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Fractal Design Define Mini and ECS HDC-I Review - Creating a Fusion HTPC

by Stuart Davidson - 6th June 2011
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Fractal Design Define Mini and ECS HDC-I mATX Review - Creating a Fusion HTPC

Real World Testing (Blu-Ray, YouTube HD, Power)

Blu-Ray Playback: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs is encoded in High Definition 1080p format using MPEG4 AVC compression and comes on a dual layer (50GB) disc. The aspect ratio of 2.35:1 is used with letterbox bars at the top and bottom of the 16:9 image. This portion of the movie has an average video bitrate of around 35MBPS and regularly peaks above this making it one of the most demanding Blu-Rays on the market. For comparison, a movie such as Casino Royale has a bitrate of 24MBPS.


YouTube HD

In our second playback test we look at 1080p video on YouTube using Google Chrome and the latest Flash Player.


When playing back a Blu-Ray title at 1080p there are no issues with performance on the HDC-I, it offers excellent playback with the option of taking advantage of AMDs image quality enhancements if we wish. Playback is again smooth on 1080p YouTube clips however CPU use is higher and so this could be a scenario where enabling the APU turbo mode is appealing. As we saw on the last page that would boost performance by 20%+, reducing CPU use.


In terms of power use, the ECS HDC-I runs at a similar level to other Fusion based boards we have tested. When playing media it requires a little over 40w and only hits the 60w level when we stress the APU using synthetic tasks.
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