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I would caution anyone considering the M2A-VM HDMI for a 1080p panel. For some odd reason, my new rig with this very mobo and a 4200+x2 doesn't play any HD stuff without stutter and artifacts when I set it to 1920x1080 (D-SUB) and apparently I am not the only person with this problem. The results is really quite disappointing so far. I'll research more and hope it is not a hardware limitation.
I'll 2nd that, and that is why yesterday, after all the headache I have had with this board, I decided to change it and get rid of it. I replaced the board with a sapphire matx that has onboard hdmi port and graphics.

As soo as I change dthe board and hooked it up, I got sound from the TV, which I was able to do with the m2a-vm hdmi mobo. The pci e slot on this sapphire can later be used for a 8500/8600 gt vide card.

The asus m2a-vm hdmi pci e slot was taken up by the add on hdmi card. Oh and my aquarium screen saver played for an hour without freezing on this new board.
 

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Discussion Starter #102
Jack, it is sad to hear that you had the trouble you did. BUT...

It is good to hear that you got your issues straightened out. It is a damn good thing there are loads of motherboards to choose from. (Although that is the source of much frustration sometimes. :D)

I will agree that it was stupid of ASUS to force us to use that expansion card for HDMI and SPDIF. Fortunately, I don't need either for the setup in the bedroom. I would never use this board for a heavy duty main HTPC setup. I'll still go discreete everything for that setup.
 

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I probably mentioned that...the only reason I chose the M2A-VM HDMI is the expansion slot configuration. I had the slim Silverstone LC11B case and that is the only configuration that allows me to use the riser card.

I was excited to see the Sapphire Pure Element, but as it turns out, the Sapphire has one less slot the first slot is the PCI-E slot BUT it iis actually Slot #2 :~(
 

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The picture from the sapphire is great, and for those wondering, it's the sapphire PE-AM2RS690MH. It has the HD 8 audio channel, and I plan to shop around for a 8500/8600 GT video card. If anyone finds a cheap one anywhere online in canada, please let me know

cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #105
To add to Jack's discovery, there is also the Sapphire PI-AM2RS690MHD. It picks up where the PE-AM2RS690MH leaves off and has:

  • 3 internal USB connectors (Total of 10 internal and external USB. Two more than the PE)
  • 2 internal firewire connectors (PE has none)
And to PPL4GOLF's issue, the PI-AM2RS690MHD also has the PCI-E x16 slot in the right place for use in cases like the LC11 and the LC04.

You know Jack, this is a sweet find! Thanks! Just too bad you had to buy it second.
 

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Q,
The Pure Element is not compatible with the LC11 if I need to use and of the PCI slots.
If you look closely, even though the first slot is PCI-E, it is actually in the second slot!!
 

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For Captain Jack,
You also want to look at the ATI 2600XT, ATI mobo and ATI graphic card gives you a few more functions like 3-4 monitors support.
 

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Discussion Starter #108
PPL4GOLF said:
If you look closely, even though the first slot is PCI-E, it is actually in the second slot!!
Not on the PI series. Take a look...

PI-AM2RS690MHD

It has 1 x16, 1 x1 and 2 PCI. That is 4 slots and none of them are shared.

The board that Jack bought was the PE-AM2RS690MH .

His purchase is in no way inferior to the PI series but the PI has additional features that some may want. Like firewire, additional USB and the better positioned PCI-E x16 slot.
 

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Yes and No...

While I can use the PCI-E (if I were to plunge another $50CAD for the PCI-E riser), I still can't use the PCI slots because they have to be adjacent to the PCI-E (and in the PI, it is the PCI-E x1). The TV cards I have around are all Legacy PCI's.

Believe, I would very much love to have the HDMI port on the mobo itself.
 

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To add to Jack's discovery, there is also the Sapphire PI-AM2RS690MHD. It picks up where the PE-AM2RS690MH leaves off and has:

  • 3 internal USB connectors (Total of 10 internal and external USB. Two more than the PE)
  • 2 internal firewire connectors (PE has none)
And to PPL4GOLF's issue, the PI-AM2RS690MHD also has the PCI-E x16 slot in the right place for use in cases like the LC11 and the LC04.

You know Jack, this is a sweet find! Thanks! Just too bad you had to buy it second.
One lives and learns, I got so fed up with that other mobo, that I just felt like smashing it up, and that is what is going to happen to it.
 

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Reccommend a Motherboard / Videocard

I like to build a HTPC but need advice on which motherboard or Video card to get. My requirement is that it has to play 1080p flawlessly, also needs to work with blue ray dvd, and uses HDMI.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #118
Also...

I looked on the ASUS site and they now have a beta BIOS available so I imagine everyone (Mobo makers) are just about to release the updated BIOS and then it is off to the AMD/ATI site for the latest IGP driver pack!!!

Yay!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #119
I_Want_My_HDTV said:
Does the 8600GT do HDCP?
That is a very valid question as there are, believe it or not, some versions of even the newest cards that are not coming HDCP compliant. It is all down to the board maker as all of the GPUs have been capable/ready since late 2005 but noone implemented the HDCP chip on the vid cards till early spring of 2006.
 

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Discussion Starter #120
I just can't stop playing/spending!!!

So I have been back at it again!!!

The prices on RAM, CPUs and such have got so low that I just could not hold off any longer.

The bedroom HTPC got upgraded to an AMD X2 setup so I figured that I would update this thread so my HTPC adventures are still updated. I have commented on my upgrade in other threads but it should be in here too.

Precisely, I upgraded to:

  • AMD X2 4000+
  • 2 x 1GB DDR2-667
  • ASUS M2A-VM HDMI (AMD 690G based motherboard)
One thing to keep in mind if you are building a new HTPC and you plan on using onboard video, is that although the Intel C2D CPUs are faster than the AMD X2s, the new AMD 690G based motherboards are debateably the best boards to use. The 690G chipset is only available for AMD CPUs.

As I have comments all over the place on other threads, I will summarize my 1 month of use of this new setup:

If you are looking for confirmation on how much horsepower you may want for the future or if onboard video can perform, the answers are:

Get a dual core anything! I must say that although the previous guts were quite responsive, it is VERY nice having a dual core CPU so that the multitasking nature of an HTPC is smoothed out. Every press of a button on the remote is immediately responded to now.

Yes, onboard video can get the job done! In particular, the new AMD 690G based boards and the latest drivers now bring performance that we ALL would never have associated with onboard video. AMD now rates the 690G as 1080p in MPEG2, VC-1 AND H.264 capable so long as the CPU is at least an X2 4600+ and you have at least 1GB of DDR2-667.

The only issue to watch out for with the 690G boards is that there are some that are laid out well and some that are not. For instance, the ASUS boards are good but there are much better out there. Excellent options are the Sapphire PE-AM2RS690MH, Sapphire PI-AM2RS690MHD and the Gigabyte GA-MA69GM-S2H. The best thing to remember is that there are many board makers that are producing 690G solutions and if one board layout is not what you need, another board maker likely has a design that fits your needs.
 
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