Best AM2 mATX mobo for HTPC

Hello, i'm currently in the process of building a HTPC and trying to find out which mobo to get, i was looking at getting the ASUS M2NPV-VM, but after doing some research seems that there are quite a few problems with it (Haven't have much luck with Asus mobo's in the past). So i'm stump. I was planing on just going with onboard video, but decided that i will be buying a seperate PCI-E card, most likely a BFG 7300 GS OC 256. So the motherboard doesn't need to have good onboard video or any at all.

So i'm looking for recommendations for a good stable mobo, also i won't be doing an OCing so thats not a factor. I will be ordering from either NCIX.com or Anitec.ca.

I will be getting a A64 3200+ for this system as well as 1 gig of ram, along with a 250 gig SATA 2 HD (which i allready have), the 7300 GS and a Sapphire Theater 550 Pro (Which i allready have). Will use the onboard Audio untill i can get more money to afford a higher end sound card.
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  1. Look into the Foxconn 6100M2MA - RS2H
    A Sapphire X800GTO would be anotehr option for a gfx card.
  2. Abit nF-M2 nView looks excellent (the 1 user that I know of said it is) & is now available in Europe so I would expect in USA v. v. soon if not already out.
  3. I think i will stay away from that foxconn, only reviews i could find were on newegg and they were all bad. The Abit nF-M2 looks interesting, NCIX has it listed for 123$ Canadian (I wanted to spend under 100$), but again i can't find any reviews for this one.

    Also why would i spend around 200$ for a video card for a HTPC? The 7300 GS will be plenty for it.
  4. Opinions (not reviews) at newegg arent reliable because they all come from n00bs that most of the time dont know what theyre doing.
    Besides since you dont need good onboard video, not even mild OCing, the only thing I looked for was for to have four DDR2 slots. There are better boards than that.
  5. Yea thats what i was thinknig too. Well right now i'M looknig at the MSI K9VGM-V, its on for 64.82$ at NCIX, never had a MSI board before (Because they were allways out of my budget), but have heard lots of good thing about them.

    Really here is my selection of boards

    ASRock AM2NF4G-SATA2
    ASUS M2NPV-VM
    Biostar TFORCE6100-AM2
    ECS C51GM-M
    ECS RS485M-M
    Foxconn 6100M2MA-RS2H
    Gigabyte GA-M51GM-S2G
    MSI K9VGM-V

    So far the MSI K9VGM-V looks the most attractive.
  6. If its got everything you want and its got good reviews (professional ones) then your search is over.
  7. Here's my advice, take it or leave it.

    For a HTPC, you have 3 concerns when going mATX: 1) noise 2) heat 3) limited expansion slots

    Addressing concern #1, you should choose a graphics card with TV-out (and if possible mobo) with passive cooling. The 7300GS you listed has a fan, so I recommend either going with a passive card such as Gigabyte 7600GT Silent Pipe II, or go with good onboard graphics (there's an oxymoron) that has DVI and component video out.

    Addressing concern #2, don't count on OC'ing a mATX HTPC. That adds to heat, fan noise to battle the excess heat (see #1), and really isn't necessary unless you plan on extreme gaming. Just build the system for what it will be used for. Watching DVD's doesn't eat up CPU resources.

    Addressing concern #3, since mATX boards have limited upgradeability, mobo real estate is at a premium. Get as much onboard components as possible to save your PCI slots for things such as capture cards. I suggest getting a mobo with optical out (so you can easily connect to a HT receiver, and <i>maybe</i> video out (DVI and component connections for HDTV).

    Now, all that being said, there really isn't much out there for AM2 and C2D (yet) for HTPC mobo's that have all of these features. If you want to build now, I would seriously consider a s939 board such as:

    DFI RS482 INFINITY Socket 939 ATI Radeon XPRESS 200 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $82.99

    If you can find a AM2 board that has everything I mentioned then go with that. If you don't think the lack of expansion is a problem for your application, then by all means go with one of the before mentions AM2 boards with a good sound card and video card.
  8. Well i couldn't find really any reviews for any of those mobo's, maybe its because there all new ones.

    The reason i'm getting the 7300 GS, is because we have it were i work, were also getting a staff shopping day on Oct 15 and getting a 15$ gift card and 15% off everything. So i will be getting it for cheap. And i doubt the fan on that one will make that much noise. This one also has the HDTV dongle so i good with that.

    But if i was to go with onboard video which one is the best?

    I'm not planing on doing any OC'ing, and there wont be any gaming going on with this system, it will strickly be for MCE (Might try BeyondTV), playing video's, DVD and music and downloading video files off bittorrent.

    Upgradeability isn't really that big of a concern, apart from a video card, and tv tuner card, the only other thing is i might add in a good sound blaster card later on.

    The reason also that i wanted to go with an AM2 system is that it will last longer, i don't want to find myself 1 year down the road and 939 chips are hard to find and expensive.

    That DFI mobo is very nice, 113$ at NCIX and out of stock. But if i will get a seperate video card then i'm better off with something which doesn't have onboard video. And Optical out isnt something which i need right now (I will get a sound card which has that later on), since i will be connecting this to a 20 inch Sanyo CRT TV, planing on getting a 22 inch widescreen Viewsonic HD monitor later to replace my tv.

    Anyway i wont be ordering till atless Friday (Pay day) so gona keep doing research, and hopefully will get more advice.

    Personally i think i will go with the MSI board (But can't find any reviews for it), only has 2 memory slots, but gona put in two 1 gig sticks, Patriot Signature PC2-5300 1GB for 129$ and later i would buy a second one. As well as put a AMD Athlon 64 3200+.

    Anyway just found this great article here http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=1803985&frmKeyword=&STARTPAGE=1&FTVAR
    covers both 939 and AM2. So gona read that and see which board i come up with.
  9. I think i'm made my decision. Anandtech was recommending the MSI K8NGM2-FID and checking out it seems like and awesome board, It also come with the digital audio and video out. Its a GeForce 6150 + nForce 430 and socket 939. Probebly gona put the 3500+ chip i allready have in it and upgrade my main system with a X2 4200+. A well i can wait a few more weeks to finish it. Still probebly will get the video card, just incase the onboard isnt good enough.
  10. Quote:
    I think i'm made my decision. Anandtech was recommending the MSI K8NGM2-FID and checking out it seems like and awesome board,
    I've got 1 & it's a good board although at least on my example the build quality is pretty poor.

    MSI also have an equivalent AM2 version (the K9NGM2) although personallly I would buy the Abit nView before it.
  11. Quote:
    Still probebly will get the video card, just incase the onboard isnt good enough.

    It won't be. 7300 et al are utterly useless for gaming, just like the onboard solutions. Ergo, you're paying money for something which still won't do the job satisfactorily.

    I'm currently looking for a matx AM2 board with S-VHS out. Coming up blank every time... what I need is an equivalent to the A8N VM-CSM which looked so handy on 939. Price is the major factor here, nothing Intel is cheap/cool enough just yet.
  12. I have the m2npv-vm from asus.
    Its a stable board that does not overclock more than 3% using any method possible. Like there isn't any way to change voltages that I could find, but its a mATX, so you shouldn't be oc'ing it anyways.
    It is AM2, so it runs with ddr2 ram, up to 800mhz [pc6400]
    Onboard video is 6150 from nvidia, and it has integrated DVI..
    4 ram slots is plenty.
    Has one pcie for video and 2 pci slots.

    I would go with that, I'm rather satisfied.
    Just as long as you aren't thinking about vista. The beta versions wouldn't recognize my drivers from the cd, but vista sucks anyways.

    Here's what I have..
    I built this for my mom's birthday... It's overkill because she literally surfs the web, checks her email, and her bank accounts. But she was using a 337mhz amd k6 before... that's like a decade old.

    Anyways,
    AMD X2 3800+
    ASUS M2NPV-VM
    1GB Corsair XMS2 [2 x 512MB]
    320GB Western Digital Caviar
    16x Samsung DVD+/-RW w/lightscribe

    I used an Apevia case that I found on newegg that had 3 side panel windows and a few blue led's. No video card b/c the 6150 is already more than enough for her.

    But in my opinion, the M2NPV-VM is a great bargain because not many mATX boards are made to support C2D yet.

    That's just my two cents on the topic.
  13. Like i said this wont be a gaming system, i wont be doing any of that on it.

    Well the reason that i will be going with the MSI K8NGM2-FID is because it has everything i want including tv-out and HDTV, as well as all the digital audio connections. None of the AM2 boards have all those features. There is a AM2 version of the MSI board, but it doesn't come with the HDTV/Video Out and Digital Audio bracket. So i would pretty much have to buy a seperate video card with tv out, same goes with the Abit board. Only the Asus m2npv-vm has tv out, but it doesn't have the digital audio connections.

    Also i'm going with that board because i allready have a cpu for it, and i will be able to upgrade my main pc at the same time.

    And yes i am planing on putting Vista on it, not right away, becuase i don't think Vista supports any onboard video.
  14. Quote:
    Like i said this wont be a gaming system, i wont be doing any of that on it.

    Well the reason that i will be going with the MSI K8NGM2-FID is because it has everything i want including tv-out and HDTV, as well as all the digital audio connections. None of the AM2 boards have all those features.

    There is an Albatron board which does, but it's not available. Anywhere.

    None of the matx AM2 boards are cheap enough for me, yet. Waiting for VIA or SIS to get their act together.
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