Description

Hello Computer Friends. I introduce Mr. Jingles, AKA MiniMint. This is my second build. My first is your standard 4790K/970, which I might post later. There was spray painting involved so I think it deserves to be on the internets.

Back to Mr. Jingles. Build reason: Stream ESPN 3 content during football season. I wanted something low wattage, small form factor, and I didn't want to pay 45 bucks for a pico power supply. Enter the Asrock AM1H-ITX. With a 9 dollar laptop cord, this machine runs without any problems.

I bought the case, which can be found on Amazon, instead of the M350. I chose it because I saw some folks having problems mounting an SSD in the M350 with the Alpine M1 cooler and? I still had a problem. However, the extra room in the case that is designed to fit a power board allowed for a side mounted, floating look, SSD installation. Sure, there's only once screw holding it to the side, but hurrah, the other side has some velcro because I was too lazy to drill the side out that needed a screw. It works.

I decided to install Linux Mint Cinnamon. It's my first time dabbling with Linux. If you want to try out Linux, I recommend this iteration. It's easy, intuitive, and won't scare the crap out of those familiar with Windows. For a streaming machine/htpc/small work station, it's great. Also there's the , "Hey look, it can run off a USB 2.0 thumb drive and also install in 7 minutes and I'm on the internet. That's neat."

On to why this build was only 75% successful. This rig has no problem with Kodi/Hdhomerun Prime. It can also stream ESPN3. The problem is, ESPN3 allows for 4 streams simultaneously, splitting your screen up into 4 equal parts. It's a great way to cram 4 games into one TV. So I did some testing with replays. The chip works great with 2 streams and does well with the picture in picture function. Add a 3rd, yeah, it's watchable. 4th? FREAK OUT EVERYTHING STUTTERS AND GOES CHOPPY AND IS UN-WATCHABLE FORGET IT THIS IS GOING IN THE TRASH FAIL RAGE.

Really not that upset. But I think I certainly found the limits of the 5350. If anyone has some suggestions on how I can optimize settings to make this work, throw them at me. Overclock really isn't an option with this board and a 90 watt laptop power supply. I tried dedicating 2 gigs of ram to the on board graphics in bios and it didn't seem to make a difference.

Last snag has to do with my inexperience with Linux. There's a utility called Psensor, used to monitor hardware temps. Yeah, I cannot figure out why it says the CPU is 11 degrees C. It says it's between 11-18, pretty much all the time. Bios says it's around 40 when I check. There's also a way to check temps in Terminal, and it says around 40. Psensor hates me and I'm starting to hate it back.

All in all, fun, easy build. Even if it only almost worked. I might do a mini-ITX I5 skylake build to make myself feel 25 percent better. Also, I'm starting to think the parts in this little machine might get torn out and thrown in a Pfsense build.

Comments

  • 45 months ago
  • 3 points

"If anyone has some suggestions on how I can optimize settings to make this work, throw them at me." I have several suggestions in mind, however I'm going to limit myself to only a few of them. (1) Cinnamon is my favorite desktop environment (though I currently use i3 which is a tiling window manager). So good choice there. One thing you might try is there is a Cinnamon applet you can install which will force your CPU to run at a certain frequency. I am currently running Debian testing, but have in the past used Linux Mint 17.x Cinnamon (And still think Mint is great.). If my recollection serves me, open a new terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+t, enter "cinnamon-settings" and hit return. Under preferences, select "Applets". At the top you should see "Installed applets" and "Available applets". Use the search box to find "CPU Frequency Selector". Install it. Navigate back to "Installed applets" at the top of the window. Add "CPU Frequency Applet" to one of your panels. Go ahead and customize it under "Configure". You may need to install "cpufreq-selector". To do this, open another terminal again by pressing Ctrl+Alt+t. Enter "sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends gnome-applets" and hit return. A password may be required (It should be. Don't use root all of the time no matter how lazy you are. And I'm assuming sudo is properly configured and your user is in the sudoers file and group. This should all be the case by default.). Use the applet which is now added to the panel to change the frequency your CPU is running at. My one and only computer with an Intel Pentium M and 512MB of RAM has benefited greatly from this (Though it still struggles streaming any video above 360p. =P). (2) Make other changes to enhance performance. Some suggestions I have include, but are not limited to, changing your swappiness value, building your own kernel, installing a more recent kernel (Really easy to do in Mint.), moving to a Window manager, if using Cinnamon, disable "Window effects" and other useless eye candy via "cinnamon-settings", using more efficient and advanced applications (Try Firefox Developer Edition which is an evolution of Aurora. And try improving your browser's performance by using "about:config".), and set up a RAM disk. (3) When you have gained some more familiarity with the command line (It's your friend.), move on to a different distro (distrowatch.com has some great examples.). A good path to try would be something like Mint Cinnamon -> Debian Testing with i3 -> Arch -> Gentoo. This is the route I mostly followed (Though I lightly dabbled in BSD and others like Tiny Core.), though at first I made the mistake of using Ubuntu and still regret it. I both enjoyed and learned from Arch (Yay AUR!) and Gentoo (Yay Handbook and slots!), but for day-to-day stuff I use Debian and Mint. (4) Look into LIRC (Linux Infrared Remote Control).

"Last snag has to do with my inexperience with Linux." Judging from this, it seems that you aren't yet sold on Linux. I'm only sixteen, NOT a computer enthusiast, and am woefully uneducated, and yet desktop Linux now dominates my computer usage with what I expect will be considerable permanence. I've been using various Linux distros for about two years, and I will NEVER go back to Windows, unless Trump becomes emperor of the universe (Then again, Billary is almost definitely going to be president and I would sooner vote for the pig (http://www.brinkmanonline.com/humor/general/clintonpigs.html).). I'm just another end user, so if you are concerned that Linux is not for you based on your first impressions, give it a fair chance. The long-term benefit of escaping what a quick an dirty operating system has evolved into is definitely worth it. I may be biased from using Me with 64MB of RAM until 2009, but still... the * registry. I know it's here because it was THE IBM-compatible solution, but those who have escaped have reached computing nirvana (Unless they have bad karma and have descended to Darwin.).

+1 for the cheap Linux Box (I would +roctor (Might be misspelling that.), though I am limited by a subset of finite values regarding how many accounts I could potentially have.). However if you carry out your threat of "I might do a mini-ITX I5 skylake build to make myself feel 25 percent better. Also, I'm starting to think the parts in this little machine might get torn out and thrown in a Pfsense build.", I might have to come back and -43 if that build should be running Windows, because life would then lose all meaning (I'd deduct more if my computer could truly deal with modeling Hilbert space beyond an extremely crudely modeled point, which is but an approximation in the meanest sense, even though mathematicians well-versed in the various vector algebras will point out that the same applies for more conventional spaces as well. Please don't turn this into a math forum.). If you have any Linux-related questions or otherwise, please let my unfortunately verbose self know and I will try to help if the subject matter is partially embedded in my unlimitedly limited knowledge. Hope this helps!

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Woah, THANKS! No, I'm totally sold on Linux. Any machine I build from now on that doesn't need to be gaming specific, will have some variant of Linux on it. Well, minus a NAS and router, of course. If I run into more problems, I'll let you know. I'll do the easy solution you provided first, which might be trying the Developer Edition of Firefox and trying to improve its performance. Thanks Again!

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Glad to hear that you're sold on Linux.

"Any machine I build from now on that doesn't need to be gaming specific, will have some variant of Linux on it." I can understand that. Though with time this should change. For now there is WINE (https://www.winehq.org/). Though it's far from perfect, since games tend to have most (if not all) dependencies built-in, many games (not all) work really well with few integration problems. You could try multi-booting. (This is easy for Mint or most Ubuntu-based distros (Not restricted too though.). Just a one-click difference during install process. Use Windows for games and Linux for work.) In case you want to play Android games there is Shashlik (http://www.shashlik.io/what-is/), but it is heavily in development and definitely not ready for use. There is also Android-x86 (http://www.android-x86.org/). It works really well and can also multi-boot, though it is slightly more difficult, but that's only if you don't know what Google's for. Lastly there are virtual machines. QEMU (http://wiki.qemu.org/Main_Page) and VirtualBox (https://www.virtualbox.org/) are most noteworthy. I'm not going into the details of how virtualization works and performance differences, like copy-on-write (COW or QCOW), KVM, and different file systems like btrfs.

"Well, minus a NAS and router, of course." "Linux" is a catch-all phrase really. Technically GNU/Linux is a kernel. For routers there is OpenWrt (https://openwrt.org/), which I use. And for NAS servers there is openmediavault (http://www.openmediavault.org/about.html). The vast majority of servers are Linux-based. This is even more true for supercomputers. Of the top 500 supercomputers, something like 3 (Not sure about that. Might be 5, but that's not the point.) don't run on Linux. Even Android is Linux. Teslas run a heavily-modified Ubuntu. Even smart thermostats and refrigerators may run Linux (Not going into NetBSD running on a toaster or Japanese toilets running Debian. I hate internet jokes. =P).

I'm curious to know if the CPU frequency selector adjustment helps much. Firefox DE probably won't make a meaningful difference, but it might. I mostly like its interface and extra features. :) Things like changing swappiness and adding a RAM disk should help more, but those really might not help much either (certainly shouldn't hurt though). I'm very much an "every penny counts" sort of person though, so I try to make my computer run as fast and efficiently as possible in every way without dropping functionality.

Sorry about the qualifiers and do keep me posted on the optimizations to satiate my curiosity.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

One more thing... YOUR POWER SUPPLY IS GOING TO EXPLODE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah 'cause 82 watts estimated power draw. OMG what a wattage strain.

Yells "FIRE!" and gets kicked out of the club.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

holy mother of comments!

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Definitely my favorite budget build ever!

+1

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! Forgot to mention, I recommend the case. It is seriously industrial quality. So if you are looking for a tiny case, it's a good option.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the data!

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

OK you had my vote a built to stream football! Was no need to read any further LOL +1000 Football is life! Well at least in my house seeing as I have a wife and 4 daughters. It's the primary source of testosterone that feeds me all year. LOL Anyway this is a great build. As for the stuttering I think maybe adding a GPU might help. Something that will broadcast to 4 monitors on it's own. Like a r9 380 possibly or a GTX 950/960. I think the split screen is too much for the iGPU to handle.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

I've thought about it. Put the parts in a different case, add a power supply, and a video card. Even a 750ti would likely accomplish what I want it to do. But that's another 150-170 bucks. I think the G4400 could handle it on its own. Might try tomtomj2's suggestion. Also, it's all about the football =). I'll have to make a post about computers/set up when it is time for football season. If I get the split screen thing working with 4 games, I'll have ability to have 7 games going at once.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh Hellz yeah please keep me posted. You think I could stream it like that with my rig?

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Absolutely, just looked at your rig. NICE WORK! Though I've seen it before, turns out. I've been looking at builds with the V21. You have more than enough power to run all 4 streams. You just need to make sure you have a suitable cable/satellite provider. Though, I think ESPN has pretty much included everyone under the sun, finally. I went to my HTPC to make sure it was my build not performing and not ESPN just acting wonky. My HTPC is an off the shelf, i5 4460 with 8 gigs. It has no problems streaming 4 games and doing other stuff at the same time. And just a heads up, this is college football. Don't think they have anything for NFL. And they like to put some of the lower tier games on stream only. So, perfect for an ACC fan =).

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Well according to Roger Goodell's recent announcement they plan to stream more games starting this year. Plus I have 300mb download & the sports package from Time Warner so I should be good there.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Yep, good to go! Glad to hear about the NFL. Once all live sports are available for streaming, goodbye cable.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Kept it cheap. On your performance, you consider backing up and punting with upgrading your cpu to a four core model and tried to sell of the current cpu?

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

But the 5350 is a quad core cpu...

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

You're right I misread the frequency as the cores, doooh.

Well shoot there are still more powerful cpu's for that, but shoot.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah, it's ok, mistakes happen. :)

The 5350 is a decent CPU for low power builds, web browser PCs and HTPCs, even some light gaming builds. However it's limited in what it can do, id say the next step up in an upgrade would be the Pentium G4400 or the Athlon x4 845.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah it's sad you have to move up with a motherboard as well to get more power for this baby.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

I think there was supposed to be another CPU that was going to be released on the AM1 platform, it didn't have integrated graphics but it was clocked at around 2.5 Ghz

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

I kind of have a NAS build in mind already. Think I'm going to go with a xeon, ecc memory, the whole thing. Also have thought about diving into the world of used server stuff on Ebay. But, if I get too cheap, could throw this in a different case, put in a few 3 TB drives and it would be fine for a small NAS.

[comment deleted by staff]
[comment deleted by staff]