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HTPC/Server lots of complex questions

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August 22, 2007 8:25:49 PM

Well what i mean by server is that its gonna have torrents 24/7. I'm not interested in raid 0, 1 or 5

I'm on a budget. The cheapest/best/low energy/quiet HTPC/server system i can get.

I want to be able to watch a 1080p movie on my future 40-42" TV, Torrent, FTP server and Homepage. No gaming at all.

Intel Pentium Dual-Core E2140 1,6GHz Box
Corsair XMS2 Xtreme TwinX DDR2 PC6400/800MHz CL5 2x1GB
Gigabyte GA-G33M-S2H
p182

Well my first question is, do i have 2 much ram? maybe 1GB PC5300-5400 would suffice

My second question is will the CPU have enough power to team up with the integrated GPU on the motherboard to stream 1080p or do i have to go higher like E2160-80.

Maybe a system with a (2600xt GDDR3-4/Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R) will do the job better( but as this is gonna be a 24/7 system the extra power hogging GPU is not preferred.

Audio. What happens if i get a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic and want to get sound from the audio card? How do i connect the stuff?

Thermalright - Ultra-120 eXtreme/Noctua NH-U12F/Zalman CNPS9700 NT Ultra Quiet
what do you guys think will the heat buildup from the CPU be that big that i need a CPU cooler with fan.

I want a 80+ PSU with 2 Sata minimum but i can't really pick one.
Silverstone Element ST50EF-Plus 500W did very well in PSU test having a 85+ efficiency
Cooltek CT600BHE12CF 600W is very quiet though.
August 22, 2007 10:39:59 PM

Somebody say something plz
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August 22, 2007 11:20:06 PM

If your not an audiophile the X-fi is probably overkill. It's really nice, but if you just want to for your home theater surround sound, a lot motherboards can do 5.1 with onboard audio and *most* people won't notice the difference.
August 22, 2007 11:22:34 PM

Agreed with ryan on the X-Fi.
August 22, 2007 11:30:49 PM

Well the be-2350 is more expensive compared to the e2140 and wont outperform the e2140. Saving 25$ on the cheaper Celeron doesn't seem like a good trade.
The money i would save getting a cheaper AM2 motherboard would only go to pay the more expensive be-2350.

Ya i know i can use the stock fan, but i want a quiet system

Will it really make that big of a difference if i get a 2400pro compared to
an integrated GPU?
August 22, 2007 11:35:47 PM

Well those CPUs WILL struggle while decoding HD content, this is where the HD2400 Pro will shine. That's why I was trying telling you not to worry too much on the CPU front, I suggested the BE-2350 because you seemed power conscious more than anything. In fact there's the possibility you can passively cool the BE-2350/Celeron with a Tuniq Tower 120... At least I'd like to think so.
August 22, 2007 11:38:55 PM

To be honest i picked the p182 for its grate look and that it is cheaper compared to antec fusion. I am willing to pay money on cooling and making the system silent.
August 22, 2007 11:42:13 PM

emp is right, for $50 you almost have to pick up the HD2400PRO and his suggestion of a power conscious CPU would also allow you choose a heatsink for its low noise rather then its cooling. Also with the GPU you can *probably* cut your RAM down to 1gig. I don't have much experience decoding HD but I know the rest of the stuff you want to use the PC for won't need much ram at all.
August 22, 2007 11:43:51 PM

What OS are you looking to run? XP, Vista or Linux?
August 22, 2007 11:54:34 PM

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/08/21/energy-efficient...

As you can see the 6300 with L2 doesn't consume more power compared 2 the be-2350. I don't think that the e2140 will consumer more power compared 2 the 6300. Also the e2140 will complete the tasks faster and return to idle faster then the be-2350.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/07/31/can_microatx_boa...

the Gigabyte S2H draws 88-116W if i throw in a 2400pro that would in cress power usage of at least 30-60W. So that would beat the hole idea.
August 23, 2007 12:11:21 AM

Well, the conclusions of that article is:
"From a cost and an energy efficiency standpoint, the 45 W Athlon X2 BE clearly is the best choice today, ..."
But I've heard that the 2140 is a pretty good HTPC CPU, so it'll probably be a fine choice.

As far as extra power usage from the 2400, remember that it will be handling the HD decoding so your CPU won't be running under such a heavy load.




August 23, 2007 2:22:06 AM

Getting a dedicated card to offload video decoding will reduce the chances of getting dropped frames or video stutters. Below is a link to an Anandtech article that talks about HD video playback with and without hardware decoding using a C2D E6320 (1.86GHz) :

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2977&p=4

Also worth reading is this follow up article comparing ATI to nVidia performance and which one looks subjectively better.

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3047

Note:I believe nVidia's HD decoding only works with Windows Vista. Also, over the last 3 generations (if not more) nVidia video cards generally consumes less power than their ATI counterparts.


Do you already have a power supply? If not then you should look for the most energy efficient one you can afford. The PSU's efficiency governs how much power your system will ultimately consume. A medium end system with an efficient power supply can draw less power than an entry level system with a non-efficient power supply.
August 23, 2007 9:00:38 AM

ryan7107

I just wanted to point out that Saving 1-5W buy changing to a BE-2350 and getting a CPU that is often hotter and takes longer time to complete tasks is not a good trade. It will need better cooling and will be going at full power more often compared to the e2140. So I'm thinking is a better choice after all.


If i get the 2400pro to handle the HD material. I would probably only use it for watching movies 2-4hours a day TOPS. While the rest of the day the 2400pro will draw power anyway. So if i offload power from the CPU 2-4 hours a day just to save power, I still lose the rest of the other hours on the day.

So now that i read the article above about 85-8600 and 24-2600 I'm starting to think that i need the Dx10 decoding so i don't lose video quality. Guess that either i go for the External GPU or i'l have 2 w8 for the g35 and se how well it performs.

Wow thanks a lot guys i learned a lot.
!