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News Fractal Design launches Steambox and 450W SFX





Self-described as "the ultimate PC case for those looking for a beautifully designed, compact chassis that can house a capable gaming build," Fractal has just announced its new NODE 202 mini-ITX chassis with accompanied by the tagline "size does matter."

http://www.tweaktown.com/news/45585/fractal-design-launches-node-202-compact-chassis/index.html

http://www.tweaktown.com/news/45586/fractal-design-pushes-integra-sfx-450-psu-mini-pc/index.html

Not bad though looks a bit on the cheap side in quality and that non-modular PSU will be fun to deal with.
 

Necere

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Optical drives are a relic. I can't think of a single good reason to use them unless you have an existing collection of discs. But if that's the case, you should really consider ripping them to HDD and packing them away into storage (which is dumb, but selling/giving them away without also deleting the data wouldn't be legal. Not that that's ever stopped anyone).
 

EdZ

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Optical drives are a relic. I can't think of a single good reason to use them unless you have an existing collection of discs.
If you want HD video that doesn't look like bitrate-starved ass, you currently have two options:
- Buy BDs
- Pirate raw BD images
Until either a download-to-own service opens with acceptable quality encodes, or some super-cheap solid state format replaces optical media, I'll be keeping that drive.

Sticking them all into a NAS would be really nice, but my current 9TB would not come close to holding the entire collection, and I rarely watch the same BD twice in quick succession (so I'd either have to rip immediately before watching, or predict the future to rip presciently). I'm purchasing media for quality i nthe first place, so transcoding is right out.
 

Necere

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But isn't it more convenient to have a standalone blu-ray player for that purpose? I haven't looked too much into HTPCs, but it always seemed like it would be a pain to get it setup and integrated properly into a home theater compared to a purpose-built device.
 

EdZ

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But isn't it more convenient to have a standalone blu-ray player for that purpose? I haven't looked too much into HTPCs, but it always seemed like it would be a pain to get it setup and integrated properly into a home theater compared to a purpose-built device.
Not really. A standalone BD player has the 'plug in and play' benefit wiped out whenever a firmware update is needed due to an encryption key update. you then have to deal with a tragically slow UI, glacial menu performance (running a Java VM on the cheapest SoC the manufacturer could find while shunting multiple HD video streams about), occasional terrible configuration that cannot be remedies (I've the the misfortune of finding at least one BD player with overscan that cannot be disabled), the usual unskippable adverts, region locking, etc.
Once you get a HTPC set up, which admittedly can be a pain and does require some research and understanding to do really well, not only do you avoid performance and UI issues but you get added benefits like high quality post-decode filtering (e.g. MadVR) that would cost you a good few grand if done using hardware filtering boxes.
 

Phuncz

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Transcode the BluRay discs to an MKV container while maintaining the audio-video streams, that way you won't need to setup an HTPC to combat a user-unfriendly format. And it's future-proof. I can still play my digital videos and music from 2000, I can't with VHS and CD because physical formats have limited life-spans and these devices become obselete. That's what I used my ODD for the last time: to transcode a limited-life format to one that can last forever.

Join the DARK SIDE young Skywalker :D

I stopped believing in CDs when an original disc wouldn't work in my (expensive) car stereo. They did the same thing with BluRay: punishing the honest people with malfunctioning crap, while pirates had the best experience without that same crap.
 
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EdZ

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Eh, even if I stripped everything from the raw transport streams except the main feature and one audio track (Transcoding ist Verboten!) and dumped them into MKV containers, that'll still overflow the NAS. The problem isn't the playback end - if I really wanted, I could set up a server to remux on-the-fly the .ts to an MKV or mp4 or whatever a minimal streaming box that can handle High Profile Level 4.1 (e.g. a Raspberry Pi) wants to see for its FFB* to decode it - it's storing all that data in the first place. Piracy would be a better solution, if 'The Scene' weren't still hellbent on using encoding techniques from the 90s (I still see Target Filesize encodes crop up for overburnt CD-Rs!). Then again, I'll import BDs at stupid expense and remux missing tracks if the domestic licensor screwed things up, so I'm probably an outlier.
At the moment, my 'HTPC' is just my regular PC and a long HDMI cable. If I were to build a dedicated HTPC, it would probably end up as an atom board with a PicoPSU and a half-height GPU next to a 5.25" BD drive.

*Fixed Function Block. The little bit of an SoC dedicated to demuxing and decoding video and audio streams, and is incredibly picky about what type of video and audio it will handle. Some companies still use FFBs that only handle Main Profile h.264, or only up to Level 4; This is evil.
 

Necere

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The thing is, you're the exception. Not many people are going to watch BD movies on their PC. I would guess it's a single digit percentage, maybe under 1%. I stand by my statement that it's a relic for the majority of people, with few exceptions. Assuming that's accurate, why should PC cases where size is a factor (which is the topic of this thread and forum, after all) make space for something so few people would use?

That's not to say that 5.25" bays don't have other uses, of course. But again, despite their use, most people these days don't need them and will leave them sitting empty.
 

PlayfulPhoenix

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The thing is, you're the exception. Not many people are going to watch BD movies on their PC. I would guess it's a single digit percentage, maybe under 1%. I stand by my statement that it's a relic for the majority of people, with few exceptions. Assuming that's accurate, why should PC cases where size is a factor (which is the topic of this thread and forum, after all) make space for something so few people would use?

FWIW, I agree completely. I think forgoing ODD support in SFF enclosures is almost always the right compromise to make, with respect to what you get from it, and how many (really, how few) are affected by it.

For those that must have ODDs or other hardware that require 5.25" bays, I'd imagine that SFF cases that do feature them are pretty purpose-built around such hardware, too. You'll really just be limited in options, which, although a bummer, is the reality of living in a niche-within-a-niche, I suppose.
 

Phuncz

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that'll still overflow the NAS.
Overflowing in space or in bitrate, because both are solveable :)
I don't know if you've seen my NAS build in the casemod subforum, but it's a 6-disk 2TB NAS with a 2-disk redundancy (so about 7,5TB of capacity) and it allows >100MB/s read/write. A good NAS is a blessing and will solve part of your problem.

Piracy would be a better solution, if 'The Scene' weren't still hellbent on using encoding techniques from the 90s (I still see Target Filesize encodes crop up for overburnt CD-Rs!).
Totally off-topic: maybe on popular open platforms, but I've seen some closed ones that offer BluRay remuxes. These are just BluRay movies stripped from their (IMO stupid) menus, warnings and trailers and remuxed without transcoding into an MKV that almost anything plays.

That's what I mean about ever-lasting formats. Physical containers are reliant on proprietary physical devices to play them, non-physical formats are not. And even if only one application exists that can play it and it's on Windows 3.11, you can still run that on today's hardware. Ever needed a less than popular format like CDi or LaserDisc ? How about HD-DVD in a few years ? I had a few HD-DVD's for a while. I ripped and transcoded them into an MKV so they would survive as long as I do as Miami.Vice.2006.HDDVD.1080p.AC3-NoGrp.mkv and Alien.Theatrical.Cut.1979.720p.BluRay.DTS.x264-NoGrp.mkv, not as the format I can already not easily playback anymore.
 

EdZ

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The thing is, you're the exception. Not many people are going to watch BD movies on their PC.
Definitely. It's pretty clear that most people are perfectly happy with Netflix - or even lower quality streaming services - for their main video watching rather than DVDs or BDs. If I had multiple PCs, I'd also be perfectly happy without an optical drive; my M1 holds my only machine, so it has to do everything (daily driver workstation, media playback, portable VR demo rig, etc).
That's not to say that 5.25" bays don't have other uses, of course. But again, despite their use, most people these days don't need them and will leave them sitting empty.
5.25" bays can definitely go for SFF, and most ATX rigs can probably make do with slimline drives too. The minimal speed and noise tradeoff for slimline drives is acceptable there. I'd argue that HTPCs don't generally need to be SFF, as anyone who is sticking with 'legacy' optical media for quality likely has some sort of AV stack with a receiver/amp (or a receiver + one or more separate amps) so a slightly bloated chassis isn't too much of a problem in amongst everything else.

Overflowing in space or in bitrate, because both are solveable :)
I don't know if you've seen my NAS build in the casemod subforum, but it's a 6-disk 2TB NAS with a 2-disk redundancy (so about 7,5TB of capacity) and it allows >100MB/s read/write. A good NAS is a blessing and will solve part of your problem.
Space. I have a 5-drive Microserver with 9TB of usable capacity (RAIDZ2 for failure tolerance). I just have too many BDs, as well as the NAS storing backups and other data. I'd sure like to have the cash to blow on a nice 3U 16 drive backplaned box (and the drives to fill it), but then I'd probably have other problems.
That's what I mean about ever-lasting formats. Physical containers are reliant on proprietary physical devices to play them, non-physical formats are not.
True, continuous transfer of data to new formats and media is better than sticking it on a disc/tape/disk and hoping it doesn't rot. Unless you have a massive tape archive and can pay to keep the tape robot and drives running for decades (e.g. CERN).
But every single format shift so far has demonstrated that when storage becomes cheap enough to copy all my optical media onto a central store without quality loss, then a new media format with higher bitrate requirements already will be there and would flood that central store. Not only is UHD ('4K' and '8K') on the horizon, VR is prompting a resurgence in panoramic video (various methods of packing images into what is effective a 16K frame for a reasonably acceptable angular resolution) for just flat images, and beyond that Lightfeild images and video which can easily run into multiple TB at high compression ratios.
 

iFreilicht

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Feb 28, 2015
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Going back to the case, I love how they made the GPU holder, that's simple and effective at the same time. Also can we talk about those fan filters? They seem to be quite hard to clean, but for a case of this price and this size, that's a pretty darn good feature to have.
I'm actually quite surprised how well though out the case seems. It already was a step in the right direction, but after seeing that video, I think it's the current benchmark for Steambox cases.