Ivy bridge HTPC Build sanity check - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I have built one PC successfully, but I am in no means an expert so I hope to get a couple pairs of eyeballs on this as I start watching prices in the next couple weeks.

I’m looking to make a system for the living room for the next 4-5 years and wanted a bit of a sanity check that everything will fit together. It will be on all the time and will be mostly recording shows over the air or streaming with some light gaming (Diablo 3, for example) I’m looking at the Ivy core to handle the graphics and if they are not good enough, I’ll either upgrade later or stick the card from the other machine in. I’m looking to stick it into my stereo rack so using the HTPC case.

I have a Hauppauge tuner card and a 2TB hd for media in my old machine that I will transfer over.


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.

CPU Cooler: Scythe BIG Shuriken 2 Rev. B 45.5 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($41.98 @ NCIX US)
Couldn’t see many fans that would fit in a HTPC case. I read a bit that these may have issues with hitting the ram

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
No real preference on a MB as long as it has a HDMI port and USB3. Not too many micro boards with HDMI and usb3, and I tried to get one with a good rating. I do see this having some quality issues, but I didn’t see many with loads of reviews.

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($46.99 @ Newegg)
No real preference, went with well rated.

Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($119.00 @ B&H)
For OS and a few apps. Tried to get one of these for $99 with the newegg shell shocker deal, but they were sold out in under 10 minutes. :-p

Case: Silverstone GD05B HTPC Case ($88.00 @ Amazon)
A case that fits in my stand.

Power Supply: Kingwin 500W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($157.74 @ Mwave)
A 80 platinum rated no fan solid sounding PS. Only ~300 watts calculated so I have plenty of power.

Optical Drive: Lite-On iHES212-08 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($84.98 @ Newegg)
No preference, though I would want it to come with the crappy blu ray software so no OEM.

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

Total: $ 918.66

Does that look like it will work and all fit in the box?

Thanks for looking.

Edit: See page 2 for updates
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post #2 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 04:07 PM
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Personally I would drop that power supply for something like an antec earthwatts 380, but if you have the money to burn I guess its good.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817371033

Its a very solid PSU and pretty much inaudible.
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post #3 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 04:53 PM
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What are you going to be using this for? As an HTPC its a bit over powered (quad core, 8GB RAM). Also, I would use the stock heatsink and only trade up if its too loud. With good airflow in the case this rig will run cool so the fan RPMs can be kept quite low. Also I agree with jeffkro - 500w is unnecessary unless you add a discrete vid card or several more HDDs.
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post #4 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 04:56 PM
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Why buy a Z68 motherboard?

I'd go for a Z77. Perhaps an Asus P8Z77-M or Gigabyte GA-Z77M-D3H

I have that Kingwin PSU in my HTPC, but I have a completely fanless system, not a single fan in the entire machine. Since you already will have some fans in your system, you could save some money on the PSU -- get one with a quiet fan -- and it will not add to the noise already being generated from other fans. But the fanless Kingwin is a very nice PSU, so if you want to spend a little extra "just because", then go for it.
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post #5 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 05:02 PM
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I suggest you read the stickies.

Or look here as I have added my thoughts and recs on the new Ivy Bridge components.

http://assassinhtpcblog.com/?page_id=160
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post #6 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 05:18 PM
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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.)
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post #7 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I suggest you read the stickies.

Or look here as I have added my thoughts and recs on the new Ivy Bridge components.

http://assassinhtpcblog.com/?page_id=160

That is a wonderful guide, and I wish I had saw that when I was looking through all this stuff last week. Would have saved me a lot of newegg time at work.

I'm going to swap to the ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M LGA board. Not too many reviews on it and I didn't look at many items with few reviews.

Think I will stay with the Kingwin unless it wouldn't fit. With wanting this to last a while and using it as a bit more than a pure HTPC, I will undoubtedly add a video card and more hard drives in the future. 500 gives me some room to grow over time without worrying if I have enough wattage.

No Micro Centers near.
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post #8 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nvts View Post

That is a wonderful guide, and I wish I had saw that when I was looking through all this stuff last week. Would have saved me a lot of newegg time at work.

I'm going to swap to the ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M LGA board. Not too many reviews on it and I didn't look at many items with few reviews.

Think I will stay with the Kingwin unless it wouldn't fit. With wanting this to last a while and using it as a bit more than a pure HTPC, I will undoubtedly add a video card and more hard drives in the future. 500 gives me some room to grow over time without worrying if I have enough wattage.

No Micro Centers near.

Thanks. The guide has been on AVS for well over a year now. Its outgrown the AVS forum software though and I get multiple timeouts when trying to update so I am moving it over to my blog.

In any event there aren't many reviews on any of the boards because many of them have only been out a few months. Take Newegg reviews with a grain of salt anyway.

And the best passive PSU is the Seasonic X-series without question.
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post #9 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

And the best passive PSU is the Seasonic X-series without question.

No, the Kingwin is better. It is higher efficiency.
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post #10 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

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.

[HIJACK]
So, I've been contemplating the math on this with the $50 MicroCenter bundle deal in mind. Let's say the i3-3225 comes out at $139.99 or even $129.99 as the i3-2125 was for a while. There is usually never a bundle deal on the i3s. So, if the i5-3570K gets a $50 deal, essentially making it $189.99-$50 = $139.99 does it really make sense to wait for the i3-3225 other than to perhaps save some heat in the 22W TDP difference? The math is really good if you go with the $109.99 Asrock Z77 mATX board they're offering in the bundle.

$249.99 + tax for the i5-3570K with the ASRock Z77 mATX board seems like a really, really good deal that the i3-3225 + Z77 or even a good H77 might only beat by 10 dollars come June/July.

Of course, with MicroCenter not in the picture it's a different story.
[/HIJACK]

 

 

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post #11 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 07:51 PM
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Also, it is very unlikely the core i3 3225 will be out in June. All the credible rumors say Q3, so it looks like it would be a 2 to 4 month wait.
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post #12 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

No, the Kingwin is better. It is higher efficiency.

At 40 watts? (which is what his HTPC will be running at)

I doubt it. Very little difference between "Gold" and "Platinum" at low wattage when using a 500w PSU. Its about the parts and manufacturing as well and not just about the efficiency sticker on the box.

Most PSUs have the greatest efficiency at 50% load. That's why many of us who have been doing this for a little while recommend against the larger PSUs like in his first post.

BTW this is the efficiency at LOAD:

80+ = 80%
Bronze = ~83%
Silver = ~86%
Gold = ~89%
Platinum = ~92%

So almost no difference for a HTPC running at 30-50 watts on a 380+ watt PSU. There are also more important things like ripple suppression and voltage regulation. Unfortunately there is no cool sticker for those.
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post #13 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 08:51 PM
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There is nothing wrong with that machine. I would put in a blu-ray burner and an HD7870 video card with the plan to game on it (everything else is pretty gaming capable). As many others have said, there are places you can save money, but that computer is still cheaper than adding leather seats or a sun roof to a new car, so it is all relative and depends on what you have to spend.
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post #14 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nvts View Post

Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($119.00 @ B&H)
For OS and a few apps. Tried to get one of these for $99 with the newegg shell shocker deal, but they were sold out in under 10 minutes. :-p

Still available at $99.99 at Newegg's store on EBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Crucial-M4-C...-/290709173190

 

 

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post #15 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nvts View Post

That is a wonderful guide, and I wish I had saw that when I was looking through all this stuff last week. Would have saved me a lot of newegg time at work.

I'm going to swap to the ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M LGA board. Not too many reviews on it and I didn't look at many items with few reviews.

Think I will stay with the Kingwin unless it wouldn't fit. With wanting this to last a while and using it as a bit more than a pure HTPC, I will undoubtedly add a video card and more hard drives in the future. 500 gives me some room to grow over time without worrying if I have enough wattage.

No Micro Centers near.

How bout the PCP&C MKIII 500W, i'm using this in a similar SS GD04 case and it is very quiet.

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post #16 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jdastas View Post

How bout the PCP&C MKIII 500W, i'm using this in a similar SS GD04 case and it is very quiet.

Why would you get one with a fan and hope its quiet when you can get a passive model where you know its quiet?

I have the Seasonic X-400FL in my latest HTPC build, and it works just fine. The case i used had vents just above the PSU slot where normally the PSU fan would suck air, but perfect for a passive model so the heat can dissipate up and out of the case.
Its a known problem of all PSUs that at very low load the efficiency goes out the window.

Neither 80 PLUS Platinum or Gold specify a efficiency at 10% load, they start at 20%, and both are very close to each other (88% vs 90%). For a HTPC, i would generally just not buy a too big PSU, because they might scale well in the higher wattages, but the low power mode your HTPC will run at will most likely suffer.

Both the Seasonic and the Kingwin are probably good PSUs, but don't just buy them because of some sticker, is all.
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post #17 of 46 Old 05-07-2012, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I doubt it.

Doubt all you want, you're still wrong. You said the Seasonic X was best without question. Wrong. There is a question, since the Kingwin is higher efficiency, platinum rated instead of gold. No need to quote 80+ statistics to me, I am quite familiar with them.

If you had said you like the Seasonic X better, or the efficiency of the Seasonic X is only a little worse than the Kingwin, then I would not have corrected you. But you said the Seasonic X is "best...without question". That's where you're wrong.
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post #18 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 01:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

Doubt all you want, you're still wrong. You said the Seasonic X was best without question. Wrong. There is a question, since the Kingwin is higher efficiency, platinum rated instead of gold. No need to quote 80+ statistics to me, I am quite familiar with them.

If you had said you like the Seasonic X better, or the efficiency of the Seasonic X is only a little worse than the Kingwin, then I would not have corrected you. But you said the Seasonic X is "best...without question". That's where you're wrong.

Since when does the efficiency correlate with best quality? Thats only one measure.

You have your opinion. I have mine. They are both allowed and are both equally valid.
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post #19 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 04:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdastas View Post

How bout the PCP&C MKIII 500W, i'm using this in a similar SS GD04 case and it is very quiet.

[IMG]http://www.pcpower.com/images/products
/b/mkIII_500_3888.jpg[/IMG]


I have 3 of these . 2 - 400 watt versions and 1 - 600 watt version . Haven't used the 600 yet but I love this psu . Performs great and is darn near dead silent and can be picked up cheap. A real "sleeper" if you ask me !
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post #20 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

No, the Kingwin is better. It is higher efficiency.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

Doubt all you want, you're still wrong. You said the Seasonic X was best without question. Wrong. There is a question, since the Kingwin is higher efficiency, platinum rated instead of gold.

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.
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post #21 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdastas View Post

How bout the PCP&C MKIII 500W, i'm using this in a similar SS GD04 case and it is very quiet.

How bout the PCP&C MKIII 400W, which would be more appropriately sized for this build, even if a discrete GPU and a couple hard drives are going to be added.
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post #22 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nvts View Post


I'm going to swap to the ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M LGA board. Not too many reviews on it and I didn't look at many items with few reviews.




Anand has a multi board comparison test today that includes the ATX big brother to the ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M. They liked it. Look here:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5793/i...gabyte-and-msi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

How bout the PCP&C MKIII 400W, which would be more appropriately sized for this build, even if a discrete GPU and a couple hard drives are going to be added.

This! Plus its on sale at the egg + there's a mail in rebate. Total after rebate is $40 and you can spend the savings over the Kingwin on a 2TB HDD.
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post #24 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

[HIJACK]
So, I've been contemplating the math on this with the $50 MicroCenter bundle deal in mind. Let's say the i3-3225 comes out at $139.99 or even $129.99 as the i3-2125 was for a while. There is usually never a bundle deal on the i3s. So, if the i5-3570K gets a $50 deal, essentially making it $189.99-$50 = $139.99 does it really make sense to wait for the i3-3225 other than to perhaps save some heat in the 22W TDP difference? The math is really good if you go with the $109.99 Asrock Z77 mATX board they're offering in the bundle.

$249.99 + tax for the i5-3570K with the ASRock Z77 mATX board seems like a really, really good deal that the i3-3225 + Z77 or even a good H77 might only beat by 10 dollars come June/July.

Of course, with MicroCenter not in the picture it's a different story.
[/HIJACK]

I was actually going through this same thinking in reality last week. I bought the 3570K for a desktop build because I could get the $50 off on a full ATX Z77 (or as it turns out, an H77) motherboard, making the CPU price, as you say, $139.99. Why buy an i3 or SB i5 at that point? And if I was building an m-ATX htpc, I might well have used that same math and gone with the 3570K. But personally, I'm planning an ITX build, and Micro Center carries no ITX motherboards, so I can't get the $50 off, and at that point, the i3-2125 at $109 seems like a wiser choice than the $189 overkill 3570K. Of course there is a downside, in that the bigger CPU will likely produce some extra heat (even if that increase is small) which means more required cooling which means more noise, which doesn't matter much in a desktop but does in an HTPC.

Plainly the i-3 is more "appropriate" but at $139, I suspect I'd take the bait and buy the overkill. Maybe fortunately, by ignoring the ITX market, Micro Center made the choice for me.

BTW, similar thing happened when I was building a desktop for my wife last year. I was planning on using an i5-2400, but with the "$50 off an i5-2500k with a Z68 motherboard" the 2500k was actually $20 cheaper than the 2400. That was a pretty easy decision.
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post #25 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

I was actually going through this same thinking in reality last week. I bought the 3570K for a desktop build because I could get the $50 off on a full ATX Z77 (or as it turns out, an H77) motherboard, making the CPU price, as you say, $139.99. Why buy an i3 or SB i5 at that point? And if I was building an m-ATX htpc, I might well have used that same math and gone with the 3570K...

One other part of my thinking on this (if I decide to go this route) is that I tend to upgrade my desktop machine by repurposing older HTPC machines. The i5-3570K will make a very nice desktop machine in 1-2 years . The MicroCenter i3-2100 & open-box H61 I got last year is going to become my new office PC for instance. Right now it's a i3-540/H55 that'd been a HTPC for a while and before that it was a 785G system that'd been an HTPC. These eventually got sold refurbished as complete PCs to family members who wanted new desktops but wanted something budget-worthy.

I'd like to go mini-ITX for my living room PC especially since I have access to quite a few very nice mini-ITX HTPC cases. However, I don't know what I'd do with my nMediaPC 1000b case. I've tried selling other large HTPC/desktop cases on Craigslist/eBay/etc. but the shipping is killer.

And so on ...

 

 

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post #26 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 09:03 AM
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One other part of my thinking on this (if I decide to go this route) is that I tend to upgrade my desktop machine by repurposing older HTPC machines. The i5-3570K will make a very nice desktop machine in 1-2 years

Interesting. Isn't it more common that people transition their desktops into an htpc? You may be the first person I've seen who actually plans the reverse.
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post #27 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

You have your opinion. I have mine. They are both allowed and are both equally valid.

Wrong again. You said "best...without question". You did not say, "best, in my opinion". I would not have corrected you if you said the latter. But you didn't.
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post #28 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

Wrong again. You said "best...without question". You did not say, "best, in my opinion". I would not have corrected you if you said the latter. But you didn't.

Well, that is my opinion that its the best without question. Just like every single sentence on this forum is the authors' opinion.

So no --- its not "wrong again" any more than your statements are correct.

It is almost all opinion after all. That's what forums are all about.

Instead feel free to disagree and actually offer an argument that is better than just "Platinum efficiency PSU are better than Gold Efficiency PSUs" and provide actual data. Instead you are really doing the same this that I am doing --- offering an opinion. I provided data that the efficiency is actually quite similar AT LOAD and that at 10% of load the efficiency is likely almost exactly the same. And that's the funny part about your argument and last post.

So then it comes down to much more realistic comparisons like parts used, quality of the PSU, reliability of the manufacturer, etc that I (and others) have now mentioned. The efficiency of the PSU matters very little in HTPC when comparing Platinum to Gold when only using 10% of the PSU as I have mentioned.

Unless of course you want to offer something other than just opinion on why I am wrong. But then again you don't like that.
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post #29 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Well, that is my opinion that its the best without question. Just like every single sentence on this forum is the authors' opinion.

So no --- its not "wrong again" any more than your statements are correct.

It is almost all opinion after all. That's what forums are all about.

Actually, the most "absolute" and least correct statement in that exchange was

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Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

No, the Kingwin is better. It is higher efficiency.

The assertion that a higher efficiency PSU automatically = "better" PSU is indefensible.

Your only error was in stating that had equal validity with your statement.
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post #30 of 46 Old 05-08-2012, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Actually, the most "absolute" and least correct statement in that exchange was



The assertion that a higher efficiency PSU automatically = "better" PSU is indefensible.

Your only error was in stating that had equal validity with your statement.

Good points as usual Zon2020. I was trying to be nice.
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