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Double check budget HTPC

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January 13, 2010 8:54:52 AM

Hi all,

I am putting together a HTPC in the next couple of days. I am canabalising an old desktop for most of the components (Motherboard died 3 days ago and it is not woth replacing LOL!) Any feedback on my build would be greatly appreciated

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP

BUDGET RANGE: Around 700 NZD (Yes I am from a random country that many of you Americans think is near Germany...)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Media hub (storage of home videos and photos), Internet surfing, video streaming, and very light gaming. I will be getting a BR drive and a TV tuner in the future so it needs to output and handle HD.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, RAM (I have some DDR2), Optical drive (I have an old dvd drive will get BR latter), Graphics card (I have a 9600gt that I would like to reuse for gaming on the TV but I want the option of intergrated graphics if I find it too noisy)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Anything. I will source from local sites or stores anyway so I don't mind.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: New Zealand (It is not part of Germany. It is beside Australia but not part of Australia.)

OVERCLOCKING: No

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Quiet and low power consumption. Obviously my 9600gt is going to ruin both of those but what the hell...
I also want to use my old DDR2 RAM and DVD combo drive.


So this is what I'm looking at:

CPU - AMD Athlon II X2 240 2.8GHz Socket AM3 Box $85.95

Case - Antec NSK2480 (Silver/Black) w 380W Antec Earthwatts PSU $167.63

Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-MA785GPM-UD2H $129.51 (It seems to have decent intergrated graphics and is DDR2)

HDD - Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS 32MB 1TB $126.00

OS - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Eng (64-bit OEM) $158.87

RAM - 3 GB DDR2 RAM (From old PC)

Optical Drive - DVD Combo Drive (From old PC)

Possible GPU - Nvidia Geforce 9600GT Low Power (Also recycled)

Total: 668.00 NZD
January 13, 2010 11:43:14 AM

Ditch the WD for a Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB. They're usually $85 (US), and lots faster, quieter and cooler. If it's not available, get a Seagate 7200.12. Its about the same as the F3, just not as high of performance.
January 13, 2010 8:05:38 PM

I have to say that I disagree with your choice of HDD. The Caviar Green is fine for a HTPC. Plus it has low power consumption. It doesn't need to be super fast for gaming. I will probably only play COD4 on it. I am also building a new home PC at the moment and that will have a samsung Spinpoint F3 in it, but for a HTPC I think I will be sticking with the Caviar Green. Thanks for the comments though...
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January 13, 2010 8:44:20 PM

What I am interested in knowing is whether I should get a AMD Athlon II X4 620 2.6Ghz instead of my original CPU choice. I have heard that its gaming performance is not on par with the Athlon II X2 240. Plus it uses more power. Is it worth going down the route of Quad Core for a HTPC?
January 13, 2010 8:49:49 PM

Unless you're planning on doing a lot of CD/DVD ripping, you're probably not going to see a performance difference between dual- and quad-core.

And of course you're not near Germany. It must get lonely down there though, all tucked away underneath Brazil. ;) 
January 13, 2010 9:56:46 PM

Quote:
It must get lonely down there though, all tucked away underneath Brazil.


Twitch..... :fou: 


Quote:
Unless you're planning on doing a lot of CD/DVD ripping, you're probably not going to see a performance difference between dual- and quad-core.


Thanks. That sort of what I was thinking. Do you know about the differences in gaming performance between the two? The dual core has more cache per core so I am assuming it will be faster.
January 13, 2010 10:06:46 PM

FinlayG said:
Thanks. That sort of what I was thinking. Do you know about the differences in gaming performance between the two? The dual core has more cache per core so I am assuming it will be faster.


I'd recommend just checking the charts. Though in general within any given architecture, more cores is probably going to help more than a small amount of cache, since you can offload background tasks and such to the additional cores.

This chart suggests that there's about 8 fps in favor of the X4 in Far Cry 2, other charts show about the same, about a 20% performance hit if you go with the X2. Except on Left 4 Dead, where they're all about the same, suggesting that the game is only very lightly cpu-bound.
January 13, 2010 10:27:24 PM

I think I will go with the X4.

Does anyone have any thoughts on my chosen case. I chose it primarily for its PSU, size and 2x 120mm fans. It will just fit my graphics card. I may ditch the graphics card and go for a smaller case though. Is the case fine for a HTPC that is going to be kept in a TV cabinet and running 24/7? Airflow?
January 13, 2010 10:42:00 PM

silentpcreview.com seems to give it good marks.

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article591-page3.html and the conclusion seem positive.

The best thing about the NSK2400 for the PC enthusiast is its native cooling ability, which comes from carefully design airflow paths that are built right into the mechanical design, vent placement and the separated thermal zones

Looks like you made a good choice.
January 13, 2010 10:59:38 PM

Yeah I have done quite a bit of research. I think I will buy it all tonight unless anyone has last minute additions.
January 15, 2010 6:06:16 AM

I am building this system for my dad and ran over it with him before I bought everything. I HAVE A PROBLEM!!! He wants it to output full HD Audio for the new Speaker system and AV reciever he is buying. I have discovered that to achieve this I must purchase an HD 5xxx series GPU. They all support bitstreaming of HD Audio Codecs. He is willing to bump up the budget so as to get HD audio. We still need a card that is going to play games on the tv. I have been thinking that since I now have a larger budget I might as well go with an AM3 board with DDR3.

I now have three more questions:

1) Is it worth going AM3 and replacing my spare DDR2 with DDR3?
2) Will the HD 5770 work in my system? Size, power requirements, etc (Yes I want an HD 5770 in a HTPC. I will replace the PSU if I really have to)
3)If it won't fit in my case will the HD 5750? Or should I get a different case?

Hmmm that looks more like 4 questions to me. Oh well I got carried away...
January 15, 2010 10:16:29 AM

1.) Yes.
2.) Maybe. The "requirement" for the 5770 is 400W PSU, but it doesn't actually need that much. Does the PSU have a PCIe connector?
2.) It should fit in you're case. It's not a large card.
January 15, 2010 10:33:32 AM

now just get a good power supply

now we can all rejoice and do the Haka
January 15, 2010 12:41:26 PM

And the reviews of the 5670 stated that it was overpriced/under powered compared to what else is out there.
January 15, 2010 1:03:55 PM

MadAdmiral said:
And the reviews of the 5670 stated that it was overpriced/under powered compared to what else is out there.

That depends on what it's used for. Sure there are better gaming cards out there for the price, but that's not what this build is. The OP said he wanted a card for a HTPC that could handle full HD audio. That's exactly what the 5670 is. It's a great HTPC card.
January 15, 2010 1:25:21 PM

That doesn't change the fact that it's overpriced. I'd prefer to get something that's at least farily priced (i.e. the 5750 or 5770).
January 15, 2010 2:37:15 PM

I think if you look at the features that are needed, then the HD5670 really is the best option for HTPC application today. The OP requires HD bitstreaming so he must have an HD5xxx card. The cheapest HD5xxx cards are the HD5670's. Unless the OP wants to wait a bit for the HD55xx and HD54xx low end cards to come out, that is. Also, the HD5670's run super cool from the reviews I've read... another plus for HTPC applications.

As long as the HD5670 will play the games the OP's Dad wants to play, no need to spend more for extra horsepower, IMHO.
January 15, 2010 3:04:41 PM

I'm in complete agreement with rwpritchett. He always has great advice for HTPC builds.
January 16, 2010 12:37:32 AM

Thanks for all the quick replies. I did consider the HD 5670 as it seems to have similar performance to my 9600gt and requires little power. However, I am not convinced that it is the best option. It is severely overpriced in New Zealand ($20 NZD less than HD 5750) and I would like a little bit more power for playing some games on the big screen. If I have to buy a new GPU I might as well get a half decent one. I am just worried about the PSU being able to cope...
January 16, 2010 2:16:51 AM

Will the HD 5670 be able to play MW2 at decent quality and resoulutions on the TV? If not it is not for me.
January 16, 2010 1:36:42 PM

Is it an HDTV (1080p)? If so, the 5670 will absolutely not do that. You're probably looking at the 5850 for that at least. This is where the 5670 has all it's flaws. It's not a gaming GPU at all...
January 16, 2010 2:05:33 PM

FinlayG said:
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Media hub (storage of home videos and photos), Internet surfing, video streaming, and very light gaming. I will be getting a BR drive and a TV tuner in the future so it needs to output and handle HD.
FinlayG said:
Will the HD 5670 be able to play MW2 at decent quality and resoulutions on the TV? If not it is not for me.
:lol:  MW2 = very light gaming? :lol: 
I was thinking more on the lines of Sims or Diablo 2.

I'm going with admiral now, MW2 at 1920x1080 will need some more video muscle.

January 16, 2010 5:42:08 PM

WOW, the definition of "very light gaming" has never been so screwed up.
January 17, 2010 12:58:24 AM

Yeah sorry. He was originally planning on playing flight sim X, BF1942 etc. He changed his mind though XD

Will the HD 5770 be way too loud in a HTPC? If it is going to sound like a jet engine my dad doesn't mind going down to the HD 5670 and not playing any games. I don't really think he would play games very often anyway.

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January 17, 2010 2:05:17 PM
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No. The new 5xxx series are very, very quiet. I've got a 5750 in an HTPC right now that's been overclocked to be faster than a stock 5770 (I decided to game a little with it) and I can't even hear the fan.

I personally think the 5770 is a better choice for than the 5670, if there's an extra $50-60 in the budget.
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