Originally Posted by kujon
so you're saying that most of the problems associated with the zacate is the trouble with streaming material, in specific netflix?
Not just. The Netflix issue should actually be solved soon. I've seen one complaint about CBS and NBC Flash content being choppy on Zacate, although I've never personally used those. Over-the-air gives so much better PQ than streaming.
However, there are other content and even specific player configurations that can cause issues with Zacate (or anything with a relatively slow CPU, really). One such issue I encountered was VC-1 (1:1 Harry Potter Blu-ray rip) in MKV container when using the internal player in Windows Media Center. Stupidly, the default WMVideo Decoder DMO that ships with Windows 7 doesn't support DXVA for VC-1. To think that VC-1 is based off of Microsoft's WMV 9. Another such issue was with my anime fansubs. With VobSub on autoload (breaks DXVA), I got severe stuttering and that's with just 720p H.264. Forget 1080p.
Zacate is great as long as the media you try to play can be offloaded to the GPU. Once you start requiring CPU power, your hands are tied. You would have to replace the MB/CPU. With a normal desktop build, it's possible to upgrade the CPU (not like you'd need to) or add a discrete graphics card to improve performance. With Zacate, even if it has a PCIe x16 slot, adding a discrete graphics card is useless since you're bottlenecked by the CPU.
It all boils down to use-case. If you know for sure that all the media you'll try to play can be GPU accelerated and the players and decoders you plan on using all use GPU acceleration, then Zacate's a pretty good option. For someone who's new to HTPC's and isn't quite familiar with what they might require, I wouldn't recommend Zacate or Atom. Having some spare CPU power helps make the move to HTPC's more seamless. It's not like end-users will even know about the CPU or whatever. You'll just get complaints such as "I can't play Harry Potter" or "Netflix is stuttering" or "Hulu is choppy".