Best combination?? APU?

Hi all,
Just after some other peoples advice.
This is my first actual build..
So it might be easier if I lay it out like this:

What I Have:
2 x 3TB Hard drives
1 x 120GB SSD Drive (primarily for the OS)
2 x 4GB DDR3 RAM
1 x mATX Aluminium Low Profile Case (440L x 420W x 100H)
1 x Bluray Drive/Recorder
1 x Dual Digital TV Tuner Card
1 x Wifi Card
1 x Bluetooth Dongle

I am building an All-in-one HTPC.
I would like to use it for playing the latest games, internet, video encoding/converting, viewing and recording HD content etc..

I need it to be a silent as possible with minimal fans so I hoping to get away with not buying a separate Graphics card because if I did there would be more heat in an already very low profile case. But if I have to then I guess I have to.

So I will need a mobo, (possible GPU), and CPU (or APU).
Does anyone have any suggestions for these that would be sufficient to my needs?? I would like to use AMD Components.
I am tossing up as to what would be a better option for me (in terms of upgradability, performance and generated heat):

An APU (for example - an A-Series Llano AMD Quad-core 2.9Ghz integrated Radeon HD 6550D) used with a FM1 mobo
A GPU + CPU Combo (for example - an FX-Series AMD Six Core 3.3Ghz used on a AM3+ mobo) + a Radeon HD 5xxx or 6xxx

This setup will be used with 8GB of DDR3 Ram

As for price well its not really a big issue but if I could get the remaining parts for under $500 i'd be pretty stoked but that's not a big deal.

Let me know if you need any more info..
Thanks again, much appreciated.
8 answers Last reply
More about best combination
  1. Ok thanks for response.
    Can you please tell me why it will be more worthwhile?
  2. APUs have decent gaming performance. You won't be playing your games with great FPS or max settings. With a GPU and CPU combo, you are offered great performance and not for too much. You can always add a second card (not in this case though) or replace it With APUs, you stuck with what you have. I was also wondering, do you have any plans of overclocking, if not, I can probably get you a better route in components.


    Total: $490 ($475 w/ $15 off code)
  3. also a small case doesn't mean heat problems. If you imagine a really big case with two fans on it, how often does the air get changed over, imagine a really small case with the same two fans on it, it'll change the air a lot more often, changing the air means getting rid of heat.

    I'm asuming with a HTPC you'll be on a big screen, in which case you'll need a decent card.

    There are some silent 6770's about, but they'll need good airlfow, and they aren't quick.

    whilst gaming you can probably accept the noise, its whilst watching films that you can't, so you want a good gpu thats quiet at idle/low usage.

  4. The above recommended video cards will not work in a case that is 100mm tall (3.9 inches). If you are going to install a separate video card then it must be low profile.

    The Llano A8-3850 APU is AMD's best performing CPU/GPU combination. The CPU core is basically that of the Athlon II and is a little slower than the Phenom II CPU core. The integrated Radeon HD 6550D's performance is roughly halfway between the desktop Radeon HD 5550 and Radeon HD 5570. It can be paired with up to a Radeon HD 6670 for hybrid Crossfire. I am not sure what the performance increase would be with a HD 6670 video card, but it will be less than the HD 6770.

    The Core i5-2500k is very powerful and it will be useful for encoding video. However, the integrated HD 3000 graphics core is basically equal to a Radeon HD 5450 and it is slow enough that it can bottleneck the CPU core in games.

    Based on what is available on Newegg...

    The fastest AMD low profile video card is the Radeon HD 6570.

    The fastest nVidia low profile video card is the GT 430.

    Of the two the Radeon HD 6570 would be a little faster than the GT 430.

    For gaming, the best combination will be the Llano A8-3850 APU + the Radeon HD 6570. In hybrid Crossfire, that might make it almost equivalent to a Radeon HD 6670. Not sure though since I have not seen any benchmarks. However, this is not the best solution for encoding video since the Athlon II CPU core is pretty weak compared to the core i5-2500k CPU core.

    For video encoding and all other applications (except games), there is simply no contest for the Intel Core i5-2500k. The i5 will simply tear the Llano apart (not to mention the Phenom II and Bulldozer CPU cores as well). The Intel HD 3000 graphic core does not work with any other card in either Crossfire or SLI mode. When you install a graphics card like the Radeon HD 6570, it will simply work on it's own.

    Which of the two above is best depends on what is more important video encoding or playing games.
  5. well spotted, off my game today by the looks of it, with any of those cards though there isn't going to be a lot of gaming going on, especially of the latest games. I'd actually suggest ditching the cases to open up the options a lot, you'd still be able to keep it under $500 just about. But the constraints of the case makes it realy tough to get a gaming experience out of it on large screens.
  6. Wow respect on the replies. Much appreciated...

    At this stage I dont have plans to overclock. Why is this a big factor in deciding on componants??

    The case is a cheiftec... found here. Unfortunately the case has already been purchased and I paid a fortune for it so I should have done my research first but will just have to work with what I got.

    Ok so thinking of going down the CPU + GPU route...
    Most likely an AMD mobo and a six to eight core >3GHz CPU.

    If I chose the AMD mobo, will only Radeon Cards be compatible with it? So no Nvidea??

    I have my eye on this GPU
    I did a quick search and nearly all of the new games have a 1GB gpu as minimum or recommended system requirements so I feel I should be fairly safe here...

    Lastly, If i am watching a movie or tv, will the cards fan be spinning and causing noise as mentioned? I dont mind the noise in the case when I am playing a game but I want to be as silent as possible when doing htpc things.. How do I find out this information before purchasing?

    Oh yeah and if it matters this will be used on a 50" LCD Screen

    Thanks again :)
  7. The case fans spinning is down to how they are connected, and what the motherboard commands them to do.

    I'm not sure what fans you have, but there are option for 3pin quiet fans out there, and ways of telling those fans to spin according to temp, speedfan for one, but make sure that your mobo can control enough 3-pins fan headers, the only wa to find this is to download and read the mobo manual, my mobo has 5 3-pin headers only 3 of which can be controlled.
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