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First-time HTPC help

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December 18, 2009 11:47:51 PM

I recently purchased the parts for my HTPC, and got everything in today. After assembling it, installing Win7 64, and getting everything configured and set up, I tried playing a 1080p movie. The computer wasn't even close to being powerful enough to handle it. The motherboard I had was the Asus AT3N7A-I. http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

Could anyone recommend an Intel motherboard that can handle 1080p? I need it to have SPIDF optical and digital out, HDMI out, and at least 5.1 surround sound. I'd rather not buy, wait for, and assemble another motherboard just to have it come up short again.

More about : time htpc

December 19, 2009 2:23:16 AM

I think it would be better buying a motherboard,a cpu and a gpu, xD,I don't think you will get 1080p from something like this
December 19, 2009 2:44:57 AM

Are you restricted to using a mini atx case? What case are you using?

Finally, whats your budget?...
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December 19, 2009 2:52:00 AM

It's funny how the board's description is so confident about full hd playback :) 

What you have is in line with my 5-yr old laptop, it will not play 1080p (will do 720p though).

I have yet to nail down a min hardware req for 1080p, but it seems like a dual core with 2.0G should do, then it's just a matter of cost. There is also the matter of video cards, though a relatively cheap one usually suffice, e.g. Radeon series x4xx and up.

Also, HDMI includes all that audio stuff already, so you don't really need HDMI and all the sound stuff at the same time. VGA can output full HD to my LCD tv, sounds like you only need a sound card to output to your fancy audio stuff. This way you won't need HDMI at all.
December 19, 2009 1:35:57 PM

That's actually a Mini ITX board, and I have this case: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

So I'm hoping I can find a Mini ITX board capable of delivering full 1080p and 5.1 or 7.1. If I can't, I'll obviously have to upgrade to Micro ATX. :( 

My budget's probably right around $300, but I can go higher if I need to. I just want a full functioning HTPC that can compliment my new LED TV. I do have an old gaming machine that I could use. It's an AMD X2 5400+ with dual Geforce 8600GTs, 2GB DDR2 800MHZ, on an ASUS M2N-E SLI Deluxe board. It can pretty much do what I want, I just want to get a very small, self-contained package to do it instead, so it'll look nice sitting beside my TV.
December 19, 2009 2:33:01 PM

I was just looking around on TigerDirect and I found a possible Mini ITX board: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

I also tried installing ArcSoft TotalMedia Theater and PowerDVD Ultra 9, and they give me a definite improvement in the rendering speed, but it's still not as fluid as I wished. Does anyone else know any software that'd be a bit better for full 1080p?

December 20, 2009 2:19:08 AM

With $300 you can actually get a good atx motherboard, with a quad-core with fine video card that would some game too if needed

the total after rebates would be close to $340 and it's very worth in my opinion it have direct x 11, a quad-core processor and actually a very good motherboard(I have it, though I have it with a 955BE, and a 5850,xD)
ATI 5750
ASUS M4A79XTD and AMD Athlon II X4 630
December 20, 2009 3:36:14 AM

atroxmavenia said:
I was just looking around on TigerDirect and I found a possible Mini ITX board: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

I also tried installing ArcSoft TotalMedia Theater and PowerDVD Ultra 9, and they give me a definite improvement in the rendering speed, but it's still not as fluid as I wished. Does anyone else know any software that'd be a bit better for full 1080p?


You won't be any happier with that setup over what you 1st had. I suggest you use at least a dual core cpu. That atom processor is good for some things but is a lower power single core cpu.

The rig you said you already had would definitely work, you can also find a htpc case that supports a full atx motherboard and all the components you are running in it. I would take the 300.00 you are budgeting for the new hardware and drop half of that into a case that will fit like a dvd or vcr player in your media rack.

I tried micro atx and found that I like having all the features a full atx provides and am much happier with my rig now.

I am using the following components:


Q9550
ATI 5770
EVGA 730i mobo
Corsair 2x2 1066 ddr2
3 x 1.5 seagate hard drives
1 - 1tb Hitatchi hard drive
1 - 500g seagate drive (boot drive)
corsair 450 watt psu
Antec 300 Case

Even with this kind of hardware I occasionally see a line go through the screen 3/4 way down horizontally. But everything else is smooth as butter. I have used an AMD 6000 X2 and it was not bad at all. Quite frankly if I wasn't such an upgrade guru I would still be using it. It's in the wifes system now. ;) 

Go at least a dual core and drop the single core atom cpu idea. I know space saving is nice but if you read the review of the board you found on tigerdirect the user posted the cpu is underpowered more than he likes and I think you will feel the same.

If you end up not using your old rig and buy new you can go for a micro atx board. Some provide a lot of features that rival a lot of full atx mobos and will allow you to find a slightly smaller case...
!