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Aspire iDea 500

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ElchenUK

Guest
Has anyone checked the specs of this thing? it sounds good tons of connection points enough for every display you can own!

Aspire iDea
 

ngchol

Novice Member
The only thing stopping me buying this (my Mesh Shuttle Media Center PC has just died) is not knowing whether it can handle H.264 playback at 1080p. Once I know this I'll be buying one too. The graphics chipset is an Intel GMA950 - http://www.intel.com/products/chipsets/gma950/ - but I couldn't find any H.264 information there.
 
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ElchenUK

Guest
mh123, where did you get one from as I've not seen them anywhere online yet?
 

mark.carline

Novice Member
This looks very nice and reasonable at around 700 quid.

I wondered if you could tell me what PCI slots there are on it ?.

If I got anything like this I would prefer to replace the two tuners with a single dual dvbt cards like the NOVA MCE 500s.
 

pio5100h

Novice Member
Idea 500: I just ordered mine.
IMO You don't need full hardware playback as long as you use e.g. the superb CoreAVC codec (payware, not freeware).
You could also try the Apple Quicktime codec for HD... if that is sufficient... no problem.
 

watusi

Novice Member
that price is ex of VAT I think.

Where'd you order yours from PIO5100h?

Torn between this and the sony VGX-X100
 

pio5100h

Novice Member
I ordered my Aspire 500 from a local shop (not the internet). Price is higher than normal (but with service).
Where do you get the Sony MCE from ? It's not available here because it's for a digital tuner only AFAIK.
Knowing about the Acer tuner's problem it might be a good 'iDea' :) to go for the Sony (if you have DVT-B).
 

pio5100h

Novice Member
Supposedly bad quality reception, since it's a hybrid type.
I'll know soon enough though and hope I can't confirm this issue !
The Sony, also hear-say, has a better one, but not for 'the mainland' countries, AND has a nv 6600 GFX card as well, but is bigger.
I've seen a French Sony model on that sonystyle website though.
 

watusi

Novice Member
well after reading the big sony thread I gave up on buying that one. would have been better for games i guess (I mainly want to play mame and emulators on it anyway) but there's too many things wrong with it.

Ordered the idea 500 and it'll be arriving on monday. bit concerned about the tuners now - if they are crap then it effectively breaks it for me and it'll be going back for a refund.

My office pc has a hybrid dual tuner tv card thing and then tv signal is fantastic on freeview. if i record something then play on the xbox downstairs then its better quality than the signal from my panasonic pv500. You got any links to info about the tuners? I've not really managed to find that much about the ide a500 on the net...

fingers crossed....
 

pio5100h

Novice Member
Watusi... no problem in the UK AFAIK.
Your tuner req. are DIFFERENT. We (mainland) have NO digital tuner needs (yet) - analogue seems to be the problem.
I got my -tuner related- info from a Dutch forum (foreign language, would have been of no use to you I guess).
 

pio5100h

Novice Member
Can anybody tell me whether the iDea 500 already has the Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Update Rollup 2 installed 'out of the box' and/or what updates are necessary ??
Is this the latest MCE 2005 updated version ?
Thanks.
 

watusi

Novice Member
pio5100h said:
Can anybody tell me whether the iDea 500 already has the Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Update Rollup 2 installed 'out of the box' and/or what updates are necessary ??
Is this the latest MCE 2005 updated version ?
Thanks.
I can because mine arrived this morning!! Looks like it comes with Rollup 2 with it. Ran windows update afterwards and it found another small (3.5meg) rollup to install but i think that was an extra media centre one.

Liking it so far except it has a mat****a DVD drive in it that cannot be made region free. bit if a killer that is. tried anydvd but that didn't work. might have to get an extra external DVD for R1 stuff or use my dvd player.
 
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ElchenUK

Guest
watusi said:
I can because mine arrived this morning!!
Nice one! your gonna have to do a review of it asap!
I was almost gonna blow my cash on a sony but I think I'll wait on your comments.
 

pio5100h

Novice Member
Watusi; dunno whether that program will help, but it should work with most players.
What I did (till now) is use two hardware DVD players, one with region one for the stuff I bought in the US at the time and the other Region 2 of course.
But most hardware DVD players can be made region free, like the Philips it's a simple button combo.
'Bout your new toy... please tell me/us:
- are the iDea tuners' PQ really as bad ?
- what about the overall IQ on an LCDTV ?
- does it come with the 2 MCE DVD's or should we make the backup CD ?
- can we opt for different languages at installation time ? (at home we always prefer English because all our present/previous Win systems had it like that).
- whatever is of interest
GOOD LUCK.
I'll post my review asap... should get it next week or so.
 

watusi

Novice Member
Right then, some brief thoughts on the kit so far.

1) Am using the DVI connection with a VGA adaptor. Tried the HDMI and the picture was massively overscanned, and not perfect. Tried component and the picture was terrible (unusable). VGA picture is good, great in MC. ok in PC mode. Not got any other Media centre experience to compare it to though.
2) can't get the radio working (but I think I might just need to run tv setup again).
3) spent a lot of time installing other codecs like ffdshow and vobsub to get it all up to speed.

liking it so far. its a good piece of kit. the only flaws I've found seem to be flaws in media centre such as not being able to change the massive icons into lists and shrink the text size.

that and that the DVD player is not region freeable (checked on www.rpc1.com - no firmware for mat****a UJ-645S). can live with that I guess - although spending £800 I guess I should have something perfect.

PIO - PQ on the tuners seems fine to me, done a quick comparison with that in the pv500 tv and it looks very similar. not tried the analogue tuners though. Doesn't come with any discs at all. just a manual. first thing it does is prompt you to make a two DVD recovery disc (you can make these at any point so you can restore to a later point).
Not sure about the languages - it asks the usual language questions that XP does. wasn't really paying much attention.

Tried some games on it, Mame ran well with my xbox 360 arcade stick. Outrun 2 wouldn't run but I wasn't really expecting it to.

All in all I'm pretty happy. It works well, looks ok, is easy to set up. No problems getting the optical out working either. I think if I had more free time building one from scratch would be a better option but for a out the box solution its good. and it fits in well with the rest of my kit. The sony one is a big monster is a comparison.

Oh yeah, tried some hi-def stuff. It doesn't seem to handle playin 1080p stuff very well at all. Tried with and withou COREAVC codec. 720p stuff is fine though.

Anything else you wanna know. Spent most of the day fiddling with it and copying files etc.
 

pio5100h

Novice Member
Thx watusi for all these answers.
With language selections I meant... the language the OS is in.
It leaves me a bit... alarmed. HDMI overscan and not great PQ.... I hope I can fix this with the 46X2000 LCDTV setting.
No CD's N ... So we in fact DON'T get MCE 2005 with it. Maybe those 2 Backup DVD/CD's are it ?
The analogue tuners are the ones that are supposed to be bad... you're lucky to live in the UK.
Handle 1080p stuff not all that well... do you mean it even CoreAVC + T2300 can't cope with the 1080p??? The AMD64 3500+/GF6800GT does quite well on that !
Thanks again !!
 

watusi

Novice Member
pio5100h said:
Thx watusi for all these answers.
With language selections I meant... the language the OS is in.
It leaves me a bit... alarmed. HDMI overscan and not great PQ.... I hope I can fix this with the 46X2000 LCDTV setting.
No CD's N ... So we in fact DON'T get MCE 2005 with it. Maybe those 2 Backup DVD/CD's are it ?
The analogue tuners are the ones that are supposed to be bad... you're lucky to live in the UK.
Handle 1080p stuff not all that well... do you mean it even CoreAVC + T2300 can't cope with the 1080p??? The AMD64 3500+/GF6800GT does quite well on that !
Thanks again !!
I think HDMI overscan is a given isn't it? Bit of playing around with powerstrip would probably fix. PQ with VGA/DVI seems good. Having spent the evening using it I'm quite happy with it now. My post before seemed more negative than I intended.
 

pio5100h

Novice Member
Always overscan, dunno, hope not.
I thought a 1080p picture on a 16:9 1080 screen with 1:1 pixel mapping over HDMI should not overscan (I'll know that in a few days) ?
The tuner PQ tests were all digital I take it ? After reading a Dutch Forum around the iDea all my hopes are gone regarding the analogue tuner part capabilities.
BTW I got those not so pleasing views on the iDea from:
http://www.xpmce.nl/ipb/index.php?showtopic=3408&st=0
I do hope your initial observations are justified.
I think the best way to get a great HTPC is to build one ourselves, but reading this forum made me stay away from it (seems not that easy).
From what I read until now the iDea sure is one of the OEM good ones. Seems there are far worse still :)
 

watusi

Novice Member
I'm sure I could HDMI looking good with some tinkering.

With regards to 1080p playback. the Windows Media samples play fine. The quicktime 1080p samples stutter badly, and any 1080 TS files are also quite bad. Maybe I need different codecs or to use a different player. not played too much with that side of things.

Could you summarise what that forums topic says? Can't find a way of translating it (is it finnish or dutch??)
 

pio5100h

Novice Member
To summarize those 4 pages isn't easy. But it comes down to the fact that many (Dutch) people return their iDea because the analogue tuner (no digital without card in the Netherlands) is simply terrible. Acer knows about the (supposed?) problem and promises a fix, but not just yet !
Some people on that forum will build their own HTPC now instead. But again ... that situation is NOT the UK one. I have no idea whether the UK iDea and other countries' versions are the same. e.g. I read that in the far east it supposedly has a 500 GB HDD (in a local Acer press release that is). But even if so, an external USB/FW HDD can be a solution (I'll use one of mine).
 

watusi

Novice Member
mark.carline said:
Whats the noise like from the fans / power supply / hard drive etc ?

Does the speed of the fans change as your using the unit for heavy apps ?
The Fans are silent. You can hear the hard drive though (but only when the sound on the tv is off).
 

watusi

Novice Member
pio5100h said:
To summarize those 4 pages isn't easy. But it comes down to the fact that many (Dutch) people return their iDea because the analogue tuner (no digital without card in the Netherlands) is simply terrible. Acer knows about the (supposed?) problem and promises a fix, but not just yet !
Some people on that forum will build their own HTPC now instead. But again ... that situation is NOT the UK one. I have no idea whether the UK iDea and other countries' versions are the same. e.g. I read that in the far east it supposedly has a 500 GB HDD (in a local Acer press release that is). But even if so, an external USB/FW HDD can be a solution (I'll use one of mine).
I've seen a review on CNET where it says it comes with a T2600 processor too, its not. Its a T2300.
 

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