I thought that the i5 supports Intel’s powerful HD Graphics 4000, so there’s no need for an additional graphics card for HD Video playback (keep in mind I am not using the HTPC for gaming). Its not that money is no object, but I didn't consider a less powerful CPU and and graphics card... However, space is limited and cooling/noise may become issues. Considering my purpose for this box, do you still think the CPU/Chipset combination is not suitable?
Intel HD Graphics 2500/4000 is good for casual (i.e. most) HTPC users. But even Radeon HD 7540D in AMD A6-5400K Trinity (< $100) is better than Intel HD Graphics 4000 in every respect. Power consumption is almost the same as Intel at video playback (as for A8/A10, just downclock CPU a little bit). If you prefer Intel, Core i3-3225 is enough (the same graphics as i5-3570K). In summary,
- GPU is the only hardware piece you should consider in most video playback tasks. Simply GPU in A6/A8/A10 > Intel HD Graphics 4k.
- CPU is important in a couple of cases. For example,
# 2D to 3D conversion: A6 is a bit weak. A8/A10/Core i3 are fast enough.
# Real-time encoding (in DLNA): A8/A10/Core i3 are fast enough.
# SVP (Smooth Video Project): A10-5800K is fast enough for the high quality setting. All the other CPU+iGPU solutions are too slow. You will need Core i7 (LGA1155 / LGA2011) for the highest quality settings.
However, several reviews I read stated that because of the limited space, using th Mini ITX will make cable/connection management easier.
Well, there are plenty of spaces above the lower part of the microATX mb; cables don't need to be fixed to the bottom of the case.
You can still add low-profile expansion cards if necessary.
Do you know if the Seasonic is as good a fit for the ML03? Please provide a model number. Also, is the noise reduction considerable? Since the box is sitting under the TV, noise is a huge consideration for.
I am thinking of Seasonic S12II 380B (80 Plus Bronze) and G-Series 360W (80 Plus Gold). As stated above, (sleeved) cables can be placed over empty expansion slots. You won't hear noise from any of SilverStone Essential and Seasonic at a distance of 6 feet anyway.