Aleutia H1 Review
- Zotac IONITX
- Dual-core Intel Atom N330 1.6GHz CPU
- GPU PCI id 0x087d rev. b1
- 2 x 2GB DDR2 RAM
- 32 GB SSD (Patriot Warp)
- 12V Zotac fan
Sofware: Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty)
- Aleutia advertised the H1 as fanless and it was ordered with a SSD to obtain an HTPC with no moving parts.
- The fan thus came for "free". (The current H1 specs actually lists the fan as a requirement for the WIFI+Dual core model).
- Although one fan connector on the motherboard has a pin for a control signal, the actual fan only has three connectors (GND, 12V and sensor) and the BIOS shows no support for fan control.
- The WIFI antenna plug of the motherboard was not inserted properly into the H1 backplane.
- The WIFI driver (ath9k) was very unstable and would only connect occasionally.
- Aleutia advertised the H1 as HD (1080p) capable, but the non-customized Ubuntu came without a proper graphics driver and without relevant codecs.
- Without a proper graphics driver the dual-core Atom is very far from being capable of proper HD playback, also with multi-threading enabled (mplayer lavdopts threads=2 (or 4)).
- The price and appearance gives the H1 a high WAF, although the fan and necessary customization reduces it somewhat.
- A PC with the same board and case and different harddisk options is advertised at ebay.com and ebay.de.
Customization (updated 2009-08-05):
- Fix WIFI driver: sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-jaunty
- Install a VDPAU
capable graphics driver and a VDPAU capable player:
- The latest stable VDPAU driver is currently 185.18.14. According to
NVIDIAs documentation the GPU of the H1 is not
- Nevertheless use the
Nvidia Vdpau Team PPA
(Jaunty including Medibuntu does not seem to include a VDPAU driver
nor a VDPAU capable player).
- Install all nvidia packages related to the latest stable VDPAU driver (currently 185.18.14), find them with: apt-cache search nvidia | grep 185
- Install mplayer, smplayer and the suggested packages.
- Restart X
- Verify the installation with: dmesg |grep NVRM
[ 7.494667] NVRM: loading NVIDIA UNIX x86 Kernel Module 185.18.14 Wed
May 27 02:23:13 PDT 2009
- Verify that X is using the driver: grep NVIDIA /var/log/Xorg.0.log
- Check GPU performance with
qvdpautest v. 0.3.
- Verify availability of VDPAU output driver: mplayer -vo help | grep vdpau
- Verify availability of VDPAU codecs: mplayer -vc help | grep vdpau
- Configure mplayer options:
Add available vdpau codecs to ~/.mplayer/config:
# the trailing comma in each setting tells mplayer to
# fall back to standard codecs if necessary
- The vdpau codecs currently do not work well with other options, so
disable _all_ other options.
- Verify smooth HD playback with low CPU usage.
- Reenable other desired mplayer options and verify they don't break the playback. (stop-xscreensaver=yes seems to currently not work)
- Install the sensors-applet to monitor the GPU temperature. Playback of 1920 x 1080p at 24 fps heats the GPU to around 43C.
- Install hddtemp. The S.M.A.R.T. of the Patriot Warp SSD consistently reports a
temperature of 0C.
- Install a
custom version of coretemp supporting the Atom CPU.
- If the 12V fan is deemed too noisy, rewire it to 5V (Warning: This will likely void your warranty)
- Cut the thin red 12V wire to the fan.
- Cut an unused thick red 5V wire from pin 4 on connector CN7 (intended for a harddisk).
- Connect the red wire from CN7 to the red wire of the fan.
- Cover the loose wire ends with electrical tape.
- If the WIFI antenna plug is not correctly inserted into the H1 backplane then fix that too.
- According to the BIOS sensor status the fan spins at around 1400 RPM making it pretty much inaudible from 1m distance.
- Three hours playback of 1920 x 1080p at 24 fps at an ambient temperature of 20C heats the GPU and the CPUs to around 60C .
- With the fan disconnected one hour playback of 1920 x 1080p at 24 fps at an ambient temperature of 20C heats the GPU to 90C and one CPU to 95C, causing temporary
failure of the temperature readout.
- Configure a Hauppauge NOVA-T-STICK DVB-T USB Stick to watch DVB-T:
- Plug it into a USB port.
- sudo apt-get install me-tv dvb-apps
- Applications->Sound & Video->me-tv
- Scan for channels using the nearest geographical location.
Changes per 2009-09-09:
- sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade: With the updated nvidia driver (v. 185.18.36) stop-xscreensaver=yes of mplayer works.
- By sliding back the H1 top the front can be removed, revealing two USB ports. Insert into one of those the USB receiver of the high WAF Logitech Dinovo Mini and reassemble the H1.
- Connect Logitech Z-5400 5.1 speakers with S/PDIF (IEC958).
- Enable 5.1 surround sound at the kernel level in ALSA: Append options snd-hda-intel model=3stack-6ch-dig to /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf.
- Enable 5.1 surround sound in ALSA:
- In the Volume-control->Device select: HDA NVidia (Alsa Mixer).
- In the Volume-control->Preferences enable: IEC958, IEC958 Default PCM, Front, Surround, Center, LFE and Channel mode.
- In the Volume-control->Options select: 6ch.
- In the Volume-control->Switches enable: IEC958 and IEC958 Default PCM.
- In the Volume-control->Playback turn up all six channels.
- Enable 5.1 surround sound in mplayer: Insert ao=alsa and afm=hwac3 into ~/.mplayer/config.
Changes per 2009-09-21:
- Downgrade the motherboard to the single core version, dual core is not needed for HD playback.
- Replace the fan with a Yate Loon D90SH-12B (92mm x 92mm x 15mm) from aquatuning.de. Since the fan is larger than the heatsink, it is fastened with a few drops of silicone.
- Instead of 12V, the fan can be powered with 5V as above.
- The fan can also be powered with just 3.3V by soldering a wire onto pinhole 2 where a ATX power connector could be placed on the motherboard. This keeps the GPU temperature at around 48C and it is very quiet. However, the fan does not always start by itself, to get it going one has to blow on the H1 after power-on.
Changes per 2009-11-07:
Changes per 2010-11-02:
Thanks to NVIDIA and everyone in the FOSS community for making this possible!
If you got this far, you might want to check out my work-station.