Pivos Aios HD Media Centre ReviewnVidia_Freak - October 4, 2011
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Closer Look: The Unit
The Aios is a sleek unit with a brushed metal finish that looks nice but traps grit somewhat easily. This type of surface does not scratch as readily as a glossy one would, but care must be taken because the faceplate has a very glossy finish. Overall, it looks great and ought to fit in nicely wherever it is placed. No matter where it resides, it should not have any issues staying put due to the four large rubber feet located on the underside of the unit that provide an excellent amount of grip.
On the right side of the Aios is the tray for the internal storage drive. Once in place, the caddy is either flush with the rest of the surface or just below it, but never protruding from the side. Squeezing the two triggers to remove the tray shows that this can also act as a tool-less mechanism due to the presence of prongs sticking out along the sides where screw holes would normally be located. One set of holes is left available for extra holding power or vibration dampening. A quick peek inside the bay reveals the standard SATA power and data connections. Also on the right side of the faceplate is an additional USB 2.0 port for more convenient connectivity. On the opposite side of the faceplate is a multi-card reader that supports SDHC, MS Pro, and MMC flash memory formats.
All the various input and output options are located on the back of the unit. Component-out, RCA-out, coaxial and SPDIF-out, and HDMI-out are the options to cover every common display in use today. One RJ-45 Ethernet jack, two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 B-type port, and a power jack with toggle switch are also present.
What makes the Aios tick? Located inside the device on a small PCB are various chips to handle all the processing needs of the Aios. The main brunt of the work is undertaken by Realtek's RTD1185DD media processing chip, a chip that was specially built to handle the tasks at hand. Hynix has supplied a 2GB chip of RAM identified as HY27UF082G2B, perhaps to be used as storage for the user interface and as a buffer for the streaming services. JMicron's JMS539 SATA2 chipset takes care of any connected storage drive, and Genysis Logic's GL850G handles USB 2.0 traffic. Wired networking is also the responsibility of Realtek and its common RTL8211D gigabit controller. Two unidentifiable chips with the identification Nanya 1121 are also present, however, I am unable to ascertain their specific use. Curiously, no chip was seen for USB 3.0 support. Now that we know what makes the Aios work, let's see how it performs...
...but before we do, a side note. Upon bootup, the Aios displays what is either a sort of POST code or something very insulting. After a short period, however, it displays the time. Luckily, the LEDs are amber, which is a far underused color for information displays.