Ivy bridge HTPC Build sanity check - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 10:36 AM
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I tend to view PSU quality in terms of performance/$$. There's no point in getting a platinum rated unit for 3x the cost when you will never make back that expense in energy savings. I want a PSU to be reliable, competitively priced, the right wattage rating for my application, and quiet - in that order of preference.
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post #32 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 10:45 AM
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I think people should read this from Tom's Hardware:

Picking The Right Power Supply: What You Should Know

and

Don't Be Surprised When Your Cheap PSU Blows Up

The first of the above concludes as follows:

If You Don't Like Our Advice, Buy A Fire Extinguisher
So, What Did We Learn Today?

At the end of this little analysis, we can summarize our findings in five concise bullet points.
1.Choosing the right capacity is often more effective than choosing the wrong PSU with a higher efficiency rating.
2.Buying too big just to be on the safe side is counter-productive and only makes sense if you actually need the reserves.
3.Affordable 80 PLUS Gold and Bronze power supplies make sense in systems with a large power window.
4.Don't blindly believe the wattage numbers on the box. Be smart, think logically, check the numbers and do the math yourself.
5.Stay away from offers that are too good to be true. You can't get a good 500 W power supply for 40 bucks. That bargain might just blow up in your face. Literally.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You!
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post #33 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Here is the updated listing based on the wealth of feedback.

PCPartPicker part list

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
i5 to get the energy savings and graphics from the Ivy bridge and still get the HD4000 and potential overclocking in the future.

I was thinking the stock heatsink might be enough (though a bit noisier) and you guys seem to agree so I'll stick with that and monitor it over the insane amounts of 100 degree days we get in Austin. If it is getting hot, I can always get an aftermarket later.

Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($137.55 @ Newegg)

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($46.99 @ Newegg)

Hard Drive: Corsair Force Series 3 180GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($149.99 @ Newegg)
I picked up one of these that newegg had on sale for $150 with rebate to go along with the 2TB media drive I have in my old machine

Case: Silverstone GD04B HTPC Case ($82.99 @ Amazon)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Did you look at the GD04 case? It's the same internally but has a metal front and a more hidden optical drive.

I had both the 04 and 05 in the wishlist for a while as I didn't see a difference between them other than button placement and an optical drive eject button on the 04. Now that I know the 04 has a better face, I'll swap to it.

Power Supply: SeaSonic 400W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

the oracle of PSU reviews, JohnnyGuru.com, gives the Kingwin Stryker 500 (which I assume is what the OP is talking about) a very good evaluation. Not quite as good as the Seasonic x-400 fanless, but very good nonetheless. Compare Kingwin with Seasonic. So, for that and other reasons I agree with Assassin that the Seasonic is a better PSU (and more appropriately sized for this build) but the Kingwin isn't a bad choice.

Thanks for this, between the consensus here that 500w is overkill and the love for the seasonic, I'm swapping out to the seasonic 400w. I know I can go cheaper, but this sounds like a really good quality PS

Optical Drive: Lite-On iHES212-08 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($84.98 @ Newegg)
Swapped out to get the BR-R from Assassin's guide for the same price I already had for less hardware. Partpicker doesn't have the 207DBKS that is on my newegg wishlist.

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Might be able to get a home license for $10 through work.
Total: $922.47


I have a credit card that will give me $400 back after I spend $800, so that is where a bit of the quality upgrade mentality came from. Plus I'm rolling now instead of waiting until the i3 so I don't end up blowing my tax refund on something else first.


A huge Thanks for all the help (especially the guide, assassin. It will come in doubly useful when I get the software going), and sorry a PS war broke out.
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post #34 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 11:39 AM
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Why aren't you getting the mobo at microcenter. They'll give you $50 off if you buy it with the CPU and will probably match the newegg price too if they're more expensive.
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post #35 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nvts View Post

A huge Thanks for all the help (especially the guide, assassin. It will come in doubly useful when I get the software going)

Happy to help get you into HTPC.
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post #36 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

Why aren't you getting the mobo at microcenter. They'll give you $50 off if you buy it with the CPU and will probably match the newegg price too if they're more expensive.

+1 - They don't have the extreme, but they have the regular Z77 Pro4-M. I don't know what the extreme adds to the picture, but I can't think it'd be anything useful to an HTPC
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post #37 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

Why aren't you getting the mobo at microcenter. They'll give you $50 off if you buy it with the CPU and will probably match the newegg price too if they're more expensive.

I was confused by that too, because the OP lists Micro Center as the source for the cpu, but in post 7 wrote

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nvts View Post

No Micro Centers near.

That Micro Center $189 price is in store only. Mail ordering that cpu from Newegg or Amazon will set you back $244 or $249.

IF he is going to Micro Center, he should get a Z77 board there and get the $50 off. If he's not going to Micro Center, this is going to cost more than he currently is planning.
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post #38 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

Why aren't you getting the mobo at microcenter. They'll give you $50 off if you buy it with the CPU and will probably match the newegg price too if they're more expensive.

I hadn't worried much about stores or prices yet, I just used the part picker defaults. I made my list on newegg first. I'll worry about stores and prices once I have the right parts.

According to the website, the Microcenter deal is instore only, and they have a store in Houston or Dallas. Both are ~3 hours away from Austin. I could be missing something, the sites are cluttered and I have never heard of them before.

They also seem to have only the ASRock Z77 Pro4-M and not the Extreme4-M. Not that it may not work, but I hadn't looked at it.
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post #39 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

First, I agree that the 3570K is excessive. Today for an htpc I'd get an i3-2125 for $109 at Micro Center.

Second, if you do get an Ivy, then you want an H77 or Z77 motherboard. Plus, if you get a Z77 with a 3570K at Micro Center, you get $50 off (or, they gave me the $50 off an Intel H77 board last weekend, see story here.)

Third, for an htpc, if you think you absolutely want HD4000 graphics, I'd suggest waiting for the HD4000 version of the Ivy i3 which may be out in June.

Fourth, I's suggest no larger than a 400w PSU for that build. In PSUs, bigger is not necessarily better, and may end up being less efficient.

Finally, I don't think you need an aftermarket cooler. The stock one works fine if you're not overclocking. I also don't have any problem with 8gb of ram, and would probably do the same thing today. The Ripjaws X are a good choice. Did you look at the GD04 case? It's the same internally but has a metal front and a more hidden optical drive. Just a personal preference but I think it looks better. (Don't let anyone tell you it's hard to install the optical drive. It's not.)

Well said. I'd agree 100%
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post #40 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nvts View Post

According to the website, the Microcenter deal is instore only, and they have a store in Houston or Dallas. Both are ~3 hours away from Austin. I could be missing something, the sites are cluttered and I have never heard of them before.

I can't imagine it's worth driving 6 hours unless you were going there for something else.

But, if you want to see the specials, go to the first page of their website, click on the "shop our advertized specials" button, then click on the picture of the ad, and for Intel cpus and motherboards go to page 27.

Micro Center is always far cheaper than anyone else for cpus, but the cpus are always "in store only." Lots of other stuff can be mail ordered. I think the cpus are loss leaders to get you into the store.

Micro Center has been around for at least 12 years and is in most major metropolitan areas.
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post #41 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 12:39 PM
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I'm in a similar situation as I have a Microcenter nearby. I was planning on getting an i3-2125 ($110 @ Mc) and Asus ASUS P8Z68-M Pro (currently $110 @ Newegg)- total $220. But, I can get the Ivy i5-3570K and Asrock Z77 Pro4-M for $250. So, this should be a no brainer to get the Ivy right?
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post #42 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shanndogg View Post

I'm in a similar situation as I have a Microcenter nearby. I was planning on getting an i3-2125 ($110 @ Mc) and Asus ASUS P8Z68-M Pro (currently $110 @ Newegg)- total $220. But, I can get the Ivy i5-3570K and Asrock Z77 Pro4-M for $250. So, this should be a no brainer to get the Ivy right?

I'm not sure it's a no brainer, but I'd probably go for the 3570K too. I expect that some small amount of potential extra heat is probably the biggest consideration to the contrary. I don't know how big that difference might be between a 3570K and 2125 doing the same activities. Proabably not much. $30 that you probably don't need to spend is the other consideration.

Although I'd get an H77 or Z77 motherboard even if I was buying the 2125 (and actually intend to do just that for an ITX build).
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post #43 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

That's like saying this



is "better" or higher quality than this



because it gets better gas mileage. That's a total non sequitur. The 80+ rating is an efficiency rating, not a quality rating.

That said, the oracle of PSU reviews, JohnnyGuru.com, gives the Kingwin Stryker 500 (which I assume is what the OP is talking about) a very good evaluation. Not quite as good as the Seasonic x-400 fanless, but very good nonetheless. Compare Kingwin with Seasonic. So, for that and other reasons I agree with Assassin that the Seasonic is a better PSU (and more appropriately sized for this build) but the Kingwin isn't a bad choice.

BTW, just a guess, but the seeming inflation in 80+ scores, much of it by PSUs by lousy manufacturers, suggests to me that the companies with their new models are gaming the system and have figured out how to score high on the 80+ tests while building cheap junk. Same way as car manufacturers figured out how to design a car that did well getting hit at very specific speeds from very specific angles in order to score high on the DOT crash tests. Always cracks me up when some Korean or Japanese econobox scores higher than an S Class Mercedes or a Volvo S80. Obviously the PSU mfgs are hoping that there are plenty of suckers out there assuming "hey, it got a gold or platinum 80+ score so it must be the best PSU." Judging from this thread, they're probably right.

But if you use cheap capacitors, and leave out good circuit protection, and have poor mfg QC, it's still junk, regardless of the 80+ score.

You could compare something like a Toyota Camry to the BMW 5 series though. Antec to seasonic, the antec is affordable practical and well built.
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post #44 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 06:34 PM
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Damn, they are out of the ASRock Z77 Pro4-M board at my store. My choices are Gigabyte GA-Z77MX-D3H or Gigabyte GA-Z77M-D3H. Any major difference or need I should look out for between the two?

Also, I know the 3570k is overkill and it is most likely there will not be a visible performance difference between it and a i3-2125, but will there be a performance benefit to how XBMC runs and operates with the i5?
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post #45 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shanndogg View Post

Also, I know the 3570k is overkill and it is most likely there will not be a visible performance difference between it and a i3-2125, but will there be a performance benefit to how XBMC runs and operates with the i5?

Absolutely none.
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post #46 of 46 Old 05-09-2012, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

You could compare something like a Toyota Camry to the BMW 5 series though. Antec to seasonic, the antec is affordable practical and well built.

You completely missed the point. It doesn't matter if you're comparing a Fiat to a BMW, a Toyota to a BMW, a Ferrarri to a Lamborghini, or a Mercedes to a Kia. Gas mileage is a measure of fuel efficiency, not a measure of the relative quality of the cars. Same with PSUs. It doesn't matter if you're comparing Seasonics, FSPs, Kingwins, Corsairs, OCZs, Antecs, or anything else. Which has a higher 80+ score is a measure of relative efficiency judged against the 80+ standards. It's not a measure of the relative quality of the PSUs.

Which is why you need to rely on manufacturer reputations and reviews from reputable places like JohnnyGuru, Tom's, and Hardware Secrets - people who actually tear them down, look at the components, and test them. When you're buying a Seasonic or FSP you can at least rely on reputation because you know they made them and both are quality manufacturers. It's more difficult when you buy an Antec, Corsair, Cooler Master, OCZ, or most of the rest because most of those companies don't make PSUs. They either rebadge existing PSUs or have them custom made by a PSU manufacturer. It helps to know who that manufacturer is. So you need to check out the model or line and see who actually makes it. And sometimes that changes. For example the older Antec Earthwatts EA380 was made by Seasonic. The current "D" model is made by Delta. It may still be good which is why one would want to look for genuine reviews. But you can't categorically say Antec builds quality PSUs because Antec doesn't build ANY PSUs. Now Antec seems to be fairly diligent regarding what they put their name on, but I'd still want to know who built it.

But regardless, the 80+ rating is not a measure of relative quality, but only of the relative 80+ efficiency rating, just as fuel economy is a measure of just that, not a measure of the quality of the car, which was the only point of my post.
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