Replacing the old (HT)PC ¯ what should I be considering? - Page 8 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #106 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-16, 12:23 PM
 
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At this point there is no rational argument to claim one platform is better than the other for HTPC duties.
It boils down to personal preferences, experiences, sympaties, abilities, etc. Both will do the job...

For example, Ivy Bridge (Haswell's predecessor) can't do 23.976fps and does 24fps instead.
If you want to read the scary part - google "intel ivy bridge 24fps 23.976fps" and read AVS...
I could never see the "horrible" playback. Your experience might be different...

As a general note, I don't think there was ever a home theater product that would
not claimed to be a complete POS on AVS forums (given enough time and posts)...
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post #107 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-16, 01:58 PM
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For HTPC there are trade-offs. They will both do the job. AMD has higher power dissipation and lower cost. Intel has lower power dissipation and higher cost. Ssome compact cases are made specifically for Intel. AMD boards and CPUs might fit but not as well. AMD CPU coolers tend to be lower quality so a third party cooler might be needed to reduce noise. The main reason I've used AMD in the past is cost. AMD has better integrated video than older Intel CPUs but Intel seems to have caught up with their latest designs.

AMD chipsets seem to be getting a bit long in the tooth. I used an ASUS F2A55-M board for a build a couple of years ago. The later model F2A85-M adds newer features in the chipset (F2A55-M uses a ASMedia controller for some functions.) Otherwise, these chipsets are not a lot different. I'd recommend the F2A85-M or another major make (Gigabyte, MSI) using the A85 chipset if going this route.
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post #108 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-16, 02:27 PM
 
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When using AMD for HTPC chores (few years ago) I was buying the fastest black edition (unlocked) and underclocking it.
Would become just as Intel CPU, in price and heat...
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post #109 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-16, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by MyMedia08 View Post
Any specific suggestions for mATX motherboards from MSI vs ASUS vs GIGABYTE? What CPU/GPU? Looking for USB3, HDMI, integrated graphics and HD audio, Gigabit ethernet.
Why not consider mini-ITX?

I am building a new desktop and a new HTPC. For both I am using mini-ITX mobos with an H81 chipset. This article talks about the difference between the different chipsets (Z87, H87, H81). The long and short of it seems to be that there really isn't an advantage for me to use the "better" chipsets since what they offer, such as more USB 3.0, RAID, SLI/Crossfire, Smart Response, overclocking, etc is stuff that I don't need.

My HTPC system will have an HDPlex H1.S case which is totally passive as the case works as the CPU heatsink. I will be using an i3-4330 ($110) CPU - note that the max for this case is 55W CPU. The only drive will be a 120GB SSD, which is probably more than I need, as I have a media server that stores all of my content. The mobo is an Asus H81i-plus.

My desktop will be small enough for most people's HTPC as I am using an Antec ISK300-150 case. This will have a very high end CPU - an i7-4770K ($300) so I may have issues cooling the CPU in such a small case. But I think that the Arctic Freezing 11 LP should be able to do the job as it is rated at 100W. This machine will have a 240GB SSD. It will have a MSI H81i - I prefer Asus mobos but the Asus H81 board did not have optical audio out (aka s/pdif) and I need this to connect to my receiver.

Regarding no info on the mobo's GPU - that is because the GPU is not coming from the mobo, it is coming from the CPU. IMHO there is no longer need for anyone, other than gamers, to get a discrete video card as the integrated video is so good. That means you can get a smaller case and you can get by with a smaller power supply and have less heat generated - all good things. That is even moreso the case if you only have an SSD, even better is you have an mSATA drive.

One other thing - have you considered an Intel NUC? SPCR has a review of the newest Intel NUC with a Haswell chip. These are about the size of the Mac mini.
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post #110 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-16, 06:03 PM
 
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Most of those points - mini-ITX, chipsets, SSD, IGP, NUC/Brix - were touched upon in this thread...
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post #111 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-16, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
Why not consider mini-ITX?

....
My desktop will be small enough for most people's HTPC as I am using an Antec ISK300-150 case. This will have a very high end CPU - an i7-4770K ($300) so I may have issues cooling the CPU in such a small case. But I think that the Arctic Freezing 11 LP should be able to do the job as it is rated at 100W. This machine will have a 240GB SSD. .....
Wayne - thanks for sharing your configurations and ideas - the more dialogue the better! .. helps the new guys make/reaffirm decisions and explore new options.

As to why not mini-ITX, for me, I am leaning to mATX based on some logical and convincing point made by ExDilbert ( post 37), which bears repeating I think:
"However, the best price point will be found in the mATX form factor. mATX motherboards are typically half the price of a comparable mini-ITX motherboard. There is also much more selection in mATX cases and some are more affordable than mini-ITX cases. A half height mATX case that matches other components in an audio cabinet is nicer looking and much more versatile than a mini-PC. For starters, mATX cases usually hold a standard DVD/BD drive. They also usually have room for 1 or more 3.5" and 2.5" drives. A 2.5" SSD boot drive and 3.5" data drive is a good configuration. There is better selection mATX components (cases, PSU, fans, motherboards, etc) and higher quality components can be found".
NUC - Very interesting option but everything I read cautions that the mSATA SSD does not have the same performance as a SATA connected SSD (like the Samsung 840 SSD), so given the choice, starting from scratch , I'd go the SATA SSD route.

Question - Re your desktop, you mentioned the mobo, cpu and case, and the cpu cooler... what are you using for a power supply? Also any other fans?

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post #112 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-16, 11:27 PM
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The Antec ISK300-150 has a 150w PS so I would caution against using a high power CPU or any other high power components. The slim optical bay is not the best for usability or durability either. It can make a decent PC or HTPC but it won't make a good high end gaming system. There are some nicer cases out there for HTPC.

The HDPlex H1.S is an interesting option but it has been in pre-order status for what seems like years. They seem to have a supply problem with their other cases as well. Nice looking stuff, if you don't mind waiting a few months for it to arrive and can afford the price premium.
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post #113 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-16, 11:28 PM
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I don't agree that mATX boards are half the price of miniITX. My mobo was $70 at Canada Computers - I haven't seen mATX H81 mobos for $35.

The case has a built in 150W power supply. Depending on how quiet it runs (or not) I may replace that with a pico PSU. I am just building the system right now and I have replaced the Antec case fan with a Noctua fan as I am anal about noise. I moved the Antec fan over to be a supplemental side case fan. (these fans are at the extreme left in the 2nd photo below). So the system currently has a PS fan, two case fans and the fan on the Arctic Freezer CPU heatsink.

By the way this case looks like this and has room for a slim optical drive. The PS is in the front of the case under the slim DVD drive.


@four - Things change in the HTPC, and quickly. The NUC that I referred to is a Haswell NUC and they haven't even been released yet - the SPCR review was on a pre-release model.

Regarding mSATA drives - I haven't looked at them too closely but I don't know that they are that much behind regular SSDs. The Samsung 840 Pro is a very highly rated SSD so being slower than that is not too bad. And for basic HTPC stuff I don't think it will make too much of a difference. I haven't used one yet but I have been tempted to do so, but all of the cases that I have used have plenty of room for one or more SSD.
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post #114 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-16, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExDilbert View Post
The Antec ISK300-150 has a 150w PS so I would caution against using a high power CPU or any other high power components. The slim optical bay is not the best for usability or durability either. It can make a decent PC or HTPC but it won't make a good high end gaming system. There are some nicer cases out there for HTPC.
My CPU is an i7-4770K and it has a TDP of 85W. Add in the power used by the Mobo and SSD and I should have lots of headroom with 150W. Sure this isn't a gaming system but assuming that I can keep everything cool in this case it will be one blazing machine for my main desktop purposed like using Handbrake to transcode video files. I am guessing that this will get a very high Windows Experience score, perhaps being slightly held back by the GPU, but that will be plenty for my purposes.
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post #115 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-16, 11:50 PM
 
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@Wayne - you are preaching to the choir. I'm the one (that was) pushing for the mini-ITX form factor here.
http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/show...3&postcount=60
And Brix. I have one (ivy Bridge). NUC is bigger and overpriced, I think
http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/show...6&postcount=80
You should read this thread from the beginning...

mSATA was not SATAIII until very recently. Hence - bad rap.

I prefer the SG0X cases. Going smaller is pushing it, IMHO...
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post #116 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-17, 12:00 AM
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The price difference between mATX and mini-ITX motherboards does appear to be shrinking. There are still some pricey mini-ITX boards out there but there also appears to be some fairly inexpensive models based on the newer Intel chipsets.
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post #117 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-17, 12:05 AM
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Yes I am pushing it somewhat but we will see as there isn't much in the case. If it doesn't work I am out a $70 case that I could always reuse with another system with a lower powered CPU - or I could buy a Haswell i3 for around $100 and use that in this system and it would be fine since the TDP is a fair bit lower than the i7-4770.

But going smaller isn't pushing it with a lower powered CPU - I have a two year old HTPC in a totally passive HD Plex H5.S case with an i3-2100 CPU that has been fine. With the i7-4770K it may be an issue but I will see. I personally have no need for a larger PC that holds more than what I will have in my ISK300 case. I have a media server running SageTV that holds all of my media plus a WHS2011 machine.

Sorry I didn't want to go through all 8 pages of this thread - but I just read it quickly. Back to putting together my ISK 300 case...
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post #118 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-17, 08:54 AM
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I think a lot comes down to what mymedia08 wants and where

Something like the above posted case, etc.. might be GREAT for the 'child' HTPC.. but might be a little small, if the other one is going to act as a server as well (was a little bigger for extra drives, etc).

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post #119 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-17, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by four View Post
This is something I'd start with:
Intel Core™ i3-4340 Processor
Gigabyte H87N-WIFI Motherboard 270
RipjawsX Series 16GB DDR3 RAM 160
840 EVO Series Solid State Drive 120
SG05 Black Case w/ 450w PS 130
Total bill - $680. Has WiFi and Bluetooth.
No OS, no HDD, ODD, Kb/Mouse/Remote...

....
For the above configuration, what fan or cooler should be used that fits over the cpu? Any other fans?

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post #120 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-17, 09:28 AM
 
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The stock cooler (comes with the CPU) does a good job. At least until you start overclocking i7's...
Between the case fan, PS fan and CPU fan (stock) the latter is the quietest most of the time.

One of the reasons why very small cases are often noisy, is the 60-80mm fan(s) they employ.
It is very hard to keep small fans quiet...

So, the secret is to find the smallest case with the largest fans...
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