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New HTPC Recommendation

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September 18, 2012 3:47:38 PM

I have a 4 year old HTPC that I'm having a lot of stability issues with and now I want to have it host a small web server for my own personal use in order to monitor my Stoker, but for that I need it to be stable. Given it's age, I'm thinking it makes more sense to start over and just keep the case rather than trying to find the faulty component. I've updated drivers numerous times and I've reinstalled Windows 7x64 twice so I don't believe it's a simple driver issue. I'm also not overclocking it.

This is my current Build:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-core 4850E Processor
GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2H Motherboard
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 3470 (In Crossfire)
(2) SAMSUNG SpinPoint HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM Drives (Raid 1)
AUZEN XPlosion 7.1 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Card

I'm not dissatisfied with the performance and would be happy to keep the current system, but I don't think it makes sense to spend any additional money on it given it's age and I'm very hesitant to reuse parts since I don't know what's causing my current blue screens.

So this has me thinking about building a new one. My requirements are pretty simple...I have it connected to my home stereo and 42" 1080p LED for watching DVD's and Blu-Rays, streaming music and 1080p video plus hosting a very simple web site with one connection as the only traffic. I'd also like the ability to rip Blu-Rays (backup kids movies), but from what I hear that can take forever. I want this to be as inexpensive as possible, but I don't want to skimp too much and have it showing it's age in a couple of years.

So this is what I'm currently considering and would appreciate any comments. I definitely don't want to spend more than this.
AMD A8-3870K Processor
Still looking for a Micro ATX FM1 board with USB 3.0 and eSATA
G.SKILL Ares Series SDRAM DDR3 1333 16GB (2x8)
OCZ Agility 3 AGT3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III SSD
ZALMAN CNPS5X Performa 92mm FSB CPU Cooler

I keep hearing very mixed things about the AMD A8 and am open to other suggestions.

Thanks,
Paul

More about : htpc recommendation

September 18, 2012 5:08:12 PM

i definitly will show its age in a couple of years given this is pretty budget stuff

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hQli

you will need a new copy of windows
4gb of ram is enough for media use
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September 18, 2012 5:41:37 PM

TheBigTroll said:
i definitly will show its age in a couple of years given this is pretty budget stuff

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hQli

you will need a new copy of windows
4gb of ram is enough for media use


I already have a copy of Win7 and a good case.
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September 18, 2012 6:48:10 PM

mine is still better. if you like the motheboard go ahead but everything else should be changed

1: a media centre doesnt require that much ram
2: agility 3s are crap
3:that heatsink looks pretty weak
4: the psu i recommend is a better option.
5: if its a OEM copy, you need another one
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September 18, 2012 7:05:07 PM

TheBigTroll said:
mine is still better. if you like the motheboard go ahead but everything else should be changed

1: a media centre doesnt require that much ram
2: agility 3s are crap
3:that heatsink looks pretty weak
4: the psu i recommend is a better option.
5: if its a OEM copy, you need another one


I appreciate your feedback, but with Win7 4gb is the minimum and it will definitely run better with 8. It doesn't make sense to go with 4gigs when you can get 8 for $9 more. The MB you specified doesn't have HDMI, which limits the connection to a TV unless you use DVI to HDMI, but then you need a separate cable for sound. There isn't anything special about the one I picked, just that it has all the connections I want. My Win7 is not OEM. I'll take a closer look at your PSU.

Thanks,
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September 18, 2012 10:45:28 PM

windows 7 minimum is 2gb for 64bit. if you want the extra ram go ahead but you wont see any performance difference when you are watching movies. the only time would be browsing with 10+ tabs

yes thats why i stated if you want to use your board, go ahead
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September 18, 2012 11:34:14 PM

While I don't have an issue with building a new system, I'd rather fix your current system than buy all new. Your current system should be more than enough for your needs. Off the top of my head, I see three possible issues:

1) What is the current BIOS version you have installed? It looks like that motherboard requires BIOS version F3 or later.

2) Is the system still unstable if you remove the graphics card or just run off of the graphics card and not in a crossfire configuration?

3) Do you happen to have any memory or can get just for testing memory that is strictly 1.8v as opposed to your 1.8-1.9v memory? It *shouldn't* be an issue, but it is something I'd check out if possible.

Resolving your stability issues means you can get the system you need without spending money for a new system (or any money at all). Worth at least the above troubleshooting to me.

-Wolf sends
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September 19, 2012 1:48:26 PM

Wolfshadw said:
While I don't have an issue with building a new system, I'd rather fix your current system than buy all new. Your current system should be more than enough for your needs. Off the top of my head, I see three possible issues:

1) What is the current BIOS version you have installed? It looks like that motherboard requires BIOS version F3 or later.

2) Is the system still unstable if you remove the graphics card or just run off of the graphics card and not in a crossfire configuration?

3) Do you happen to have any memory or can get just for testing memory that is strictly 1.8v as opposed to your 1.8-1.9v memory? It *shouldn't* be an issue, but it is something I'd check out if possible.

Resolving your stability issues means you can get the system you need without spending money for a new system (or any money at all). Worth at least the above troubleshooting to me.

-Wolf sends


Wolf, I'm not sure which version I have, but I know it's a lot newer than F3 since I've updated it since F3 came out. I can try removing the second graphics card and see if that makes a difference, but I don't have access to any DDR2 RAM. The only thing I could possibly do is to remove all but one stick and see what happens. That would only test for faulty RAM though and not for a voltage issue. My thoughts for the possible cause were Motherboard, RAM or PSU since those are the common culprits for something like this. I'm happy to fix the current system, but I just don't want to blindly replace parts unless I know for sure what the cause is and so far I haven't been able to determine that.

Thanks
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September 19, 2012 3:26:53 PM

Pamulli - I understand the situation. I know I probably wouldn't want to drop $60 or more on a "maybe it'll fix it" scenario; only to find out it doesn't work and now I have to go purchase a new system anyway. I'd still recommend going with a non-crossfire config to test it out and maybe if you have a spare power supply (I don't think I saw which one you have installed), swap them out. Other than that, probably a good idea then to go with the new build and save this one for either spare parts or a later project.

-Wolf sends
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September 19, 2012 3:36:24 PM

Wolfshadw said:
Pamulli - I understand the situation. I know I probably wouldn't want to drop $60 or more on a "maybe it'll fix it" scenario; only to find out it doesn't work and now I have to go purchase a new system anyway. I'd still recommend going with a non-crossfire config to test it out and maybe if you have a spare power supply (I don't think I saw which one you have installed), swap them out. Other than that, probably a good idea then to go with the new build and save this one for either spare parts or a later project.

-Wolf sends

I agree and will give that a try. I don't recall what PSU I have and can't find my order history, but I did consider trying to find a new one that would work in the old and new build and then I'd be safe either way. I'd need something that supports FM1 and AM2.

Again thanks for your input.
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September 19, 2012 5:12:38 PM

Both motherboards (the Gigabyte AM2 and ASRock FM1) have 24-pin ATX power connectors, so you should be good to go.

-Wolf sends
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