Well.... I took the plunge and ordered gear for my new HTPC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 115 Old 09-11-2012, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
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As the title says, I caved and ordered up all the gear for my HT room gaming pc. Heh, I like to use the term HTPC lightly as I have no intention on hosting videos, BD's, whathaveyou on it at all on it. It's purely for gaming. So it's a PC that resides in my HT. biggrin.gif

I had cut the budget up a bit and didn't go all out. I know, I know. Skipped out on an SSD for now as it's really not needed and ...ugh, didn't get an i7 processor like I wanted. Just those two cut out saved me about $4-500 and I used that window to get a high end videocard. One that I really wanted. I ordered all the gear from Amazon (took advantage of a $100 gift card) and unfortunately won't be able to put it all together until this Saturday.

Here is the part list:


Annnd Win7 but who cares about that, amiright?

Let me know what you guys think about the picks. I think it's a pretty well rounded computer. Not the ultimate but I wasn't going for it. I'll get an i7 sometime down the road and convert to an SSD sometime later.

Special thanks to my buddy Dan (Marafice Eye) for finding the case and .... kept pushing me to buy. Lol. tongue.gif


EDIT: Added 128 solid state drive

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post #2 of 115 Old 09-11-2012, 11:22 PM
 
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I run the 3.2ghz version of that CPU and it's great. smile.gif The first thing I would do when you decide to drop more cash on it is to put another 8GB in it, bump it up to 16GB. That 670 will also spit out some great 1080p.
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post #3 of 115 Old 09-11-2012, 11:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey thanks, James. Yeah, will do wrt extra RAM. That and an SSD are next and then upgrad the mobo/cpu to i7. Not sure if I want to just hold out until the 2nd gen Ivy i7 though. I think that would be smart. I really wanted to shell out for the 670gtx for wicked 1080p to project 100" of. biggrin.gif

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post #4 of 115 Old 09-11-2012, 11:49 PM
 
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You're fretting too much over the CPU. smile.gif The difference between that thing and the highest end thing you can find on the market is like 30% performance. It's not enough to care about.

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/08/inside-the-second-gaming-performance-with-todays-cpus/

Flipping through Ars' Inside the Second: CPU comparison shows a lot of "It all runs really damn well at a nice 60fps, but if you split some hairs and throw in some arbitrary cut-off points, you can find a bit of a difference between a $80 and a $800 CPU."

Sit on your X4 3.4ghz for a couple of years. Almost everything else you spend money on will have a larger impact on your experience. More RAM, an SSD, a new video card in 2014, a new projector, or a new receiver will all be money better spent. Hell, we've been sitting on four cores at 3ghz for four years now. Four extra cores on top of that haven't really had an impact on performance, and clock-speeds haven't moved upward in half a decade. It will be another four years probably before you see something approaching twice as fast as what you just bought, then it will make sense to upgrade. In the same time frame, GPUs will roughly quadruple their performance at a given price-point.

Until somebody makes a major clock-speed breakthrough, or CPUs become vastly more parallel giving us a couple hundred 4ghz cores, CPUs just aren't going to be that exciting. Tons of cores allow us to move back to pure, perfect software rendering, negating the need for the retarded GPU hacks that we've now spent 15 years with. That will be something worth getting worked up about!
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post #5 of 115 Old 09-12-2012, 03:35 AM
 
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Additional: We hit 3.8ghz eight years ago. In that time we have managed to creep up to 4.2ghz. We probably have another 20 years of stalled clocks, meaning more cores is the way CPUs will go. At the same time game devs are having trouble splitting code out past anything more than three cores.

No real point to this addition, aside from it's pretty obvious that CPU doesn't matter much right now and won't for quite a while longer. I want to upgrade, but really it's just so I can get around my 8GB ram cap. I have yet to ever come close to thinking "Man, my CPU be sluggish!".
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post #6 of 115 Old 09-12-2012, 08:58 AM
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Simple-minded me has a question: Why would you start on an AMD platform when your goal is an Intel i7 processor? confused.gif I bought the ASUS entry level Z77-V MB with a 3570K i5, and can easily upgrade to an unlocked i7 if needed (but probably not if following DLJ's advice).

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post #7 of 115 Old 09-12-2012, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rich3fan View Post

Simple-minded me has a question: Why would you start on an AMD platform when your goal is an Intel i7 processor? confused.gif I bought the ASUS entry level Z77-V MB with a 3570K i5, and can easily upgrade to an unlocked i7 if needed (but probably not if following DLJ's advice).

Heh. Why? Cuz I said this:
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Skipped out on an SSD for now as it's really not needed and ...ugh, didn't get an i7 processor like I wanted. Just those two cut out saved me about $4-500 and I used that window to get a high end videocard.

The money I saved not getting the i7 (I had a budget) allowed me to get a MUCH better videocard. That's why. wink.gif

Somehow, I think I'll be okay long enough for me to upgrade later on. I was thinking that maybe I'll use this until the Haswell chips come out next year. *shrugs* I don't know but this should be pretty good for a while.

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post #8 of 115 Old 09-12-2012, 09:36 AM
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I'm running the same cpu oc'd to 4.1 and have had no troubles running any game so far.
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post #9 of 115 Old 09-12-2012, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm running the same cpu oc'd to 4.1 and have had no troubles running any game so far.

Cool cuz I'd love to OC this to 4ghz. smile.gif

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post #10 of 115 Old 09-12-2012, 09:22 PM
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Build looks, good but you not going with an SSD is a crime at the prices you can get them at. $80 will get you one on sale, IMO you'd be crazy not to.

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post #11 of 115 Old 09-12-2012, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Build looks, good but you not going with an SSD is a crime at the prices you can get them at. $80 will get you one on sale, IMO you'd be crazy not to.

I'll pick up a 256gig in a few weeks. wink.gif Again, I had a budget and while an SSD is awesome it is more of a luxury item.

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post #12 of 115 Old 09-12-2012, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Ordered a 128gig SSD. It hurts, it hurts!!! tongue.gif

Wow. The ssd went up $20 after I ordered it. Crazy.

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post #13 of 115 Old 09-13-2012, 08:08 PM
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Ya you did biggrin.gif

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post #14 of 115 Old 09-13-2012, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Got everything today except for the mobo and SSD which should be here tomorrow. So excited! Wooo! biggrin.gif

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post #15 of 115 Old 09-13-2012, 10:45 PM
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no tv tuners?
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post #16 of 115 Old 09-14-2012, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rantanamo View Post

no tv tuners?

Nope. As I said in the very first post, this is strictly a gaming computer. It just happens to be in my HT room. wink.gif

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post #17 of 115 Old 09-15-2012, 03:24 AM
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Got his build done. Putting it together only took about an hour. Installing Windows, about 30min or so, maybe longer, felt pretty quick. Using the dock on top, transferred a few games over to test them out. Anyway. PICS!!! And vids to come after they're done uploading. Sorry the pics are a bit blurry, still haven't quite figured out my camera on this phone just yet, haven't changed any settings.










Videos: Taken in the theater with my phone, mostly just to show how smooth the couple games were running.

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post #18 of 115 Old 09-15-2012, 06:05 AM
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Looks good guys. Have fun with it Scott. How well does the audio drive your 10' high subs? wink.gif

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post #19 of 115 Old 09-15-2012, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Holy crap, Dan! lern tew werk dat fokus! eek.gif

Heheh, yeah guys! It's running great so far! Gotta thank everybody for pushing me to get the SSD. TOTALLY worth it. Omg. Wicked fast response.

Haven't done too much yet. We just installed a few games last night just to try out and test. All were pretty much solid except for Batman Arkham City that chugged a bit when I first stepped out into the city and flew around. Granted this was running off the SSD too with ALL setting maxed, uncluding Physx which was on High. And no I don't want to turn that down cuz I want that s**t up damnit. tongue.gif Anyway, posting to you guys on the 100" screen right now. I really need to get a wireless backlit keyboard and I narrowed it down to two sooo... I'll get that eventually. Sound works great but haven't had much opportunity to actually test much. We finished around 2-3am last night. Whew.

So far my only "issue" is some blurriness while being projected. At first, the Windows setting for 1080 was 1080i @ 30hz. UGH! That appears to be fixed now and I'm running at 1080p 60hz.

Oh! Quick system specs.... The HTPC is hooked up via HDMI to the front port (for now) of my Onkyo TX-NR3007. All video processing is disabled on the Onkyo. The Onkyo is output to my Panasonic AX200u projector which is 720p. I figure that is where a good portion of text blurriness is coming from. It does do a fantastic job scaling down 1080p material though. Blu-rays look fantastic in this room, believe me. So I may have to deal with some blurriness unless anyone knows what I can do about that.

Next things on the upgrade path.... more SSD's! Btw, THANK YOU JAMES FOR THAT LINK!!! OMG that tweak works like a charm!

Next tweaks I'd like to do... I'd like to OC the CPU to 4ghz and mildly OC the videocard, I have no idea how to do either. redface.gif

Anyway...time to load up some more games. Thanks guys!!

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post #20 of 115 Old 09-15-2012, 02:27 PM
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Heh, yeah, I just now went through all the setting on my camera, never messed with them before, Focus was set to Macro instead of Auto. Took some test pics here with Auto on, muuuuch better, Anti-Shake is enabled now also, which was a problem for me. So it should get better pics now.

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post #21 of 115 Old 09-16-2012, 04:41 AM
 
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"So I may have to deal with some blurriness unless anyone knows what I can do about that."

For games? If you have a 1280x720p projector, then spit out 1280x720 to it and pick higher AA over higher resolution. In-game text and UI elements will stay sharper and larger, and AA will balance out the resolution loss. 720p with AA to a 720p projector is a better choice than 1080p with lower AA values for the most part. 1080p with no AA is what you choose when 720p with AA is the lower performing setting and you are trying to squeeze more frames out of the system, then the downscaling gives you cheap kinda-AA.
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post #22 of 115 Old 09-16-2012, 09:13 AM
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I think too many people get hung up on the whole AMD vs. Intel debate. Get what is in your budget, OC it, and you will be fine. You could spend all day finding ways one processor is "worth it" more than another but eh we're at the point in games at least where there's been some pretty significant stagnation and it doesn't look to be getting any better for awhile. I run AMD on both my systems and have no performance issues whatsoever.

I personally would get another SSD and set them up in raid. I noticed a nice bump in performance on my main system doing that. The real world read/write speeds are very impressive. Also, since you're running Steam in big picture mode on a projector are you also using a game controller? I do a kb/m and 360 controller on my plasma and love the flexibility. Good job on the build, keep us informed on what changes you make. smile.gif
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post #23 of 115 Old 09-16-2012, 12:35 PM
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Yep,
And the next generation of Intel will require a new motherboard anyway, so not as if buying low-end intel today with plans to upgrade in 1-2 years would save you on a new motherboard. Looks like a solid basic build. We sure are a long ways from my 386sx, which was my first build - and I had to shove individual RAM chips onto that board..
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post #24 of 115 Old 09-16-2012, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys. Thanks for the comments. Some new updates...

Got the CPU overclocked to 4.1ghz. biggrin.gif So far it is stable but right now I am still just installing games, running benchmarks and stuff. Got a new Heaven benchmark to post. I also have my GPU slightly overclocked. Not by a ton but enough to bump up the frames a bit.

Here are some non-blurry pics. wink.gif













The fan on the cpu heatsink was switched over to the other side cuz it was put on blowing towards the front creating a huge temperature differential. That has now been fixed.



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Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

"So I may have to deal with some blurriness unless anyone knows what I can do about that."
For games? If you have a 1280x720p projector, then spit out 1280x720 to it and pick higher AA over higher resolution. In-game text and UI elements will stay sharper and larger, and AA will balance out the resolution loss. 720p with AA to a 720p projector is a better choice than 1080p with lower AA values for the most part. 1080p with no AA is what you choose when 720p with AA is the lower performing setting and you are trying to squeeze more frames out of the system, then the downscaling gives you cheap kinda-AA.

I'll give it a shot but right now I'm running games at max AA and 1080p and it looks pretty darn good. A long far cry from Xbox. tongue.gif The eventual would be me getting a new projector which I plan to do anyway sooo... yeah. Hopefully this would be a non-issue at the end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pcweber111 View Post

I think too many people get hung up on the whole AMD vs. Intel debate. Get what is in your budget, OC it, and you will be fine. You could spend all day finding ways one processor is "worth it" more than another but eh we're at the point in games at least where there's been some pretty significant stagnation and it doesn't look to be getting any better for awhile. I run AMD on both my systems and have no performance issues whatsoever.
I personally would get another SSD and set them up in raid. I noticed a nice bump in performance on my main system doing that. The real world read/write speeds are very impressive. Also, since you're running Steam in big picture mode on a projector are you also using a game controller? I do a kb/m and 360 controller on my plasma and love the flexibility. Good job on the build, keep us informed on what changes you make. smile.gif

Currently not using Big Screen regularly as I am still installing stuff and just trying a game at a time. Especially those that come with built-in benchmarks. I like the Big Screen mode but it isn't perfect yet and I found some fumbling was needed between the k+m and 360 controller as Marafice Eye can attest to when we first tried it. I think it's cool but I wouldn't lose any sleep over not using it. I'll wait for it to mature a little more.

So far I'm pretty happy with the processor. There is just that part of me that would like an i7 as the laptop I'm currently on has one and I notice just an overall robustness using it. Idk but I like em but can live with out it as long as my games run well. Which they are so far. smile.gif

I do plan on getting more SSD's but I didn't plan on RAIDing them. So far, I am very happy with it's read/write speed. Now I just need more capacity for games I want on an SSD. I'll prolly pick up a 256gig soon for that.

Quote:
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Yep,
And the next generation of Intel will require a new motherboard anyway, so not as if buying low-end intel today with plans to upgrade in 1-2 years would save you on a new motherboard. Looks like a solid basic build. We sure are a long ways from my 386sx, which was my first build - and I had to shove individual RAM chips onto that board..

Thanks. Yeah, this isn't a super crazy cool build or anything. Just all the necessary stuff to get gaming done right. Definitely a long way from my first computer and a good deal from my last desktop.

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post #25 of 115 Old 09-16-2012, 03:46 PM
 
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Load up Prime95 and see if that CPU really is stable.
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post #26 of 115 Old 09-16-2012, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

Load up Prime95 and see if that CPU really is stable.

Yeah.... my first try at overclocking was not stable..... with Prime95 anyway. rolleyes.gif Worked fine under normal conditions but what does that prove? tongue.gif

Sooo...some tinkering, bad boots, blue screens...... I'm making serious progress. Well, I think I am. tongue.gif

Right now running Prime95 with a solid 4ghz and 1.3-ish voltage and mid 50's Celsius. Woot!






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post #27 of 115 Old 09-16-2012, 07:33 PM
 
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Once you decide that 4ghz is stable in Prime95, then leave Prime running and load up a GPU heavy benchmark like Heaven or 3Dmark. Stress the whole system at once that way.
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post #28 of 115 Old 09-16-2012, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Mmmmkay. So yeah. I felt good about that last OC but as soon as I posted that up and went to go check, it had rebooted.

*more tweaking, mostly raising the VCORE*

K...now I'm doing much better. Been running this current setting for over an hour now. Yes, I know the 'ballers' do it for 24hrs but I'm not feeling it and there is no way I'll have a 24hr endurance run with some fantasy game that runs all four cores at 100% at that. So no. This is better than anything I've done yet so I'll stick.

Here's the new pics:







And then, at the request of DLJ, I ran Heaven just once at full settings while Prime95 was still doing it's thing. It ran, it stuttered but it finished. Got this crappy score and this was the heat buildup after one go at that. tongue.gif





I think I'm doing pretty good and unless it's get unstable out of nowhere, I think I'll stick to 4ghz which is what I wanted anyway. biggrin.gif

Thanks!

My Dual 18" LLT subs 120dB down to 10hz

 

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post #29 of 115 Old 09-16-2012, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Went on for about 2.5hrs at these settings. Eh... done OC'ing for the night.

My Dual 18" LLT subs 120dB down to 10hz

 

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post #30 of 115 Old 09-17-2012, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Played some GTA4 last night on these settings (with a mild video OC) and it crashed twiced. Just the game, not the computer. Even had HWmonitor running in the background and there certainly wasn't any excessive heat or anything. Hmmm.

I think I might just drop the multiplier down to 18x where it seemed to be pretty stable. *shrugs* Borderlands 2 supposedly unlocks tonight so I will opt for stability. wink.gif

My Dual 18" LLT subs 120dB down to 10hz

 

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