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post #1 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
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First time poster here... hoping to gain some insight.

I've been doing a good amount of research and I think I've decided on two possible builds for my new HTPC. I'm planning on using it with a HDHomeRun Prime with Comcast. Heres my two builds:

Intel (I'm kind of an intel guy, first gaming PC I built was intel)
-Intel Core i3-2120 Processor 3.3 GHz 3MB Cache Socket LGA1155 (amazon)
-ASRock H61M/U3S3 Intel H61 Micro ATX DDR3 1333 Motherboard (amazon)

AMD (heard good things about AMD for HTPC's)
-AMD A8-3850 APU Quad-Core Processor (amazon)
-GIGABYTE GA-A75M-D2H FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard (amazon)

Other Components (works with both builds I think)
-Corsair XMS3 4 GB 1333MHz PC3-10666 240-pin DDR3 (amazon)
-Antec EarthWatts EA-380D Green 380 Watt 80 PLUS BRONZE Power Supply (amazon)
-SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (amazon)
-Western Digital Caviar Green 2 TB Desktop Hard Drive (amazon)

Both are very similar in price, the Intel build is ~$15 more
Any other tweaks/suggestions/improvements would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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post #2 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keemax View Post

First time poster here... hoping to gain some insight.
I've been doing a good amount of research and I think I've decided on two possible builds for my new HTPC. I'm planning on using it with a HDHomeRun Prime with Comcast. Heres my two builds:
Intel (I'm kind of an intel guy, first gaming PC I built was intel)
-Intel Core i3-2120 Processor 3.3 GHz 3MB Cache Socket LGA1155 (amazon)
-ASRock H61M/U3S3 Intel H61 Micro ATX DDR3 1333 Motherboard (amazon)
AMD (heard good things about AMD for HTPC's)
-AMD A8-3850 APU Quad-Core Processor (amazon)
-GIGABYTE GA-A75M-D2H FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard (amazon)
Other Components (works with both builds I think)
-Corsair XMS3 4 GB 1333MHz PC3-10666 240-pin DDR3 (amazon)
-Antec EarthWatts EA-380D Green 380 Watt 80 PLUS BRONZE Power Supply (amazon)
-SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (amazon)
-Western Digital Caviar Green 2 TB Desktop Hard Drive (amazon)
Both are very similar in price, the Intel build is ~$15 more
Any other tweaks/suggestions/improvements would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

You really don't need the 2120. Don't think you'll see anything of value over using the 2100. Now if you want the HD3000 graphics I could understand a 2105 or 2125, but I doubt you'll see any picture quality improvement from that either. (although upon checking it looks like the price difference is only $5 or less, so might as well get the 2120 I guess)

You will spark a debate on the Intel vs AMD, but one thing to be aware of is that the A8 will run much hotter than the i3 which will present a heat/cooling/noise challenge particularly in that small case which only takes 80mm fans. Assassin may wish to weigh in on this from his recent experience in testing out an A8 build.

BTW, if you happen to have a Micro Center within shopping distance, they sell the 2100 for $89.99 and the 2125 for $119.99, but only in-store.

Finally, I HIGHLY recommend using a solid state drive as your OS/programs drive. Use the Caviar for storing your media.
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post #3 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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I've got a Micro Center ~45 mins away, I'll check that out, thanks. My original list included an SSD but I got rid of it for budget reasons, I was planning on using the HDD and then perhaps buying an SSD if things seemed to run too slow for my taste. I do have an SSD on my gaming PC though and Windows boots up in seconds... Could you recommend a cheap 64GB drive that would be worth the upgrade?

Edit: also, would this work for 1080p netflix/mkv files and the HDHR Prime with HDTV?
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post #4 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by keemax View Post

Could you recommend a cheap 64GB drive that would be worth the upgrade?
Edit: also, would this work for 1080p netflix/mkv files and the HDHR Prime with HDTV?

Today, I think the best value considering quality, reliability, speed, is the 64GB Samsung 830 which is $79 (free shipping) at Newegg or $85 at Micro Center. But there are constant specials on SSDs if you watch the Newegg emails. Micro Center has the Patriot Pyro 60GB for $49.99 after $30 rebate. Actually, if you want to spend a little more, probably the best buy is the Intel 330 120GB for $119 after $30 rebate at Micro Center (rebate only at Micro Center; Newegg and Amazon and some others had their Intel rebate programs about 2 weeks ago).

A LOT of people here use the G620 for HTPCs, as long as you're not concerned about 3D. BTW, it's only $49.99 at Micro Center. A lot of people even use the G530 successfully (only $35 at Micro Center).

BTW, it's a lot easier to put that SSD in at the outset, and with a fresh install, Windows will configure it properly.
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post #5 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah I'm not too fond of 3D personally... sounds like I need to head over to Micro Center! Thanks for your help.
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post #6 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 11:25 AM
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Personally, on a cost-benefit basis, I would definitely take the G620 and an SSD over an i3 and a hard disk for the OS/programs.
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post #7 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 11:30 AM
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Zon2020: What is the difference between the Intel 330 120GB and the Intel 520 120GB (besides price). Is the 520 worth the extra money if it is just for an HTPC OS drive?

Don't make fun of me for my stupid questions!
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post #8 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 11:40 AM
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0I saw an ad for the A6-3500 on Newegg for $70 (promo code EMCNDNC44). This is a great HTPC chip and you can't beat that price!
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post #9 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 11:40 AM
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520 is a little faster, which I don't believe you will ever notice in the real world, especially not in an HTPC.

The 330 and 520 use the identical controller and NAND. Hardware-wise they are identical. There's speculation as to how Intel slows the 330 to fit it into its pricing hierarchy, by changing the clock rate, or by some firmware manipulation, but Intel isn't talking and so far no one really knows. But the speed difference isn't very much even on paper. Oh, you also get a 5 yr warranty on the 520, 3 yr on the 330.

I just bought a 180gb 330 under the rebate program a couple week ago. The final cost was only $139 which I considered a great deal.


Here's something for you to read about it.
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post #10 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 11:44 AM
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Thanks. Sadly the 330 120gb is out of stock and I am wondering if it will be back in stock before the rebate promotion is over in about a week and a half.

Don't make fun of me for my stupid questions!
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post #11 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfhancock View Post

Thanks. Sadly the 330 120gb is out of stock and I am wondering if it will be back in stock before the rebate promotion is over in about a week and a half.

Well, you can get a $70 rebate on the 180gb 330 bringing it down to $149.

Two weeks ago Newegg and Amazon had it for $199 less a $60 rebate for a net $139.
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post #12 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

The 330 and 520 use the identical controller and NAND. Hardware-wise they are identical. There's speculation as to how Intel slows the 330 to fit it into its pricing hierarchy, by changing the clock rate, or by some firmware manipulation, but Intel isn't talking and so far no one really knows. But the speed difference isn't very much even on paper. Oh, you also get a 5 yr warranty on the 520, 3 yr on the 330.

Nothing that devious. Intel uses cheaper Asynchronous ONFi NAND on the 330 series while it uses more expensive Synchronous ONFi NAND on the 520. Think of the 330 as Intel's version of the Agility 3 while the 520 is their version of the Vertex 3.
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post #13 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 11:50 AM
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Nothing that devious. Intel uses cheaper Asynchronous ONFi NAND on the 330 series while it uses more expensive Synchronous ONFi NAND on the 520. Think of the 330 as Intel's version of the Agility 3 while the 520 is their version of the Vertex 3.


Not correct.

Both use the identical Synchronous NAND.

As Storage Review reports:

"While Intel was a bit coy in the SSD 330 announcement, most assumed they had switched to asynchronous NAND. They haven't; Intel is still using their own 25nm synchronous MLC NAND for the SSD 330 family, which is the same part number that we saw in the SSD 520. Of course Intel loves to promote their NAND quality, which is hand-picked and engineered for mainstream SSD duty by Intel's own fab. Consumers benefit from this integration, as Intel SSDs have historically provided levels of reliability and longevity matched by few other brands. Controlling your own NAND and supporting the drives with in-house engineering goes a long way to make the Intel drives perform reliably in the field."

Tom's Hardware writes:

"Opening the drive up reveals SandForce's familiar SF-2281 controller, as expected. The on-board flash memory gave us more of a surprise, though. Interestingly, the SSD 330 uses 64 Gb 25 nm synchronous NAND. Vendors employing SandForce controllers typically offer two line-ups: high-end drives armed with expensive synchronous memory and lower-end models with cheaper asynchronous NAND. But Intel uses the synchronous stuff in its "value-oriented" 330s. That's a nod to performance, for sure."
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post #14 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Well, you can get a $70 rebate on the 180gb 330 bringing it down to $149.
Two weeks ago Newegg and Amazon had it for $199 less a $60 rebate for a net $139.

I know but that extra $30 or so breaks my budget for this htpc I want to build, plus 180gb just seems very unnecessary when I have 6TB external storage. :-p I wish they had a 60gb one.

Don't make fun of me for my stupid questions!
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post #15 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by bfhancock View Post

I know but that extra $30 or so breaks my budget for this htpc I want to build, plus 180gb just seems very unnecessary when I have 6TB external storage. :-p I wish they had a 60gb one.

I understand. I got the 180 for a new desktop build, not for an htpc.

I suggest going for the excellent 64GB Samsung 830 for $79 (free shipping) at Newegg.

(the Newegg/Amazon Intel 330 rebate program did not include the 120 but did include $15 off the 60gb which made it a net $65 btw. Isn't it always "you shoulda been here last week"biggrin.gif)
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post #16 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 12:11 PM
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YES!! SHOULDA BEEN THERE!! I just learned about HTPCs like two days ago. I have had both the ****** WD HD TV and the newer WD HD TV Live... and they SUCK with my 2tb and 4tb WD External HDs. You figure it would work seamlessly with their own product... but nah. So obnoxious. I'm very excited about my first HTPC! :-) So the Samsung 830 is good? I've just heard so much good stuff about theIntel 330 and 520 SSDs


Edit: Apparently I can buy online from a physical store location and then they will ship it to me though. So I will do that with the 330 120gb. I didn't realize how Micro Center worked!rolleyes.gif

Don't make fun of me for my stupid questions!
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post #17 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 12:19 PM
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I found the Intel HD2000 integrated GPU lacking for deinterlacing 1080i sport material with my Comcast feed, both ClearQAM and through CableCard. I would get juddering and combing on fast plays / panning. I was able to clear it up with a cheap PowerColor HD5450.

That I could have ever had this problem is disputed but I see it and so did everyone else who'd come over for football on this new setup (i3-2100/H61/4GB/SSD). I run it through an Onkyo AVR to an LG plasma. Once I dropped that HD5450 card in there, no more issues. I've since swapped the i3-2100 into my office PC and put a G530 into that HTPC. It performs the same for HTPC/DVR duties.

Just an FYI. YMMV.

I am working on an A6-3500 HTPC build to see how that compares.

 

 

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post #18 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

As Storage Review reports:

"While Intel was a bit coy in the SSD 330 announcement, most assumed they had switched to asynchronous NAND. They haven't; Intel is still using their own 25nm synchronous MLC NAND for the SSD 330 family, which is the same part number that we saw in the SSD 520. Of course Intel loves to promote their NAND quality, which is hand-picked and engineered for mainstream SSD duty by Intel's own fab. Consumers benefit from this integration, as Intel SSDs have historically provided levels of reliability and longevity matched by few other brands. Controlling your own NAND and supporting the drives with in-house engineering goes a long way to make the Intel drives perform reliably in the field."

Tom's Hardware writes:

"Opening the drive up reveals SandForce's familiar SF-2281 controller, as expected. The on-board flash memory gave us more of a surprise, though. Interestingly, the SSD 330 uses 64 Gb 25 nm synchronous NAND. Vendors employing SandForce controllers typically offer two line-ups: high-end drives armed with expensive synchronous memory and lower-end models with cheaper asynchronous NAND. But Intel uses the synchronous stuff in its "value-oriented" 330s. That's a nod to performance, for sure."

Thanks! Learned something new. That's certainly very interesting information. I always assumed the 330 was using asynchronous NAND per earlier speculation. I do wonder what Intel did given performance I've seen on benchmarks show the following:

Intel 520 > SandForce Sync > Intel 330 > SandForce Async
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post #19 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by bfhancock View Post

Edit: Apparently I can buy online from a physical store location and then they will ship it to me though. So I will do that with the 330 120gb. I didn't realize how Micro Center worked!rolleyes.gif

Yes, people seem to think that everything at MC is "in store only" but that is primarily limited to CPUs which they obviously use as loss leaders to get people in the stores. You have to look at the sale flyer online. When it's ins store only it will say so, otherwise it can be ordered online.
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post #20 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post

Thanks! Learned something new. That's certainly very interesting information. I always assumed the 330 was using asynchronous NAND per earlier speculation. I do wonder what Intel did given performance I've seen on benchmarks show the following:
Intel 520 > SandForce Sync > Intel 330 > SandForce Async

I've seen speculation that they slowed the clock speed, that they reduced the memory channels, or that they rigged the firmware.

Nobody seems to know and Intel's not talking.
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post #21 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Today, I think the best value considering quality, reliability, speed, is the 64GB Samsung 830 which is $79 (free shipping) at Newegg or $85 at Micro Center. But there are constant specials on SSDs if you watch the Newegg emails. Micro Center has the Patriot Pyro 60GB for $49.99 after $30 rebate. Actually, if you want to spend a little more, probably the best buy is the Intel 330 120GB for $119 after $30 rebate at Micro Center (rebate only at Micro Center; Newegg and Amazon and some others had their Intel rebate programs about 2 weeks ago).
A LOT of people here use the G620 for HTPCs, as long as you're not concerned about 3D. BTW, it's only $49.99 at Micro Center. A lot of people even use the G530 successfully (only $35 at Micro Center).
BTW, it's a lot easier to put that SSD in at the outset, and with a fresh install, Windows will configure it properly.

If you're planning to pay 80$ or 85$ for a 64GB SSD, might as well get the OCZ Vertex 3 120GB for 90$.



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post #22 of 23 Old 06-07-2012, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by KevBel View Post

If you're planning to pay 80$ or 85$ for a 64GB SSD, might as well get the OCZ Vertex 3 120GB for 90$.

If cost is the one and only consideration, then buy the Patriot Pyro 60GB for $49 after rebate.
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post #23 of 23 Old 06-09-2012, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keemax View Post

First time poster here... hoping to gain some insight.
I've been doing a good amount of research and I think I've decided on two possible builds for my new HTPC. I'm planning on using it with a HDHomeRun Prime with Comcast. Heres my two builds:
Intel (I'm kind of an intel guy, first gaming PC I built was intel)
-Intel Core i3-2120 Processor 3.3 GHz 3MB Cache Socket LGA1155 (amazon)
-ASRock H61M/U3S3 Intel H61 Micro ATX DDR3 1333 Motherboard (amazon)
AMD (heard good things about AMD for HTPC's)
-AMD A8-3850 APU Quad-Core Processor (amazon)
-GIGABYTE GA-A75M-D2H FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard (amazon)
Other Components (works with both builds I think)
-Corsair XMS3 4 GB 1333MHz PC3-10666 240-pin DDR3 (amazon)
-Antec EarthWatts EA-380D Green 380 Watt 80 PLUS BRONZE Power Supply (amazon)
-SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (amazon)
-Western Digital Caviar Green 2 TB Desktop Hard Drive (amazon)
Both are very similar in price, the Intel build is ~$15 more
Any other tweaks/suggestions/improvements would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Rather than comparing it directly, you should note down the points as per your priority..then it will be easy to get the answer yourself. Put it as (i) It should be economical ? (ii) Graphics are required or not ? (iii) Past reviews from the users etc. etc.
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