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My first time! Need help with price/performance

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April 10, 2008 10:26:40 PM

I need help deciding how I should go about building my first PC. A few years ago I modded an Xbox to use as an Xbox media server. What I would like to do is build a PC that will eventually serve as my HD media server, using Windows or Linux, after my Xbox eventually dies. I'd like to go as cheap as possible, but still use decent components.

My question is this: I have an Intel Core Solo chip and 1 GB of memory that I took out of a Mac Mini that I can put to use if needful. I understand from what I read that I need an M socket motherboard, a socket 478 won't work. Correct?

I found this ABIT IL-90MV Intel 945GT MB for $100 that will work with the Core Solo chip: http://cgi.ebay.com/ABIT-IL-90MV-Intel-945GT-Socket-M-Motherboard-mobile_W0QQitemZ180230765342QQihZ008QQcategoryZ1244QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Is this a good idea, or would I be better off looking for a more powerful motherboard/processor combo? Can one be had for around the same $$?

More about : time price performance

April 10, 2008 11:21:44 PM

^Not worth it. Core Solo is very weak. (basically a CoreDuo with a bad core that is disabled). Even my old Celeron D can beat the Core Solo.

Imo here is a better build for an HTPC:

E2180/E2160

P35-DS3x/P35-P5K-x

3850/9600

Corsair 450VX

2GB+ DDR2 800 RAM from Corsair,Crucial, Patriot or other good quality manufacture.

any HTPC case, DVD,etc you need/want

Should add up to about $500-600.
April 11, 2008 12:24:39 AM

Ouch! I only paid $80 for the Xbox and $15 for the modchip, $500-600 is a lot more than I was hoping to spend. I was thinking $100 for the MB, and another $70-80 for a decent case (or possibly more- I really like the Antec Fusion case :-) I already have ATA drives, DVD, etc that I can use. I really don't need it to do anything besides play .avi's and .mp3s.
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April 11, 2008 1:43:05 AM

If your just using it to store media, then the Core Solo would be fine
April 11, 2008 1:46:08 AM

A core solo + Intel Integrated graphics won't be enough to play hi-def if that's what you're after. If you throw a 3450 or so in too you'll be fine (and that card is on $50) with hi-def.
April 11, 2008 6:33:47 AM

Yes, I plan to use it to store and play back media.

Thanks for the tip on the video card: $30 after rebate @Newegg, I can live with that. But the motherboard I mentioned to use with the Core Solo doesn't have a PCI Express 2.0 slot, just 1.0 or 32-bit PCI :-/

So can anyone suggest a better motherboard and processor for under $120? Preferably mini or micro ATX?

April 11, 2008 7:59:53 PM

Well, if i can suggest, you might want to look for an AMD 780G chipset based motherboard if your are building an HTPC or something similar. It has some really good integrated video and you'll only need a cheap AMD processor to be able to play HD videos on it.

Tom's Hardware had an article about the AMD 780G chipset. Here's the link : http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/03/04/amd_780g_chipset/.
April 11, 2008 11:40:09 PM

Thanks, that's exactly the kind of information a PC noob like me needed. I hadn't even considered AMD, and the price for a processor/MB combo can be kept well under $150. That looks like a much more future-proof idea.

This looks like the MB to get, although $30 more than the others: GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2H http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128090

But now I have to sort thru all the AMD processor terminology:
Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon X2, Opteron, Sempron 64, Sempron LE
and
Brisbane, Manila, Orleans, Santa Ana, Sparta, and Windsor. Any clues?
April 12, 2008 3:05:07 PM

Well, basically: Sempron is for budget desktop processor, Athlon is for maintstrean desktop processor and Opteron is for server processor. If you need more information, i bet there's tons on Wikipedia or AMD website.

As for which processor to choose, well it depends on what you want exactly; if you want the cheapest processor who's able to play HD video, than you'll end up with a Sempron processor (which are quite cheaps, i looked around and prices are around 40$). But if you want something a bit more "versatile" and powerful (which might or might not be useful in your case), i suggest you go with an Athlon 64 X2 (Athlon X2 is the "same thing" as Athlon 64 X2) processor. As for which Athlon 64 X2 processor to choose, well, i leave this to you. And if you do have extra money, try to get some "Energy Efficient" processor, which is something great for an HTPC or a similar system since you want those to be quiet.
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