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Need advice on a htpc build

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a c 484 à CPUs
August 27, 2013 7:00:09 AM

I want to build a budget htpc/mini file server, and I'm having trouble deciding on which cpu to build around.

The main purpose of this build is media playback, but I will use it for downloading, data storage, and basic web browsing as well. It will be connected to a 50" LG 1080p plasma. I need it to be able to stream 1080p video, play blu-rays, and handle common multimedia container formats(divx, avi, mkv, mp4,...) in 720p or 1080p with ease. 3D is not important at this time, but I would kind of like it to be a possibility in the future.

***I do NOT game.***

I already have a case, psu, windows 7, and a few hdds that I intend to use.

My case is a Cooler Master n200(I like it a lot)
My psu is Cooler Master GX450(probably overkill/could be sold to get something smaller)
I will temporarily use a 320gb 7200rpm hdd for windows until I can get a small ssd, but I have a couple of 1tb hdds for storage. (will probably add some 2-3tbs in the future)

I insist on having USB 3.0 and sata iii, and I really want a hdmi port, but I may be willing to forego that... maybe.

I don't really want to use a discrete gpu, but I'm not totally going to rule it out.

I have an old, but never been used Gigabyte GA-A75M-S2V fm1 AMD motherboard that I could use, but I'm not particularly excited about building a new system around 3 year old tech. Plus, it lacks hdmi. I also don't really like my cpu choices for this socket either. I'm afraid the A4-3400 is too weak gpu wise and especially cpu wise. The A6-3500 sounds better, but it's +$25 over the A4, and actually loses in the already poor single core performance area. Then you have the A6 and A8 quad cores which I feel are overkill for what I need, not to mention they are all 100w which is a big turnoff for a htpc build.

I also have a brand new A8-6600K, but that's massive overkill for my needs so I'll likely just try to sell it. I only grabbed it because it was too good of a deal to pass up. I won't rule out other fm2 socket apus though(A4-5300, A6-5400K, A8-5500, etc...)

When I first decided to put this all together, I had my heart set on the Intel g1610, but then I started to doubt it's wimpy little hd graphics. Now what I want the most is a i3-3225 or i3-3245, but they're a good bit out of my projected budget at $120-130ish each as I originally intended to spend that amount on the cpu AND mobo combined. I trust intel's hd 4000 graphics though to do what I need, but I'm not so sure about the hd 3000, 2500, or 2000 graphics.

So... what do you guys think?

How well would the A4-3400 perform all around?
Would I need to step up the the A6-3500 even though it doesn't seem like a very good value, especially considering the A6-3670K is only $10 more.
Is the A6-3670K as much overkill as I think it is?
Could the A4-3400 or A6-3500 be overclocked a little(300-400mhz) to perform better in single threaded tasks?

AMD fm2 socket apu?

What about Intel Ivy Bridge's hd graphics on the g1610-g2120? hd 2500? hd 3000? hd 4000?

Or should I just grab the g1610 and get a little $20 fanless gpu like a hd 6450 or nvidia equivalent? Or maybe a low watt i3-3220t + gpu?

As far as RAM goes, I think 4gb is enough, but 4gb sticks go on sale so often I could just as easily get 8gb. I could save a little $$$ on ram if I went with Intel because I could just get one 1600mhz 4gb stick and call it a day, but If I go with an AMD apu, I would get a dual channel kit at 1866mhz at least.

Sorry for such a long post. Any help or advice is appreciated.

I am especially hoping to hear from some people who actually use some of these parts.

Thanks in advance.

More about : advice htpc build

a c 87 à CPUs
August 27, 2013 7:22:44 AM

You really don't need a lot of PC power for just media. I ran my HTPC on an AMD Athlon II X2-240 with a quad-tuner card installed. Granted, I did also have a Radeon HD 4670 installed as well.

To be honest, I'd go with your current motherboard, add in an inexpensive APU, but also drop in a discrete graphics card. A low-end HD6450/GT630 should be more than enough for your media needs while also taking some workload off of your high power consumption APU. As long as your case has sufficient airflow, you could, conceivably go with a fanless GPU.

-Wolf sends
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a c 484 à CPUs
August 27, 2013 7:08:46 PM

I've never considered using a discrete gpu with an AMD apu because isn't that a bit redundant? AMD made some fm1 Athlons, but they are not easy to find.

My case will have great air flow
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a c 87 à CPUs
August 27, 2013 8:45:21 PM

Yes, it's a bit redundant, but it means you don't have to go buy another motherboard. Also, on the off chance your discrete graphics card fails, you have a ready backup.

-Wolf sends
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a c 484 à CPUs
August 29, 2013 7:23:47 AM

Thanks for answering, but I didn't really want to use that fm1 socket OR a discrete graphics card, so certainly not both. If I'm going to use an existing part, I would just use that A8-6600K and enjoy some htpc overkill. If I end up using a graphics card, it will be with an Intel g1610 or g2120 or something like that.

I really want to know how Intel's hd graphics would do for what I want, or if the A4-3400 would work without being too wimpy for regular use.
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a b à CPUs
August 29, 2013 7:53:03 AM

CTurbo said:
Thanks for answering, but I didn't really want to use that fm1 socket OR a discrete graphics card, so certainly not both. If I'm going to use an existing part, I would just use that A8-6600K and enjoy some htpc overkill. If I end up using a graphics card, it will be with an Intel g1610 or g2120 or something like that.

I really want to know how Intel's hd graphics would do for what I want, or if the A4-3400 would work without being too wimpy for regular use.


You would be better off with an A6-3650. It's 4 cores and has good multimedia graphics.
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