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New HTPC Build - Opinions & Suggestions Please

Last response: in Systems
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December 21, 2011 6:07:26 PM

Greetings,
I have built quite a few home, office, gaming, and productivity computers. But never a HTPC. I am patiently waiting as parts go on sale, and acquiring them thus.

All I would like to ask is; will the following be sufficient for playing Blu-rays.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ECS A880GM-M7 (V2.0) AM3 AMD 880G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
$25 after rebate

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Sempron 145 2.8GHz Boxed Processor
$35

(owned)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GIGABYTE GV-R545SL-1GI Radeon HD 5450 1GB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Video Card
$10 after rebate

PS: the CPU is on the QVL
And I already have RAM on the QVL

Thanks in advance. I will give a Best Answer.
December 21, 2011 7:42:22 PM

Is there a reason you don't want to use the 880G onboard video? The only area where it lacks is HD audio bitstreaming, but it can play blu-ray just fine.

I'm sure others will chime in to scrap the AM3 idea and go FM1 Llano. Have you looked at a cheap A4 CPU and FM1 motherboards? $70 for the parts you've chosen is uber-cheap though.

Edit: OIC... you already own the vid card :) 
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December 21, 2011 9:09:46 PM

rwpritchett said:
Is there a reason you don't want to use the 880G onboard video? The only area where it lacks is HD audio bitstreaming, but it can play blu-ray just fine.
Edit: OIC... you already own the vid card :) 
Actually, yes. Having had the video fail on one MB after another through the years, I always run it through a card now. I guess MBs aren't made to take the constant stress. Come to think of it, video cards must not be either; they seem to fail as well every couple of years. So, I've always got a new spare on hand.
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December 21, 2011 9:27:45 PM

That ECS doesn't have HDMI anyway, so the vid card is definitely necessary.

Well my wussy E-350 can handle blu-ray just fine with hardware acceleration enabled. I don't see why a Sempron wouldn't be up to the task. Maybe you'd get lucky and it will unlock to a dual core... if the motherboard supports unlocking.
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December 21, 2011 9:35:24 PM

I think your proc should be fine. I am using an A6 in my HTPC and it never seems to be taxed by streaming or anything like that (not even while recording two shows and streaming netflix at the same time. Of course mine is a quad core, but if you only intend to watch streaming I can't see why you would need more then 1 core and mine is never above 10% utilization.

The one suggestion I would have is put in that Vid card in another machine (sounds like you have another) and see if it can handle all of the content you want to view. That way when it does you know that piece is set.
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December 21, 2011 10:19:43 PM

rwpritchett said:
Maybe you'd get lucky and it will unlock to a dual core... if the motherboard supports unlocking.
Your shared experience is appreciated. Thanks! I have always built with Intel - this is my first AMD. I have heard of this unlocking stuff; can you help a fellow out and point me at a thread where I can learn about this. Like; how it's done, how I can tell if my MB unlocks.

DEY123 said:
The one suggestion I would have is put in that Vid card in another machine (sounds like you have another) and see if it can handle all of the content you want to view
I was going to bench it anyway but, that's a good idea; I'll pop it in my Sandy Bridge setup and run temp and clock tests on it instead while I watch Rambo.
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Best solution

December 21, 2011 10:44:07 PM

Noworldorder said:
I have heard of this unlocking stuff; can you help a fellow out and point me at a thread where I can learn about this. Like; how it's done, how I can tell if my MB unlocks.
It's called Advanced Clock Calibration or ACC in the BIOS. You'll have to download the user manual to see if that board supports it.

Looks like ECS may support it: http://www.ecs.com.tw/extra/core_unlock/unlock.html

Here's an article about unlocking dormant cores: http://www.anandtech.com/show/2927
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December 22, 2011 12:25:33 AM

This topic has been moved from the section Overclocking to section Systems by Mousemonkey
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December 22, 2011 11:07:20 AM

Mousemonkey said:
This topic has been moved from the section Overclocking to section Systems by Mousemonkey
My apologies; ...first time I ever posted in the wrong section.
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December 22, 2011 3:21:55 PM

Best answer selected by Noworldorder.
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