Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Akasa Euler Fanless OpenELEC Build

The Akasa Euler Mini ITX Solid Aluminum Fanless Case (AK-ITX05-BK) is one of the smallest, fan-less cases I could find for the price. Silent PC Review does a great review of the install process.

I have been using XBMC for years on a Acer Aspire Revo 3610. Unfortunately the custom stock fan could not be replaced. Going fan-less was the way to go. OpenELEC was starting to gain some traction and designed to run on low spec hardware.

The initial CPU was a 35 watts Intel dual-core 2.3 Ghz and way more than was needed to run OpenElec. Although, like my Revo, I wanted the ability to dual-boot into Windows to run emulators and classic games (another one of my hobbies).

I ended up upgrading the CPU on my 3rd attempt at building the Euler. The first build, I updated the BIOS right at the beginning. I noticed the USB ports would not recognize my USB CD-ROM or thumb drive 9 out of 10 times. I was still able to install OpenELEC after much trial and error. I ended up returning the motherboard because I felt it was defective. The 2nd motherboard was installed and everything was running great for a few days until I decided to update the BIOS. I noticed the USB ports would not recognize any USB thumb-drive again. I returned the motherboard again keeping the stock BOIS (version AGH6110H.86A.0040.2012.0524.1818). Everything has been running fine for about 5 months now.
Initial Build Specs:
Upgraded CPU:
Intel Core i3-3225 Ivy Bridge 3.3GHz Dual-Core CPU (LGA 1155 55W HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I33225) - $144.00

While assembling the PC for the 3rd time, I went ahead and upgraded to the CPU. The dual-core 3.3Ghz was way more needed to run the media PC, but I wanted the Intel HD4000 graphics for some higher-end PC games (*cough* Super Street Fighter IV). I found the 55w Ivy Bridge ran a little cooler than the 35 Sandy Bridge even though the Akasa manufacture didn't recommend it. The temperature hovers around 133F (56C) degrees during movie playback.

Upgraded WI-FI:
ASUS USB-N53 Dual Band Wireless-N USB  - $40.00

The Patriot PCUSBW1150 WI-FI worked great right out of the box in both Windows 7 and OpenELEC. Due to having roughly 25 Wi-Fi access points in my my building, I had buffering issues from time to time (usually at night when everyone is home). I upgraded to a dual-band ASUS USB-N53 so I could take advantage of the the lesser 5Ghz band that my ASUS RT-N66U (TomatoUSB firmware) could use. I've had no buffering issues since :)


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