ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe is a everything for a HTPC

Nick Holland
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Home Theatre PCs are an ever more interesting conept. With movie and TV content via video streaming websites and services, as well as the latest demands of High-Definition Blu-ray content, the need for a flexible, yet capable device has never been greater.

While “Internet enabled TVs” are still the talk of the future, you can pretty much get the same thing now with a small, dedicated PC plugged into your HDTV.


ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe Motherboard

HTPCs, as they are shortened to, have different requirements to a normal PC: foremost they have to be quiet, preferably silent, to not disturb the movie watching experience. This means fanless designs and the use of non-mechanical solid state drives (SSDs) are strongly advised. Instead of having oodles of processing power, it should have “just enough” for your needs; this keeps power use low so if you do watch a lot of TV or leave the PC powered on to record shows, it won’t dent your electrical bill.

With those pre-requisites in mind, Nvidia’s Ion platform that ASUS uses in the AT3IONT-I Deluxe is perfect. Not only low power, allowing ASUS to passively cool the Intel Atom and Nvidia Ion chipset, but the Nvidia graphics will also accelerate even 1080P Blu-ray video.

That’s just the basis of the AT3IONT-I Deluxe though. What makes ASUS’ package perfect for a HTPC is that the entire package and motherboard is specifically tailored has everything in a home theatre.


ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe Connectivity

The motherboard itself is a tiny mini-ITX 17x17cm in size, but it still includes 802.11n WiFi, four SATA ports, two DDR2 sockets and a full PCI-Express 16x slot too. Instead of the usual ATX power connector, ASUS has actually designed the whole board to use a DC-DC power brick that plugs in a small socket on the rear I/O. That means no additional cost of a power supply and one less fan, and far better power efficiency as the motherboard and power brick are designed specifically for each other.

Another home theatre-y bit on the motherboard is the HDMI socket, although if you have an older HDTV there’s still the d-sub option too above it. For those who use an audio amplifier, you’re also catered for via the pair of RCA audio outputs and S/PDIF and ASUS even throws in an IR remote control and receiver too.


ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe Power and Remote are included in the retail package

At $200 at face value it’s certainly not the cheapest mini-ITX Nvidia Ion board on the market, but remember it’s more than just a motherboard: it’s a CPU, motherboard, power supply, remote control and tailor-made barebones package for your new home theatre. $200 for not a package that saves you time shopping around and is guaranteed to work together? That’s not bad at all.

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