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HTPC new build, looking for a few pointers

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August 25, 2013 10:37:41 PM

Upgrading my 3 year old HTPC. Usage will be watching movies and viewing live and recorded TV. Not much else. I will use my existing tuner card (Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250).

Here are the specs:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI FM2-A85XMA-E35 Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($79.97 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($62.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($58.99 @ NCIX US)
Case Fan: Enermax UC-8EB 24.0 CFM 80mm Fan ($7.99 @ Newegg)
Case Fan: Enermax UC-8EB 24.0 CFM 80mm Fan ($7.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($29.94 @ Adorama)
Total: $447.84
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-08-26 01:33 EDT-0400)

I do not plan on using an external GPU and was thinking since the tuner card does onboard processing I wouldn't need one.

Also, I'm conflicted about whether to spring for an i3 or above instead of the AMD. For my use, would the AMD perform well? I hear the onboard GPU for AMD boards is superior to those for Intel.

Comments are much appreciated. Looking to purchase this week.

More about : htpc build pointers

August 25, 2013 10:47:17 PM

The onboard GPU on the A10 is better than the onboard GPU on a current Core i3 3000 series. However, you're not utilizing the GPU's speed as much as you are utilizing its feature set. If you're not playing games, you're not stressing the GPU anywhere near enough to see a difference in AMD's favor. The Core i3 would be more responsive in every way, and well worth the additional investment. It would also run cooler...
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August 25, 2013 11:06:38 PM

dtemple said:
The onboard GPU on the A10 is better than the onboard GPU on a current Core i3 3000 series. However, you're not utilizing the GPU's speed as much as you are utilizing its feature set. If you're not playing games, you're not stressing the GPU anywhere near enough to see a difference in AMD's favor. The Core i3 would be more responsive in every way, and well worth the additional investment. It would also run cooler...


Thanks for that. Running cooler is certainly an important factor. What about an i5 vs. an i3 for my usage? Money is not a huge deal and if I would see a noticeable difference I'd happily shell out a bit more. Next...a CPU cooler. Would I need one? Also, I am guessing that I would set the fans as exhaust.

This site is a great resource. So glad I found this.
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August 25, 2013 11:12:47 PM

Your processor is definite overkill. You could drop down to an A8 or A6 and not notice any difference.
I do not understand why I keep seeing people electing for a single RAM module in a dual-channel system. Go with 2x4GB. You'll never need more in your HTPC.
I would note that I've used an AMD Athlon II X2-240 with a Ceton InfiniTV4 TV Quad-Tuner card, 8GB (2x4GB) of RAM and a Radeon HD4670 graphics card with zero issues and yes, I've used all four tuners simultaneously without issue.

-Wolf sends
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August 25, 2013 11:25:02 PM

Wolfshadw said:
Your processor is definite overkill. You could drop down to an A8 or A6 and not notice any difference.
I do not understand why I keep seeing people electing for a single RAM module in a dual-channel system. Go with 2x4GB. You'll never need more in your HTPC.
I would note that I've used an AMD Athlon II X2-240 with a Ceton InfiniTV4 TV Quad-Tuner card, 8GB (2x4GB) of RAM and a Radeon HD4670 graphics card with zero issues and yes, I've used all four tuners simultaneously without issue.

-Wolf sends


Thanks Wolf. I'll drop down the processor to save a few bucks per your recommendation, and change to 2x4GB. Appreciate your insight. Any thoughts about an i3 vs. an A6 or A8 for my usage?
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August 25, 2013 11:36:18 PM

Personally, I would still stick to the Core i3. Even a Pentium Dual-Core would be a better choice than an AMD CPU in a thermally-minded build. The AMD processors you're looking at carry a 100W TDP, versus 65W on a Core i3.
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August 26, 2013 12:01:39 AM

dtemple said:
Personally, I would still stick to the Core i3. Even a Pentium Dual-Core would be a better choice than an AMD CPU in a thermally-minded build. The AMD processors you're looking at carry a 100W TDP, versus 65W on a Core i3.


How does this build look?

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Pentium G2120 3.1GHz Dual-Core Processor ($61.98 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($62.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($58.99 @ NCIX US)
Case Fan: Enermax UC-8EB 24.0 CFM 80mm Fan ($7.99 @ Newegg)
Case Fan: Enermax UC-8EB 24.0 CFM 80mm Fan ($7.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($29.94 @ Adorama)
Total: $394.85
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-08-26 03:00 EDT-0400)

I'm also thinking about another case so I can get a 120mm fan going in there for less noise. Height is not an issue, but depth is. I only have 14 inches available. I would like one with a LCD panel (not sure why but they look cool). Any reco's for a different Silverstone/other case?
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August 26, 2013 12:10:09 AM

The pentium is a much worse performing processor than the original AMD .
Having said that an AMD A6 6400K is $80 , has better graphics than the intel option and is easily powerful enough

Do not be fooled by "TDP" ratings . This is not a measure of how much power a processor will use . For that information you will need to do a little more research . Its entirely possible the AMD will use less power in your typical usage scenarios


What is the advantage of the very expensive DVD drive? Similar products are $18 delivered at Newegg
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August 26, 2013 9:27:04 AM

Outlander_04 said:
What is the advantage of the very expensive DVD drive? Similar products are $18 delivered at Newegg

Good point. I will only use the DVD to install the OS I suspect, and watch an occasional DVD movie.

There certainly are differing opinions - AMD vs. Intel. With my usage, the onboard GPU speed does not matter, correct? So heat and power usage are the key issues in a HTPC that will be on 24/7 (sleep mode for a good part of the time).
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August 26, 2013 1:33:10 PM

The thing about heat and power usage is important .

But we dont know from simply looking at a TDP figure which of those processors uses more power during DVD play back [ or any other random task ]


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