Anyone building a sandy bridge htpc next month? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 97 Old 12-12-2010, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Just curious if anyone is planning a htpc build using sandybridge next month?

MOTHERBOARD: With 1 pin fewer than the clarkdales, will need new motherboard (probably h67 for us, rather than p67).

RAM: DDR3, should be able to re-use. Though not sure if it'll support the higher speeds 1600 or above.

CPU COOLER: Unlike the need for a new motherboard, I think we can get away with our current clarkdale coolers. Anyone know?

CPU: Out of the list below, the best bang should be Core i5 2400S/2500S/2500T. If you want hyperthreading, pony up to Core i7 2600s. All of these are TDP 65w or less, not that it matters much for htpc. The reason I say that is because the GPU would do the decoding for hd video. The rest of the time this 24x7 system should be idle. Hyperthreading, clearly not needed for basic htpc needs. Now for transcoding AVX should be an interesting option (soon). Perhaps that may be a reason to get Hyperthreading. Also getting the i5/i7 since I want the slightly faster proc for perhaps some mild gaming when I'm not on my gaming rig. Also speeds up things like unzipping/rar decoding/rar repair/etc. Now I don't have any info on how fast the onboard GPU is for the various processors below. Anyone know?


Model Cores Frequency Turbo Frequency L3 cache HyperThreading TDP Price
Core i5-2300 4 2.8 GHz 3.1 GHz 6 MB No 95 Watt $177
Core i5-2400 4 3.1 GHz 3.4 GHz 6 MB No 95 Watt $184
Core i5-2400S 4 2.5 GHz 3.3 GHz 6 MB No 65 Watt $195
Core i5-2500 4 3.3 GHz 3.7 GHz 6 MB No 95 Watt $205
Core i5-2500K 4 3.3 GHz 3.7 GHz 6 MB No 95 Watt $216
Core i5-2500S 4 2.7 GHz 3.7 GHz 6 MB No 65 Watt $216
Core i5-2500T 4 2.3 GHz 3.3 GHz 6 MB No 45 Watt $216
Core i7-2600 4 3.4 GHz 3.8 GHz 8 MB Yes 95 Watt $294
Core i7-2600K 4 3.4 GHz 3.8 GHz 8 MB Yes 95 Watt $317
Core i7-2600S 4 2.8 GHz 3.8 GHz 8 MB Yes 65 Watt $306










FAQ (most answers by Jan 6 2/2 nda):
1) 23.976 fixed?
2) 3d support?
3) ram support 1333 or higher? [probably 1333 - source anyone?]
4) cpu cooler support (can we use current clarkdale coolers)? [probably can use - source anyone?]
5) hd audio support on all the new sb chips or missing in the lower end ones?
6) flash acceleration?
7) avx benefit for us - transcoding acceleration?
8) aes-ni - carry over from clarkdales?
9) Dynamic turbo exceeding stock tdp if well cooled - another reason to invest in better cooling?
10) which chips have 6 vs 12 EU (intel gfx sub-system)
11) ofcourse the big one - benchmarks - cpu/gpu
12) can gpu takeover for low load even with discrete card onboard.
13) mb to offer sata2 x4 and sata3 x2 (total 6 sata) on the h67's
14) usb 3.0 most likely offered by 3rd party chip on mb (not intel).
15) Some mb like msi to offer two slots of pcie x16 (x16/x1 if both used). So we could add a gfx card later if needed. This mb also has two x1, one of which can be used for ceton quad tuner.
16) Most mb should offer UEFI (see link above for msi).

Anymore - let me know and I'll add.

Unofficial benchmarks with non-officially released (beta?) bios/builds (nda to lift jan 6th):

src oddly mem read/write was reported by author to be "horrible"

NEW HEATSINK:
src
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post #2 of 97 Old 12-12-2010, 04:37 PM
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I would be willing to replace my core i5 HTPC build but would want to see the following two items confirmed working with Sandy Bridge:

- Full 3D support without need for a separate GPU
- If 23.976 issue has been resolved

I already own TMT so I can use the Arcsoft Video Decoder to get past the VC-1 limitation with MPC HC

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post #3 of 97 Old 12-12-2010, 05:17 PM
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Building an HTPC gaming rig if reasonably priced M-ITX boards from Asus, Gigabyte or Intel get released at the same time. Will probably give my dad the i5-760+GTS 450 it will be replacing. He really just needs more RAM (he only has 2GB right now) and an SSD for his PC but I've got a case of upgraditis.
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post #4 of 97 Old 12-12-2010, 09:41 PM
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i am currently using a athlon II x2 240 and a hd5450 coupled with a bunch of spare parts in a case thats far too big and stupidly bright led's as the htpc. i am in the middle of pulling together things for a new pc, new case and power supply, was about to get an i5 760 when the announcement popped up about these, thank goodness im slow about getting around to doing these things! will most likely be getting the straight i5 2500 or 2500k. would love to see the i3 pup up in the zino!
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post #5 of 97 Old 12-13-2010, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
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So anyone know if the 1600+ ddr3 would be safe to buy. Some interesting holiday sales going on and wanted to lock in the savings.
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post #6 of 97 Old 12-13-2010, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ymarker View Post

So anyone know if the 1600+ ddr3 would be safe to buy. Some interesting holiday sales going on and wanted to lock in the savings.

I highly doubt that the CPUs will default to 1600, but I'm sure the motherboards will support it.

Honestly, you'll see a bigger performance gain from lowering the timings instead of increasing the speed.

And the best HTPC chip in that list looks to be the i3 2100T. 35W TDP and you may be able to get away with no CPU fan.
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post #7 of 97 Old 12-13-2010, 10:44 AM
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I have been thinking about waiting as well. However, to be honest, I'm not sure if it's worth it over an i3 system. I'm guessing, since the i3 system already has a 32nm CPU , the power difference of the dual core systems is low. Frankly, I have no faith the 24hz issue is fixed so you would still need something like a ATI 5450 for video. I'm also guessing there will be a 'premium' for a couple months. Plus, since this is a new chipset, there will most likely be some bugs to work out.

anyway, my 2 cents.
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post #8 of 97 Old 12-13-2010, 01:59 PM
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Given my very good experience with Core i3 540+H55. I will likely replace an existing e5300+G45 based system with a Sandy Bridge. I expect to drop my power use from the G45 based system by 40-50 watts while getting better UI performance.
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post #9 of 97 Old 12-13-2010, 03:23 PM
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I'm still doing research on my next PC. Not sure if I want to make a low power PC to hook up to a TV or more of a gaming PC to replace my current P4 one. I'm guessing SB leans more towards the low power.
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post #10 of 97 Old 12-13-2010, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I was curious if the higher tdp matters if the CPU would be idling most of the time considering gpu would decode.
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post #11 of 97 Old 12-13-2010, 04:25 PM
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I have a core i5 HTPC in my bedroom (mini ITX Zotac mobo). In my family room I have an AMD HTPC(785G Gigabyte mobo w/ 5670 GPU). Between the two the core i5 HTPC has been a lot more stable and reliable for me. I am about to do another clean install on my AMD HTPC, I turned it on today and for whatever reason the screen is way out of focus and cannot get back. I h ave also have issues with consistent wake from sleep, etc... Once we start seeing some details/reviews on Sandy bridge I may look to replace the AMD HTPC with Sandy

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post #12 of 97 Old 12-14-2010, 09:04 AM
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Damian, doesn't the 785G have onboard video? Just curious why you added the 5670. I run an AMD 780G on my LCD and it's my "on 24/7, record everything, stream everything to all my pc's" computer and it's pretty rock solid.
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post #13 of 97 Old 12-14-2010, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perpetual98 View Post

Damian, doesn't the 785G have onboard video? Just curious why you added the 5670. I run an AMD 780G on my LCD and it's my "on 24/7, record everything, stream everything to all my pc's" computer and it's pretty rock solid.

Main reason is for HD Audio bitstreaming support, which you can't get from the onboard video on the 785G. That is what I like about the Clarkdale, the onboard GPU supports HD Audio so no need to add a dedicated GPU

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post #14 of 97 Old 12-14-2010, 09:35 AM
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Ahh, gotcha. That makes sense. I'm not running surround on that PC (the room just isn't conducive to surround) so I don't need anything more than stereo audio. My TV in the basement has optical out and I use that for 5.1, but the receiver stinks, so I don't need anything higher at the moment. We are moving in the next 6 months or so, so I'm hoping the new place we live in has a room that I can set up with a nicer theater setup at which point I will buy a new stereo. I don't think I'll go full blown 7.1 though at this point.
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post #15 of 97 Old 12-14-2010, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perpetual98 View Post

Ahh, gotcha. That makes sense. I'm not running surround on that PC (the room just isn't conducive to surround) so I don't need anything more than stereo audio. My TV in the basement has optical out and I use that for 5.1, but the receiver stinks, so I don't need anything higher at the moment. We are moving in the next 6 months or so, so I'm hoping the new place we live in has a room that I can set up with a nicer theater setup at which point I will buy a new stereo. I don't think I'll go full blown 7.1 though at this point.

Yeah, if it wasn't for the speaker setup I don't know if I would get a separate GPU (I don't game so that isn't a consideration). I have never compared the processing of the onboard GPU vs the card (probably the bigger concern would be deinterlacing). Actually, with the core i5 I have been very happy using the onboard GPU which gives full HD Audio support (I actually originally purchased a 5450 to add but after just using the onboard for a few weeks sold the card)

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post #16 of 97 Old 12-14-2010, 09:28 PM
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Call me crazy but the pentium G620T sounds like the best bet to me. Low wattage and pretty inexpensive. Its pretty much the only one in that lineup that would tempt me away from the zacate system I'm planning on. Will the pentium chips get the same graphics as the "core" chips? I'm still thinking AMD's graphics core are going to be better than intel's. Supposedly zacate will fully support all HDMI 1.4a features, if this can be believed.
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post #17 of 97 Old 12-14-2010, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbone1026 View Post

I have a core i5 HTPC in my bedroom (mini ITX Zotac mobo). In my family room I have an AMD HTPC(785G Gigabyte mobo w/ 5670 GPU). Between the two the core i5 HTPC has been a lot more stable and reliable for me. I am about to do another clean install on my AMD HTPC, I turned it on today and for whatever reason the screen is way out of focus and cannot get back. I h ave also have issues with consistent wake from sleep, etc... Once we start seeing some details/reviews on Sandy bridge I may look to replace the AMD HTPC with Sandy


My 785G asus HTPC has been rock solid. I leave it on 24/7 and it never has issues. It could get flaky once in a while with sleep enabled, but I think that is somewhat normal.
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post #18 of 97 Old 12-16-2010, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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So the DDR3 1600 ram went on sale at newegg down to $99 for 8gb (2x4gb). The cas timings aren't that impressive but the price is. I'd also have like to buy 1.35V or less, but 1.5V is still better than the 1.65V I've seen out there.

Hopefully these will work well for next month's sandy bridge build.

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post #19 of 97 Old 12-17-2010, 03:15 PM
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Just wondering, anyone here already have parts lists for their tentative builds?

Planning on the following for HTPC Gaming:
  • Case/PSU: Silverstone Sugo SG05BB w/450W PSU, $120
  • MB: LGA-1155 M-ITX (preferrably Gigabyte), $120
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K, $350
  • GPU: GTX 460 1GB GDDR5, $200
  • RAM: Kingston 2x4GB DDR3 1333, $150
  • HSF: Corsair H50, $80
  • HDD (OS): Intel X25-M G2 120GB (G3 if available at reasonable prices), $230
  • Estimated Cost: $1,250

And here's a somewhat more tempered version of the above:
  • Case/PSU: Silverstone Sugo SG05BB w/450W PSU, $120
  • MB: LGA-1155 M-ITX (preferrably Gigabyte), $120
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K, $250
  • GPU: GTX 460 1GB GDDR5, $200
  • RAM: Kingston 2x2GB DDR3 1333, $50
  • HSF: Corsair H50, $80
  • HDD (OS): OCZ Vertex 2 60GB, $130
  • Estimated Cost: $950
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post #20 of 97 Old 12-17-2010, 03:51 PM
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Probably do 2100T to replace my E5300, new MLB, use the on-chip GPU (it supports bitstreaming, right?) Otherwise, I might have to leave my HTPC alone and use this for my desktop. The MLB died on it the other day, so I'm waiting to see how this all fleshes out.
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post #21 of 97 Old 12-17-2010, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post

Just wondering, anyone here already have parts lists for their tentative builds?

Planning on the following for HTPC Gaming:
...

Why not grab the cheaper 8gb ram ddr3 1600 (though cas9) at the egg (see if it's still available: $99.99 with code EMCZNZT38, link is above in the picture in my post). The reviews are great for the ram.

On the issue of where to divert additional funds (faster cpu VS the discrete gpu) may perhaps depend on the type of games played. For instance crysis is known to typically cpu bottlenecked, versus most of the other newer games tend to be GPU restrained esp when playing at higher resolutions with all bells and whistles turned on.

On SSD, it's a shame that intel has delayed gen 3 of their excellent ssd. I have the gen 2 (x25m 80gb gen 2) and it's one of my better ssd.

I previously had a gaming pc + htpc combined. Over the years, I'm switching that strategy to a dedicated gaming pc, then a combined htpc+nas which will be on 24/7. Ofcourse this sort of hinges on certain improvements that hopefully intel does aka fixing the 24fps issue (23.976) on the hd video front in the upcoming SB.
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post #22 of 97 Old 12-17-2010, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ymarker View Post
Why not grab the cheaper 8gb ram ddr3 1600 (though cas9) at the egg (see if it's still available: $99.99 with code EMCZNZT38, link is above in the picture in my post). The reviews are great for the ram.
After boot issues with gaming/high-performance memory (despite the modules running at standard voltages), I'm now sticking to standard value memory and both Kingston and Crucial have never failed to deliver. Bonus points for Kingston since it's extremely low profile. I never have to worry whether an HSF will block the RAM slots since it's so short.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ymarker View Post
On the issue of where to divert additional funds (faster cpu VS the discrete gpu) may perhaps depend on the type of games played. For instance crysis is known to typically cpu bottlenecked, versus most of the other newer games tend to be GPU restrained esp when playing at higher resolutions with all bells and whistles turned on.
It'll mostly be used for console emulation, the most difficult of which is PCSX2 (PS2 emulator). Perhaps I'll even branch out to Dolphin (Gamecube/Wii emulator). PCSX2 is heavily, heavily CPU bottlenecked and there are games where even a Core i7 @ 4GHz isn't enough for full speed (at least without speedhacks). Even running at 1920x1080, a GTS 250 is actually more than plenty for most games. Upon further consideration, I might actually drop down to a GTX 460 SE. The most important parameter for PCSX2 is the graphics memory bandwidth and the GTX 460 SE and GTX 460 1GB are nearly the same on that front (108.8 GB/s vs 115.2 GB/s) while being $40 cheaper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ymarker View Post
I previously had a gaming pc + htpc combined. Over the years, I'm switching that strategy to a dedicated gaming pc, then a combined htpc+nas which will be on 24/7. Ofcourse this sort of hinges on certain improvements that hopefully intel does aka fixing the 24fps issue (23.976) on the hd video front in the upcoming SB.
Since these are console games, I'll be using an actual gamepad (and motion controller for Wii). I'll be playing from the couch hence combining HTPC and gaming functions is actually quite ideal.
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post #23 of 97 Old 12-18-2010, 01:01 AM
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I'll be watching this thread but I think I'll sit out Sandy Bridge. My lowly Q6600 in main pc and E5200 in Htpc are still going strong and I don't really feel the need for any more power. The last major upgrade I did was an ssd and that made a difference.

SB is interesting because it will provide the same or higher performance at lower TDP, but I'm going to wait till ICHR11 and native USB3 (or Lightpeak) come.
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post #24 of 97 Old 12-18-2010, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
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I'll be watching this thread but I think I'll sit out Sandy Bridge. My lowly Q6600 in main pc and E5200 in Htpc are still going strong and I don't really feel the need for any more power. The last major upgrade I did was an ssd and that made a difference.

For a pure playback HTPC, there's really no need to upgrade the CPU once you've got a Conroe/Wolfdale 2.4 GHz or faster (at least not until you start getting into newer tech such as Blu-ray 3D, and even that can be mitigated by a GPU upgrade). We've long since passed the point where desktop processors are fast enough for most common tasks (web surfing, word processing, etc). As you've noticed, the best upgrade to boost performance is an SSD.

Personally, I don't need to upgrade. I'm just itching to build a new PC.
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post #25 of 97 Old 12-18-2010, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post

For a pure playback HTPC, there's really no need to upgrade the CPU once you've got a Conroe/Wolfdale 2.4 GHz or faster (at least not until you start getting into newer tech such as Blu-ray 3D, and even that can be mitigated by a GPU upgrade). We've long since passed the point where desktop processors are fast enough for most common tasks (web surfing, word processing, etc). As you've noticed, the best upgrade to boost performance is an SSD.

Personally, I don't need to upgrade. I'm just itching to build a new PC.

Totally agree. The main bottlenecks in HTPCs are storage and networking, not processing power.
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post #26 of 97 Old 12-18-2010, 02:17 PM
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P67 boards are now available in Taiwan and I've seen i7-2600k ES CPU's on ebay from a seller in Taiwan.
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post #27 of 97 Old 12-18-2010, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post

For a pure playback HTPC, there's really no need to upgrade the CPU once you've got a Conroe/Wolfdale 2.4 GHz or faster (at least not until you start getting into newer tech such as Blu-ray 3D, and even that can be mitigated by a GPU upgrade). We've long since passed the point where desktop processors are fast enough for most common tasks (web surfing, word processing, etc). As you've noticed, the best upgrade to boost performance is an SSD.

Personally, I don't need to upgrade. I'm just itching to build a new PC.

Not to hi-jack this thread, but I have an older XW4400 with a conroe processor (775 board) that I would like to update. It would help if I could confirm who made the MOBO but not much luck using HP model number..

My basic question if I can pick a Wolfdale CPU and a better cooler and be done with this?

As for a new build next year...Waiting and reading. Current HTPC is built around an I5-650 on a Gigabyte board, and it's VERY stable.
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post #28 of 97 Old 12-18-2010, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by tomandbeth View Post

Not to hi-jack this thread, but I have an older XW4400 with a conroe processor (775 board) that I would like to update. It would help if I could confirm who made the MOBO but not much luck using HP model number.

The 975X chipset doesn't officially support 45nm processors so chances are you won't be able to upgrade to Wolfdale.
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post #29 of 97 Old 12-20-2010, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post
The 975X chipset doesn't officially support 45nm processors so chances are you won't be able to upgrade to Wolfdale.
Thanks. Digging around the last few days left me with the conclusion to just leave this one particular computer alone and save the $$$ for a new build next year from scratch.
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post #30 of 97 Old 12-21-2010, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Got the PSU (fanless seasonic x400) for the future sandy bridge build 1 (htpc+nas).



Microcenter has them for $109 after $20 MIR.

For another build - Still pondering whether I'll upgrade the e6600 c2d on my gaming rig with radeon 5850 powering a 30" 2560x1600 which has started to get choppy with some games like cod black ops.

Some numbers for the various psu:

Seasonic X400 link
DC (w) 21.6 42.6 65.9 90.5
EFF 69.8% 80.4% 84.5% 85.40%
AC (w) 31 53 78 106
delta (w) 9.4 10.4 12.1 15.5

Seasonic X650
DC (w) 22 43 66 92
EFF 65.1% 77.3% 82.6% 86.60%
AC (w) 33 55 80 106
delta (w) 11 12 14 14

Enermax 87+ 500w
DC (w) 21.8 43.4 65.6 88.5
EFF 62.2% 77.50% 84.10% 85.90%
AC (w) 33 56 78 103
delta (w) 11.2 12.6 12.4 14.5
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