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# 19358 13-Feb-2008 20:41
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What do you recommend to be the best motherboard suited for a HTPC?

Any suggestions appreciated, but those that meet my requirements/preferences preferable...

Looking to include/requirements:
- Video graphics card (so onboard graphics not required/essential)
- Intel Core 2 processor, quad core....with support for 45nm processors
- SLI??? (I dont think I really need this)
- Heat pipe/heat sink passive cooling
- eSATA, usb, ethernet
- FSB, as fast as budget allows
- RAM, as much as possible...DDR2 or DDR3??? or both???
- 7.1 HD audio - S/PDIF
- Expansion slots - as many as possible

Basically, the motherboard has run cool and quiet, offer as much expasion as possible and work with the lastest components.

What I have looked at/narrowed down so far as potentials:
- Abit IP35 Pro
- Asus P5N-T Deluxe
- Foxconn NF 680i SLI
- Asus P5N32-SLI Premium/WiFi-AP
- Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus
- Asus P5NT WS
- Asus P5N32-SLI SE Deluxe
- Asus Striker Extreme




HTPC: Silverstone LC16M | abit IP35 Pro | Intel Quad Q9400 2.5GHz | Corsair 520HX | Samsung SH-S203D DVD Writer | NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 512MB RAM | 2 x 750GB Western Digital Caviar GP HDD | 4GB DDR800 RAM | D-Link DWA-547 Rangebooster N 650 Desktop | Blackgold BGT3540 | Microsoft Remote Control & Remote Keyboard for Windows Media Center | Windows 7 64bit

Mobile: Nokia N97, Nokia N900, Samsung Galaxy S, HTC EVO 3D, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S III (current)

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  # 110519 14-Feb-2008 00:16
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I've been looking for a new motherboard too so I'll keep an eye on this thread!  I've found a few good ones.  My main requirement is USB and SATA, with passive cooling where possible.  I've got my eye on a couple of boards with 6 sata ports and 12 usbs.  Also need at least 3 PCI slots.  I've found a lot that sacrifice PCI for SLI, and since I'm not going SLI that just annoys me!

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  # 110588 14-Feb-2008 12:44
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I've only just put together my HTPC, and I used an Intel DP35DP board.  It is part of their Media series of mobos.

Might be worth your while checking out.

 
 
 
 


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  # 110592 14-Feb-2008 13:01
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To build an HTPC, I don't think you need to look at high-end graphic card like SLI if you don't intend to play games on it... I've been looking at this mATX Asus P5E-VM HDMI using Intel GMA X-3500 and pretty good spec.




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  # 110604 14-Feb-2008 13:57
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chiefie: To build an HTPC, I don't think you need to look at high-end graphic card like SLI if you don't intend to play games on it...

Very true, it was just a case of me wanting the best of everything and every feature (for now and possible future upgrades/needs) ...but the reality is SLI capable mobos cut down on expansion slots and its a feature I will never use as I am not a gamer, nor want to be.

I've been looking at this mATX Asus P5E-VM HDMI using Intel GMA X-3500 and pretty good spec

I would much rather use a full ATX form mobo since my chosen HTPC case can accomodate it, as that will offer more expansion slots and other features.

I did also look at using a mobo with HDMI built in, but as I really want/plan to have a graphics card, I selected a video card with HDMI provided, full 8CH HD audio...




HTPC: Silverstone LC16M | abit IP35 Pro | Intel Quad Q9400 2.5GHz | Corsair 520HX | Samsung SH-S203D DVD Writer | NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 512MB RAM | 2 x 750GB Western Digital Caviar GP HDD | 4GB DDR800 RAM | D-Link DWA-547 Rangebooster N 650 Desktop | Blackgold BGT3540 | Microsoft Remote Control & Remote Keyboard for Windows Media Center | Windows 7 64bit

Mobile: Nokia N97, Nokia N900, Samsung Galaxy S, HTC EVO 3D, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S III (current)

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  # 110736 14-Feb-2008 23:43
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I'm also looking at updating my system for HD and I've pretty much decided on the Intel DP35DP board. It has optical out (a must for me) and it has 6 slots (3xPCI,3xPCIe) not including the 1 for the graphics card so plenty of space for tuners :D. You can't overclock it since it's intel but I who cares. I've always had great results paring intel CPUs with intel boards, like the Pentium3 with Intel 820 Desktop board, now that was one rock solid combination. :-) just my 2p




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  # 110742 15-Feb-2008 00:10
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All the boards  I have looked at have let you use the pci express 16 lane slots for other cards as well, so just because it has 2 of them doesnt mean the second one is useless.

pci express esata cards are dirt cheap, as are internal sata ones with 2 and 4 ports so thats a possible solution if you dont have enough onboard satas.




Richard rich.ms



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  # 110986 16-Feb-2008 16:54
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Is there any other motherboard I have not already included above, that anyone would recommend for a HTPC?

Quad capable, heat pipe/passive cooling and as many expansion slots as possible are a must...




HTPC: Silverstone LC16M | abit IP35 Pro | Intel Quad Q9400 2.5GHz | Corsair 520HX | Samsung SH-S203D DVD Writer | NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 512MB RAM | 2 x 750GB Western Digital Caviar GP HDD | 4GB DDR800 RAM | D-Link DWA-547 Rangebooster N 650 Desktop | Blackgold BGT3540 | Microsoft Remote Control & Remote Keyboard for Windows Media Center | Windows 7 64bit

Mobile: Nokia N97, Nokia N900, Samsung Galaxy S, HTC EVO 3D, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S III (current)

 
 
 
 


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  # 110995 16-Feb-2008 17:55
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TheBartender:
I would much rather use a full ATX form mobo since my chosen HTPC case can accomodate it, as that will offer more expansion slots and other features.


What case are you going to get?

i personally have the silverstone LC18.. awesome if you have kids.. means they can watch movies on the small screen while the better half watches "shortland street" on the TV.

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  # 110998 16-Feb-2008 18:09
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Just my 2c worth - but if I was building another machine just for HTPC use ie as a dedicated set-top like box I would still steer away from Quad Core.  Same deal as SLI - I just don't believe you'll get the benefit.

Speed = Heat
Heat = Noise

The quad core CPU's consume roughly twice the power of Dual Core circa 100W or so, compared to 60W for the dual core.  Thats why you end up needing a 500W+ power supply.

If its only acting as a PVR, Jukebox, DVD Library bla bla bla you won't see the benefit of a quad core.  Reality is you also won't see the difference in speed between Intel/AMD either, unless your doing alot of video encoding or something like it.

Given the GPU does most of the work for HD/h.264, you simply don't get the incremental speed benefit.  Any dual core processor around at the moment will cope with ease.

Likewise IMO the incremental from 2GB through 4GB isn't worth it either.  Once again all you do is use more power, generate more heat and make more noise (or waste hundreds of dollars on passive cooling) getting rid of it.

Why - cause it doesn't make the video any smoother, it doesn't make the picture look any better, doesn't let you record any more channels, or change channels faster etc etc etc.

So it takes 4 seconds long to boot up, and 35 seconds longer to strip the ads out....




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  # 111022 16-Feb-2008 20:31
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rattler:
TheBartender:
I would much rather use a full ATX form mobo since my chosen HTPC case can accomodate it, as that will offer more expansion slots and other features.


What case are you going to get?

i personally have the silverstone LC18.. awesome if you have kids.. means they can watch movies on the small screen while the better half watches "shortland street" on the TV.

LC16M silver

Nice...its clean, sharp, full size atx but just looks like an amp.




HTPC: Silverstone LC16M | abit IP35 Pro | Intel Quad Q9400 2.5GHz | Corsair 520HX | Samsung SH-S203D DVD Writer | NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 512MB RAM | 2 x 750GB Western Digital Caviar GP HDD | 4GB DDR800 RAM | D-Link DWA-547 Rangebooster N 650 Desktop | Blackgold BGT3540 | Microsoft Remote Control & Remote Keyboard for Windows Media Center | Windows 7 64bit

Mobile: Nokia N97, Nokia N900, Samsung Galaxy S, HTC EVO 3D, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S III (current)



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  # 111024 16-Feb-2008 20:38
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RustyGonad:

Just my 2c worth - but if I was building another machine just for HTPC use ie as a dedicated set-top like box I would still steer away from Quad Core. Same deal as SLI - I just don't believe you'll get the benefit.

Speed = Heat
Heat = Noise

The quad core CPU's consume roughly twice the power of Dual Core circa 100W or so, compared to 60W for the dual core. Thats why you end up needing a 500W+ power supply.

If its only acting as a PVR, Jukebox, DVD Library bla bla bla you won't see the benefit of a quad core. Reality is you also won't see the difference in speed between Intel/AMD either, unless your doing alot of video encoding or something like it.

Given the GPU does most of the work for HD/h.264, you simply don't get the incremental speed benefit. Any dual core processor around at the moment will cope with ease.

Likewise IMO the incremental from 2GB through 4GB isn't worth it either. Once again all you do is use more power, generate more heat and make more noise (or waste hundreds of dollars on passive cooling) getting rid of it.

Why - cause it doesn't make the video any smoother, it doesn't make the picture look any better, doesn't let you record any more channels, or change channels faster etc etc etc.

So it takes 4 seconds long to boot up, and 35 seconds longer to strip the ads out....


All valid comments

Coincidently I am currently reading up/researching power supply's and silent pc operation...

I admit I have always wanted to include more than I required, but as i am reading/researching more, and fine tuning, I find myself changing specs and components to better suit my main objective....a Home Theatre PC (as opposed to the most powerfull, fast, and feature rich machine)....being silent (hence run cool) and the HiFi look a must.




HTPC: Silverstone LC16M | abit IP35 Pro | Intel Quad Q9400 2.5GHz | Corsair 520HX | Samsung SH-S203D DVD Writer | NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 512MB RAM | 2 x 750GB Western Digital Caviar GP HDD | 4GB DDR800 RAM | D-Link DWA-547 Rangebooster N 650 Desktop | Blackgold BGT3540 | Microsoft Remote Control & Remote Keyboard for Windows Media Center | Windows 7 64bit

Mobile: Nokia N97, Nokia N900, Samsung Galaxy S, HTC EVO 3D, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S III (current)

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  # 111053 17-Feb-2008 00:04
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The cool and silent is the reason I want to seperate the recording and disk machine from the one in where the TV is that plays stuff.

The first thing I need to do is sort a video card that will play the HD - which means a new machine for the loungeroom since the current one is nforce2 based with an athlon xp 1800 - fine for everything up till now.

I gutted an equalizer that my mate bought at a police auction thinking it was an amplifier for $5 or 10 - has room for a giant VFD which I found a 2x20 serial one I got from bgmicro years ago fitted like a glove. The old front panel is a matrix of buttons that I have connected to an old keyboard (random keys from the buttons but I found wire combinations where most produce something usable) - will be replacing that with something where I can customize each key when I get around to it - all the keyboard encoders I have seen sofar are all common ground designed for arcade cabinet applications.

No optical drive in it since i see no need for it. If I want to watch something I rip it anyway so I can easily do that on a laptop before watching it later on. Could always mod a component sized dvd or cd player into an external sata optical drive I suppose. More boxes looks more impressive IMO ;)

Actually, a mini-itx board in it so it can be a standalone rip/encode machine would be an even better idea, and just play media over the lan from a share on the machine with the optical drive.




Richard rich.ms



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  # 111069 17-Feb-2008 01:47
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Each to their own...

Separating the parts of the PC will make it smaller and quieter, no doubt.

But where does it end?

You could in the end have nothing more than a media extender...cant get much smaller and quieter than that.

And while that will do the job, then theres the extra burden of networking and having multiple machines, and the cost of it all...

Nah, I much prefer having all in 1 machine...a standalone PC in the lounge, that requires nothing else to work, yet is quiet and does not look like a PC, more a Hi-Fi component.




HTPC: Silverstone LC16M | abit IP35 Pro | Intel Quad Q9400 2.5GHz | Corsair 520HX | Samsung SH-S203D DVD Writer | NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 512MB RAM | 2 x 750GB Western Digital Caviar GP HDD | 4GB DDR800 RAM | D-Link DWA-547 Rangebooster N 650 Desktop | Blackgold BGT3540 | Microsoft Remote Control & Remote Keyboard for Windows Media Center | Windows 7 64bit

Mobile: Nokia N97, Nokia N900, Samsung Galaxy S, HTC EVO 3D, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S III (current)

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  # 111074 17-Feb-2008 02:48
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I have tried extenders, and they lack all the niceities of having a full PC there. Like a usable web browser, decent codec support for audio, ability to find things in a playlist by typing on an actual keyboard etc... so an extender is not happening where I actually use things extensively. For the kitchen or wherever, then yeah, why not.

I just don't want to have terabytes of disc sitting there whirring away with all the expense making it quiet when that can be sitting on a shelf in the garage making all the noise it likes not bothering anyone, since the recordings will end up on the large disk collection (possibly a raid, maybe just 1 disc for each tuner card or something like that) then it makes sense to put the tuners in the same machine rather then have them in the lounge with it going over the network.




Richard rich.ms



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  # 111170 17-Feb-2008 14:12
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Or again, another way to have a full blown PC capabilities in the lounge with no noise at all....is to just provide connectivity from the PC stored in another room, to the lounge.

-Audio cables
-Video cables
(or HDMI for both)
-IR Blaster

The IR Blaster giving all the control to the PC, allowing use of IR remote and keyboard
And the audio and visual cables just providing connection from the PC to the TV/stereo

Its certainly the cheapest way of doing it, as you only have to pay for cable extensions and an IR blaster, just not the most impressive (and may be messy if you cannot hide the wires within the walls).




HTPC: Silverstone LC16M | abit IP35 Pro | Intel Quad Q9400 2.5GHz | Corsair 520HX | Samsung SH-S203D DVD Writer | NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 512MB RAM | 2 x 750GB Western Digital Caviar GP HDD | 4GB DDR800 RAM | D-Link DWA-547 Rangebooster N 650 Desktop | Blackgold BGT3540 | Microsoft Remote Control & Remote Keyboard for Windows Media Center | Windows 7 64bit

Mobile: Nokia N97, Nokia N900, Samsung Galaxy S, HTC EVO 3D, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S III (current)

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