Rebuilt my 'client' HTPC


Mar 7, 2007
Figured others may have similar circumstances, this may help those that want to know before they spend.

My previous box was a full desktop (an old Antec nsk2480, i5 2400, 1050ti, 8GB, 6TB drive space with a 250GB SSD boot drive), that had been updated periodically.

Initially it was both server and client for my PVR (MythTV and then later, Emby), until I built my NAS a while back. I've been upgrading a lot of my files to 4k, HEVC 10bit, and while the nvidia hardware handles this, it won't work under Linux - you need Windows. I've used Linux on my system for years, but sure, I suppose... so I installed Windows. I enjoyed the sound randomly cutting out and frequent update restarts for a while, then decided it was time for a real hardware refresh.

Seeing that I didn't really need the full system, but definitely needed something that could decode files up to HEVC 4k 10bit properly, I poked around. It looked like Intel's onboard graphics, from Kabylake on, could do what I wanted, and do it in Linux - which from an always-in-use perspective, I much prefer.

I picked up a (relatively) inexpensive barebones fanless mini pc -

Parktaker B6 (it comes with an i3 7100u)
8GB of DDR3L (HyperX, I believe)
250GB Samsung 860 EVO mSATA (which is the only interface this thing could use, other than a regular 2.5" sata drive).

The mini PC came from Hong Kong, but it arrived within 4 days. I put everything together, connected it to my TV (a Sony XBR65X930E), turned it on, and... nothing. Well.

I thought for a minute, plugged in the bootable USB key, turned it back on, and after a few seconds it posted. Looks like without something to boot from, it didn't want to output through HDMI... and I can't currently find my old VGA cables - the only other display option.

So, I installed CentOS first. Went well, went fast, and I scrapped it. There are no repositories with Kodi prebuilt, and I can no longer be bothered with dependency hell. So, I reinstalled with Fedora 28 (I've used Red Hat products for years, so it's my preferred route).

First thing I noticed was a distinct slowdown and choppiness as soon as I launched Kodi and tried to do anything else, even navigating the menus. Turned out, the vaapi driver had not installed. A quick 'dnf install libva-intel-driver' fixed that issue - everything was smooth as butter.


4k, HEVC 10bit files were dropping frames, often. That was kind of the point of this whole thing. Turns out, HW decoding isn't fully supported in Kodi 17, which is in the Fedora 28 repositories - it's baked into Kodi 18 though. Looked, and Kodi 18 is built as the main solution in the Fedora 29 beta repository.

Soooo... did an in-place Fedora upgrade to the 29 branch. With Kodi 18, all files play back, wonderfully.

I will note that the 7100u, at 3880x2160, will only display at 30hz. Not an issue for me, but you may not like it.

Okay, I've had my fun now. Back to work.
I'm curious, given that you're already on the Linux train, whether you ever considered something dedicated like OpenELEC for your kodi needs?

And yes, the 7100u is limited to HDMI 1.4 and thus 4K@30; had you a system with DisplayPort output, it could presumably do 4K@60 if you paired it with an active DP->HDMI adapter.
I've used OpenELEC on Raspberry Pi boxes before, but I wanted something that could handle all formats. Plus, I do enjoy using the system with other, more 'PC' features (web browsing, etc.). Plus, I'm just more comfortable in Fedora. :)

Yeah, it was more a 'let's see if this actually works'. I may put together another box with DP in the future, and shove this little box in the kids hangout area to replace the Pi running their front end.
Yeah. I eventually ditched OpenELEC myself in favor of a full OS because gaming got back on the menu for me. I was just curious!