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ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe (NVIDIA ION) Motherboard

Home Theatre PCs are an ever more interesting conept. With movie and TV content via video streaming websites and services, as well as the latest demands of High-Definition Blu-ray content, the need for a flexible, yet capable device has never been greater.

 While “Internet enabled TVs” are still the talk of the future, you can pretty much get the same thing now with a small, dedicated PC plugged into your HDTV.

 

ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe
ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe Motherboard

 

HTPCs, as they are shortened to, have different requirements to a normal PC: foremost they have to be quiet, preferably silent, to not disturb the movie watching experience. This means fanless designs and the use of non-mechanical solid state drives (SSDs) are strongly advised. Instead of having oodles of processing power, it should have “just enough” for your needs; this keeps power use low so if you do watch a lot of TV or leave the PC powered on to record shows, it won’t dent your electrical bill.

 With those pre-requisites in mind, Nvidia’s Ion platform that ASUS uses in the AT3IONT-I Deluxe is perfect. Not only low power, allowing ASUS to passively cool the Intel Atom and Nvidia Ion chipset, but the Nvidia graphics will also accelerate even 1080P Blu-ray video.

 That’s just the basis of the AT3IONT-I Deluxe though. What makes ASUS’ package perfect for a HTPC is that the entire package and motherboard is specifically tailored has everything in a home theatre.

 

ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe
ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe Connectivity

 

The motherboard itself is a tiny mini-ITX 17×17cm in size, but it still includes 802.11n WiFi, four SATA ports, two DDR2 sockets and a full PCI-Express 16x slot too. Instead of the usual ATX power connector, ASUS has actually designed the whole board to use a DC-DC power brick that plugs in a small socket on the rear I/O. That means no additional cost of a power supply and one less fan, and far better power efficiency as the motherboard and power brick are designed specifically for each other.

 Another home theatre-y bit on the motherboard is the HDMI socket, although if you have an older HDTV there’s still the d-sub option too above it. For those who use an audio amplifier, you’re also catered for via the pair of RCA audio outputs and S/PDIF and ASUS even throws in an IR remote control and receiver too.

 

ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe
ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe Power and Remote are included in the retail package

 

At $200 at face value it’s certainly not the cheapest mini-ITX Nvidia Ion board on the market, but remember it’s more than just a motherboard: it’s a CPU, motherboard, power supply, remote control and tailor-made barebones package for your new home theatre. $200 for not a package that saves you time shopping around and is guaranteed to work together? That’s not bad at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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