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HTPC Build

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February 17, 2010 5:05:12 AM

HTPC Build
I want to build HTPC. My internet/phone/tv provider charge me $150or more per month, plus it seems like the same movies are showing day after day.... I decided I need hurry up and do something.
I will build HTPC, rip all my DVDs, possibly also put music and what not on there too.. etc.. and just have basic local channels for news and what not. ( I will ditch TV provider)

I have 1080p LCD TV, with which I plan to use with this HTPC (I will connect TV and HTPC by HDMI, I have few movies which are in HD). Viewing local channel from same interface could be nice, but maybe not the top priority (for that I guess I will need tv-tuner?)

AMD/ATI Build
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Motherboard:
GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G (with onboard video ATI HD 4200)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU: Use integrated video chip in motherboard. Add non-integrated later as needed.
onboard video ATI HD 4200
Case:
Antec New Solution NSK2480
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Memory:
G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HardDrive:
WD Caviar Green 1TB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Optical Drive:
Not so important. I will get something.
CPU:
What CPU should I get? I kind of want a low wattage processor. I looked at several. Please give me recomendations.
AMD Sempron 140 Sargas 2.7GHz 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 45W (cheap and 45W)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W (65W)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I am also conserned about CPU heatsink. What kind should I get? I want this HTPC to be very quiet.

INTEL/GEFORCE Build (might be better, since I will be using Linux)
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Some ideas for Intel/GeForce build

XFX MI93007 AS9 LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 9300 (Can on board GeForce 9300 handle 1080p playback? I heard GeForce 9300 and ATI 4200 are almost equivalent).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Any ideas on intel CPU for HTPC?

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February 17, 2010 1:05:24 PM

Thanks for reply.
The case have PSU inside of it.
Actually, recently I been looking at two cases.
1) Antec New Solution NSK2480 (with 380W power supply)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
2) hec Black 0.7mm Thickness SECC 7K0 (with 270W) Is 270W too low?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

well. If I will pick some other case without included PSU. What wattage do you think is enough? or what is good psu for htpc?

==
Also, thank for reply. I will get that memory which you recommended to me and the mobo. What makes that mobo more future proof? Because it can support faster memory?

Thank for tunner too. I forgot about that.
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Best solution

February 17, 2010 1:59:05 PM

I wouldn't use that old LGA 775 motherboard. The new Intel i3 chips are perfect for a HTPC. They are made on a 32nm process and have an integrated GPU on the chip. They use very little power and run very cool. The H55 motherboards have HDMI out and easily handle 1080p.

http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=370...

Here's a very nice low cost combo deal for an i3 chip and H55 motherboard that would do everything you listed you would like to do.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $194.99 (Intel Core i3-530 Clarkdale 2.93GHz + Gigabyte GA-H55M-S2H combo)
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February 17, 2010 2:46:01 PM

kdar said:
Thanks for reply.
The case have PSU inside of it.
Actually, recently I been looking at two cases.
1) Antec New Solution NSK2480 (with 380W power supply)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
2) hec Black 0.7mm Thickness SECC 7K0 (with 270W) Is 270W too low?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

well. If I will pick some other case without included PSU. What wattage do you think is enough? or what is good psu for htpc?

==
Also, thank for reply. I will get that memory which you recommended to me and the mobo. What makes that mobo more future proof? Because it can support faster memory?

Thank for tunner too. I forgot about that.


any antec psu is ok! that will suffice for you.
that mobo is am3, amd is planning to use am3 for the next couple of years, e.g. when the new generation of cpus of amd will be out, you will probably need only a bios upgrade and thats it, you can insert the cpu in and it will work.
intel are going to continue with 1336 socket and not the 1156 and especially not the 775, so you won't have much where to upgrade.
sorry, I don't fall of the seat in regards to the i3's they are pseudo quads, that combo costs the same like amd and doesn't gives any room for expansion.
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February 17, 2010 2:53:31 PM

daggs said:
sorry, I don't fall of the seat in regards to the i3's they are pseudo quads, that combo costs the same like amd and doesn't gives any room for expansion.


I think the real benefit to the i3 from an HTPC perspective is being able to save on a graphics card by going with the full HD integrated video. That still may not justify the price for everyone, but it should reduce power consumption/heat, and simplifies the build to some degree.

It's not like an HTPC is really going to have a load that will drive 4 cores anyway, except possibly initially when you're ripping DVDs/mp3s to it. After that point, I'd be surprised if it reached past 30% load for any HTPC-style tasks.
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February 17, 2010 3:16:18 PM

mm so that mobo from combo have integrated video chip? The Intel H55?

Is it almost on same level like HD4200?
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February 17, 2010 3:31:32 PM

coldsleep said:
I think the real benefit to the i3 from an HTPC perspective is being able to save on a graphics card by going with the full HD integrated video. That still may not justify the price for everyone, but it should reduce power consumption/heat, and simplifies the build to some degree.

when you get a 785G mb, you are getting the same...
coldsleep said:

It's not like an HTPC is really going to have a load that will drive 4 cores anyway, except possibly initially when you're ripping DVDs/mp3s to it. After that point, I'd be surprised if it reached past 30% load for any HTPC-style tasks.

must of the htpc are short way from becoming a stream encoders too, thats where the extra cores will come in handy.

my problem in the bottom line with the i3 is that they are marketed has quads when they duals marketed as quads, that is a lie...

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February 17, 2010 3:35:41 PM

most mATX socket 1336 are around $150-200

Would HTPC need much upgrading anyways? It always will be same thing. Maybe just more movies in HD.
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February 17, 2010 3:49:06 PM

I am a bit worried if Intel H55 can work nicely with Linux.
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February 17, 2010 3:50:15 PM

kdar said:
mm so that mobo from combo have integrated video chip? The Intel H55?

Is it almost on same level like HD4200?


The GPU actual sits side-by-side with the CPU on the same chip.

Intel H55/Core i3/i5 has one feature the HD4200 does not have and that's support for bitstreaming HD audio over HDMI. To do that with a 785G board you would need to add a graphics card in the ATI 5000 series. Once you do that, you're right around the same price but now you have extra parts using more power and outputting more heat into your HTPC.

Lots of good information here: http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=370...

I haven't been able to find any reviews pitting the an AMD chip with 785G chipset vs. Core i3 or Core i5 with the H55 chipset.

You will however, find plenty of reviews and threads here, at avsforums.com, et. al. that recommend the Core i3/i5 (aka Clarkdale) and H55 chipset for HTPC use. Those same reviews, threads, etc. will tell you that unless you are using your machine for gaming, HD encoding, etc. as well as watching movies, that a quad-core is a waste of money, power, noise and especially heat. When it comes to HTPCs, faster isn't better. It's just more expensive and hotter to run.

With an easy Google you can also find plenty of reviews detailing performance for encoding, HD playback, etc. for the Clarkdale CPU/GPU/motherboard combinations. All of them look very good for an HTPC and even encoding duties. Not for gaming, though.

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February 17, 2010 6:02:03 PM

I'm not sure where the idea that the i3 chips are being marketed has quads came from. They are clearly labeled and sold as dual-core chips. The thing is that they perform so well that they compete directly with AMD quad core chips. That has nothing to do with marketing, they just perform great for a dual-core chip. They are a much better idea for a HTPC than a power hungry AMD quad core.
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February 17, 2010 7:15:04 PM

kdar said:
I am a bit worried if Intel H55 can work nicely with Linux.

afaik, it should, but I'm not sure about the igp, my worth while to ask at your local favorite distro forum
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February 17, 2010 7:17:07 PM

Dougie Fresh said:
The GPU actual sits side-by-side with the CPU on the same chip.

Intel H55/Core i3/i5 has one feature the HD4200 does not have and that's support for bitstreaming HD audio over HDMI. To do that with a 785G board you would need to add a graphics card in the ATI 5000 series. Once you do that, you're right around the same price but now you have extra parts using more power and outputting more heat into your HTPC.

Lots of good information here: http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=370...

I haven't been able to find any reviews pitting the an AMD chip with 785G chipset vs. Core i3 or Core i5 with the H55 chipset.

You will however, find plenty of reviews and threads here, at avsforums.com, et. al. that recommend the Core i3/i5 (aka Clarkdale) and H55 chipset for HTPC use. Those same reviews, threads, etc. will tell you that unless you are using your machine for gaming, HD encoding, etc. as well as watching movies, that a quad-core is a waste of money, power, noise and especially heat. When it comes to HTPCs, faster isn't better. It's just more expensive and hotter to run.

With an easy Google you can also find plenty of reviews detailing performance for encoding, HD playback, etc. for the Clarkdale CPU/GPU/motherboard combinations. All of them look very good for an HTPC and even encoding duties. Not for gaming, though.


not sure what you mean there...

shortstuff_mt said:
I'm not sure where the idea that the i3 chips are being marketed has quads came from. They are clearly labeled and sold as dual-core chips. The thing is that they perform so well that they compete directly with AMD quad core chips. That has nothing to do with marketing, they just perform great for a dual-core chip. They are a much better idea for a HTPC than a power hungry AMD quad core.

every where I look I see "i3, a quad by intel"
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February 17, 2010 7:18:19 PM

daggs said:
not sure what you mean there...


every where I look I see "i3, a quad by intel"

Links? I've never seen that before. It's a dual core that competes with some quad cores, but I've never seen it being marketed as a quad core.
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February 17, 2010 7:21:11 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
Links? I've never seen that before. It's a dual core that competes with some quad cores, but I've never seen it being marketed as a quad core.

will try to find, problem is they are in my native language which isn't english
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February 23, 2010 11:05:29 PM

Best answer selected by kdar.
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