Review: Giada Slim N20

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fedora 14

Steeve McCauley's picture

Mine came from newegg with freedos installed. I hooked it up to my hdtv via the provided hdmi cable, and booted fedora 14 live (x86_64) off a usb key and installed it in about 30 minutes (yes, I prefer fedora to ubuntu, so bite me). Booted into it now and running yum update. Seems pretty snappy for such a little box. I'll have to look tio getting the nvidia drivers because the default fonts look like crap at 1920x1080.

As soon as I get fedora configured, I'll install xmbc (yum install xmbc). I like this little box so far.

newegg deal of the day on this item today 1/27/11

lawless's picture

The Giata is available at Newegg as their deal of the day, today 1/27/11:
Giada Slim Series N20-W2231 White 2GB RAM 320G HD Nettop PC
$279.99 from 1:00 pm PST to 11:59 pm PST or until they sell out
available at newegg

Remote control and Lirc?

Mpak's picture

Thanks for this review, I really look forward to replace my current mediacenter machine with this one.

Does this remote control work well with LIRC and MythTV?

Hey :)

JShuford's picture

Excellent review!

May I ask...
If I were to add a USB based TV tuner and an external DVD drive couldn't I use this as a DVR as well as for playing video games?

...I'm not just a "troll", but also a subscriber!

MythTV

MarkoMcK's picture

Anyone got MythTV client working on it? Looks great, currently using a eeeBox but will only do 720p playback...

Yet another ION for MythTV...

JEDIDIAH's picture

I am currently running Ubuntu 10.04 and version 0.23 of MythTV on my Giada N20. Grabbed one from Polywell right after I saw the review here. Got a bare machine. The only really tricky bit was ALSA support for HDMI out. I had to upgrade ALSA using a PPA for that.

IONs are great for video acceleration.

Polywell with Giada MI-ION2: USB Boot Issue Ubuntu Netbook

mkcapac's picture

I got one of these from Polywell, arrived yesterday.

When I F12 and select to boot to the USB drive (which it apparently recognizes since it lists it with USB drive manufactures name) it puts me back to the black screen and just says reboot and select boot device.

The USB has a bootable Ubuntu Netbook version on it.

What method did you use for install?

MSK

N20

Michael Raugh's picture

By coincidence, my wife bought us one of these and it arrived on Friday. Ours came with no OS on it; we downloaded and installed XBMC Live, which is a stripped-down Ubuntu that goes straight into XBMC when booted.

This is an awesome media center PC. Yes, the remote works out of the box. It even powers the system on. HDMI output also works out of the box. We had to do a little tweaking to get incidental UI sounds to work but the media sound worked out of the box.

The dual-core Atom can pull 1080p video off the CentOS server and play it just fine. We also installed Hulu Desktop, which works quite well though we need to figure out how to get it into full screen mode. And there's an XBMC Remote application for Android -- several, actually -- that works over WiFi and makes the included remote superfluous.

XBMC Live uses Fluxbox, so I don't know how this machine would do with a full-featured GNOME/KDE desktop OS but that's not what we bought it for. As a media center, it's awesome. Ridiculously small and quiet, impressively responsive, and slick as all get-out. And it can run standard apps, like a browser or Hulu Desktop. We like this.

On the wish list: there's Bluetooth hardware in the N20 but I don't know of a way to configure and use it without GNOME or KDE's Bluetooth manager. It would be very nice to be able to pair up a Bluetooth keyboard/trackball with it for those times when you need to type.

-MR

Without Windows?

Linux Guy's picture

Can it be purchased without paying for MS Windoze?

As far as I know

Shawn Powers's picture

Mine came with Ubuntu. :)

Shawn Powers is an Associate Editor for Linux Journal. You might find him chatting on the IRC channel, or Twitter

Are there really Linux

Anonymous's picture

Are there really Linux drivers for the remote? How many keys on the remote actually work?

Remote support

JEDIDIAH's picture

If the remote is supported, there's no reason to think that any of the buttons are non-functional. It might require a little legwork with irrecord and such but it should all be good. The real issue is what good use your app can make of those buttons. Although you can "fake it" with sending keyboard events to apps that don't have LIRC support.

You can even run a shell script when a button is pressed.

A robust IR remote is one of the areas where any HTPC has a big advantage over consumer video appliances.

You might not be able to see many videos from Shawn lately......

Ross Larson's picture

...but look at how beautiful it is.

Thanks for the review. It's nice to see you back on (LCD) screen.

Linux rocks!
Personal blog: zootlinux.blogspot.com

Nice ...

OP's picture

Thanks for the review! One question, however (I don't see this answered in the magazine article either): how well does this machine play back Hulu without dropping frames? That sort of capability would be extremely useful for a machine being used to substitute for cable ...

Admittedly...

Shawn Powers's picture

I didn't try Hulu fullscreen. I tested playback of 1080p MKV files... I can boot it up and try to check out the Hulu site if you like. :)

Shawn Powers is an Associate Editor for Linux Journal. You might find him chatting on the IRC channel, or Twitter

Hulu? Eeek!

JEDIDIAH's picture

There are some new hardware acceleration hooks in Flash. Hulu doesn't seem to be using these yet but Youtube is. So you can test out the new Flash acceleration features on an ION box while cursing the fact that Hulu hasn't been updated to use the new features yet.

...and yes. Do a proper Hulu test.

Wonderful Tech Talk Review

octopusgrabbus's picture

Thanks, Shawn. It was another good one.

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