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Mid Range main PC/HTPC

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Last response: in Systems
May 13, 2012 3:05:00 PM

This will be my first home build and things are expensive here in Germany. This computer will function as my family's lifeline back to the US (streaming TV from a Slingbox, Netflix, Amazon, etc.) and be used to access several 100 GB of pictures and music.

Approximate Purchase Date: Next week or so (current rig is showing signs of fatigue....)

Budget Range: €750 ($1000)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watching movies (HD & 3D capable), playing music, general web surfing and computing, no real gaming now but who knows what will happen in the future.

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, storage Hard Drives, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: https://www.mindfactory.de seems to have the best prices in Germany but I'm open to suggestions. I've been cross referencing to Newegg.

Country: Germany

Parts Preferences: would like to stick with a Core i5 2500 as the CPU, would like to have Blu-ray read ability, DVD-RW.

Overclocking: not initially but would like the option

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (commonly use 51" LED HDTV as monitor for watching movies)

Additional Comments: quiet would be good but doesn't have to be silent, no bling, anything I can do to "future" proof this build would be a bonus. This might be overkill for what I really need but I don't want to have to do this again in 2 years (and slow computers are irritating). :sol: 


Below is what I have in my cart after a few days of research.

CPU Intel Core i5 3500k 4x3.3GHz So.1155 €181.96
MBoard Gigabyte’s Z68XP-UD3 €107.73
Drive LG Blu-Ray BH10LS38 €68.75
Case Antec 302 Midi Tower €64.80
Cooling Cooler Master HyperTX3 Evo €22.53
RAM 8 GB G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 DIMM CL9 €43.21
V.Card 1024MB Club 3D Radeon HD 6670 Aktiv PCIe 2.1 x 16 €57.47
PSU 520W Seasonic S12II-Bronze €69.38
SSD 128GB Crucial m4 SSD €99.90

I'm open to suggestions (especially if someone sees a potential issue).

Thanks in advance.
JT

More about : mid range main htpc

May 13, 2012 10:06:08 PM

Solid build. As you Said. Really Overkill For what you want to Do. I5 will never get more than 20% Load, mmm, maybe if you are streaming 3 movies in 3 diferent tvs. You Will get like 40%, and they must be 1080p. 8 gigs of Ram Overkills lol, Ssd for Os?? Overkill for Htpc but everything will be Like Super Fast opening programs and stuff. 6670 will Game a little maybe some Emulators like Ps2, Psx, Snes,Nes,N64,Gamecube.
May 14, 2012 12:00:49 AM

I agree with the overkill. The I5 is what you are going to want though if you want to overclock in the future. Just keep in mind that with an overclocked CPU the TX-3 will get loud with the fan going full speed and 3500k runs very hot when overclocked, so not going to be quiet. 8 gigs of ram is an easy choice and cheap. Frankly, I believe every new computer should have an SSD now and the M4 is a solid choice especially at their current price. The case is good but you might want to lower the voltage on the fans to get them a bit quiter depending on how close this thing will be to you in the room. Looking at your uses, I really don't think you are going to find a Dedicated GPU very useful. I would suggest waiting until you find a game you must play, and if that is soonish a 7770 would be a better choice at 1080p. The 6670 won't run modern games at high quality at 1080p. Plus in the meantime your build will run cooler and quieter while also saving you a few watts of power.
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May 14, 2012 12:09:55 AM


AMD A8 Series A8-3850

The Llano A83850 APU has integrated Radeon HD 6550D graphics -- essentially an enhanced HD5570 Redwood with 400 shader cores. The 'enhanced' is UVD3. The same UVD3 on the HD6670.

UVD3 with the AMD media codec package provides your video acceleration and post-processing on the 400 shader cores.





May 14, 2012 7:47:32 AM

Thanks for the replies, I realize these mid level build questions aren't as fun as the "I need to spend $3,500 on a gaming rig" so I appreciate it.

To summarize; overkill as I expected but I'm okay with that. Some follow up questions.

Dedicated GPU is probably not needed but if I go with one then the 7770 is probably a better choice then the 6670.

If I decide to wait on the GPU, what motherboard is a good option with onboard graphics that will perform well with 3D Blu-ray movies and allow a dedicated GPU at a later date?

Cooling: Are there better (quieter) options than the TX-3? Do I need extra cooling if I don't overclock right away? Seems like it would be easier to install the extra heat-sinks when doing the initial build and most aren't too expensive.

The AMD A8 Series A8-3850 in an interesting option, probably all I really need, but will this limit the amount of time that I am happy with the system? I don't have anything against AMD, I've just never used their chips before in a PC. What Motherboard is a good choice for the A8-3850?

Thanks,

JT


May 14, 2012 1:46:59 PM

jtgray10 said:
Thanks for the replies, I realize these mid level build questions aren't as fun as the "I need to spend $3,500 on a gaming rig" so I appreciate it.

To summarize; overkill as I expected but I'm okay with that. Some follow up questions.

Dedicated GPU is probably not needed but if I go with one then the 7770 is probably a better choice then the 6670.

If I decide to wait on the GPU, what motherboard is a good option with onboard graphics that will perform well with 3D Blu-ray movies and allow a dedicated GPU at a later date?

Cooling: Are there better (quieter) options than the TX-3? Do I need extra cooling if I don't overclock right away? Seems like it would be easier to install the extra heat-sinks when doing the initial build and most aren't too expensive.

The AMD A8 Series A8-3850 in an interesting option, probably all I really need, but will this limit the amount of time that I am happy with the system? I don't have anything against AMD, I've just never used their chips before in a PC. What Motherboard is a good choice for the A8-3850?

Thanks,

JT


If you go with a dedicated GPU then the 7770 is a very good choice in this situation. It runs with 17 more watts than the 6670 but is a big improvement performance wise. There are other options obviously but just from a point of view that you want as little noise/heat as possible from an HTPC this would be the best option while still being able to play games at a detail level that would be enjoyable. If you don't play games there is no need for a dedicated GPU.
The motherboard you selected has HDMI out which is what you are looking for in this situation. You will plug the HDMI cable from the TV/receiver directly into the motherboard. Anything I3-2100 or above is able to handle 3D Blurays. I don't know what kind of media software you plan on using (XMBC/Mediabrowser), or if you are wanting any post processing done.
Then again you can go an entirely different route and get a Z75/77 MAtx board and a smaller more HTPC looking case like the GD05/04 to fit in with components you already have. I don't really know your setup though and a Midtower case very well could be the best option for you.
With your current case buying a CM Hyper 212 evo for 10 bucks more would be a good option. It uses larger fans and runs cooler/quieter than the smaller TX-3 line. There are other options as well like the Scythe Shurken though you may want to think about RAM with low profile heatspreaders. Heatspreaders aren't needed anyways with the low voltage used in DDR3 memory.
The Llano series is great for cheap HTPC use with light gaming. It is still better GPU wise than the HD4000 on the Ivy-Bridge. However from reading other forums a lot of people have had some headaches with driver updates messing with their media settings. There have been complaints on Intels as well just a lot less. If you plan on putting a Dedicated GPU in this build an Intel processor would be the smart decision.
May 14, 2012 3:58:56 PM



The discreet HD7770, while a great card, has the same UVD3 as the integrated Radeon HD 6550D Redwood on the A8-3850, and the other discreet HD6670. If Intel is your thing, a Pentium with a HD7750 will be fine -- it's got UVD3 chip logic, too. Here is what UVD3 and AMD codecs do:

UVD 3 dedicated video playback accelerator

MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
VC-1
MPEG-2 (SD & HD)
Multi-View Codec (MVC)
MPEG-4 part 2 (DivX, xVid)
Adobe Flash FLV

Enhanced video quality features

Advanced post-processing and scaling
Dynamic contrast enhancement and color correction
Brighter whites processing (blue stretch)
Independent video gamma control
Dynamic video range control

Dual-stream 1080p playback support
DXVA 1.0 & 2.0 support


The UVD3 chip logic essentially runs video playback while the CPU operates in a low-power state. The CPU simply does not matter AMD/Intel until you reach down to Zacate (which I use in my HTPC) and Atom. The only thing the Zacate struggles with is Netflix -- which I don't use, anyway -- because the Silverlight Player doesn't do DXVA hardware acceleration.

The issue with the Llano APU is it's effectively EOL as of tomorrow with the launch of the mobile Trinity APU --- desktop Trinity with FM2 Hudson motherboards will be here in August. Trinity will not run on Llano/FM1 motherboards.

But, otherwise, the Llano APU UVD3 will handle things quite nicely. A future UVD on a discreet card can easily be added when appropriate.

I'm taking a semi-educated swing at it, but if you snag an HD7750 with your current build (with an Intel rig) it is the most-likely candidate for dual-graphics on Kaveri, which is the 2013 Trinity successor.

The graphics engine on Kaveri will be GCN, most likely a cut-down HD7750, so it will be easy to sync them up. It should be a compute/OpenCL monster in dual-graphics, and trade blows with a HD6850 in gaming.

That's some shizzle, right there.

And the best investment you can really make in your HTPC is an SSD. You should also evaluate the sleep state and wake response. My Zacate sleeps at 4w and wakes in less than 5 seconds with the SSD, even with a wireless KB/M.

May 14, 2012 7:11:12 PM

Great information Wisecracker. After some limited research on the Llano chips I think I will stick with the i5 setup. There are some vocal users who have had some issues and the fact that it's life is limited by its configuration are not real encouraging. It seems like a good all around chip and would probably be all I need but there's something that isn't as much fun about settling for "just enough".

So taking advice from the thread; I think everything below will work (let me know if that isn't the case), what is the best option for MBoard?

I have read good things about the ASRock Extreme3: https://geizhals.at/de/669685

No one seemed to have issue with the Gigabyte’s Z68XP-UD3 mentioned previously, does anyone have any suggestions? There seem to be endless options.


Decided:
Intel Core i5-2500K, 4x 3.30GHz, boxed (BX80623I52500K)
https://geizhals.at/de/580328

Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 OC, 1GB GDDR5, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort (11202-05-20G)
https://geizhals.at/de/745870

Crucial m4 SSD 128GB, 2.5", SATA 6Gb/s (CT128M4SSD2)
https://geizhals.at/de/626829

LG Electronics BH10LS38 schwarz, SATA,
https://geizhals.at/de/703113

Sea Sonic M12II-520Bronze 520W ATX 2.2
https://geizhals.at/de/497472
*will this be enough power?

G.Skill Ares DIMM Kit 8GB PC3-10667U CL9-9-9-24 (DDR3-1333) (F3-1333C9D-8GAO)
https://geizhals.at/de/734645

Antec Three Hundred Two schwarz (0761345-15320-1)
https://geizhals.at/de/725893

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo (Sockel 775/1155/1156/1366/AM2/AM3/AM3+/FM1)
https://geizhals.at/de/684731


Hope the links work. Thanks again for the help.

JT






May 14, 2012 8:21:32 PM

Those 2 motherboards are virtually the same. They have very similar layouts with the Gigabyte board potentially having 1 more useable PCIEx1 slot. Frankly I'd pick whichever is cheaper. Both are reputable and have the same features. You've built yourself a very powerful PC with moderate gaming capability. It should run fairly quiet as well.