On the inside of the incredibly compact AOpen Mini PC
MP915-B (Super Multi), everything is very well laid out so that there is just
enough room for airflow. All the components inside the Mini PC MP915-B fit
together like a jig saw puzzle, and the lack of wires does a great deal towards
simplifying the "guts" of this computer. When pulling off the aluminum top
though, be careful not to tug too hard since there are one or two wires that
connect the drives to the motherboard.
Unscrew the four
mounting screws at the bottom of the case and pull the aluminum top off to
expose the innards of the system.
The system is based on the very small AOpen i915GMx-F
motherboard. It has a single 200-pin DDR-2 SO-DIMM memory slot, a single miniPCI
slot and a large rectangular aluminum heatsink that cools both the Intel Pentium
M 740 CPU and Intel 915GM Northbridge. The Southbridge chipset is located on the
opposite side of the motherboard, which is hidden from view.
The ICH6 Southbridge and 915GM Northbridge
Attached to the aluminum top is a large plastic air duct
which houses the single 2.5" notebook hard drive and a notebook style slim line
AOpen dual layer slot loading DVD writer. To reduce errant noises, small foam
pads are placed between the shell and motherboard to keep vibrations in
The perfect HTPC with High
Small formfactor computers are often touted for their
multimedia abilities, after all a PC able to handle multiple audio/video streams
and can change easily depending on the needs of the user. Given the size of the
AOpen Mini PC MP-915B (Super Multi), it is quite possible the perfect HTPC
candidate. It's smaller than most conventional DVD players, it's absolutely
silent under power, and it offer video capabilities at par with much larger
The AOpen Mini PC includes support for standard TV output
(S-video) as well as component output (Y Pb Pr) for high definition TV's.
Connect the 5.1 channel audio controller to a speaker system, and this little
silver box is now the hub of any entertainment system... but its a hub with
With this use in mind, we tested the AOpen Mini PC's
ability to handle Microsoft WMV-9 high definition video on its mobile Pentium M
740 processor and integrated 915GM graphics chipset. A video was played back via
Windows Media Player 10, which was downloaded from Microsoft's WMV HD Content
Showcase. The Discoverers (IMAX) video is available in both 720P and 1080P
formats, and CPU utilization was monitored through Task Manager to give a
general indication of system load.
Running the 720P version of the Discoverers
video, CPU usage hovered between 38% and 52%. If we assume that the HTPC is
dedicated to video playback these values are not too bad. Obviously though, its
multitasking capabilities are a little more conservative than what we're used to
from a full sized system.
The 1080P version of the Discovers obviously
chews up more resources because the resolution is higher. In this test, CPU
usage varies between 66-75%. The load is high, but since it remains below 100%
there should be no dropped frames during playback.
Now, lets take a closer look at the AOpen Mini
PC MP-915B, inside and out...