19. August 2008 23:11
I just got my MSI Wind Barebones desktop unit a few days ago. I had been looking at some of the net-media players around, and honestly it seems like most of them have some sketchy reviews. When I saw this unit at Newegg, I had to order one. I'd been looking at Atom based Mini-ITX boards, and cases, and this barebones came in under what the board and case of similar style would have been. I didn't get a Mini PCIe wireless board for it, I wasn't aware it had such a slot until after I recieved the unit.
Well, I've loaded my trusty Ubuntu 8.04, and XBMC Media Center on the thing, and really like it a lot. I am able to play most of my videos without issue. Though most of my complaints would be centered around XBMC, given that the Linux port is fairly new, and actively worked on, I can give some slack. I am able to play most 720p video I have without issue on it. I'm using 720x400 for the screen resolution on my desktop monitor. I'll buy a VGA to RGB adapter cable in a few weeks.
For general business use, email, and web browsing it is absolutely the best value out there bar none. It's also quite small and sips power. I'm looking forward to seeing some of the prebuilt options coming from various vendors in the following months. I had an 80gb SATA drive, so all I needed was the ram (2GB G-Skill), and the DVD drive.. got a burner, because the SATA DVD readers weren't that far off in pricing. My total with shipping was under $225.
I did have to install a driver for the Realtek 8111C network adapter in Ubuntu Hardy though, I found a script that made this relatively painless though.
In the next couple weeks I may try out Windows XP and XBMC Windows, as well as an OSx86 Hackintosh install, just to see how well it works out. I'll probably stick with Linux, for the lower overhead in the long run, but will definitely have some fun with this thing. If you have any Media Center / Media Player applications you can recommend I try, let me know. I'm also interested in running some classic emulators on it as well Mame, NES, Sega, etc...