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Low Power dual video motherboard

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November 19, 2008 7:04:35 PM

I'd like to build a medium-high performance desktop that at least idles at low power. I don't need a lot of 3D power but do need to support two 1920x1200 displays as well as doing some video and photoshop work, as well as compiling and other software development stuff.

It looks to me like an AMD dual core / 45 watt processor with AM2 socket, and a board like the GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2H which has DVI and HDMI support (though only one at a time - can use an analog D-SUB for dual, not quite what I want but maybe OK for the power tradeoff) is about the best bang for the buck. Intel doesn't yet have any 45 watt dual cores, the comparable 65 watt dual cores are a bit more more expensive.

I'm pretty flexible, though, about what I build. I'd prefer an Intel if I can get performance and efficiency at a reasonable price (no socket P, and mobile processor, thus). I also like cool and quiet

Figure I'll either go with a small Seasonic or look for one of the smaller 80 plus power supplies, recommendations on something bulletproof there welcome, too.

Thanks much - BH
November 19, 2008 7:32:44 PM

Toms had an article a month or so back about the power savings in a E5200 CPU with a G31 motherboard. For power supply the 80+ Antec Earthwatts 380w.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-e7200-g31,203...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

*EDIT* another positive thing with this set up is if your needs change over time. The E5200 can overclock to over 3.0Mhz easily with the Gigabyte motherboard. The G31 motherboard is compatible with the Q9550/9650 processors if you needed quad core power and the Antec could handle the 9800GT hybrid power graphic card for medium gaming.
a b V Motherboard
November 19, 2008 7:54:42 PM

So you need to run 2 LCDs right?
You will probably need a dedicated GPU to run dual LCDs at that resolution with out lag etc. Also remember integrated video eats up your system RAM too.

Take a look at:
HD 3450
9400GT
9500GT
8400GS

You'll have to pull the power usage and benchmarks your self.
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November 21, 2008 3:22:36 AM

Thanks for the feedback, I read the Tom's article but it still looks to me like the AMD chip wins on thermal power and price at this point. Shadow, thanks for the advice about a GPU, I'm hoping to run without an addon graphics card or maybe with one of the ADD2 cards (if I understand their functionality!), to keep power down. ( And maybe Intel specs thermal power a bit differently from AMD, judging from some reviews of power readings?)

I've got an extra dual-SLI DVI card I could stick in, but wondered if I can get a more efficient build and still get reasonable performance without it.
a b V Motherboard
November 21, 2008 10:55:42 AM

^You are planing to run 2 very high res LCDs on integrated? You will experience lagg even in 2D some times.
December 4, 2008 5:53:32 PM

OK, so I'm back leaning towards the Intel, so I can plug in a lower power higher performance processor in a couple years. I'll grab an e5200 now.

I still need to identify a dual display DVI or HDMI card that is low power. I don't need 3d performance, except that it should run a future 3d desktop reasonably well.

Recommendations?
a b V Motherboard
December 4, 2008 9:16:47 PM

^ A cheap 8400GS should do the job fine or a 3450. Both are about $20-30.
January 16, 2009 8:39:24 PM

Thanks again for the help. I decided to go with a Shuttle SG31G2 and an Intel E7200. The Shuttle has two displays - one DVI, one analog, which is good enough for me.

I've got an idle at 51 watts with a build including the E7200, a WD green 1TB drive, 4 gigs Corsair memory, and a small OCZ SSD, running 1920 x 1200 on the DVI display and 1600 x 1200 on the analog.
!