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Integrated GPU or Dedicated for silent HTPC and CPU fan rec

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Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
December 7, 2010 3:30:43 PM

Hi all,

I'm contemplating my first ever build of a silent HTPC / mild video editing / desktop processing. Basically what I want is a budget build of a computer that will last me for the next 3-5 years and perform most if not all of what I want to throw at it.

I plan on dual booting windows 7 and ubuntu, as well as running windows 7 in VM when I don't want to shut down but still need programs such as office/ adobe for light work from home. With wanting to use VM I know I will need a lot of ram. Finally, since this computer will be in my bedroom, I want to use an unobtrusive mini tower and have it be fairly silent so i can sleep with the machine downloading/ watch movies on very low volume so as not to wake up my housemates. Oh and I really want a ssd for the fast boot times, as often times I shut down when not home but want to be able to boot up quickly to get to boxee.

So far I have the following components picked out, please comment on anything that you don't think is ideal, but keep in mind I'm trying to keep costs low, while having as much performance as possible.

ASUS M4A88TD-M/USB3 AM3 AMD 880G SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

AMD Phenom II X2 560 Black Edition Callisto 3.3GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Desktop Processor HDZ560WFGMBOX (plan to mildly overclock and hopefully unlock a core or two, but no biggie if it doesn't happen, can always upgrade later)

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory

Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC064MAG-1G1 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Antec New Solution NSK3480 Micro tower - Power supply 380 Watt

So I guess my question is several parts:
1) will the Asus on-board GPU do what i need it to do as far as watching extremely high quality 1080P videos?
2) what dedicated GPUs can I fit in the case?
3) Do I have enough power to run a dedicated GPU?
4) Any recommendations on a silent GPU? Fanless or with fan?

Also as a final question, any recommendations on a cpu fan that will fit in my case and be quiet? Will stock be fine? My primary concern is watching tv at very low volume at night and being able to hear over the computer(i usually stay up late)
December 7, 2010 4:18:49 PM

1) The onboard GPU is really not great. I would certainly look to buy a GPU if you want to play smooth HD.

2) You could probably fit a decent (yet smallish) GPU- I would recommend a Palit Nvidia gtx460, which is small yet a high performer for £136.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Palit-SONIC-nVIDIA-Geforce-Grap...
For less money a HD5770 isnt a bad choice.

3) A 380W PSU isn't going to support a GPU. It may even struggle to supply the parts you've listed above with enough power.

http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp is a free power calculator you can use to work out your power requirement.
I would strongly recomment you consider a different case and/or buy a bigger PSU (550 or 600w)

4) The gtx460 i mentioned above is good, or you could spend less and get a HD5770.

BTW you could buy a bit less RAM- I would go for only 6GB of RAM, and spend the saved cash on a AMD Phenom II X4 Quad 955 (£40 more than the X2), yet the x4 may require a bigger PSU.

You may want to consider a case without a PSU so that you can buy a 550W PSU seperately (for roughly £40) and have enough power for a GPU.
You may like either of these two:
OR Coolermaster Elite 342 Black Micro ATX Case - No PSU (£30)
The cost of the coolermaster and a £40 gpu is roughly the same as the case you currently are considering.

Hope that helps.
PS have you consider using headphones plugged into the TV?
December 7, 2010 4:39:01 PM

1) The onboard GPU is really not great. I would certainly look to buy a GPU.

2) You could probably fit a decent (yet smallish) GPU- I would recommend a Palit Nvidia gtx460, which is small yet a high performer for £136.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Palit-SONIC-nVIDIA-Geforce-Grap...

3) A 380W PSU isn't going to support a GPU. It may even struggle to supply the parts you've listed above with enough power.

http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp is a free power calculator you can use to work out your power requirement.
I would strongly recomment you consider a different case and/or buy a bigger PSU (550 or 600w)

4) The gtx460 i mentioned above is good, or you could spend less and get a HD5770.

BTW you could buy a bit less RAM- I would go for only 6GB of RAM, and spend the saved cash on a AMD Phenom II X4 Quad 955 (£40 more than the X2), yet the x4 may require a bigger PSU.

You may want to consider a case without a PSU so that you can buy a 550W PSU seperately (for roughly £40) and have enough power for a GPU.
You may like this:
Coolermaster Elite 342 Black Micro ATX Case - No PSU (£30)

Hope that helps.
Related resources
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
December 7, 2010 4:44:45 PM

Thanks, I was concerned about the power supply. According to the link you provided i need about 500+- watts. Seeing as that's the case I looked up some silent PSUs and found this one thats relatively inexpensive from newegg.


SeaSonic X650 Gold 650W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Do i really need that much GPU? I was hoping to get away with an HD4750 if I had to at all. And would that big daddy fit in the micro case?
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
December 7, 2010 4:45:35 PM

oh and yea I've considered headphones, but i have this weird habit where i cant fall asleep without the tv on and headphones sort of inhibit that, ive tried in the past
a b B Homebuilt system
December 7, 2010 4:54:12 PM

Direct X 11 is a better choice. the 4750 is now 2 generations old, and wasn't top choice then.
December 7, 2010 6:24:17 PM

The 5670 is good for the price (it has Directx11)

If you choose another GPU, Direct x11 would be good (its not essential though) and I would recommend choosing one of the HD 5*** series GPUs. Although its not ideal you could get away with one of the better HD 4***s, but it could feel laggy at times.

December 7, 2010 6:28:50 PM

Quote:
oh and yea I've considered headphones, but i have this weird habit where i cant fall asleep without the tv on and headphones sort of inhibit that, ive tried in the past

ok a silent PC makes sense
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
December 7, 2010 8:21:57 PM

Great thanks for the advice.

I think for today, I'm going go ahead with my initial build except I'll be buying a cheaper case (w/o psu) and buying the psu i listed above.

I'll go for the 5670 if you think thats best, but I'm going to have to hold off a week or two to save up the cash. They are little more than I have right now, considering the need for the upgraded powersupply. Plus this way I can assess how much space I actually have in the microcase.

It would have been nice though to get a fanless GPU, but perhaps the 5670 with a fan will keep my overall case cooler and allow for lower temps and lower rpm case fans. Should be fairly silent when just downloading.

I could cut back on the SSD, but then it would be a pain to upgrade to it later, I could also cut back on the RAM but it is only a $40 dollar difference between the 4gb and 8gb so it seems like a waste to buy 4gb and only wanting to upgrade later. Plus I'm really psyched to be able to dedicate a lot of ram to VM.
December 8, 2010 4:00:16 PM

Happy to have helped
a b B Homebuilt system
December 8, 2010 9:41:19 PM

You can run 1080p video with the IGP without difficulty.

Install the Avivo UVD unified video decoder. Should drop cpu utilization a good bit.
!