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Premium HTPC Update (CPU/MOBO/MEM)

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a b à CPUs
May 13, 2013 6:13:29 PM

In light of the surprise death of my HTPC, it seems like a good time for an update! (any kids reading? throwing money at things that don't work is NOT good life advice. :no:  But I get to. )



1.
I'm looking for pros and cons on the Trinity vs Ivy Bridge decision. On this HTPC build, I care less about performance/cost differences, and more about tertiary benefit/conveniences offered by various platforms. (probably ends up looking like the A10 5700 vs i3 3220)

    2. I am also looking for advice on features and functionality that I should think about for a Windows 8 HTPC. I'm thinking I should try to get bluetooth and wifi on the mobo for various wireless devices. I'm also debating one of those Leap Motion controllers with the hope that it will make the metro interface actually work. What else? Maybe sound?

    Details:
  • Usage: Web surfing, Blue-ray playback, Netflix, Hulu, iTunes/Picasa server, occasional Steam Big Picture (but nothing too intense). (probably no cablecard due to comcast restrictions, but I want to save room for it just in case)

  • Budget: Don't worry too much about this, but my target is around $300ish for CPU/GPU/Mobo/memory.


  • Re-usable parts from existing build:
    Silverstone MILO low profile Case (micro atx)
    Scythe Shuriken 100mm
    Sapphire Radeon 5570
    Seasonic 520w
    Samsung Blue-ray drive
    Crucial M3 128gb and Samsung 1tb
    Windows 8

    Parts to replace:
    CPU
    MOBO
    Memory
    Other (possible cooler, possible add-ons, etc)

    Other Thoughts:
    • One benefit of going with an Intel platform is that I could probably slightly underclock and retire my gaming i5 2500k into this system in a couple years. (thats what I had done previously with my C2D E8400) Not sure if that's even going to be worthwhile this time around.
    • I'm thinking if I went Trinity I would probably give the 5570 away, but would keep it if I went Intel.
    • I keep hearing about cool windows 8 plans by Intel and AMD (like AMD's AppPlayer) that seem cool. I want to make sure I don't miss out on anything.


  • p.s. I currently have like Cyberlink PowerDVD 9 that came with my blue-ray drive and its terrible (and not Win8 compatible). Is there something better I should get as part of this purchase?

    Thanks everyone!
    a b à CPUs
    May 14, 2013 6:49:00 AM

    3220 is very good,you can put it on a H77 mobo with a low profile 7750 and be good.
    a b à CPUs
    May 14, 2013 7:49:55 AM

    the a10 will have a better gpu than the 5570, all on its own
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    a b à CPUs
    May 14, 2013 8:17:15 AM

    Still doesn't beat proper graphics like 7750
    a b à CPUs
    May 14, 2013 10:05:38 AM

    Keep your AMD Radeon HD5570. You don't need anything more (I'm using an HD4670 in my HTPC). Any system based on a dual core processor is more than sufficient. I'm ran my HTPC with a Ceton InfiniTV4 CableCard tuner (from Comcast) on an AMD Athlon II X2-240 without issues. If you're looking at sharing tuners over a network, then I'd recommend at least one CPU core and 1GB of RAM per device.

    I would ask what restrictions you're getting from Comcast. I've been running a cablecard setup since August 2011 with no serious issues.

    -Wolf sends
    a b à CPUs
    May 14, 2013 4:27:49 PM

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Does anyone have opinions on motherboards? I'm a little behind the times on what northbridge would be best on a HTPC for either Intel or AMD. Intel still has better SSD support, right? Is there one that would be better? My high end Asus board has a lot of perks - but also needs a ton of software installed on the PC for it to all run correctly (i.e. third party bluetooth, third party LAN, etc)-- I'm seeking a balance.

    @ Wolf - I probably over-exaggerated my complaints with Comcast. They charge for the cable card, and that just irritates me on principle. They are a service provider - nothing more - and I hate the idea of a subscription to use their tech for something I am already paying for. Also, its hard to justify buying a cable card when the TV box comes free and is sitting right next to the HTPC.

    What do you use with the cablecard? Is it really much better than normal TV? What do you mean by "sharing tuners over a network"?

    Best solution

    a b à CPUs
    May 14, 2013 5:51:46 PM
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    You're not over-exaggerating your complaints. I have them too. With my Digital Preferred subscription, Comcast was charging me $17/month for my set top box. When I traded it in for a cablecard, my monthly rental went from $17 (for the box) to $2 (for the cablecard).

    As I mentioned, I have the Ceton InfiniTV4 TV Tuner card installed in my HTPC. Paired with a cablecard from Comcast, it replaces my set top box. There are some drawbacks, however. You cannot order PPV content and OnDemand content is not available either. Since I never used either of those options, the cablecard, installed in my HTPC, seemed a reasonable option. Aside from the PPV/OnDemand options, there's really no difference. I have access to all the channels I subscribe to. I can record shows as I want just like a DVR from Comcast. With network storage, I can record and save as much TV as I want.

    The Ceton InfiniTV4 TV Tuner is a quad-tuner TV Tuner card. When paired with a cablecard from your cable provider (Comcast), your HTPC acts just like a DVR Set Top Box from Comcast. With four tuners, you can watch one program while simultaneously recording three other programs. With network tuning capabilities, you can assign one or more of the four tuners of the card to any other capable device on your home network.

    For example. My HTPC has a Ceton InfiniTV4 card installed. I have three tuners assigned to that system. The fourth tuner is assigned to a second PC (this computer) on the network. This PC now acts as if a TV tuner card was installed in it and I can watch live TV on this computer while also watching live TV on my HTPC. This really comes in handy when I want to watch two programs (football games) at the same time. Tuners can be assigned over a wired network to any capable device, be it another PC, an XBox, or a Ceton Echo.

    Ceton isn't the only game in town. There are also the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime tri-tuner device as well as the Hauppauge WinTV-DCR-2650 dual tuner device. All of these options do require a cablecard from your cable provider (Comcast), but like I said, it's $2/month vs $17/month.

    -Wolf sends
    a b à CPUs
    May 15, 2013 8:03:21 AM

    Asrock Fatal1ty. Nuff said.
    a b à CPUs
    May 15, 2013 6:44:53 PM

    Thanks again to both of you.

    @allanitomwesh - why? (is that just your preferred brand, or is there a reason?)

    @wolf - what software are you using in this setup?
    a b à CPUs
    May 15, 2013 7:13:33 PM

    I'm just using Windows Media Center (Windows 7 Home Premium). For Blu-Ray, I use PowerDVD 9 which came with my Blu-Ray drive.

    -Wolf sends
    a b à CPUs
    May 15, 2013 7:35:23 PM

    Wolfshadw said:
    I'm just using Windows Media Center (Windows 7 Home Premium). For Blu-Ray, I use PowerDVD 9 which came with my Blu-Ray drive.

    -Wolf sends


    Ah. Yuck. I upgraded to Windows 8 and PowerDVD 9 stopped working correctly. I hate cyberlink so much I refuse to buy any update for it lol. Thanks.

    I've never really liked media center, but it might be the best choice for HTPC?
    a b à CPUs
    May 15, 2013 10:04:53 PM

    Windows Media Center is all I've ever used, so I can't make any comparisons to other programs like Mythbuntu or XBox Media Center.

    -Wolf sends
    a b à CPUs
    May 16, 2013 5:05:16 PM

    Thanks all. This is a good start. I'll do more digging on software and tv tuner options.
    a b à CPUs
    May 16, 2013 8:03:18 PM

    Yeah, its a really heavily populated board for 120 bucks.
    I use VLC. Plays anything and is free. Not the fanciest but it works.
    !