I’ve recently purchased a Novatech nBox for myself (birthday present ) to use as a media PC. Having done so I have been quite impressed (I’m non-biased – honest! ) and so thought I'd share the goodness with you all.
Product URL: http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/pc/range/nbox.html
First of all here’s the hardware summary:
CPU: D525 1.8GHz dual core Atom with 4 threads
RAM: 2GB (upgraded by me to 4GB) DDR3 1066MHz SO-DIMM (runs at 800MHz)
RAM slots: 1 (one)
HDD: 320GB SATA2 5400RPM 2.5 inch
Chipset: Intel NM10
- SD/MMC/MS card slot
- 6x USB ports (USB 1.1 / 2.0 compatible)
- HDMI port
- VGA port
- RJ45 Network port
- 3.5mm Headphone port
- 2.5mm Microphone port
- 3.5mm Speaker out port
Ethernet/LAN: Realtek 8111/8168B Gigabit
Wireless: Realtek 8191SE 802.11n
Audio: Realtek HD Audio
Graphics: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150
Inbuilt Speaker: Yes
PXE Boot ROM: Yes
Wake-on-LAN (WOL): Yes (see below)
Wireless WOL: No
OS Version: Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit Retail
Installation Media: 16GB Corsair USB Memory stick
Installation Problems? None - installed flawlessly
Drivers: The drivers also went on with no problems.
One thing to note: The inbuilt Intel graphics card supports dual display with one fixed ratio notebook-style wide screen format and one monitor format (traditional ratio variability such as 4:3, 16:9 etc). When you initially install the graphics driver you may find that you can only get wide screen resoltuions . This is because it is treating the display like a notebook’s. You need to go to the graphics media manager (on the system tray next to the time/date) and select Monitor+Notebook as opposed to Notebook+Monitor. You will then find your usual resolution range listed. This gave me a definite “what the duce!” moment until I found that selector option.
OS Version: Ubuntu 11.4
Installation Media: 8GB Buffalo USB Memory stick
Installation Problems? None - installed flawlessly
Drivers: See below
Audio: Works out of the box
Graphics: Works out of the box
Wireless: Works out of the box
Ethernet/LAN: Does NOT work out of the box
With the Ethernet/LAN there is a Realtek 8111/8168B driver available but I didn’t have much luck getting it to work and was quite limited on time. Here's the link:
Finally, I’ve also included a sudo lspci listing:
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation N10 Family DMI Bridge (rev 02)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation N10 Family Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 02)
00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation N10 Family Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 02)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family High Definition Audio Controller (rev 02)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family PCI Express Port 1 (rev 02)
00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family PCI Express Port 2 (rev 02)
00:1c.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family PCI Express Port 3 (rev 02)
00:1c.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family PCI Express Port 4 (rev 02)
00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family USB UHCI Controller #1 (rev 02)
00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family USB UHCI Controller #2 (rev 02)
00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family USB UHCI Controller #3 (rev 02)
00:1d.3 USB Controller: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family USB UHCI Controller #4 (rev 02)
00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family USB2 EHCI Controller (rev 02)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev e2)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation NM10 Family LPC Controller (rev 02)
00:1f.2 IDE interface: Intel Corporation N10/ICH7 Family SATA IDE Controller (rev 02)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family SMBus Controller (rev 02)
02:00.0 Network controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8191SEvA Wireless LAN Controller (rev 10)
03:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller (rev 06)
04:00.0 Multimedia controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM70015 Video Decoder [Crystal HD]
Admittedly this is not a gamer machine - it can be used for browsing the internet, editing word/excel documents or (as I am doing) as a media/file server, etc.
Network-wise, the xfer rate can vary but when going across an unshielded cat5e cable using gigabit to gigabit connection it can be between 60 and 90 MBytes/s.
The unit has Wake-on-LAN capability - VERY useful when using as media/file server. To enable it you don't need to do anything in windows but you do need to go into the BIOS, into the ADVANCED menu and disable the Deep Sleep mode. Once you have done that a Wake-on-LAN menu will appear beneath. Go into that and enable Wake-on-LAN. Save and exit by pressing F10.
Unfortunately the wireless does not support Wireless Wake-on-LAN - but then again not that many wifi cards do as this is still a bit new.
Due to the Intel graphics media accelerator playing back even high def films is feasible. I managed to play back a 720p film without issue.
The inbuilt speaker is not a real substitute for a proper set of speakers so I would suggest either connecting a decent set up or disabling the audio in device manager.
The PSU is a notebook-style "brick" which is quite small and unobtrusive. The output stats are email@example.com. It gets only very mildly warm to the touch (but mostly remains at room temperature).