Arctic MC101 and thoughts on other SFF PCs

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Arctic MC101 and thoughts on other SFF PCs

Postposted on Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:42 pm

So there is interest at work in setting up a video conferencing system for light usage, meaning skype or other software-based solutions that don't require exotic (read: expensive) hardware. The main display will be an off the shelf 50-55" LCD TV, I'm looking at higher-end consumer grade webcams like the Logitech BCC950, and of course a small form factor PC to run them all.

I did a little digging around and found out about the Arctic MC101 From the specs and the reviews I've seen, this looks like a very sweet system with a mobile Trinity APU and some very nice connectivity. Here's a review of the Artic MC101, and I'd love to see TR take a crack at this system. Another advantage for a work environment is that it comes with a pre-built configuration so no assembly is required (there are bare-bones versions too if you want more customization).

Does anyone else have recommendations for SFF or HTPC systems that fit the bill for this type of setup? The Mac Mini is one alternative that comes to mind for me, but the issue there is having to wipe OS X and jump over to Windows for many tasks. Anything else out on the market that fills this niche nicely?

Edit: One disadvantage of the Arctic box is the lack of any optical drive option. It helps to keep the box small, but you can't do DVD/BluRay with this thing. They do offer an external drive option, but at $130, I'd look to Newegg/Amazon/etc. instead of getting it through them.
4770K @ 4.7 GHz; 32GB DDR3-2133; GTX-770; 512GB 840 Pro (2x); Fractal Define XL-R2; NZXT Kraken-X60
--Many thanks to the TR Forum for advice in getting it built.
chuckula
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Re: Arctic MC101 and thoughts on other SFF PCs

Postposted on Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:33 am

Prebuilt, I can't think of anything sensible :(

Homemade, I'd get a Wesena (now branded Streacom) F1C Evo and you'd end up with something Mac Mini-esque but with a slot-loading DVD player and the flexibility of any spec you want. I'd definitely suggest SSD since in my experience nobody likes waiting for your computer to boot up when they turn up for the meeting 30s before it's due to start.

We have already moved away from ISDN and IP-based Tandberg and Polycom systems because more and more clients/consultants are using things like Skype and Webex instead. Just make sure you get a webcam with decent auto-focus. We've tried a couple of newer Creative and Logitech cams and they don't always get it right.
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Re: Arctic MC101 and thoughts on other SFF PCs

Postposted on Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:15 pm

I guess I'm resurrecting a stale thread but... we did get a SFF PC, but not the Arctic M101... oh we *tried* to order one, but their stupid website wouldn't process the credit card!! :evil:

Anyway, I'm a little bummed about not getting to try it out, but instead we ended up with a refurbed Lenovo SFF (Q-series) that includes an Atom, but has a discrete Radeon GPU to make the system moderately usable. Here's the product page for somewhat newer versions of what we got

So I went out and got some heavy duty "fastener tape" (velcro on steroids) and attached the PC to the back of our wall-mounted LCD TV. It has an HDMI output that drives the display at 1080P well enough for basic presentations and video chats. One trick: Our crappy TCL-brand TV didn't actually display the full desktop properly since parts of the desktop went off the edge of the display. I had to go into the Catalyst control program and adjust the overscan to fix the problem. After that, it worked pretty well. Text is definitely *not* at the same level of clarity as a decent monitor, but from 10' and farther away, it's fine for large-point fonts used in presentations.
4770K @ 4.7 GHz; 32GB DDR3-2133; GTX-770; 512GB 840 Pro (2x); Fractal Define XL-R2; NZXT Kraken-X60
--Many thanks to the TR Forum for advice in getting it built.
chuckula
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