I decide it was time to go with a simple HTPC(Home Theater Personal Computer) that ran Linux. So I decided the only thing that would work really nice with a good remote control was the Lenovo Ideacentre Q180 with XBMC setup. So far after setting up everything I can say that it works flawlessly so far.
The Lenovo Ideacentre Q180 is as quoted by Lenovo as: “The world’s smallest desktop PC.” which is pretty accurate, its dimensions are: 7.56″ x 6.1″ x 0.87 or to give you a visual representation the Q180 is about the size of a Nintendo Wii but don’t let the small size of the device fool you, it comes packed with some very good specs:
- Intel Atom D2700 @ 2.3GHZ
- 2GB DDR3 PC3 10600 RAM
- 320GB Western Digital Hard Drive @ 5400RPM’s
- AMD Radeon HD 6450
- Lenovo N5902 Multimedia Remote with Keyboard(backlit keyboard)
- 10/100/1000 Realtek RTL8111//8168B Gigabit NIC
- 802.11 b/g/n Realtek RTL8188CE Wireless NIC
- 4x USB 2.0 ports(in the back)
- 2x USB 3.0 ports(in the front)
- HDMI and VGA port
- SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC/MS/MS_Pro card reader
- VESA mount
The Q180 with XBMC was painless to setup with Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin Desktop edition. After the install was completed I was greeted with Unity and all of the hardware was detected properply such as video via HDMI, sound from the TV speakers, Wireless card showed up in NetworkManager, etc. The only small issue and I mean _small_ was that I had to download the proprietary module for the AMD Radeon HD 6450 in order to get decent 3d support. Once the module was downloaded and installed I downloaded XBMC and fired up the application.
If you are new to this scene as I am XBMC is an open source media player that was originally created for the first Xbox but now is ported to Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X. XBMC goes great with any HTPC because it plays just about any file you can think of this is of course if you have the proper video and audio codecs installed on the computer. The interface on XBMC is beautiful to say non the less, the theme is easy to navigate and the information displayed can easily be read on the couch, bed, or just about anywhere within the TV room.
Don’t take my word for it, if you have a HTPC and want to try something new I would highly recommend XBMC.