Striking out with AMD and AM1 platform

After a day with my new AMD Athlon 5350 and MSI AM1I motherboard, I’ve had nothing but problems. I’ve tried running Linux Mint 16 and Ubuntu 13.10 with the hopes of running XBMC. Nothing but driver related issues with the video card. I even tried with Windows 7 Professional 64bit. Also problems with the video drivers. Here’s the errors I get.

error

log file

The log file shows me

I’ve tried running the exe file as administrator and no luck. I guess it’s just way too new. I won’t be running my HTPC anytime soon. Hope a fix is released, preferably on Linux. I’ve also tried running XBMC on Windows 7 and because the driver failed to be installed, I get a GUI error. I tried XBMCBuntu and it boots off the USB but it won’t install. I’m a little disappointed. This was my first time back to AMD in a long time, as well as MSI. Not a good experience back. I’ll keep you posted on any updates.

AMD AM1 Athlon 5350 Kabini and MSI AM1I MS-7865

AMD recently released the AM1 platform. It consist of 4 new processors. My old HTPC no longer works. I think the humidifier in the room may have something to do with it. So I decided to pick up the 5350 and a MSI AM1I MS-7865 motherboard. Newegg had an extra $15 off for the combo. I wasn’t needing the most powerful of the bunch but for the price I decided to get it anyway.

The plan was to replace the broken HTPC with this one. Use the existing case, PSU, ram, and SSD. I swapped out the motherboard and cpu. The heatsink is a little taller than the old one so I had to do the cabling a little different but it worked out. On to the OS installation. Here’s where I ran into a brick wall. I wanted to use Linux Mint 16, create an HTPC user with auto-login into XBMC. Unfortunately, the video drivers are not running stable. It kept warning me that it’s running in software render mode and that my CPU may be running higher than normal. The HTPC won’t be much good if the problem is related to the video drivers. I’m sure being that it’s new, the Linux community hasn’t released an updated driver yet. I tried my luck with Ubuntu 13.10. I knew there’s a small chance it’ll be more stable since Mint didn’t work, but I tried anyway. Same results.

I gave up and will be install Windows 7 for the time being. I wanted to get it up and running sooner than later. So now for some pics and initial readings.

DSC07788

DSC07789

DSC07790

It is a Mini ITX motherboard. Though small, it has full size ram slots (up to 32GB) and a full sized PCI Express 3.0 (x4). I’m not planning on using a discrete video card because my case won’t allow it, but the 5350 CPU does have a Radeon 8400. It should be more than adequate for my HTPC purposes. It also has a mini PCI-E slot, but I’m not sure if I can use a MSATA drive. Would be great if I could, to gain space inside the small case. The 2 SATA ports run at up to 6Gbps. Another note, the ram slot holding pins don’t bend on both sides. Only one side on each slot bends for ram install, so don’t force the other side to bend.

DSC07791

Here’s a pic of the ports.

I’m kind of surprised that motherboards still come with PS2 ports for keyboards and mice. It has 2x USB2.0 and 2x USB3.0. The motherboard has 2x USB2.0 headers. The usual gigabit ethernet port is there. There are 3 different ways you can connect – VGA and DVI that supports up to 1900×1200 and the HDMI supports up to 4096×2160 (4K UHD) – according to MSI’s website (http://www.msi.com/product/mb/AM1I.html#?div=Detail). I wish I had a 4K display to test that out. The audio also supports up to 7.1 channels.

DSC07792

Here’s how it looks with the CPU and heatsink installed. The holding pins are different as well and the 2 are set diagonally from each other.

DSC07793

DSC07794

I wanted to take a pic of my old motherboard setup next to my new one. Here’s the video I took going over my old HTPC setup.

DSC07795

As you can see, the AMD 5350 and heatsink is taller than my old E350.

DSC07796

Here’s a pic of the space between the CPU heatsink fan and the HDD/SSD tray. It works, but you no longer can have 2 HDD/SSD configuration.

DSC07797

The message I ran into while trying to install Linux Mint. It made my system a little unstable. I figured, I’ll just install Windows 7 for the time being and try Linux again later.

So far my power consumption is low. I haven’t gone over 22 watts. It idles at 10-12 watts. With Windows 7 Profession 64bit running Windows Update, it’s at 15.6 watts. My temperature from the bios was at 18°C. Very low compared to my old E350.

core_temp_amd5350

This screenshot was taken while installing Windows updates. I haven’t done a video but I am planning to do one soon so stay tuned.

M350 and HTPC build round 2

If you checked out the last post about my HTPC adventure, I was using a Raidmax tower that uses a 300W PSU. It’s a nice little tower but the fan on the PSU was just too loud for my taste. So I kept looking and finally found a case that may have what I’m looking for. It’s the M350. I don’t even know who makes it but from the videos I’ve seen on Youtube and articles I’ve read online, it looks great. This case seems to be the smallest I’ve seen for an mini-ITX motherboard. I also had to get a picopsu. I chose to get a 90W picopsu and AC adapter. So far it’s been running great. The first test I did was with an Asus USB-N13 wireless adapter. It didn’t turn out too well setting up Windows Media Center with media from a NAS box. Connecting through the ethernet gigabit network improved the performance. Overall, I’m happy with the outcome. Here is a video I posted on Youtube and some pics I took.

M350 with MSI E350IS-E45

IMG_5062

IMG_5063

IMG_5064

IMG_5065

IMG_5066

IMG_5067

I wanted to show the size difference between the M350 case and an iPad2.

IMG_5068

I wanted to show the size difference between the M350 case and an iPad2.

IMG_5069

IMG_5070

IMG_5071

IMG_5072

IMG_5073

Picopsu 90W

IMG_5076

I wanted to show the area where the USB front panel cable could get in the way of the picopsu cables. This is the case for my motherboard but it could be different in other motherboards where the PSU pins are located elsewhere (like above the CPU).

IMG_5077

The picopsu isn’t sitting in there properly in this picture but I figured it out. On the video above I explained what I found.

My first attempt at an HTPC

I’ve been messing around with the AMD E350 platform for a few months now and have been trying out VMWare and Freenas on it. The results were impressive. Don’t underestimate the E350, it can do some lifting. I then got curious with HTPC. I was able to use my existing hardware. I also had spare parts if needed. The only thing I bought was a small tower. So here’s the build.

So for less than $200 (before taxes), you can build yourself a nice HTPC. I didn’t include an optical drive in the price since I won’t be using it to play media. All of my media is streamed from my NAS server. It has a VGA, DVI, and HDMI port already built in. It also has a gigabit ethernet port. The SSD is somewhat of an overkill but currently the prices for SSD drives are a lot more appealing than traditional platter HDD. I have been able to play 1080i videos at 24FPS.

The PC runs well and responsive. It can handle the default and AEON skins just fine. There have been some lag on the interface when video is playing in the background, but understandable with the CPU capabilities. The only thing I don’t like with this setup is the tower. The PSU fan is a bit loud for an HTPC. I may look for another one that’s quieter. For a $40 tower with 300W PSU, I can’t complain and should’ve expected that. You just have to wait for deals. The idle temps float around 45-50° C. While playing a movie file located on the local hard drive, the temps go up 5° C. CPU usage aren’t bad either. Idle is at around 30-40%. During video playback it can get around 60%. There were times that it hit 100% but only a few seconds.

I may be getting rid of the MSI E350 and looking to upgrade it with an Intel i3 2100. We’ll see how prices change once the Ivy Bridge CPUs are in the market. Here are some pics I took.

IMG_5046

IMG_5048

IMG_5050