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Building an HTPC / light duty gamer

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August 3, 2009 1:13:32 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: tomorrow BUDGET RANGE:$600 usd

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: watching vids online (hulu...) plus watching downloaded 720p-1080p vids/trailers. will be recording tv later, but not buying tv tuners at the moment.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: amd so far... it seems cheaper and i like the mobo ive chosen

OVERCLOCKING: no SLI OR CROSSFIRE: no

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 52" sharp lcd.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: will be running windows 7 when my upgrades ship on the 22nd of october.
really just want a computer that will serve sell as a quiet HTPC playing DL'd vids and emulating old game consoles (up to ps2?). eventually will be recording live tv when i get around to adding some tuner/capture cards.



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SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / Steel LC13B-E ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Foxconn A7DA-S 3.0 AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Phenom II X3 705e Heka 2.5GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 65W Triple-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SeaSonic M12II SS-430GM 430W ATX12V 2.2 /EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Logitech Precision Gamepad 2 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


__________________________________________________________________

basically i want a computer that can handle playing 1080p, and handle some light gaming. and in the future I plan on using it as a DVR.

any critique is appreciated!, im looking for input.

Thanks

BJ


August 3, 2009 1:20:19 AM

First off in my opinion a Athlon II x2 245 would work fine for your uses and save you a ton of money. Also this RAM is faster (lower latency, higher speed): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... Also, I would get a different motherboard such as this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... Finally, have you considered Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX? Both form factors have some great parts available and would be much smaller...
August 3, 2009 3:49:10 AM

thanks for the input, I am on the fence about processor, I am pretty sure an x2 would be fine for my needs, but i have a hard time not going the next step up to the x3. for the mobo, the one you recommended looks good, but i am looking for something with a built in gpu so i dont have to bother with vid card. also, i dont want to go with a small form factor (dont want to deal with trying to squish everything into a small box. and i have plenty of room for a full size case) . thanks for the input, keep it comming!

BJ
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August 3, 2009 3:52:49 AM

i forgot to mention the only reason i am going with that ram is because other newegg buyers have used it successfully with this board (and foxconns site lists very few 2 gig's tested positive for the board.
August 3, 2009 5:00:49 AM

To play games on that high a resolution you would all but require a dedicated graphics card... I understand your fear about the form factor of micro-atx being a problem in terms of space, however I can positively assure you that it is not one, at all. Also, I caution you against buying a Foxconn motherboard.
August 3, 2009 7:48:06 AM

Ya at those resolutions best get a decent discrete hehe. My suggested config


Project logs on SFF/mATX gamers i have done up i the past
http://forums.vr-zone.com/troubleshooting-zone-technica...

Notes:

1. Modular PSU to promote better cable management = better airflow
2. Decent rails for running a single powerful GPU
3. P2X3s run very cool: 30s C idle/40s C load so really ideal for HTPC cum gamers. I managed 26-27C with custom CnQ + undervolt + stock HSF in that same link provided, Pg 4 hehe We only have hot steamy summers where i'm at too :p 
August 3, 2009 6:44:53 PM

For the older games the OP intends to play, I don't see a need for anything more than a 4670, but I do think you'll want a discrete card. Guild Wars (a 4 yr. old game now) is very playable on a 790GX, but is visibly better on a 4670.
I like the components the OP has chosen, with the possible exception of the Foxconn mobo. I would choose Gigabyte, ASRock, or Asus; my wife's 790GX is a Gigabyte, and mine is ASRock; and I believe Asus enjoys a favorable reputation that Foxconn and MSI do not.
A Seasonic 80+ modular PSU for $70 and no rebate games looks good. I haven't seen reviews of these new OCZs yet, so I can neither badmouth nor recommend them.
I don't see a hard drive listed, but I'm thinking you'll want big and quiet. I'd probably get one or more green drives for this build, maybe a 500GB system drive and a 1.5TB data drive.
As someone (Proximon?) pointed out to me recently, the 720BE is cheaper than the 705e, and can be undervolted / underclocked to save power, if that is a goal (it was for me).
August 4, 2009 2:24:57 PM

Thanks for the replies!
It sounds like there isnt much love out there for foxconn boards, or at least this one in particular. and i didnt mention hdd - i have a couple green 1TB's for storage and a 160GB i was planning on using for system.
i was planning on using that mobo because of the built in gpu, hdmi out, and the favorable reviews on newegg (thought there are only a few reviews total). but if a discrete card is the way to go, i dont need to worry about that.

thanks alot for the info guys
ill keep ya posted
BJ
August 4, 2009 2:39:00 PM

Actually jtt283 has a good point : a HD4670 is a low power consumption and for non GPU intensive games its actually fine but in the case one stumbles across something that needs more GPU horsepower it will be a bridge too far i feel The card i selected was to handle current titles so if u feel some toning down is in order by all means....
August 6, 2009 10:41:02 PM

ok, taking from your recommendations, I've updated my build -

switched to...

motherboard-
GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813128387
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ram-
CORSAIR XMS3 DHX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TW3X4G1600C9DHX - Retail
Item #: N82E16820145200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and adding...
discrete vid card-
SAPPHIRE 100259-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
Item #: N82E16814102801
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

sticking with the cpu even though it might be overkill, and the full size htpc case because it will look good in my media cabinet.

brought the build price up 80 bucks, but thats ok.

thanks to Jbakerlent, batuchka, and jtt283 for the input/info!

any other thoughts before i pull the trigger?

BJ
August 6, 2009 10:54:11 PM

Which PSU? The Earthwatts 430 may not be enough for a 4870, but the OCZ should be. That card may be overkill too; consider your needs, although as batuchka implies, it will give you the choice of playing more demanding games if you ever want to.
August 6, 2009 11:12:05 PM

Your motherboard and RAM are not compatible. Your motherboard requires DDR2 RAM. You can either upgrade to the AM3/DDR3 version of the motherboard or downgrade to DDR2 RAM. Here's the DDR3 version of your motherboard:

GIGABYTE GA-MA790XT-UD4P AM3 DDR3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $139.99 - $15 MIR

If you keep your current motherboard, here's some DDR2 RAM that will work with it:

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail $54.99
August 6, 2009 11:25:18 PM

Nice catch.
August 6, 2009 11:27:15 PM

oops... it was a newegg combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
so i didnt even think to check the if the board was ddr3. was just going with a board that had a lot of good reviews.
I guess that brings up another good question -
do you guys think ddr3 or ddr2 - i have read a lot of info about the two, usually it comes down to the price of ddr3 (which isnt that much more than ddr2 now...) and i dont understand most of the physical differences that set the two apart.

btw, good call on the psu too - how bout this one
SILVERSTONE ST60F 600W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

it got good reviews, plus 20 bucks off combo'd with my case (not to mention the mir, but i never get around to sending those in.

BJ
August 6, 2009 11:30:13 PM

Wow, that's a major screw up on Newegg's part! I wonder how many RMA's that's going to cause. I've also seen them pairing triple channel RAM kits designed for the Intel i7 CPU's with AMD CPU's. I wonder if they'd listen if we pointed out the error of their ways.
August 6, 2009 11:36:19 PM

im sure they would take note (and maybe fix it?) but they cover their butt's with a little note on the combo page (after you select the combo) that includes:

"Newegg.com cannot guarantee the compatibility of Combo items. Please contact the manufacturer(s) directly if you have issues or concerns regarding compatibility. "

but I imagine they will still RMA, but what a pain.

August 6, 2009 11:39:55 PM

I just called Newegg and got the standard "we can't guarantee products in combo's are compatible" answer. She didn't even ask for the combo # to check it out. :( 
August 7, 2009 2:45:37 AM

ok, so after a little soul searching and beer drinking, i have decided to change my focus a little bit.
previously i put a premium on low power consumption and quietness. i have since decided i would like to have the ability to play newer games at good resolutions, as well as step up the processor a little. ( I realized i shouldnt worry so much about how quiet the box is because it will be home in a cabinet which is in another room away from the theater room.)

here is my final (so far) build, around $700 usd-
fast enough for new games(?) (at 1080p - it will be primarily used with my tv as a monitor)
and able to wear the hat of an HTPC (and DVR as soon as i get around to adding tuner cards)

GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ700MXSP 700W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC ... - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAPPHIRE 100259-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / Steel LC13B-E ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM
Item #: N82E16827151188
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


what do ya think?
August 7, 2009 5:17:39 AM

That's a very nice looking build!

Are you forgetting a HD, or do already have one?
August 7, 2009 11:10:36 AM

NewEgg has done much good for the end user seeking hardware but i too admit their recent incompatible combo deals worry me!
August 7, 2009 1:31:02 PM

thanks shortstuff! and batuchka it worries me too. think of all the people who blindly pick combos without checking compatibility (like me). could cause a lot of headaches.
btw shortstuff - already have a couple hdd's i plan on using in it, a 160 gig for system, and a `1TB caviar green for storage (for now)
!