AOpen XCubeMZ855 - any good?


Established Member

I'd like to get a PC that is very small (to be portable) to play DVDs/Digital movie files and MP3s plus web browsing (by no means requiring a lot of power, either processor or energy-wise). Not bothered about the ability to play HD content, but want this to go in my gym in the garage and to let the kids watch the occasional film. So, I'm thinking of Windows XP + Media Portal or Windows Media Centre 2005. I have no interest in using Vista.

I saw that AOpen have a Mac Mini-like device, the XCube. There are lots of different versions for Coru duo processors etc, but I saw this Pentium M version : from Aria PC. At £146 for a barebones version, this seems pretty cheap. It will need a CPU, Memory and hard drive (which I already have).

I don't want the hassle of dual booting a Mac Mini, and the small size is really one of the key features (I know I can probably build a matx machine for less money that will be more powerful).

I have had a Mini-ITX (Via M10000) machine before, but this was a bit underpowered, and the motherboards are still quite expensive.

So, my questions are:

1. Does anyone have one of these? General opinions on build quality, ease of use etc.
2. Which processor would you recommend? The SD content playing is probably the most processor intensive task it will have (althoug would be nice to be able to do some post processing etc. if possible)
3. If I wanted to add a digital tuner, would there be space in the case? I'm guessing I'd need a low profile card. Agian, not bothered about recording, so a single tuner would be fine.

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.


Established Member
Well, despite the lack of response, I had to get one of these as they seem like a good solution. The case, CPU (celeron 1.86) and memory (512MB) have arrived. Will be putting it together tomorrow if the slot-loading DVD drive arrives. The case looks absolutely great - very small (much smaller than your traditional barebones cube case) with a piano black finish (and a little cloth for wiping off the fingerprints). I'll post more info once it's up and running. Not sure yet wether to install MCE, Media Portal, GBPVR or LinuxMCE. All look good, but given the resource requirements of the first two, may be down to GBPVR or LinuxMCE.

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