Nov 18 2015

News - TECHSPOT Reviews Intel Core i3-6100, Likes It

With Broadwell's lackluster desktop release leaving DIY builders out in the cold, I've been a bit detached from following the progression of the platform. This has changed with Skylake, and its full release for all users - not just mobile. Might just be time to modernize that aging HTPC Smile.

Jul 31 2015

News - Intel Brings Discrete IR Back to NUC5i5RYK

Discrete IR On/Off are a critical part of my home theater setup. Without them, I can't include an "On" command in my startup macro for the HTPC which leads to all sorts of "training issues" with the other users in the house. So I was pretty upset when Intel killed the feature in a recent BIOS release. Fortunately they were able to fix the issue in the latest (0348) release. Users will now need to select the type of remote they're using in BIOS; with everyone benefiting. Huzzah!!!

A big thanks to everyone at Intel who worked on this issue and got it sorted. Word has it that it will also be coming in a future release for the D54250WYK, which also has this issue.


Apr 23 2015

News - Intel Fixes NUC5i5RYK CIR for OpenELEC, breaks Discrete On

I mentioned in the review of the Intel NUC5i5RYK that the Consumer Infrared (CIR) wasn't working in OpenELEC, and it looks like Intel has turned around that issue pretty quickly with the latest (247) BIOS release. There is a pretty big caveat though, because just like when they fixed this issue the last time it broke Discrete On support. Which means you can't safely include power commands in your startup macros for universal control. I've let them know and hopefully we can see this one fixed just as quickly.


Mar 27 2015

News - Pulse-Eight Announces Internel HDMI-CEC Adapter for Intel NUC D54250WYB Systems

Haswell D54250WYB based Intel NUCs included a HDMI-CEC exposing Custom Solutions Header (aka HTPC Header) on board, but there were two pretty major issues with the implementation. The first, and most important, is that there just isn't space in the chassis to put the adapter that was available. The second is that the 3.3V pin droops when current is drawn. While it was possible to fix this one by soldering down to a stable 3.3V point on the board the combination of issues made it unnecessarily difficult to add HDMI-CEC support to the, otherwise near perfect, SFF HTPC. Thankfully Pulse-Eight has just announced a redesigned adapter providing a solution for both issues. With a smaller, more flexible profile and using the 5V line (which is stable), the new adapter should work in any CSH with CEC and 5V pins (the original implementation did not have 5V), so there's no reason that I know of that you can't use it on a non-NUC either.


Jan 14 2015

News - Intel @ CES 2015

Intel is moving hard into small, low power devices and that was evident in what they were showing at CES this year. We started out with tablets, but the really interesting stuff started when the new Broadwell NUC came out.

Oct 02 2014

News - Intel Fixes Netflix DD+ HDMI Audio Issue

If you use Intel HDMI audio with the Windows 8.x "Metro" Netflix app you know that Dolby Digital Plus (DD+) output has been broken for, um, forever. Thankfully, they just released an updated audio driver that solves the issue! Huzzah!

Unfortunately at the moment it looks like they've only updated it in the Ivy Bridge GPU driver package for the NUC, so it won't install easily if you're running something newer. That said, there's no reason why you can't download the driver, extract the ZIP, then fire up Device Manager and manually update the Intel Display Audio device driver (it's under Sound, video and game controllers). That's what I did Smile.

Jul 29 2014

News - Haswell NUC BIOS Update For OpenELEC

I don't usually post about BIOS updates, but it looks like there was a recent update for the D54250WYB, D54250WYK, D34010WYB, & D34010WYK NUC that fixes an issue with IR wake from standby when using OpenELEC.



Mar 06 2014

News - Intel Haswell IPG May Support HEVC/H.265 Hardware Decoding

I can't claim to be the first to notice when HEVC decoding popped up in a recent Intel GPU driver update for Haswell (HSW) systems, and I was prepared to write it off as a mistake until an off-hand remark about the feature coming in a future driver update came up in conversation with a source well positioned to know. For now, I think it’s fair to count it as a rumor. Mistakes happen, as do misunderstandings about what hardware supports what, but I’m going to be watching the driver release notes a lot closer for the next few months.

Feb 23 2014

News - Intel D54250WYK NUC Custom Solutions Header (CSH) 3.3V Flaw

I was really excited when I found out Intel had placed the HDMI-CEC enabling Custom Solutions Header (CSH) on the D54250WYK NUC. It was exactly the kind of feature that belongs on this near-perfect mini-HTPC. Unfortunately, as we can see in the gallery, something isn't right with its ability to maintain 3.3V under load.

What this means in practice is that we can't use the 3.3V pin on the D54250WYK's CSH for Pulse-Eight's Internal CEC adapter - disappointing would be an understatement. Now it is possible to find 3.3V elsewhere on the board; I was able to pull it from the SATA power connector, but since that only powered when the system is in S0 (on) it's less than ideal. Intel has been contacted with these findings. Hopefully it's something that can be addressed with a BIOS update, but I'm not confident.

Jan 30 2014

News - Baytrail DN2820FYKH - No Intel Clear Video HD Support

When I talked with Intel about the DN2820FYKH Baytrail based NUC at CES, I wasn't shocked by the "No" when I asked if it supported Intel QuickSync (hardware accelerated decode and encode). What is surprising as I looked more closely at the Intel Celeron N2820 is that it appears to not support Intel Clear Video HD (hardware accelerated decode) either.

If true, it does take all the sheen off the system. Without hardware accelerated decoding, and the video processing (i.e. deinterlacing & scaling) that comes with it, there's no way that this little guy could be the cheap client HTPC that I was hoping for. Really dissappointing considering that "Atom" Baytrail chips, essentially the same chip but targeted at tablets, include QuickSync.

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