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[New Build] Media PC for 1080p Movies with DTS Surround

Last response: in Systems
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September 24, 2012 10:45:37 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Early October

Budget Range: 100-200 After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watching Movies

Are you buying a monitor: No


Parts to Upgrade: CPU, Mobo, GPU(if necessary)

Do you need to buy OS: No


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com, Amazon.com

Location: Wellesley, MA USA

Parts Preferences: AMD

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920X1080

Additional Comments: Needs to play 1080p movies with DTS sound (only use is for movies). I already have the case, ram, and hdd. A motherboard that utilizes all 8 gigs of ram (4X2GB) would be preferred, and one with an IDE slot would be great.

Why Are You Upgrading: Time for a new media PC

Parts I already have:

APEX DM-318 Black Steel Micro ATX Media Center
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Kingston Value 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Patriot G Series ‘Sector 5’ Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB 7200 RPM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

More about : build media 1080p movies dts surround

Best solution

September 25, 2012 3:10:37 AM

ASRock A75 mATX motherboard / AMD A6-3500 APU combo $139.98 @ Newegg.com.

I've used the ASRock A75 mini-itx / A6-3500 combination in many HTPC builds for clients. It's a great value.

If you want to use an IDE drive, you can get a IDE-to-SATA adapter.
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September 25, 2012 3:59:53 AM

Thanks for the reply!

I'd like the motherboard to have 4 ram slots so I can utilize all the spare ram I have (4 sticks of 2gigs) but thats not a problem I suppose. Will the A6-3500 play 1080p movies with DTS audio?

Thanks!
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September 25, 2012 6:23:17 AM

Any Sandy or Ivy chip will play 1080p with DTS with onboard video, too. i3/5/7 or celeron or pentium.
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September 25, 2012 3:23:38 PM

dankev said:
Any Sandy or Ivy chip will play 1080p with DTS with onboard video, too. i3/5/7 or celeron or pentium.


I'd rather go with AMD. I don't plan on doing anything crazy with this setup (as I said, just 1080p movies with DTS at max... I'm not a fan of Intel so AMD would be my choice.
Thanks though.
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September 25, 2012 3:27:18 PM

FWIW, 4GB is plenty for HTPC duties. With the AMD processor I would use the fastest RAM you have (up to 1866) since the integrated GPU performs better with faster memory.

I looked through the AMD FM1 micro-ATX motherboard (what would fit your case) and I didn't see any with 4 RAM slots.

I always choose the A6-3500 because it's 65W (vs the 100W TDP CPUs which run very hot -- too hot for a small case) and because it's usually only a few dollars more than the A4 APUs so it's worth the extra money for the extra core and nearly top-of-the-line HD6530D GPU.
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September 25, 2012 4:19:00 PM

Dougie Fresh said:
FWIW, 4GB is plenty for HTPC duties. With the AMD processor I would use the fastest RAM you have (up to 1866) since the integrated GPU performs better with faster memory.


Great! I'm sold on the AMD A6-3500 combo that you posted then. For the ram however, I just built a pc for a friend using the A4-3400 and tested it with 4gigs of ram (showed up as 3.5gigs usable) and I was not impressed, I noticed a significant amount of lag in every day applications. I put 8 gigs from my computer into it and it performed much better (the PassMark was a great deal better as well), so I bought 8 gigs to go with that one.

For my 2 4gb kits one is a 1333mhz Kingston Value Ram, and the other is Patriot Sector 5 1600mhz that has given me a lot of trouble getting it to work at 1600mhz. On my 990FXA board with the Phenom II I had to clock it up to 1600mhz in the bios and on the A4-3400 build I just did, it sat at 1066mhz and when I tried to up it in the bios, the computer wouldn't boot.

If I buy more ram (which I guess I will) would it make a noticeable difference to get 8 gigs of 1600mhz over 8 gigs of 1333mhz?

Thanks!
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September 26, 2012 2:25:25 AM

I'd get these for the A6-3500 (these are what I use in the barebones A6-3500/A75 systems I put together for HTPCs):

Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 Desktop Memory Model KHX1866C9D3K2/8G $39.99 after rebate

You'll just need to set them to DDR3-1866 in the BIOS.

Tom's has an article on how memory speed affects Llano: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-a8-3850-llano,2.... DDR3-1600 is the sweet spot but that DDR3-1866 is the same or lower price right now.

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September 26, 2012 3:41:22 AM

Dougie Fresh said:
DDR3-1600 is the sweet spot but that DDR3-1866 is the same or lower price right now.


Great post. I wonder how long that ram will be that price. I'm currently in the process of selling my 2 4gb kits, if they sell tomorrow and that special is still going on I think I'd definitely do that ram, otherwise I was maybe considering these: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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September 26, 2012 6:17:43 PM

$29.99 for 8GB of DDR3-1600 without rebate hassles sounds really good.

At the end of the day you'll likely not notice the difference between 1600 and 1866 unless you're gaming and then if you are, the A6-3500 isn't the best choice anyway.
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September 26, 2012 7:41:45 PM

Dougie Fresh said:
$29.99 for 8GB of DDR3-1600 without rebate hassles sounds really good.

At the end of the day you'll likely not notice the difference between 1600 and 1866 unless you're gaming and then if you are, the A6-3500 isn't the best choice anyway.


Done.
Bought the 1600mhz deal for $29.99 even though you were right, the 4gigs of 1600mhz worked fine, still though. Pretty good deal for 8 gigs of 1600mhz... :D 

I'm not sure why there was such a difference between 4 and 8 gigs of ram on the A4-3400 when only a minor difference with the A6-3500...

Oh well,
Thanks a ton for all your help.

Even buying the unnecessary ram I only had to pay $170 out of pocket to finish the pc, pretty good, and does 1080p with DTS flawlessly, goal achieved. :sol: 

-Vanq
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September 26, 2012 7:43:17 PM

Best answer selected by vanquished.
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