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Ideas? Big VGA inside small case for media center PC

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August 25, 2010 2:46:11 AM

Hi. I was thinking about building a media center pc. :hello: 
The idea is to build it using a small case, smallest possible to make it semi-portable.
And to plug it into any tv or monitor or whatever.
I have an old XFX 8800GT that I thought I could use. but it's pretty big... too big for the case I have in mind
(at least in width) :( 

So here are my questions:
Is there any mod or maybe a PCI-E adapter to plug the card in SIDEWAYS (parallel to the mobo instead of perpendicular to it) ?
Or should I just buy a motherboard with HDMI and on-board graphics? If so.... which motherboards do you recommend?


Any tips or ideas are WELCOME :D 

PS: I know that maybe a 8800GT it's kind of an overkill for movies.... but It would be a nice bonus if my friends and I could play Street Fighter 4 after the karaoke (main purpose of this media center pc is: movies, music, ultrastar deluxe and maybe picture viewing for when my family wants to see stuff straight from the camera.)

Thanks a lot for any input. :) 
a c 276 ) Power supply
August 25, 2010 2:55:12 AM

Rather than fighting with PCI-E slot adapters, a smaller low power card like a 5670 should fit just fine, and will give you pretty good performance if you want to play a game once in a while, its only slightly longer than the PCI-E slot.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a c 144 ) Power supply
August 25, 2010 5:28:50 AM

It takes surprising little power, both CPU and graphic, to move video from a hard drive to a TV screen. A suitable modern card will be smaller, use less power, and run quieter with less heat. All are pluses in a small case.
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August 25, 2010 10:01:27 AM

Ok. So I've been checking prices and stuff.

And I'm thinking about getting a super "expensive" Mini-ITX motherboard and no vga nor sound card.
Something like the ASUS m4a88t-i deluxe that has HDMI, Wi-Fi, even bluetooth...
BUT it only has SODIMM ram slots...

Is there any difference in performance between DIMM and SODIMM ?

Or the other alternative is getting a cheaper mobo. and complete it with a better vga or whatever is needed.

What do you people know/think about those atom integrated mini-ITX motherboards?

Thanks for all the help. :) 
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a c 139 ) Power supply
August 25, 2010 6:15:04 PM

El_Wray said:
Ok. So I've been checking prices and stuff.

And I'm thinking about getting a super "expensive" Mini-ITX motherboard and no vga nor sound card.
Something like the ASUS m4a88t-i deluxe that has HDMI, Wi-Fi, even bluetooth...
BUT it only has SODIMM ram slots...

Is there any difference in performance between DIMM and SODIMM ?

Or the other alternative is getting a cheaper mobo. and complete it with a better vga or whatever is needed.

What do you people know/think about those atom integrated mini-ITX motherboards?

Thanks for all the help. :) 


What case are you thinking of?

What cpu are you thinking of?

1) I would plan on marketing your 8800GT, it should fetch $40-$50 or so on ebay.
It does not have HDMI output. A similar card that is 6.6" long and does have HDMI output would ba a GTS240.
2) SODIMM is laptop ram. It is smaller, which is why that particular motherboard used it. They tend to be slower, but ram speed generally is of no consequence with today's cpu's.

3) I do not know the cpu requirements for street fighter, but I doubt that the atom comes close.

I built a small system using the Intel G6950 which has integrated graphics. It plays civilization just fine. I used the lian li Q07 case which is tiny. 7.5" x 8" x11". Good looking too.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I used a ECS H55 motherboard which has all the hdmi/dvi outputs. No sound card needed.

The GTS240 and even something stronger will fit.
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August 25, 2010 8:04:45 PM

+1 to selling the 8800gt and going for a newer media orientated alterntive....

I perosnally use a passively cooled sapphire 4670 which is easily powerful enough for media, has audio over hdmi and handles most games i throw at it at 1280x1024, also had advantage in low power / no extra connector
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August 27, 2010 2:14:34 AM

geofelt said:
What case are you thinking of?

What cpu are you thinking of?

1) I would plan on marketing your 8800GT, it should fetch $40-$50 or so on ebay.
It does not have HDMI output. A similar card that is 6.6" long and does have HDMI output would ba a GTS240.
2) SODIMM is laptop ram. It is smaller, which is why that particular motherboard used it. They tend to be slower, but ram speed generally is of no consequence with today's cpu's.

3) I do not know the cpu requirements for street fighter, but I doubt that the atom comes close.

I built a small system using the Intel G6950 which has integrated graphics. It plays civilization just fine. I used the lian li Q07 case which is tiny. 7.5" x 8" x11". Good looking too.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I used a ECS H55 motherboard which has all the hdmi/dvi outputs. No sound card needed.

The GTS240 and even something stronger will fit.


The 8800GT is as good as GONE... it's a great idea. :D 

This is the CPU I had in mind :
AMD Athlon II X4 635

And the motherboard I had in mind was:
Asus M4A88T-I Deluxe

Mostly because that way I only need: CPU,RAM,MOTHER,POWER SOURCE and CASE.

But After will_chellam's reply I'm thinking of a smaller cheaper motherboard and any small graphics card with HDMI.

Suggestions?

THANKS A LOT!!! for the answers by the way.
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Best solution

a c 139 ) Power supply
August 27, 2010 3:46:48 AM

Have you considered an intel solution?

The G6950 is a great little processor, only 90. vs the athlon $99.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
the 32nm construction runs cooler, and it overclocks very well.
2 cores + hyperthreading should be all you need. I think the 4 cores of the athlon will mostly go to waste.
Check out the anand bench comparison for the things you do:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/122?vs=49
The i3-530 is not much more.

I used the ECS H55H motherboard $80 vs the asus $125.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It has worked well. If a wifi connection is needed, then a different H55 motherboard will be similarly priced.
Or... you can get a usb wifi adapter which is relatively cheap.

If you do not need a discrete graphics card, the Antec isk 300-150 is only $80, including a 150w psu.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want strongergraphics for shooter type gaming, then you will have to consider a larger case and psu.
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August 28, 2010 2:19:54 AM

geofelt said:
Have you considered an intel solution?

The G6950 is a great little processor, only 90. vs the athlon $99.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
the 32nm construction runs cooler, and it overclocks very well.
2 cores + hyperthreading should be all you need. I think the 4 cores of the athlon will mostly go to waste.
Check out the anand bench comparison for the things you do:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/122?vs=49
The i3-530 is not much more.

I used the ECS H55H motherboard $80 vs the asus $125.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It has worked well. If a wifi connection is needed, then a different H55 motherboard will be similarly priced.
Or... you can get a usb wifi adapter which is relatively cheap.

If you do not need a discrete graphics card, the Antec isk 300-150 is only $80, including a 150w psu.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want strongergraphics for shooter type gaming, then you will have to consider a larger case and psu.



Ok I found no G6950 Model... I found a Q9650 but that's quad core and really expensive.
I made the comparison between Athlon II X4 635 and the Intel Core i3 530 which are the two in the same price range. And it's pretty close... AMD is still cheaper.
But I'm really doubting my objectivity so I WILL keep an eye out for intel motherboards and processors for this project.
Right now I can't give a more detailed answer, but it's not supposed to be a gaming pc ... it's supposed to be an HTPC... BUT I know that Street Fighter 4 runs on really low specs, I play it on my laptop. So I was thinking about adding a few games to the mix.... just to make it more versatile. Give it a little more purpose.

wi-fi is a must... but I've found this internal USB module from NZXT that I can include on the inside of the pc to have both a usb bluetooth and usb wireless adapter.
Nzxt IU01
So there is that option to keep in mind.

You guys have been so helpful ... it'll probably take me a month to get the money for it... but as soon as I build it I'll post pictures for you and a huge thanks. I'm new to the whole mini-itx and htpc market... so I really needed a hand and you delivered.

Thanks I'll keep posting about prices and ideas.
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a c 139 ) Power supply
August 28, 2010 4:15:29 AM

Strange that you did not find the G6950. My link to it works for me. Search for 32nm manufacturing technology on newegg, and it will be the lowest priced processor.

For a mini itx motherboard with wifi, there is a Zotac unit which costs $110 after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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September 4, 2010 11:51:56 PM

geofelt said:
Strange that you did not find the G6950. My link to it works for me. Search for 32nm manufacturing technology on newegg, and it will be the lowest priced processor.

For a mini itx motherboard with wifi, there is a Zotac unit which costs $110 after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



OK here comes the TWIST... I live in Argentina... prices over here are... a "little higher" and not everything is available.

So far I can only find Atom integrated motherboards (DO NOT WANT) and the other options are:

Asus M4A88T-I Deluxe (AM3 & DDR3 SODIMM) = u$s 183
Zotac H55ITX-A-E (LGA1156 DDR3 DIMM) = u$s 197
Intel DH57JG (LGA1156 DDR3 DIMM) = u$s184

As you can see, ASUS is the cheapest (only by 1 dollar, but it's the only one with Bluetooth and ASUS Core Unlocker)
I'm trying to find more info about that (Core Unlocker) so maybe I can buy a cheaper Athlon II X2 and turn it into an X3 or maybe X4 ... via BIOS. Any info on how Core Unlocker works and how reliable it is... please share it.

So far that's my info.

Mini-Itx Case is already in the bag. (PSU Included)
CPU & RAM depend on the motherboard... so...
HDD I'm going with a 1tb western digital SATA2 (u$s 106)

Am I missing something?
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September 15, 2010 10:21:04 AM

Best answer selected by El_Wray.
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