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MATX build help

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February 6, 2012 5:12:48 PM

So, I'm looking to build a cheap mATX computer that I can stick next to my ps3, and use on the T.V. I think it's actually a HTPC, but I'm not sure. Doesn't matter.

Anyway, the basic gubbins are to be a GT 430, 4GB RAM, a Core 2 Duo E5700 and a G41 motherboard. If these are allright, I've got them sorted. It's a 42" t.v., but I don't expect any graphical problems, if I use a decent codec. But you guys are the authority on this, so that's my pitch.

I'll need a case, and to be close to my T.V. it, ideally, has to be 12x42x42cm. No larger, anything smaller is fine. I saw this in my school :na: 
, and it's exactly the right size, but I can't find this case by itself! Anything with similar features is good. My last case scenario on the case is
so anything cheaper would be great!

MORE QUESTIONS! I was browsing through the different brands of Graphics cards as the Antec Micro Fusion (above) only supports those with low profile brackets. Of these, I could have chosen the KFA2, which has 333MHz of memory clock. Is this right, as I was led to believe it was the same as memory; the ASUS GT 430 has a memory clock of 1600MHz. Was the KFA2 meant to say 1333MHz?

Another question, if I may. What power supply will I need? The Antec Micro Fusion comes with an 80+ certified 350W model, and I'm sure that's enough, but what's the minimum I can buy safely?

Thanks!

More about : matx build

February 6, 2012 5:31:23 PM

PSUs that come with cases have a bad habit of being absolutely worthless. Keep in mind you may need to budget for a new PSU even on day 1.

KFA2 - If it said 333 mhz, I doubt they meant 1333 mhz. They probably really did mean 333 mhz.

Building HTMCs isn't my thing, I just wanted to throw that stuff out there.

If I were you and I was trying to build a HTPC, I wouldn't even get a video card, I would get an AMD A8 and use the built in video on the processor. The A8's build in graphics processor will blow away the graphics the GT 430 can produce and with no extra power consumption.

You would have to get a different motherboard to work with it, though, if you wanted to go that route.
February 6, 2012 7:38:33 PM

Aha...
Thanks for the help, but will cost be an issue? With the build above I managed to get it under £400
Sorry, but I don't know how many dollars that is!

With a nice cheap brick of a case, and no graphics card, I could probably get away with the A8, but how much more expensive is it than the G41 motherboard and E5700 combo of approx £90?
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February 6, 2012 7:54:34 PM

I don't know how much things cost in pounds, either.

In dollars you can get a FM1 motherboard for about 100 and an A8 for about 150. That is about 250 USD.

I looked on a currency calculator and it said about 158 GBP. A GT 430 is about $50 USD which is 33.5 GBP in the currency calculator so an A8 + motherboard would be about 150 GBP vs a E5700 + G41 + GT 430 for 125 GBP.

Basically, you can expect about 25 GBP more with my idea.

For the extra $25 you get about 50% more processing power and maybe 25% more video power as well.

The A8 solution has the added benefit that it uses less physical space so you may be able to get away with a smaller case. It should use less power and make less heat too.
February 6, 2012 8:04:39 PM

What will this HTPC be used for?
HD movie playback can be done with integrated video( about the power of a $50 discrete video card), along with some types of games.
If you want fast action games, then you are looking at more serious graphics cards, and larger cases.

Regardless, I would not build on a older generation of parts. Newer parts are cooler, and faster. Come april, we will see 22nn Intel ivy bridge.
February 6, 2012 8:14:22 PM

That was a quick reply!

Mostly just for video and browsing the internet, but I saw some benchmarks of the A8 APUs and they can handle a lot of the DX10 games pretty well!

Oh, tax and shipping works a bit differently over here, and the gpu and cpu I listed actually have a combined price of £100, rather than £90, so the A8 looks a good choice.

I'm not done yet! If you have anything else to say, I'll take it on board.
February 6, 2012 8:43:37 PM

Both the A8 and the GT 430 should be able to do dx11 stuff. Just sayin.

I agree about buying newer hardware instead of older hardware. Technology improved a lot between the time the e5700 came out and the time the A8 came out.
February 6, 2012 9:25:41 PM

Ha! It sure did!

I am beyond doubt after checking the local prices. A8 is the way to go.
Now all I need to decide on is a PSU and a case. Oh, the motherboard I have decided on is the Asus F1A75-M LE. It was on offer. And with the A8-3870k, I can plan for upgrades and overclocking!

So. Case business. I would much prefer it to be dvd-player shaped, but anything within the 12x42x42 dimensions are okay. For the depth I can actually go to about 50cm, because the tv stand thing has no back, but I'd prefer it to stay within the confines of the stand, who knows what might happen!?
February 6, 2012 11:44:44 PM

I got nothing for you on HTPC cases.

If an Antec EarthWatts 380w or 430w fits in whatever case you end up picking, those would be fine for powering the A8.
February 7, 2012 5:17:00 AM

Sounds great! I'll probably go for the 430w version, just in case I want to upgrade.

I also realised I could move my dvd player around and stuff, so the case specifications are now around 24x42x42, if you're interested.
February 7, 2012 12:46:57 PM

The motherboard you chose is micro ATX which isn't the smallest sort.

This is a mini-ITX which is a smaller sort and it is the same price:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The mini-ITX is 6.7" x 6.7" vs 9.6' x 9" for the micro atx. 6.7^2" is about 45 square inches, the 9.6 by 9 inch micro board is about 86.5 square inches, almost 2x more.

If it were me, I would still get the Asus micro board because I am a traditional computer builder and I would just try to hide it somewhere, but that is just me.

If you want the smallest form factor, the ITX board would be the way to go.

This HTPC case looks small and says it fits a mini ITX board and it has 5 stars across 53 ratings unlike most media center cases which hover at about 2.5 stars.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Again, I am just trying to be helpful here, I have never built a HTPC myself so I can't forsee common HTPC building issues, particularly those of space limitations. All I can do is guess.

You should definitely try to do your own research about whether anything I say will fit in the dimensions you need externally or whether whatever I say will fit internally as well. For that matter, whether the components are even usable in a HTPC.

My guess is that if you take the A8 and the ITX FM1 board and put them in the case I linked above with the Antec 430w then it will all fit and work just fine. There should still be room for a 2.5" hard drive or maybe a 3.5" one if you have to have one of that size as well as some sort of Blu Ray DVD drive that is designed for HTPC cases.

That is the best I can tell you at this moment.

February 7, 2012 1:33:10 PM

VERY nice! I was actually considering that case, but it didn't have any fans! With the much lower price it's listed at on Newegg, including shipping (even cheaper than over here without shipping!) and the smaller and cheaper board, I could definitely afford some fans.
Thanks for your help everyone!
February 7, 2012 8:34:04 PM

Obesidia said:
VERY nice! I was actually considering that case, but it didn't have any fans! With the much lower price it's listed at on Newegg, including shipping (even cheaper than over here without shipping!) and the smaller and cheaper board, I could definitely afford some fans.
Thanks for your help everyone!


I like the linked silverstone case. It seems to have good ventilation, so you may not really need any extra fans. I use a lian li Q07 which has no fans, nor a provision for them. In it is an Intel 6950 cpy and the stock cooler, and it has no problem. One of the things you want in a htpc is quiet, and the fewer fans, the quieter it will be.

I am not so hot on the amd cpu's, unless your primary usage is gaming. Their integrated graphics is very good. On the other hand, the sandy bridge cpu's will perform better from a cpu point of view, and probably be cooler. Either brand will have graphics suitable for HD playback.
!