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Cheap mobo for media server pc?

So I'm trying to build a nice sub $300 media server. It's gonna stream HD movies and music mainly. I'm not sure what CPU I'm going to throw in it, but probably should start with a mobo. What can you guys suggest would be a good mobo? I would like at least 1 usb 3.0 port, RAID possibly, and a couple expansion ports as well as built in gigabyte ethernet. Not sure what would be overkill here, as I only have $300 to spend on all the parts. Ideally built in graphics would be great.

Already have the HDD's so I'm good there.

thanks guys.
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  1. jaquith said:


    I need more HDD bays, and it is going to be used for streaming HD movies, music. Those NAS devices are expensive for what you get.
  2. If it weren't for the USB 3 requirement I'd get an Intel Atom CPU/MOBO combo for ~$100 and if needed pop-in a cheap RAID Card.

    USB 3 CPU/MOBO Combo:
    $120 ASUS E35M1-M PRO - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131697 ; No RAID
    $105 ASRock E350M1/USB3 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157247 ; No RAID

    RAID
    $108 Adaptec RAID 1430SA 2240900-R - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816103058 ; 4 HDDS
    {There's cheaper including PCI, I don't like recommending cheap RAID Cards to anyone. Even the cheap poorly reviewed are better than onboard. Most folks are clueless how to setup a RAID so they review them bad vs themselves as 'dumb.'}

    Other RAID Cards - http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=410&name=Controllers-RAID-Cards

    The ASUS E35M1-M PRO has both x4 PCIe and PCI, the PCIe are faster.

    Otherwise of a 'PC' approach:
    $95 GIGABYTE GA-880GA-UD3H - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128444 ; USB 3.0 and RAID 0,1,5,10
    CPU support - http://www.gigabyte.us/support-downloads/cpu-support-popup.aspx?pid=3789
    $40 AMD Sempron 145 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103888

    The Dedicated RAID is best for RAID 5.
  3. I might hold off on RAID and get a RAID card if needed in the future. My concern with lower powered dual core CPU's is that they won't stream 1080P uncompressed video. Think I might step it up a notch for the CPU...
  4. Is the Intel Core i3-2105 overkill you think?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115090


    I suppose if I want to convert it to a HTPC in the future this would work well?

    I would also prefer a mobo that has the ability to handle at least 5 SATA HDD's.

    thanks for the suggestions!
  5. IF you want an HTPC then sure the i3-2105 or any with 850 MHz iGPU is fine on an H67 or Z68 MOBO. I like the ASUS P8Z68-V LE for an HTPC MOBO - $130 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131773
  6. jaquith said:
    IF you want an HTPC then sure the i3-2105 or any with 850 MHz iGPU is fine on an H67 or Z68 MOBO. I like the ASUS P8Z68-V LE for an HTPC MOBO - $130 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131773


    I was really hoping I could keep this at or below $300, but this what I have so far. Any suggestions? Probably less ram needed right?

    Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    Model #:Three Hundred
    Item #:N82E16811129042

    ASUS P8Z68-V LE LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

    Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power ...

    Intel Core i3-2105 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I32105

    ADATA 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model AD3U1333B2G9-DRH

    How about this mobo? Seems to have simliar specs, not much difference...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157251

    or this one:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128487
  7. You don't want a P67 unless you 'also' want a to purchase a Discrete GPU.

    $105 ASRock Z68 PRO3 / 2 year warranty
    $130 ASUS P8Z68-V LE / 3 year warranty

    $94 ASUS P8H67-M LX / 3 year warranty - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131713
    4 SATA2
    2 SATA3
    RAID 0/1/5/10
    Video Out:
    Multi-VGA Output Support: DVI-D and D-SUB Ports
    DVI with Max. Resolution : 1920 X 1200 @60Hz
    D-SUB with Max. Resolution : 2048 X 1536 @75Hz
    ref - http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8H67M_LX/#specifications

    RAM - $25 F3-10600CL9D-4GBNS - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231394

    PSU - I prefer Corsair and the Builder series is okay e.g. CMPSU-430CXV2
    However, IF you're running 7x24x365 then in the long run you want a Silver or maybe Gold certified PSU. Unless your electricity is dirt cheap <$8/KW.

    I really do NOT like Antec, it's hard to ignore the EA-380D price/Bronze - I've had Antec blow-up too many systems...

    The best long-term PSU's: Corsair, Seasonic, Enermax, etc. Also, I'd look into an UPS.

    ---

    At my home I built a Windows Home Server with RAID 6, and it's built like a Brick $hithouse because my data is important, and we like the Home Server doodads. I also have a few HTPC, but they's just that HTPC - Netflix, HULU, Surfing, Home Pictures/Movies, etc.

    See - http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/windowshomeserver/default.mspx
  8. jaquith said:
    You don't want a P67 unless you 'also' want a to purchase a Discrete GPU.

    $105 ASRock Z68 PRO3 / 2 year warranty
    $130 ASUS P8Z68-V LE / 3 year warranty

    $94 ASUS P8H67-M LX / 3 year warranty - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131713
    4 SATA2
    2 SATA3
    RAID 0/1/5/10
    Video Out:
    Multi-VGA Output Support: DVI-D and D-SUB Ports
    DVI with Max. Resolution : 1920 X 1200 @60Hz
    D-SUB with Max. Resolution : 2048 X 1536 @75Hz
    ref - http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8H67M_LX/#specifications

    RAM - $25 F3-10600CL9D-4GBNS - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231394

    PSU - I prefer Corsair and the Builder series is okay e.g. CMPSU-430CXV2
    However, IF you're running 7x24x365 then in the long run you want a Silver or maybe Gold certified PSU. Unless your electricity is dirt cheap <$8/KW.

    I really do NOT like Antec, it's hard to ignore the EA-380D price/Bronze - I've had Antec blow-up too many systems...

    The best long-term PSU's: Corsair, Seasonic, Enermax, etc. Also, I'd look into an UPS.

    ---

    At my home I built a Windows Home Server with RAID 6, and it's built like a Brick $hithouse because my data is important, and we like the Home Server doodads. I also have a few HTPC, but they's just that HTPC - Netflix, HULU, Surfing, Home Pictures/Movies, etc.

    See - http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/windowshomeserver/default.mspx


    looks like a good board but doesn't have usb 3.0. bummer. Is there any way I could add a usb 3.0 card in the future or am I pretty much out of luck? Also, would this handle HD's that are 3TB (or possibly bigger) in the future? Doesn't look like it from what I can see.

    also, the ASUS P8H67-M LX doesn't say it has a built in graphics card on the spec sheet...
  9. jaquith said:
    Oopsy, meant to link:
    $100 ASUS P8H67-M LE - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131712
    Specs - http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8H67M_LE/

    3TB - use BIOS 0803 and Windows 7.



    So the iGPU is the integrated graphics? Would the integrated graphics playback 1080p uncompressed video files good? That is my main concern.

    Other than that, the board has RAID, USB 3.0 and seems like a nice fit. Sucks it only has 2 ram slots but can't imagine I will ever need more than 4gb for a media server.
  10. Best answer
    Good question, I don't know if Progressive is supported or if its Interlaced. All I know from the specs is "HDMI with Max. Resolution : 1920 X 1200 @60Hz"; assuming you'll use the HDMI port. Obviously 1080 is supported, but whether it's interlaced or progressive I don't know. Also, it depends on the 'Digital Media' - example the DVD Player would need to be Progressive and ditto with the MPEG movie.

    Intel HD Graphics info - http://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/quick-reference-guide-to-intel-processor-graphics/

    You can add 2x2GB for ~$25, or 2x4GB ~$42 F3-10600CL9D-8GBNT - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231422 there are 2x8GB kits but they're crazy expensive. 4GB or 8GB is more than fine for an HTPC; >4GB requires a 64-bit OS.
  11. Best answer selected by bhome83.
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