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Budget Low Power 24/7 PC

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January 30, 2013 3:37:42 PM

Hi, long time lurker, first time poster here. I'm building for the first time to replace my inherited 10 years old Pentium 4.

Approximate Purchase Date: Feb-Mar 2013

Budget Range: $500-$600 (cheaper is always better though)

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
1. File logging
2. Watching some home made 1080p video and YouTube's HD videos
3. Web surfing

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, OS, Optical Drive

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, pcpartpicker.com

Parts Preferences: None

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1024x768 at the moment, 1920x1200 in the coming months

Additional Comments:
1. As stated in the title, I want a low power PC since it will be running almost 24/7. The lower the better.
2. I want a long lasting PC (at least 5 years). In the past, overheating has been my main problem. So I hope my PC can run cooler this time.
3. It will run Ubuntu or Linux Mint. But I might change it to Windows 7 or 8 in the future.
4. I'm willing to break my budget as long as it can give me a reasonably lower power consumption compared to the budget increase.

---

I have tried to gather up the parts that might work for me. Don't hesitate to change anything that I have listed here, even if I have to change the whole thing.

Processor: Intel i3-3220 3.3GHz $130
I'm also open to AMD, but from what I've read, theirs are more power hungry.

Motherboard: MSI B75MA-E33 LGA 1155 Intel B75 (MicroATX) $60
I want USB 3.0 to be natively supported by my motherboard, with at least either HDMI or DisplayPort present. I've considered some Mini-ITX too, but can't find a good match.

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) $30
I have two concerns here. First, whether I should go low voltage like the Kingston LoVo series. Second, should I go higher with 8GB of memory? I'm thinking for my current needs, 4GB should be sufficient. But in the coming 5 years it might be not. Some may say just get 4GB now and add another 4GB later. But my mobo almost certainly will only support 2 slot.

Video Card: None
My overheating problem in the past had always struck the video card. So I'm a bit concerned whether the integrated Intel HD 2500 Graphics will go under early because of running 24/7 and viewing 1080p videos. Is this possible? Should I just get a cheap video card so it'll be easier to replace in case it died?

HDD: Western Digital Green 1TB SATA 6.0Gbps $80
I'm avoiding SSD at the moment because it's still too pricey. I don't really need a huge amount of space, but I like that this drive has SATA3 and big cache. On another note, would 2.5 inch drive be better for my build?

Case: Corsair Carbide 200R ATX Mid Tower $50
I was trying to find a MicroATX case since my mobo is MicroATX, but can't find any that's cheap and nice. Basically, I want the case to have USB 3.0 and audio jack on the front panel. Tool-less, cable management, and card reader would be nice too, but not necessary.

PSU: Cooler Master GX 450W 80 Plus Bronze $60

TOTAL: $410

---
Any help and suggestion will be very well appreciated. Thanks :) 

More about : budget low power

January 30, 2013 4:53:28 PM

That green hard drive will bottleneck your system. Get a Caviar Blue instead as it runs at 7200 RPM.

The integrated graphics really aren't meant to be a substitute for a dedicated GPU. If you want to get a low cost one I'd recommend the Radeon 7750 as it has HDMI output.

And then for power supply Cooler Master PSUs have horrendous reliability issues. Go with this instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want an MATX case get this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also - B75 has ports that you will never use, it would be better to get an H77 motherboard, but get something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want the full size board I recommend: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
January 30, 2013 6:01:42 PM

Quote:
That green hard drive will bottleneck your system. Get a Caviar Blue instead as it runs at 7200 RPM.
By bottleneck do you mean it will cause my system to be unable to run 1080p video? Because that's the only heavy duty task I will run on this system. I won't play any games at all.


Quote:
The integrated graphics really aren't meant to be a substitute for a dedicated GPU. If you want to get a low cost one I'd recommend the Radeon 7750 as it has HDMI output.
Again, is the Intel HD Graphics 2500 won't be enough to run 1080p? Or perhaps it's straining the Intel HD too much so it might kill it sooner? Otherwise I'm not interested in dedicated graphics.


Quote:
And then for power supply Cooler Master PSUs have horrendous reliability issues.
Thank you for the heads up. Well noted.


Quote:
If you want an MATX case get this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I've considered this case, but those mesh will be hard to clean. Plus no USB 3 on the front panel.


Quote:
Also - B75 has ports that you will never use, it would be better to get an H77 motherboard, but get something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want the full size board I recommend: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
But those two boards are more expensive. So what's the point?
Related resources
January 30, 2013 6:24:57 PM

1: The green drive won't actually stop you doing any of the things you want to do here, might just feel a bit slow when loading programs.

2: HD 2500 is completely fine for your purposes, the HD 4000 graphics on the HD 3225 would be nice though.

3: Coolermaster have a few questionable PSU's yeah, the GX series isn't that great as far as I'm aware. Here is a MUCH better PSU at the same price. 80 PLUS gold too so uses less power.

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

4: Here is another mATX case, it has positive air pressure and dust filters so dust shouldn't get in.

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

5: A B75 board is fine for you, it is basically H77 without a couple of features you probably won't use.


EDIT: Here's something at the top end of your budget but should be perfect. Would feel a lot faster, be quieter and should shave the power consumption down to about 90-100W from the PSU and 100-110W from the wall. Your current build would be more like 110-120W from the PSU and 130-160W from the wall.

Intel Core i3-3225
2x4GB Crucial Ballistix 1600Mhz 1.35v C9
ASRock B75M-GL
(HD 4000 graphics)
Samsung 840 250GB
SilverStone SST-PS07B
SeaSonic SSR-360GP 360W

Brings you to $567 on Newegg

January 30, 2013 6:36:04 PM

Quote:
By bottleneck do you mean it will cause my system to be unable to run 1080p video? Because that's the only heavy duty task I will run on this system. I won't play any games at all.


No it will just run slower than a regular hard drive. 7200 RPM is generally the standard for hard drives - the Caviar Blue I mentioned is actually $20 cheaper and faster than your original pick.

Quote:
Again, is the Intel HD Graphics 2500 won't be enough to run 1080p? Or perhaps it's straining the Intel HD too much so it might kill it sooner? Otherwise I'm not interested in dedicated graphics.


It will be enough, but at some point you should consider a low end GPU otherwise it may shorten your CPU's life span considerably if you plan to run your system 24 / 7.

Quote:
Thank you for the heads up. Well noted.


Yeah this is a major issue if you look it up on Hardware Secrets or Jonny Guru. Cooler Master will often lie about the voltage output on its' power supplies.

Quote:

4: Here is another mATX case, it has positive air pressure and dust filters so dust shouldn't get in.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811163186


Silverstone makes great cases with lots of high quality materials but they can get really expensive.
January 30, 2013 6:38:56 PM

Admittedly $80 is a bit pricey for a case in a $500 build but he seems quite worried about dust and wants something mATX.
January 30, 2013 6:40:28 PM

jmsellars1 said:
Admittedly $80 is a bit pricey for a case in a $500 build but he seems quite worried about dust and wants something mATX.


Right that's understandable. That Fractal Design case with the mesh panels probably isn't the best choice for that.
January 30, 2013 6:49:35 PM

Celeron G550 should be fine for video playback. I just saw on another thread that Microcenter has it in-store for $35, an amazing price. That would save you $100 that you could spend on better PSU, case, and motherboard from a name brand.
January 30, 2013 6:53:35 PM

The Celeron probably would be fine but he said homemade videos, which suggests he edits videos. Also wants it to last 5 years and still feel fast. I'd get an Ivy Bridge Pentium or better.
January 30, 2013 6:55:01 PM

Aristotelian said:
Celeron G550 should be fine for video playback. I just saw on another thread that Microcenter has it in-store for $35, an amazing price. That would save you $100 that you could spend on better PSU, case, and motherboard from a name brand.


How is MSI not a name brand? :heink: 

And why would you go that cheap on the CPU? At least get an i3 then you won't have to buy a new system for a while.
January 30, 2013 7:11:05 PM

Well, he says "cheaper is always better" and says specifically his need is for video playback, not editing. He'd be saving $100 for very little noticeable difference in the tasks mentioned. Just throwing it out as an option.

Nothing against MSI, I have just thought of them as a budget brand. Just making the point that saving $100 on the SPU would let him splurge in other areas.
January 30, 2013 7:13:29 PM

Aristotelian said:
Well, he says "cheaper is always better" and says specifically his need is for video playback, not editing. He'd be saving $100 for very little noticeable difference in the tasks mentioned. Just throwing it out as an option.


Not even slightly close to the same difference in speed: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/677?vs=406
January 30, 2013 7:15:15 PM

Yeah it is definitely an option, personally I'd get an Ivy Bridge Pentium or better like I mentioned though.
January 30, 2013 7:22:38 PM

But they will both play videos at the same speed!
January 30, 2013 7:29:20 PM

He also wants something low power and for it to last 5 years. I'm not saying a Celeron is wrong, just my opinion.
January 30, 2013 7:34:50 PM

Aristotelian said:
But they will both play videos at the same speed!


Yeah but if you want to use it for anything else you're pretty much SOL.
January 30, 2013 7:49:40 PM

I would not trust Intel's HD2500 even for 1080p video. You can get a $144 i3-3225 which has HD4000, OR you can get a $50-$60 Ivy Bridge Celeron and a $35 (or less) HD5450 or GT210 for graphics.
If you'll be doing any editing, get the stronger CPU. If not, the weaker CPU with a low-end discrete card will make a lot more sense for you.
The Seasonic G360 would be a great, efficient PSU for this build.
Edit: The ASRock H77 Micro-ATX is a nice board, but the one I just got for a new build has the anomaly that one of the fan headers will not control a 3-pin chassis fan, even though the documentation and BIOS say it will; manually set to a speed of "1" it goes nearly full speed. Fortunately, it WILL control a PWM fan properly, so you'll need to get one of that type or use only a single low-speed rear fan (on the other header, which works) if you'd like quiet while watching your movies.
January 30, 2013 8:06:34 PM

It's hard to say exactly what you need to play 1080P video. Plenty of people do it on an AMD E-350 fine, yet it won't work on my E-450. Plenty of people have Pentium G620's in a HTPC and do it fine on HD 2000 graphics yet you're saying HD 2500 isn't enough. It seems like it might be a bit more CPU bound than most people realise, again it's hard to say though.
January 30, 2013 8:39:06 PM

jmsellars1 said:
It's hard to say exactly what you need to play 1080P video. Plenty of people do it on an AMD E-350 fine, yet it won't work on my E-450. Plenty of people have Pentium G620's in a HTPC and do it fine on HD 2000 graphics yet you're saying HD 2500 isn't enough. It seems like it might be a bit more CPU bound than most people realise, again it's hard to say though.


Yeah why not just get an A10? That might be a more ideal solution:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4 ATX FM2 Motherboard ($86.97 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($53.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($70.17 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $493.09
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-30 17:39 EST-0500)
January 30, 2013 8:44:53 PM

A10-5700 would probably be better. 65W instead of 100W.
January 30, 2013 9:08:36 PM

Depending on poster's preferences, E350/450 might not actually be a bad choice. Nobody can beat that chip for power consumption, which is his top criteria. Doesn't it max out at like 12W?

Nothing wrong with i3 as a choice here, but poster's main concern is low power, not performance. The question is what is the lowest consuming chip that can accommodate 1080p playback.

Are you sure all settings are correct on your E450? Most things I have read say that it should do playback fine (the main problems I have seen are for streaming Netflix). Even Intel Atom chips are supposed to be good for playback purposes. I strongly considered E350 for a budget HTPC, ended up going with Celeron just to be safe.
January 30, 2013 10:12:42 PM

A low-wattage Celeron (35W) with a low-power graphics card (HD5450 or GT210) will probably pull no more than 50W-60W from the wall (with an efficient PSU, like the Seasonic G360).
January 31, 2013 1:45:53 AM

Oh wow, thanks for all of the replies guys. That's a lot of inputs. A bit confused now :pt1cable: 

OK, let me clarify some of my needs:
1. I don't edit videos.
2. This build is not my main PC. So I don't need performance from it.
3. I'll use this system mainly for collecting some data from my network. It'll involve a lot of constant writing on the disk, about 500MB of data per hour. I check and clean the data weekly.
4. I'm really concerned about my electric bill. I don't mind pricier parts as long as it has lower power consumption, because then it'll be cheaper in the long run.
5. I want a smooth 1080p video playback. Why? First because I'll watch them occasionally. Secondly it acts as a benchmark to how my system perform while surfing the web in the coming future, because websites and browsers are getting heavier (e.g. ten years ago my Pentium 4 can surf the web pretty easily; now it's dragging its feet)

Quote:
Poster's main concern is low power, not performance. The question is what is the lowest consuming chip that can accommodate 1080p playback.
Damn straight.

---

With all that said, let's check back all of the parts again.

Processor: Intel i3-3225 was my first choice. I can't find it in my local stores though, hence I picked 3220.
I'm not sure about A10-5800K. 100W is significantly higher than 55W. What's its advantage over 3220? Here they're pretty much on par.
jmsellars1 also mentioned A10-5700. How does it fare against 3220?

Motherboard: jmsellars1 suggested ASRock B75M-GL but it has no HDMI or DisplayPort. I'll stick with my MSI if it's good enough.

Memory: LoVo anyone? Good or bad?

Video Card: I'm reaaallly concerned about this. If I use integrated graphics, will my needs cause the GPU to die early and thus take the CPU with it? That's the question that will determine whether I use integrated or dedicated graphic.

This really scares me:
Quote:
It will be enough, but at some point you should consider a low end GPU otherwise it may shorten your CPU's life span considerably if you plan to run your system 24 / 7.

HDD: WD Blue spins at 7200 RPM. Faster means more heat right? I don't like heat :non: 

Case: I'll keep the Silverstone in mind.

PSU: The choice now is between SeaSonic SSR-360GP 360W and Corsair CX430 V2 430W (cheaper alternative I just found). Voice your choice please.

---
Quote:
http://pcpartpicker.com/parts/partlist/ 375 with a decent case that can be placed just about anywhere.
@delta5, your link is not working. Can you fix it? Thanks
Quote:
A low-wattage Celeron (35W) with a low-power graphics card (HD5450 or GT210) will probably pull no more than 50W-60W from the wall (with an efficient PSU, like the Seasonic G360).
Will it play 1080p smoothly? What's others thought on this?

Thanks for all the replies so far guys. Looking forward to some more enlightenment.
January 31, 2013 3:03:10 AM

Here is a lengthy thread on AMD E350. You can get one of these integrated into the motherboard for under $100. jmsellars1 may beg to differ, but everything I have seen indicates playback is smooth unless you are streaming in Flash:

http://techreport.com/review/20401/amd-e-350-fusion-apu...
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1336785/amd-e350-as-htpc

So I think AMD E350 would be your cheapest and lowest power option. Especially since you are only watching occasionally and for benchmarking purposes, I don't see any reason to go up to i3.

Still, the i3 is also very efficient, especially if you underclock it or get a "t" model with the underclocking built in:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core-i3-21...

So if your budget allows for it and you want the extra performance, go for the i3. If you are frugal, go for E350. And if you are in between, go for G550.
January 31, 2013 9:57:54 AM

jc00k said:
OK, let me clarify some of my needs:
1. I don't edit videos.
2. This build is not my main PC. So I don't need performance from it.
3. I'll use this system mainly for collecting some data from my network. It'll involve a lot of constant writing on the disk, about 500MB of data per hour. I check and clean the data weekly.
4. I'm really concerned about my electric bill. I don't mind pricier parts as long as it has lower power consumption, because then it'll be cheaper in the long run.
5. I want a smooth 1080p video playback. Why? First because I'll watch them occasionally. Secondly it acts as a benchmark to how my system perform while surfing the web in the coming future, because websites and browsers are getting heavier (e.g. ten years ago my Pentium 4 can surf the web pretty easily; now it's dragging its feet)

Quote:
Poster's main concern is low power, not performance. The question is what is the lowest consuming chip that can accommodate 1080p playback.
Damn straight.
...
Memory: LoVo anyone? Good or bad?

Video Card: I'm reaaallly concerned about this. If I use integrated graphics, will my needs cause the GPU to die early and thus take the CPU with it? That's the question that will determine whether I use integrated or dedicated graphic.
...
PSU: The choice now is between SeaSonic SSR-360GP 360W and Corsair CX430 V2 430W (cheaper alternative I just found). Voice your choice please.
...

I added the bold. It's the reason I don't think the E350 will be quite enough. Something like an i3-2120T however, will be.
I frequently use low voltage RAM. Although it saves an insignificant amount of power, it runs cool, and puts less stress on the IMC (Integrated Memory Controller). G.Skill is my usual choice.
I don't know that using integrated video will cause a CPU to die early, especially if neither are overclocked. External cards are pretty easy to replace though.
The Seasonic is superior to the Corsair in every way. Most importantly, it is more efficient, and uses better parts. Unlike their high-end models, the Corsair was built by CWT, not Seasonic.


February 1, 2013 4:07:47 PM

In my mind, each build has its own pros and cons. It sounds like you should maybe avoid the SSD if you are looking to constantly read and write data and want to keep costs down. Maybe just get a single large HDD.

E-350 - Roughly 50W under load (total build)

This option is cheap and has enough performance right now with the lowest power consumption you can really hope for but might start to feel a bit sluggish after a year or two and you will have to replace the CPU/mobo and maybe even RAM too when you want to upgrade


Ivy Bridge Celeron/Pentium - Roughly 100W under load, maybe 70W if you go for a low power version. (Total build)

This is a decent compromise between power consumption, price and performance and has plenty of room for upgrades. So consumes more power than the E-350 and would be a bit more expensive but better performance and upgradability.


A10-5700 or similar 65W FM2 CPU - Roughly 110W under load (total build)

This one is a bit more outside of the box. It costs a bit more again and has a bit more power consumption again but has better CPU performance and MUCH better graphics performance with equal upgradability. To get graphics any better, you would need a GPU and that would make the power consumption go through the roof.

i3-3225 - Roughly 100W under load, maybe 70W if you go for a low power version. (Total build)

This would be similar to the Celeron/Pentium idea but you're paying more for much better performance in both the CPU and GPU.


Supposedly, any of those is fine for 1080P playback. To put the power consumption into perspective, in terms of how much your system might pull from the PSU under load:

~600W is dual GPU, overclocked gaming system territory
~500W is more like high end single GPU gaming system
~400W is comparable to a standard gaming system
~200-300W is what you would expect out of maybe a mini ITX/energy conscious gaming build.
~100-150W is what you'd expect out of a standard office system/HTPC
~50-100W is more like an energy conscious office system /HTPC
~50W is laptop territory
~30W is more like ultrabook territory
~10-15W is about as low as you would normally expect, it's what you might get from a netbook


The reason for the explanation is that ~110W might sound a lot more than ~50W but it shouldn't make much of a difference to your electric bill. It is worth a consideration since this will be on 24/7 but I wouldn't sacrifice too much for it personally. Any CPU 65W or below is pretty easy to cool as well, especially if you get an aftermarket cooler.


EDIT: Another note, obviously those figures are pretty approximate and are what you should expect to pull from the PSU assuming a single HDD and no ridiculous amount of peripherals. You will pull more than that from the wall depending on the efficiency of your PSU.


I'd maybe see if you can find a Pentium G2100T. My original suggestion was based on the best performance for the price, if you are more concerned about lower cost and lower power consumption, you could look at this:

Intel Pentium G2100T
2x2GB 1600Mhz 1.35v C9 memory
B75 motherboard (mini ITX boards have features etc and usually consume less power as a result I beleive.)
Single large 7200RPM HDD (2TB?)
Solid, closed style case with positive air pressure (more air intake than exhaust) and dust filters. (Fractal R3 mini and that Silverstone are good but pricey)
80 PLUS Gold PSU like that Seasonic

You would be looking at something like 70-80W under load, so not much more than most laptops. After your clarification, the SSD and i3/A10 sound unnecessary.

EDIT2: Sorry for the ridiculously long post but here's another idea. The Seagate Momentus XT 750 GB would still feel quick like a 7200RPM 3.5'' hard drive since it has the SSD cache but it would consume a lot less power. 750W is the biggest one though and getting 2 would kind of defeat the point.
February 1, 2013 4:24:34 PM

Aristotelian said:
Depending on poster's preferences, E350/450 might not actually be a bad choice. Nobody can beat that chip for power consumption, which is his top criteria. Doesn't it max out at like 12W?

Nothing wrong with i3 as a choice here, but poster's main concern is low power, not performance. The question is what is the lowest consuming chip that can accommodate 1080p playback.

Are you sure all settings are correct on your E450? Most things I have read say that it should do playback fine (the main problems I have seen are for streaming Netflix). Even Intel Atom chips are supposed to be good for playback purposes. I strongly considered E350 for a budget HTPC, ended up going with Celeron just to be safe.



Really sorry for the double post. I'm sending you a PM about this, got a couple of questions and don't want to hi-jack the thread.
February 2, 2013 5:24:45 AM

Thanks for all of the excellent explanation guys.

I've checked the components' price and availability in my nearby local stores.

PSU: The easiest. I'm settled with Seasonic SSR-360GP. Price $65

Processor: I can't find any Intel T processor. So I chose i3-3220. Price $125

Memory: Undecided yet, but I'll just get some 2x2GB DDR3 1600 GSkill.

HDD: WD Green, either 500GB or 1TB (SATA3, 64MB of cache). Won't pick anything else.

Motherboard: I can't find ASRock B75M, ASRock B75M-GL, or my original pick of MSI B75MA-E33. Found these instead:
1. MSI B75IA-E33 (Mini-ITX) $79
2. ASRock B75 PRO3-M $77
3. ASRock H77M $79

I'm interested with the Mini-ITX MSI. Is that a good choice?
February 2, 2013 10:19:01 AM

Assuming you don't need more than one expansion slot, it's fine.

If you're going to get an i3 and use the integrated graphics, you might as well get the i3-3225 in my opinion.

Other than that, looks good.
February 2, 2013 12:17:16 PM

I notice you said early on you were planning on Linux build. I built a Linux HTPC recently and someone on Toms warned me against using WD Green. Apparently there is some bug that causes them to spin too much. I would go with another brand or really just any standard HDD since the energy savings is not that much.

https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=73573

February 2, 2013 1:07:09 PM

I would choose ASRock over MSI any day. My last build was an ASRock H77M, and other than a glitch where one of the fan headers cannot properly control a 3-pin fan, it seems to be a nice board.
February 2, 2013 3:26:47 PM

Quote:
If you're going to get an i3 and use the integrated graphics, you might as well get the i3-3225 in my opinion.
Like I said, it's not available around me. I would've preferred 3225 over 3220 otherwise, and 3220T over 3225 still.

Quote:
I built a Linux HTPC recently and someone on Toms warned me against using WD Green. Apparently there is some bug that causes them to spin too much. I would go with another brand or really just any standard HDD since the energy savings is not that much.
After a bit more research, it really seems that the WD Greens are quite worrisome. Lots of people at Newegg got DOA too.

But I still think HDD plays a bit part in saving power. Here's a comparison between some HDD for the Read/Write power usage and idle:
WD Green 1TB (3.6W / 2.1W)
WD Blue 1TB WD10EZEX (6.8W / 6.1W)
WD Red 1TB WD10EFRX (3.7W / 3.2W)
Seagate Barracuda 1TB ST1000DM003 (5.9W / 3.36W)

Quite a big difference I think. Might as well try WD Red now. :sarcastic: 

Quote:
I would choose ASRock over MSI any day. My last build was an ASRock H77M, and other than a glitch where one of the fan headers cannot properly control a 3-pin fan, it seems to be a nice board.
Why ASRock over MSI? Personal taste or is there some objective reasons?
Lots of complaint too at Newegg regarding ASRock H77M's memory socket not working properly.
February 2, 2013 3:53:48 PM

There are two major reasons I don't care for MSI mobos. First there's this: http://www.overclock.net/a/about-vrms-mosfets-motherboa... AND a lot of information to which it links (yes, I slogged through much of it), including this (even though these are AMD boards, notice the pattern): https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ag... . The short version is, MSI has [had] a tendency to use weaker VRMs than its competitors, making their boards less durable. For a non-overclocking chip this will be much less of an issue, but there you have it. Second, which is also consistent, is a colleague who used to run a computer business. He refused to stock any MSI boards due to high failure rates. Now that was a while ago, but still is consistent with MSI not being a great quality motherboard product.
March 4, 2013 4:53:26 PM

Wow, I can't believe it's been over than a month since my original post. Time flies.
Anyway, been busy last month but now I'm ready to build this. I hope it's okay to revive this thread. :sarcastic: 

I've bought the Seasonic 360W just today, and going to buy the i3-3220 tomorrow from a different store.

Also, I'm pretty set on building a Mini ITX PC now, by using the Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced case. I've found one for just $45.

Now, for the Mini ITX motherboard. Only two choices available: the above mentioned MSI B75IA-E33 ($77), and Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI ($130). I'm still quite interested with the MSI. Combined with a $20 TP-Link TL-WN722N wireless adapter, it's still quite cheaper than the Gigabyte.

And in defense to Onus' statements regarding the VRM, I found this user review stating that the B75IA-E33 uses a Dual N-Channel HEXFET Power MOSFET: 4937N and 4931N. But I'm no VRM expert, so I don't know if those are really high quality or not.
On another note, Tom's Hardware used this motherboard too in its Mini ITX build.

Lastly, the RAM.
Just last week I asked here which G.Skill memory to get. I was pretty sold on the G.Skill ECO CL7, until I asked it over at the MSI Forum. Someone there told me that G.Skill and Asus were working together to make the G.Skill memory more compatible with Asus' motherboards. So now I'm opting for the Corsair Vengeance White 8GB CL9 1.35V.

As always, opinions are welcomed. :) 
March 4, 2013 6:01:06 PM

Whatever G.Skill and Asus may be doing, if it is on the QVL for the MSI board you're considering, it has been tested to work.
March 5, 2013 2:39:43 AM

That's why I'm asking. The G.Skill ECO is not listed in the supported memory list. The Corsair too
March 5, 2013 10:02:43 AM

I'm not sure then, although I can tell you not since DDR2 days have I personally encountered any incompatible RAM. Just keep the voltage <=1.5V and I'd expect it to work.
March 8, 2013 4:07:35 AM

Okay, just letting you guys know that I've purchased the i3-3220, MSI B75IA-E33, Seasonic 360W, and Corsair Vengeance White. I'm putting the case and new drive off for now due to the lack of money :cry: 
I'll use a 250GB WD Scorpio drive from my dead laptop for the moment. Admittedly, it's only SATA 1.5 Gbps but it'll suffice.

Thanks for all of your inputs and suggestions. Sorry if I'm being stubborn and ignored some of it :D 
!