ASUS S-presso SFF System Review Posted!

Discussion in 'Reviews & Articles' started by Dashken, Feb 3, 2005.

  1. kculpia

    kculpia Newbie

    Major Problems with S-Presso Resolved

    Just a followup if anyone is still reviewing this thread. This seems to be about the only place on the web that reviewed this appliance and has a discussion thread going.

    1) Snowy TV picture with Instant-ON
    I have finally got instant-on to work correctly. It required reinstallation AFTER windows XP. Do follow the directions per the manual, but if you get bad reception on the TV signal simply reinstall once you have your NTFS partition etc set up.

    2) Loss of touch sensitive key on front panel
    Touch sensitive keys are easily goofed up if you have trouble, pull the wire springs out a bit and replace the front panel. The remote will be non-responsive to the volume etc if this is messed up as well.

    3) Front panel IEEE ports are hidden by black panel
    I punched these out so I could see them behind the lower hidden door. The problem is that there are no hook-ups for this on the motherboard. At least none that I can find. The pins are there to hook up to an internal card in the future. But, beware, the tuner and hardware on this system are linked to instant on so if you add a sound card or AGP card you risk dropping the Instant-On feature. Would welcome any comments on this if you have experience with the hardware modifications. I really would like those front panel firewire ports active.

    Basically, all is well and it just takes some experimentation. Key problems are resolved and this is a fairly good unit living up to the manufacturer's claims. DO adjust those wire springs on the touch sensitive unit tho if you are pulling off the front panel frequently they tend to get "squished."
     
  2. apoll

    apoll Newbie

    Excitement about S-Presso

    Thank you very much for the great review and all the postings so far in the forum. I enjoyed reading through it during my time waiting for my S-presso.

    I got it last Monday, Feb 28, and I did not in a moment regret my decision. :thumb: The Installation was a piece of cake. Thanks to Davids Trick with the frontcover I didn't break or scratch anything. Unfortunatly I did'nt deactivate the Cardreader, so that my HDD has now the letter I: and my DVD/CD-RW is G:.

    For me the Instant-On works fine. I don't mind to turn on Windows for watching TV. I only need the Instant-On for DVD, CD and MP3. Did anyone of you find out, how to set the MP3 to the right folder from start? I always have to go from the top down to "My Music" until I can start listening.

    I installed my ATI Radeon 9600 Pro in the AGP slot, but the sticker on the box didn't lie ;) . The Instant-On doesn't start anymore. So I'll sell my Radeon and stick with the internal Grafics for the moment. The games I play are not really high-end.

    What my wife and I enjoy the most, is that it's really, really quiet. :clap:
    My System contains:
    P4 2,4 Ghz 800 FSB (Northwood)
    1024 MB RAM (OEM) 333 DDR
    80 Gb Maxtor Diamond Plus 9 (SATA)
    Samsung Combi DVD/CDRW

    As I said, I love my new Toy-Boy and my wife didn't complain :dance:
     
  3. peaz

    peaz ARP Webmaster Staff Member

    Darn... that really sucks. Hmmm I find it weird that the Firewire port is 'disabled'. I'm sorry I can't really help out here as I didn't had the chance to really test out the machine extensively. :wall:
     
  4. peaz

    peaz ARP Webmaster Staff Member

    :thumb: Glad you find your S-presso so enjoyable! :thumb:

    And glad that you enjoyed the review and the forums too :) Hope you'll hang around a bit more and maybe check out our other and future reviews and articles too :) :arp:
     
  5. Neil

    Neil Newbie

    Am about to buy an S-presso Media Centre, just arguing with ebuyer.com about the Gamer's edition they wrongly supplied me with, but I have a couple of queries.

    I'm hoping to use the machine through my normal TV with Windows Media Centre 2005 as my operating system and have purchased a Hightech ATI Radeon 9550 AGP card because I thought it would be the only way I could get a "TV out" connection to hook the machine to my TV. I understand from your postings that there is a TV Out connection on the TV Card supplied with the S-presso. I am right in assuming that I can return the AGP card, especially given that merely installing it would disable the Instant-on feature?

    I was also told before I decided to try and build a Media Centre machine that the display of the Windows desktop and other things is very poor on a TV compared with the picture on a monitor. I was advised that only TV or DVD pictures would look half decent. Can any of you who have installed Windows Media Centre on your S-presso confirm this and advise as to how bad it is, or if there are any ways of improving it? I don't really want a computer monitor in my living room, and it would seem to defeat the purpose of the machine if such was required.

    Thanks for your help...

    Neil
     
  6. apoll

    apoll Newbie

    @ Neil
    There is no TV-out on the TV Card! There is only a VGA-Out on the internal grafics. If you install the radeon 9550 the Instant-On will definitly not work. I tried this myself.
    Maybe you'll be better served with the "Basic-Version" P112 with your AGP-Card and a TV-Card and Windows Media Center. Because if you have Windows Media Center you don't need the Asus Entertainment Software and probably the remote control won't work neither with Windows Media Center.
     
  7. Neil

    Neil Newbie

    Thanks for your reply, but I understood from peaz's post that the TV Card had an output to a TV. Is peaz wrong?
     
  8. apoll

    apoll Newbie

    The TV-Card has 3 Inputs: TV-in, Radio-in (Antenna) and S-Video. The Audio out from the TV-Card is connected directly to the mainboard.
    For me it also wouldn't make sense to connect a TV to a TV-Card. If you already have a TV, what do you need a TV-Card for? Also my limited Computer-Knowhow tells me, that Monitors, Flatscreens or TVs usually connect to the graphics card.
    Sorry, but I don't think that you'll be able to connect a TV to the S-Presso including Instant-On. And I would say that paez is wrong in this point.
     
  9. zy

    zy zynine.com Staff Member

    usually internal graphics do not have TV-out

    and.. if not mistaken .. tv cards have better output/input comapred to a VIVO graphic card
     
  10. orion23

    orion23 Newbie

    Keep in mind that Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 and 2005 require at leat 64MB of video memory in order to run.
    I don't think you can do this without installing a separate video card, which will kill the instant on!
     
  11. Koen

    Koen Newbie

    My first impressions

    So now I finally have one (ordered it back in december) so here are my first impressions.

    1. On my model, removing the front cover is easy, so that is something they probably fixed
    2. It is not so quiet (especially compared to the digimatrix I had before), but that might be either due to the high processor (apparently I got a 3.2 but I will try to switch with another computer) or the AGP (though this is supposed to be a silent one). I think it are the main fans that make a lot of noise, but that could be due to the high power usage (in fact the agp sometimes complains that it does not get enough power).
    3. I tried to install "Instant on" but even without agp it did not go into setup. I had to change cables and now my HD is on primary master and the optical drive on secondary slave (manual said to put it on slave). I think the screen is the problem. I had a similar problem trying to install knopmyth on my digimatrix. The workaround there was to use dvi rather than vga because in vga the linux apparently did not switch to a correct resolution / frequency (I have a 19' Hitachi flatscreen). Here this is not an option as I only have dvi on the agp not on the mainbord. So after one hour I gave up.
    4. The remote control works quite well with the Hometheater software. It is also nice that info is shown on the small screen (such as chapter and time of dvd). This might be a problem to switch to another software (as I would lose this advantage) though the main thing missing in Home Theator is EPG for non US clients (I am using xmltv for other programs)
    5. I could not get the tv tuner to tune into the channels yet. It is as if the cable is not connected (though it is and there is signal). Here is something strange: with an external tuner (plextor convertx) it works fine from the config application to tune, but as soon as I launch home theator main application it reverts to the winfast tv tuner. Probably this is a propretary version of Home theator that only works with this tv tuner (and with support for IR and scrreen).

    Now I am wondering if I would invest more time in making instant on to work. I would like to stick to the agp because dvi is more convenient to connect to my plasma than vga. (and higher quality). Can someone confirm that instant on will not even start with an agp card? Or is it just that you do not get video (so I could still use it to power up with the remote control as it seems remote control only starts instant on and not directly to OS) and to listen to music.

    Koen.
     
  12. kculpia

    kculpia Newbie

    Hi Koen:

    You might try downloading a current manual, but I see where your problem was. You have the optical on slave and it needs to be set to master on the secondary drive. Leave your EIDE drive on the primary as master (I don't see if you told us you were using an SATA drive, so I am thinking you have an EIDE hard drive.

    To get instant on is really nice and to not have it defeats the integrated appeal of the box. DON'T ADD HARDWARE - no graphics or sound cards will kill instant on.

    You are going to have a tough time getting instant on now as Windows is installed - unless you can check and see if there is a 200MB partition free in windows xp disk management. I am doubting it though. Guess what you might need to do is reformat the drive and start all over to get that Linux partition for instant on. After instant on is installed, then reinstall windows.

    As much as instant on was a pain to get working, it was worth it in my opinion. It makes the box more appealing and exploits all of the features you paid for. For example, without instant on you also don't have any need for the touch panel options. Note that the tuner works, but the settings may require some chaning. For example, I live in the U.S. and had to tell to set the country to Taiwan.

    Hope this helps, you will be happier though with the system if you get all of the features to work. Don't foret to pull the springs out a bit under the front panel if the touch panel doesn't seem sensitive to execute commands.
     
  13. ViriiGuy

    ViriiGuy Newbie

    I am also trying to set up my new S-Presso, and I too am having trouble with Instant On. But I know what my problem is, I jsut hope there is some type of solution.....

    I am using a SATA hard drive. Now to me it seems very stupid to include SATA support if the main piece of software for this rig does nto support it.

    So is there ANY way to get Instant On to install to a SATA?

    I ahd thought abotu installing a regular IDE drive andf then mirroring the image to the SATA but I donot think any of my ghost style utils will work with SATA.

    Please help!!!!!!

    :D
    ViriiGuy
     
  14. kculpia

    kculpia Newbie

    ViriiGuy:

    Intant on is going to choke if there is anything on the hard drive, including windows. It is critical that instant-on install first.

    I don't know if you saw the manual, but wipe the drive clean.

    Hook the SATA to SATA1 on the motherboard and go into the BIOS.

    Make sure you set the onboard IDE operate item to "compatible mode" and the IDE port setting to "secondary P-ATA + S-ATA"

    This makes instant on think your SATA drive is on the IDE Master and when you look in BIOS your SATA drive should appear there under the primary IDE master (even though it isn't on the IDE port).

    Change boot sequence to DVD-ROM first.

    Put the instant-on cd in the drive.

    Save and exit. Power off.

    Boot up, instant on should install.

    When complete, you will need to reinstall Windows XP and all of the other software.

    That is about it. Hope this helps.

    Power on w
     
  15. Koen

    Koen Newbie

    why instant on

    Thanks for all this valuable information about instant on. I will probably try again (now with optical drive as master) but this will be mostly out of curiosity. I already expected that I would probably not be able to use instant on before buying as apart from the agp I will probably replace the tv tuner with a better quality Hauppauge.

    Actually my opinion is that if you want something like what instant on offers, you better go for a consumer product. You can get something better for less than half the price (and it won't even take 10s to boot). I go for a PC, because I like to be able to try out different applications, add modules, upgrade versions etc. Besides I will mainly use this PC as a PVR and for the moment this is still not available in instant on.
    I chose the s-presso for its design (though opinions will differentiate) and because it is one of the rare multimedia shuttles with SPDIF out at the back. I also hope to be able to use the small LCD screen so that I would not need to use the large tv screen, when I'm just listening music.

    Now about the tuning in Hometheator. It is really weird. I was expecting a bad connection or configuration, but I installed my favorite HTPC software (showshifter) and this one tunes very fast and correctly to all channels. So it seems that the problem is in the home theater software. They can tune ok for tuners they don't allow you to use, but they can't tune the delivered tv card. How sad.

    Koen.
     
  16. alex

    alex Newbie

    Great review! And the only good forum around S-Presso 111 ! (Let me know if I'm wrong :D ). Got it a week or two ago. Had the same problems with the instant-On feature. So I just uninstalled it for now, waiting for the linux community verdict on its quality. The Intervideo MM Center works well enough under the wXPPro, though.

    :idea: Some notes for 3D gamers:

    Installed the Nvidia GF6800GT card. It's from eVGA which is using NVidia reference design. So I've found the card long enough to interfere with the IR remote sensor connector on a little PCB (Printed Circuit Board) mounted on the side of the CD bracket. When the remote stopped to work, I've found the connector bent and almost brushed away, so pay attention to that PCB when installing any AGP/PCI cards.

    The original ASUS 220W PSU (Power Supply Unit) withstands Doom3 at 800x600, everything On, for at least 4 hours of intense play! But at 1280x1024 the card starts failing after 30 min. due to the PSU power lack. Got the response from ASUS rep. that they do not have any better PSU (more than 220W). And it is very custom ASUS made, so there is no easy way to replace it with something else available on the consumer market. I've googled for such PSU replacement myself for only 2 hours though, so let me know if I'm wrong...

    Another problem with GF is the overheat problem. One of the round plastic locks holding the front panel on the card's side was even deformed a bit after the first 3D tests because of that. The CPU (3.2G P4 northwood stays cool <40C, thanks to the heat pipe! But the Case temp goes up to 60C :shock:. And that not only because of the card heat, but also because of the overloaded PSU heat. Thinking about adding more fans :idea:. The 80mm fan may fit above the TV tuner card between GF card and the side panel easily. Also there is a good place for more 60mm fans under the PSU.

    It could be my experimenting :twisted:, but FPD (Front Panel Display) shows "Wait" message forever now. Except when replugging the power cord, before the system start it shows the initial date and time message after that. So I can not use the FPD sensor controls and the Vol/Temp. gauges are not running. Tried everything, including battery/bios reset. Anybody knows how to reset the FPD controller :pray: ?

    My verdict - S-Presso 111 is not a hadcore 3D gamer choice...
     
  17. Koen

    Koen Newbie

    Power for AGP

    My AGP card is also complaining about a lack of power (it is a 6600 from MSI) I do not intend to do any gaming, mainly chose this one for the PureCinema and supposedly quiet, so it should not matter much but I am wondering what AGP cards are supported by this power supply.
     
  18. kculpia

    kculpia Newbie

    Gaming Machine?

    I just don't get it. If Asus sells this as 2 different units - one with the tuner and instant on (S-presso Deluxe or S1-P111)and one without the tuner and special software (S-presso Standard or S1-P112), why would one buy the S1-P111 and take out the tuner? There is a $120 price difference - it doesn't have the touch panel, home theater software, or the remote control. Seems like those who convert this to a pure gaming machine are throwing their money away.

    As for the instant-on, I don't think the Linux community is going to have a great deal to say about this, although I would be interested if they develop a way to change drivers or update it there should be some discussion or "heads up" here.

    Why instant-on on this machine? I think it adds value and disagree that there are consumer products that can replace it. There aren't if you see the "nitch" this machine fills. Lets say you live in a dorm or have limited space and you want a TV and a computer in the same location. Nope, I don't think you want to have a TV screen and a computer in a tight spot.

    Now, I don't have these needs right now. But, I love the set up in our guest bedroom in our house.

    If you really want to exploit all the features you paid for, build the machine exactly like in the manual. Use the TV tuner and the integrated video - don't use it for a gaming machine. The power supply is adequate for the features it was designed for. Now, 1-3 years from now we will all be on 64-bit operating systems and this won't be able to keep up. But, if you want the value of the S1-P111 it would be a waste not to install instant-on and leave everything else "as is."

    I love not turning on the Windows XP and just watching TV so I like instant on. Watching a DVD or playing with the FM station is neat too. I think if a radio, DVD player, TV, computer, and receiver were all on my desk and I had lots of room to spare than yes, instant on would be a rip-off. But, I don't want all those components in the space and in the long run I saved money (e.g. 19 in TV = $250, reciever = $200, radio = $50, DVD player = $150). Do you get the idea???

    Those that want a gaming machine should have bought the S1-P112. Hey, I don't mean to ruffle feathers here - it is just you wasted money taking out the tuner and trying different configurations. But, I still enjoy reading about your experimentations. So, with a different tuner card or AGP the touch panel still works ? Also, the ASUS home theater software still works or you have to change to a different home theater software package? Also, do you lose the utility of the remote control?

    Yes, I think this is the most active board on the configuration of this box. I have never got the ASUS tech staff to respond to any of my questions - mostly because I see the "short cuts" in the design (i.e. the the "covered" firewire ports noted earlier).

    Keep up the discussion here and argue with me over these points. I don't mind.
     
  19. alex

    alex Newbie

    AGP card for gaming on S-Presso 111

    Koen:
    NVidia has clear warning about PSU max.power requirements either in the paper manual for your card, or on nvidia.com for all of them. AFAICT, 480W should be good enough almost for any load on NVida card (but if you have 4 HDD's or less). I have a 560W one in my gaming tower. The ATI cards on the other side is much less power hungry...
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2005
  20. alex

    alex Newbie

    S-Presso 111 vs 112

    kculpia:
    Totally agree :clap:
    But what if you live in a dorm and want to watch TV and play games too? Get S-Presso 111+112 :think: ? The P112 have exactly the same PSU of 220W power max. What I'm trying to tell is that it is really easy to keep both functions, a good AGP card for gameplay and the instant-on feature. Just change the default card in the BIOS, and swap the VGA cable each time you're going to play UT2004 (have in mind the overheat and underpower issues mentioned). And don't forget to change it all back when you're done. wXP do handle that change flawlessly, but not the embeded Linux core.

    BTW, regarding the Linux community interest - I'm interested already, but right now just have no time to dig the binaries or the ASUS's policy on that :cool:

    >>So, with a different tuner card or AGP the touch panel still works ? Also, the ASUS home theater software still works or you have to change to a different home theater software package? Also, do you lose the utility of the remote control?

    I can tell for sure - the touch panel, remote, and the ASUS/Intervideo theatre works fine with an AGP card and with the original Tuner card under wXP (why not, though?). Someone else has mentioned earlier that he had no problems with a different Tuner card under wXP running ASUS theatre too. In most cases, as far as you got right drivers, wXP will take care of the rest.
     

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