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HTPC - Antec ISK 300-150

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January 30, 2011 3:36:10 AM

Hi,

I'm building an HTPC on the ISK 300-150, I've been reading different forums about this case and about the 150W power supply, the components I ordered are:

Gigabyte Socket 1156 Mini-ITX Motherboard GA-H55N-USB3
Intel Core i3 Processor i3-540
Sony Optiarc BC-5500S-01 2X Blu-Ray Slim Combo Drive
Corsair 4GB Dual Channel Corsair DDR3
Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500 GB Bulk/OEM Hard Drive 2.5 Inch, 8 MB Cache, 5400 RPM SATA II
2 Noctua NF-R8 Raised-Blade design and SSO Bearing Fan

I understand that this build its ok for this PSU, but there were discussions about using a video card, I know that for 1080p video and blu-ray playback its fine but some people use a radeon 5570, like this guys for example: http://www.dinopc.com/shop/pc/Mini-Carnivore-HTPC-93p87...

I want to know your opinion about that, or if someone is running that build, I have a Radeon 4550 1 GB, will it be better than the i3 integrated graphics? can I damage the other components if the PSU can's keep up? I want to know if its worth it to buy a low profile 5570...

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January 30, 2011 12:33:54 PM

Hey there chriscalderonh, welcome to the HTPC crowd here at Tom's.

Excellent build you've got going there. I hope you keep us posted on the progress. For Christmas, my brother got me the ISK 310-150 case but I haven't started my project yet. Anyways, about your questions:

The integrated video on your Clarkdale processor will do everything you need. A discreet card is only needed if you want to game. That said, I would recommend against adding a separate video card since it will only add heat/noise to your setup without adding much to your HTPC experience. Even if your card is passive, the PSU in your ISK will be working harder and have its fan turned up to compensate for the extra heat generated.

Now that I've given you my recommendation, here are the trade-offs for not getting a discreet video card:

The HD5570 has the muscle to perform Vector Adaptive (VA) post processing while the integrated cannot.
The HD5570 can properly output 23.976 fps to match the framerate of film while the intel integrated cannot (it's not that the integrated is too weak, it's because intel made an error in the hardware... AMD chipsets do not have this limitation).

The first point is only a problem if you watch a lot of high contrast interlaced content (results in jaggies on, for example, the lines of a football field when the camera pans). Truth be told, you would never notice unless someone gave you a specific interlaced film and held a magnifying glass to your TV screen.
The second point is something that videophiles will cry about. Most likely your will be running at your 1080p at 60Hz. If you play a film on your TV, about every 4 minutes there might be a slight judder due to the mismatch in frequency if it happens during a panning fast motion shot. Again, I would wager that you would never notice it unless a videophile pointed it out to you.

Hope this helps.
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January 31, 2011 11:29:28 PM

Hey thanks for your reply, I wanted to do some light gaming if possible, things like dirt 2 and fifa 11, one of my concerns against doing this was the 150W psu, according to this page http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp, I need minimun 153W PSU and reccomended 200W with the components I bought, so what is your opinion, will there be a problem using the 5570 card?
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January 31, 2011 11:41:45 PM

Best answer selected by chriscalderonh.
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