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1876 posts

Uber Geek
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Topic # 111683 11-Nov-2012 20:39 Send private message

I'm currently just running a P4 based Shuttle "HTPC" with XBMC but this has started playing up on occasion and is getting a bit long in the tooth, so considering a replacement.

The idea is to replace it with something that will do the XBMC\DVD playing duties initially, but can be built upon to add more functionality. Anybody have any thoughts on the following as a starting point?
  • Antec NSK2480B 380W (Includes PSU)
  • AMD A-Series A8-5600K (I would just go with the A6-5400K but can't find info on whether it can do 3D? Mrs and Kids seem keen on 3D since getting a panasonic TV that supports it; I'm not too fussed but it would be a bonus.)
  • Gigabyte GA-F2A75M-D3H (or ASRock FM2A55M-DGS - this is $45 cheaper but no HDMI output)
  • Corsair XMS3 DDR3 PC12800/1600MHz CL9 2x2GB
+ 120GB HDD, USB IR Reciever and DVD drive from the Shuttle system. This comes to ~$450 initially.

Then over the few months after getting it I'd look at adding the following:
  • Blu-ray drive
  • Tuner Card (HVR-2210 looks like a good one?)
  • Quieter PSU
  • Small SSD (not sure of the worth of this, though faster bootup maybe good?)
Any thoughts on this plan?  Or alternate suggestions\improvements?

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1876 posts

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  Reply # 715558 11-Nov-2012 20:56 Send private message

An alternative I'm also looking at is essentially the same system but Intel flavoured, which comes out very slightly cheaper. I assume for just HTPC duties this will do just as well as the AMD system? (including by the looks of it 3D playback) whereas the AMD would be better for gaming if it every came to that (unlikely)
  • Antec NSK2480B 380W (Includes PSU)
  • Intel Core i3 3220
  • Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H
  • Corsair XMS3 DDR3 PC12800/1600MHz CL9 2x2GB

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Master Geek


  Reply # 715566 11-Nov-2012 21:16 Send private message

Watch with the NSK2480B, if you decide to run a graphics card later on, some cards (side mount PCI-E) you won’t be able to close the lid, I bought a Silverstone LC17. Buy the ssd, it makes a big difference.

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  Reply # 715581 11-Nov-2012 21:50 Send private message

Check that A8 CPU - I'm sure I have that motherboard in my pvr, and it's FM1 (meaning you need liano) and I thought the A8-5800k was fm2.

For a PVR it's way overkill - I put in the same, works really well (for my windows based pvr). But I like the odd transcode via plex, so that's why i was happy to go for that cpu.








Previously known as psycik

NextPVR Based HTPC:

Gigabyte AMD A8 Brix --> Samsung LA46A650D via HDMI, SiliconDust HDHomeRun Dual DVB-T Tuner, NextPVR, Plex Plugin 
Clients:
Popcorn Hour A-100, 1xATV2, 1xATV3, Roku3
Windows 7 Ultimate Host (Plex Server)
3x2TB, 1x3TB, 1x4TB + 1x1.5TB using DriveBender, VMWare Workstation 10 with 1xW7, 2xW2k3 1xUbuntu 11.10 Desktop, 1xWHS2011, Plex, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex

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  Reply # 715584 11-Nov-2012 22:05 Send private message

@Blanch: Thanks; where do you notice the SSD being worth it? Only thing on my current system that I sometimes wish was faster was the bootup which I guess an SSD will help a bunch with.


@davidcole: Anything you'd recommend that's less overkill? :) Would a budget CPU and cheap discrete graphics card be a better option?

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  Reply # 715593 11-Nov-2012 22:14 Send private message

I like the a series chips, precisely because they dont take a discreet video card. Maybe an a4 or a dual core. I've only just replaced an amd 3600 machine that was running fine, but my motherboard started giving me issues and ddr2 ram is expensive.

I don't think you'll get much cheaper, unless you buy second hand.




Previously known as psycik

NextPVR Based HTPC:

Gigabyte AMD A8 Brix --> Samsung LA46A650D via HDMI, SiliconDust HDHomeRun Dual DVB-T Tuner, NextPVR, Plex Plugin 
Clients:
Popcorn Hour A-100, 1xATV2, 1xATV3, Roku3
Windows 7 Ultimate Host (Plex Server)
3x2TB, 1x3TB, 1x4TB + 1x1.5TB using DriveBender, VMWare Workstation 10 with 1xW7, 2xW2k3 1xUbuntu 11.10 Desktop, 1xWHS2011, Plex, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex

UnblockUS - Unblock your freedom



1876 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 254


  Reply # 715602 11-Nov-2012 22:30 Send private message

I was really keen on the A4 initially, but it appears it doesn't support 3D playback; at least according to the AMD site, that's why I bumped up to the a8. I really like the idea of a fairly grunting GPU without the need for discrete card.

Hmmm... but if I swap to a cheap 1155 Celeron + passive cooled HD6450 I can get the price down to $375... Not sure if it'll do everything and would need to check if it'll fit in that case, but might be an option? The mobo would then also support an i3 in the future.



EDIT:  Thinking more about this I might just go with the following.  At $345 it seems like pretty good value and I can toss in the Bluray drive, TV tuner, SSD at some point in the future and if I really want 3D playback I can add a discrete graphics card that supports it.

  • Antec NSK2480B
  • AMD A-Series A4-5300
  • Gigabyte GA-F2A55M-DS2
  • Kingston ValueRAM DDR3 PC10600/1333MHz CL9 2x2GB



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  Reply # 715632 12-Nov-2012 06:45 Send private message

Is 2x2gb the cheapest? I just bought 4x8gb I DDR 3. Sticks were $65 each. A 4gb stick may be even cheaper.




Previously known as psycik

NextPVR Based HTPC:

Gigabyte AMD A8 Brix --> Samsung LA46A650D via HDMI, SiliconDust HDHomeRun Dual DVB-T Tuner, NextPVR, Plex Plugin 
Clients:
Popcorn Hour A-100, 1xATV2, 1xATV3, Roku3
Windows 7 Ultimate Host (Plex Server)
3x2TB, 1x3TB, 1x4TB + 1x1.5TB using DriveBender, VMWare Workstation 10 with 1xW7, 2xW2k3 1xUbuntu 11.10 Desktop, 1xWHS2011, Plex, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex

UnblockUS - Unblock your freedom



1876 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 254


  Reply # 715654 12-Nov-2012 08:54 Send private message

hmmm, good point, not like I need dual channel anyway right? Saves another $6, lol ($33 vs 27)

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  Reply # 715663 12-Nov-2012 09:24 Send private message

have you considered a android box? it wont do dvd, but the pivos that sponsor xbmc should run fine and its pretty cheap, usd$115.

but if you must have a dvd drive, then that wouldnt work.

128 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 715687 12-Nov-2012 10:57 Send private message

sidefx: @Blanch: Thanks; where do you notice the SSD being worth it? Only thing on my current system that I sometimes wish was faster was the bootup which I guess an SSD will help a bunch with.


It will definitely improve boot times quite significantly, however I would also recommend it because it reduces heat generation in smaller cases and its size let me hide it away in corners that traditionally HDD's would fear to tread.
If you upgrade to an SSD later on just remember to address the TRIM issue if you're using Windows as your OS.

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  Reply # 715811 12-Nov-2012 13:21 Send private message

As long as you are running Windows 7 or above it detects a SSD and modifies its behaviour including being trim aware.

@sidefx go for a GPU that can do the heavy lifting rather then a powerful CPU. A GPU is optimised for the work it does do does it without needing a lot of grunt where as the CPU is not and even a powerful CPU will never do as good a job as a low to average GPU.







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64



1876 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 715842 12-Nov-2012 13:44 Send private message

Thanks chaps, very helpful as always.

@reven: That does look very cool, just the sort of thing I like to run, but doesn't look like it will quite do everything I want(?) Yes DVD playback is somewhat important off the bat, and I'll also be looking to add bluray and PVR functionality at some point in the nearish future. An HTPC just seems more flexible.

@wsnz: Good point, heat and noise are good bonuses with an SSD too; Might be worth doing away with a mechanical drive altogether in that case. Limited size would be the only downside, but I'm guessing if I go for a PVR type setup I could record to a network drive?

@Nety: Understood, though from what I've read the GPU in the AMD Fusion APUs is pretty decent, equal to a low end discrete GPU? So it sounded like a good option.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 715849 12-Nov-2012 13:50 Send private message

Nety: As long as you are running Windows 7 or above it detects a SSD and modifies its behaviour including being trim aware.

@sidefx go for a GPU that can do the heavy lifting rather then a powerful CPU. A GPU is optimised for the work it does do does it without needing a lot of grunt where as the CPU is not and even a powerful CPU will never do as good a job as a low to average GPU.


Ive been watching this thread with interest as I'm pricing up a freeview recording HTPC right now. I'd been looking at an i3 on a mobo with an HDMI socket (using integrated graphics) - should I be looking at a video card?




TV: Sony Bravia KDL324000. Freeview|HD
PC: ASUS P8P67 Pro B3, intel i5, 8Gb RAM, 120Gb SSD, Win 7
HTPC: Antec NSK2480B case, AMD A4-5300 CPU, Asus F2A85-M LE mobo, WD Caviar Green 64Mb 2TB HDD, HD Homerun, Win7 Home Premium, RAM 1600Mhz 4Gb.
Laptop: Sony VAIO VGN-CS16G
iPad 2



1876 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 715858 12-Nov-2012 14:04 Send private message

turb:

Ive been watching this thread with interest as I'm pricing up a freeview recording HTPC right now. I'd been looking at an i3 on a mobo with an HDMI socket (using integrated graphics) - should I be looking at a video card?


Interested in opinions on this too, but my own research seems to indicate that the integrated graphics on the AMD Fusion's and to a lesser extent the Intel HD Graphics in the i3s are more than enough for most HTPC duties (3D playback is the one to watch out for)

Having said that it looks like Motherboards with HDMI ports are significantly more expensive that one's without ($40 - $50) so it seems to work out cheaper to just go with a cheap mobo\CPU\discrete graphics card combo if you need that HDMI port off the bat.

I'm happy to go for lower upfront costs and continue using a DVI-HDMI adaptor initially then in the future look at a discrete card for ~$60 for 3D playback and HDMI if I feel I need it.



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  Reply # 716118 12-Nov-2012 23:30 Send private message

Well, I'm confused at some of the pricing of AMD chips; maybe it's just because the Piledriver based chips are quite new. But after searching a bit it actually appears that a Llano based system might be a best\cheapist option currently.

Apparently an A4-3400 will do the 3D bluray\playback (whereas according to the AMD website Piledriver based chips you require at least an A8 to do it - still very interested in whether this is true seems a bit crazy if it is) and an FM1 motherboard with HDMI 1.4a can be had for $68(!)

This means I could do the following to cover what I want and in theory never need a discrete graphics card for HDMI or 3D...
  • AMD A4-3400
  • ASRock A55M-HVS
  • Antec NSK2408B
  • Kingston ValueRAM DDR3 4GB

$306... o.O

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