59-67 deg C.
   - GUI menus very usable, w/ blootube wide
   - Audio over optical spdif works, Analog audio too.
   - Audio over HDMI is allegedly supposed to work.. (i'm not using -- don't
   have a spare hdmi cable to test)
   - VGA & DVI both tested, hdmi untested (no reason to think it shouldn't
   - Boots in a reasonable amount of time.
   - DC Supply is ideal. I cannot fathom a use for the ATX connector.. (yes,
   i saw the other thread..  )


   - Takes 2-3 minutes to prescale theme images first time.  w/ blootube
   - Needed to disable generating pixmaps from bookmark, as atom processor
   isn't very good at that, and make user interface seem to lockup.
   - Unable to rmmod alsa-realtek module, always in use, never gets freed.
   <- Kernel bug?
   - No firewire for cable box control/capture -- not really an ideal
   backend anyways.
   - No speedstep scaling.. not supported by atom N230.  Not needed..  see
   21W  !!!!

Some might consider the dual core atom ... I don't think you need it.  My
understanding is that it may require a fan for the dual core, and certainly
draw more power.   The Atom processor is really not used for much.

I used this case:
application for it.

My pics:  Gallery<http://www.jetcom.org/gallery/v/dragon/dragon-house/computer/ion/>

Questions welcome..  I will probably pick up a few more of these boards for
other locations in my house in the near future.
-- dragonian
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