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$350 HTPC upgrade

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November 9, 2009 12:51:42 AM

Hey Gents,

I'd like to put together a very cheap HTPC to connect to a 1080p projector. I'm looking to purchase only a new CPU, RAM, Powersupply and Motherboard. I plan on using everything else from an old Athlon XP (HDD, DVDRW, CASE, K/B, MOUSE etc).

MOBO: ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO

CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 620 2.6GHz

RAM: OCZ DDR3 PC3-8500 / 1066MHz / Gold Edition / 4GB / Dual Channel

PSU: Cooler Master Elite Power 460W

Questions:

Now, I'd like to play some games on this PC most of them older games around 1 old or more. Will I need to fork over some more cash for a Video card or will 1+ year old games run adequately on integrated graphics. I'll prob pick up a low end video card after Christmas.

The retailer has the ASUS M4A785TD-M (DDR2) for $10 less than the ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO (DDR3) Is DDR3 worth the extra cash or am I better off buying the DDR2 motherboard and cheaper DDR2 ram?

Also how quiet are the AMD stock heat sinks?

Thanks

Aj

More about : 350 htpc upgrade

November 10, 2009 11:05:03 AM

use newegg, look for a combo deal on AM3 motherboards that combo processor or RAM. I would also look for a 400-500 watt power supply from a good brand, I prefer Antec, Corsair, OCZ, Thermaltake, PC P&C & Seasonic.
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November 10, 2009 10:49:34 PM

I agree with going for a DDR3 board. Especially since at this point, DDR3 ram costs about the same as DDR2 ram. Only price difference is in the motherboards.

1 year old games aren't really old. Crysis is two years old and still the only way to play it maxed out with all the anti-aliasing enabled is with 2 5870s in crossfire. Doom 3 on the other hand came out in 2004 and is playable on a lot of integrated graphics chips like the one on the motherboard you chose. What games are you thinking of playing?

The integrated 4200 you have is fine for minimum settings in COD4(2007) or mass effect(2008) and will play games like COD2(2005) and Doom3(2004) on high settings. cost: free(on motherboard)
something like a 4670 will allow you to play games like COD4 and mass effect on higher settings with a few lowered details. cost: around $70
something like a 4850 will run almost any game. max out COD4 or mass effect. Lowered detail for more intense games. cost: around $130

The amd heatsink fan seems pretty quiet to me. I don't notice it at all and my case only has one other fan at lowered RPMs.

I agree with Kohlhagen's PSU brands. especially the antec and OCZ. OCZ seemed to have some good mail in rebates last time I checked.
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