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HTPC Update

Last response: in Systems
December 22, 2011 3:49:32 AM

Looking for feedback on an update to my HTPC. This update is exclusively for an HTPC - no gaming. Web browsing only for YouTube and Pandora type sites. WMC 7 and iTunes for media. I'm having significant BSOD issues, now even white screen of death issues, and am going to replace the MB and Processor. I'm considering:

MB: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

CPU: Intel Core i3-2105 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I32105

Here's my current configuration:

Case: nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum / Steel HTPC 2000B ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
MB: GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3 AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 245 Regor 2.9GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor ADX245OCGMBOX
GPU: GIGABYTE GV-R557OC-1GI Radeon HD 5570 1GB DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
Tuner: HD Home Run
PSU: ENERMAX PRO87+ EPG500AWT 500W 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Power Supply
Optical: LG Black 10X Blu-ray Burner - Bulk SATA WH10LS30 LightScribe Support - OEM
HDD: SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

I'm unhappy with the current processing capabilities. Switching between WMC and iTunes is slow, and, as mentioned, I'm getting the BSOD and WSOD errors.

It's my thought that the new CPU and MB should allow me to sell the existing GPU and use the integrated graphics capabilities.

As always, the expert advice is appreciated.

More about : htpc update

a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2011 11:50:36 AM

Your current system is actually a little bit better than my setup:

Case - NMediaPC 200BA HTPC Case
Power Supply - PC Power and Cooling 500 watt modular (overkill, but got it on sale).
Motherboard - ASRock 760GM-GS3 MicroATX AM3
CPU - AMD Athlon II X2 250 (actually, it currently has a 240 installed with an oversized heatsink. The upgrade comes this weekend).
RAM - G.Skill 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3-1333
Hard Drive 1 - 250GB HDD (don't remember the brand)
Hard Drive 2 - Samsung F3 SpinPoint 1TB HDD (Located in separate system for storage)
Optical Drive - LG Blu-Ray 12x
Graphics card - Sapphire Radeon HD4670
TV Tuner - Ceton Corp InfiniTV4 Quad-Tuner PCI-Ex1

While I'm not running ITunes, I don't have any problems with this system. I would expect yours to run even better (though you don't list how much RAM you have installed).

Concerning your B/W-SOD's, I'd probably look at doing a full re-installation of Windows 7 before spending any money.

But, what's jumping out at me is the amount of RAM installed and the power supply. If you only have 2GB of RAM installed, I'd definitely up that to 4GB. If that power supply is getting flaky (not what I'd consider a top of the line PSU), it could be the cause of your headaches.

One last thought would be how much space is left available on your Hard Drive.

Just my two (or three) cents.

-Wolf sends
a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2011 12:10:05 PM

CPU - You have a good AM3 board so consider upgrading the CPU. A good value is still the X3 720BE. Use the HS + FAN from the X2 245 should be fine, but you would be better off with an aftermarket cooler and an overclock of around 3.2 - 3.4GHz (and the potential to unlock the fourth core).
X3 720 ($75) =>
Hyper 212 EVO ($35) =>

MEM - As Wolf said... upgrade. Its cheap at the moment!

Before doing a reinstall of Win7, it would be worth your time to go through all your drivers and make sure you are up to date. Go directly to Gigabyte's web site..
Related resources
December 22, 2011 12:11:52 PM

I'm running 8GB of RAM (4 x 2GB) and actually have three HDD. The drive listed is OS and Recorded TV, then have two additional 2TB drives for recorded content (movies, etc.). OS and Recorded TV drive has about 150 GB remaining of 2TB. The other two each have about 400 GB of 2TB remaining.

Appreciate the feedback.

Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2011 12:24:53 PM

I know this may sound silly, but see if you can't open up more space on your OS hard drive. Seems to me that performance always drops off if a hard drive has less than 25% available space. Your OS drive is down to 7.5% available space...

I know... sounds silly.

-Wolf sends
December 23, 2011 3:07:12 AM

Thanks for the advice Wolfshadow - I took your advice and freed up HDD space on the OS drive. I also tested the memory and found that two of my four 2GB sticks are bad. Tested a known good 2GB stick in each DIMM slot to confirm no MB issues.

That seems to have fixed the issue.
December 23, 2011 3:07:42 AM

Best answer selected by ykaeric.