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HTPC Media Server/Gaming Rig, APU or CPU+GPU?

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November 6, 2013 11:24:43 AM

Hey everyone,

I am planning on doing a new HTPC build for myself. I plan on setting this machine up as Plex Media Server and Client. As well as do some gaming on it (mostly SC2, Diablo 3, Civ 5, etc).

I have one set of components together as an APU specific build which are:
CPU: AMD A10-6700 3.7GHz Quad-Core Processor
MoBo: Gigabyte GA-F2A85XN-WIFI Mini ITX FM2 Motherboard
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory
Power Supply: Athena Power 350W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified Mini ITX Power Supply
Case: Lian-Li PC-TU100A Mini ITX Tower Case

And then a build I put together w a GPU+CPU.
CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor
MoBo: Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory
Video card: EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Video Card
Power Supply: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (from old rig)

And I have a 60GB SSD for OS and 2TB HDD for all media.

Should I get a cooler for that CPU? Should I get a better CPU?
Will it run quietly with the GPU and CPU in there?

What do people recommend? Should I choose the APU config or the CPU+GPU combo?
Also, in reference to the Lian-Li case. Has anyone built with this before? Any disadvantages with it? I'm attempting to make my HTPC future-proof for the next 5-7yrs

Thanks!!
a c 735 à CPUs
November 6, 2013 11:36:54 AM

Since you want to go ITX, your choices are a bit limited. If you want future proof on the CPU side, pick up a Xeon 1230v2 if you can afford to. It is an i7 without IGP so will run cooler than a normal i7. Since you will be using a discrete card, you don't need IGP. You shouldn't need an aftermarket cooler, but doesn't hurt to have one. A coolermaster hyper TX3 would be sufficient. That case is kinda pricey. I would get this CM one and have more money for better hardware. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This case would work as well. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a c 473 à CPUs
November 6, 2013 11:45:56 AM

The CPU cores in AMD APUs are pretty weak. In terms of general performance Intel CPU > AMD CPU > AMD APU.

If all you want is to use the integrate GPU for lite games, then fine go with an AMD APU. If you plan on adding a GPU, then avoid APUs entirely.

In term of graphics performance the Radeon HD 8670D in the A10-6700 is a kindergarden kid vs. a high school frshman. As for the CPU, ideally you want a quad core i5 CPU to make it more "future proof". However, the games you listed do not use more than 2 cores; Civ 5 might, but not sure. The obvious answer is CPU + GPU.

Is your setup going to be quiet? That depends on exactly what parts you will be buying and what steps to will take to make it quiet.
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a c 735 à CPUs
November 6, 2013 11:50:38 AM

jaguarskx said:
The CPU cores in AMD APUs are pretty weak. In terms of general performance Intel CPU > AMD CPU > AMD APU.

If all you want is to use the integrate GPU for lite games, then fine go with an AMD APU. If you plan on adding a GPU, then avoid APUs entirely.

In term of graphics performance the Radeon HD 8670D in the A10-6700 is a kindergarden kid vs. a high school frshman. As for the CPU, ideally you want a quad core i5 CPU to make it more "future proof". However, the games you listed do not use more than 2 cores; Civ 5 might, but not sure. The obvious answer is CPU + GPU.

Is your setup going to be quiet? That depends on exactly what parts you will be buying and what steps to will take to make it quiet.


I am not sure either on Civ 5. I only recommended the Xeon based on the length of time this build is intended to last. I don't see i3's being very viable in that time frame and with future games becoming more and more threaded, that Xeon would be better than a locked i5 going forward.
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November 6, 2013 12:07:05 PM

Thank you for your responses. It seems that the best thing to do would be to go CPU+GPU.
If I grabbed the i5 would the EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Video Card be good enough for my gaming needs?
And would those run quiet together?
Also, money's not really an issue for case/hardware. I'm willing to spend the money to get what I want.
And one more thing. Are there any recommended Bluetooth/Wireless mouse/keyboards recommended? I've only used a couple cheap ones before and my Apple bluetooth keyboard.

Thanks again!
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a c 735 à CPUs
November 6, 2013 12:17:14 PM

For the games you are considering now, yes they will work well together. If you intend to keep the CPU as long as you say, I would still recommend getting the Xeon 1230 v2. This GPU is also better for a little more. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... It is nearly 7950 speed where as the card you selected is roughly the same as a 7850 2gb.
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a c 473 à CPUs
November 6, 2013 12:47:10 PM

Can't really make a recommendation for Bluetooth since I never used a BT device. As for the mouse, I used a Logitech Performance MX mouse. It's not a gaming mouse, but I primarily used it to play games for a few years before I accidentally dropped it. Still usable but it became somewhat glitchy for a while. I bought a wired Logitech G500 gaming mouse which I cannot accidentally drop.

My Performance MX mouse has since recovered an is now working just as well as it used to. I use it to play games on my laptop, but I might use it again on my desktop for old time sake. I think it has a max 1600 DPI which is not bad at all. It's been a while since I looked the G500 profile, but I think I have it either at 3000 or 3200 DPI.
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November 6, 2013 7:37:08 PM

Thanks guys!

I've ended up with the following:

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor
MoBo: Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7870 XT 2GB Video Card
Case: Lian-Li PC-TU100A Mini ITX Tower Case
PSU: Silverstone Strider Gold 450W 80 PLUS Gold Certified SFX12V Power Supply
Keyboard: Logitech K800 Wireless Slim Keyboard
Mouse: Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX Wireless Laser Mouse

Excited to build this new rig! :) 
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a c 735 à CPUs
November 7, 2013 7:01:36 AM

Enjoy your new rig. Still think you could have done better for same cost though.
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November 7, 2013 7:23:09 AM

logainofhades said:
Enjoy your new rig. Still think you could have done better for same cost though.


Yea? I am still considering the Xeon CPU.
Do you have other recommendations? Cheaper RAM?

I'm frustrated looking for a case for this. I want a nice sleek looking one. I can't even use the Lian-Li PC100 case as it has no 3.5HDD slots. I may purchase the PC200 but it's close to $200. I have an ATX case that supports a ITX board, but would like to have a nice small form factor. I find there are very limited selection of cases out there that I know of.
Anyone know any good sites to find higher quality cases? And I don't find the BitFenix cases attractive at all.
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a c 473 à CPUs
November 7, 2013 7:48:06 AM

I would get DDR3-1600 RAM, the price difference should be minimal. Using slower RAM can decrease your performance a bit.

The primary difference between the Xeon and a typical desktop Haswell CPU is the lack of the iGPU. Most people who builds gaming desktop don't use it anyway. The only benefit (other than video encoding) would be if the graphic card dies you can switch to the iGPU and go online to order a new card.
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a c 735 à CPUs
November 7, 2013 8:13:05 AM

lagoo said:
logainofhades said:
Enjoy your new rig. Still think you could have done better for same cost though.


Yea? I am still considering the Xeon CPU.
Do you have other recommendations? Cheaper RAM?

I'm frustrated looking for a case for this. I want a nice sleek looking one. I can't even use the Lian-Li PC100 case as it has no 3.5HDD slots. I may purchase the PC200 but it's close to $200. I have an ATX case that supports a ITX board, but would like to have a nice small form factor. I find there are very limited selection of cases out there that I know of.
Anyone know any good sites to find higher quality cases? And I don't find the BitFenix cases attractive at all.


I guess you didn't like the 2 I posted earlier. :lol:  This is a nice case as well.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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