Haswell HTPC build - AVS Forum
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
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After years and years of wanting to get a decent HTPC i'm finally going to take the plunge and build a budget HTPC (used a socket 939, Athlon 3200 to pass the time till now...)

Build is

CPU: Intel G3220
Motherboard: Asrock H81M, Micro ATX, 7.1 sound, HDMI, Optical Out
Memory: 2x4GB DDR3 1333
HDD 1: 120GB OCZ Vertex 3 SSD Refurbished
HDD 2: WD Green 2TB Drive (will use this as starting point, then move to more storage, NAS later)
Keyboard/Mouse - Enermax KB008W-B Aurora Micro Wireless Black Keyboard
Blu-ray - Lite-on 4x read
Blu-ray Software: AnyDVD HD


Existing hardware/software to reuse

Case: Use existing Coolermaster ATX Case, fits under TV still despite being ATX
PSU: Use existing Corsair 400W
TV Tuner: x2 - Use existing DVB-T PCI tuners, with IR usb and remote
Emulators: Use existing XBOX Wireless receiver and controller
Optical drives
Use existing DVD Read/Writer
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
Media Centre: WMC/XBMC/MediaPortal - not quite decided yet, might need 2 or 3 as WMC is better for TV, movies look better in XBMC/Media Portal
Network: Homeplug 200mbps

Plan is to use it for 1080p movies, photos, recording/viewing TV, music, emulator gaming, streaming to phones/IPAD/Xbox and watching Blu-ray rentals

Does anyone see any issues with the build? Decided to go with Haswell over the G1610 as it wasn't much more. Hoping to order the parts this weekend
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:35 PM
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Does not look like you're going to re-use a video card from the old build, so I'd recommend faster RAM to give the GPU portion of your new Haswell a little more punch.

 

DDR3-1866 or higher would be good.

 

Where you going to use Intel's heatsink and cooler, or where you thinking about something else?


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Old 10-05-2013, 02:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi

Going to use the standard onboard graphics, the video card in the old machine is a Nvidia 6600GT, it is a bit old, and doesn't have HDMI either frown.gif

I will use the stock Intel heatsink

I thought only DDR3 1333 was supported by the G3220
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Old 10-05-2013, 07:37 AM
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You can run faster ram but you need a higher chipset motherboard (+$20)

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Old 10-06-2013, 02:25 AM
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say you have a z87 board, pentium g3220 and 2400mhz ram, will it run at 2400mhz or will it fallback to 1333mhz
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Old 10-06-2013, 07:44 AM
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It will default back to 1333mhz "stock" but if you have a motherboard capable of overclocking the memory then you can raise it back up. It depends on the chipset and the CPU in most cases, but the Z87 boards are the ones you want if you want to overclock memory or CPU as they are enthusiast upper level chipset and support such.

The main benefit is that if you ever want to grab a deal on a higher level CPU (like a beastly 4670k) you are all set up. Those chips will likely be on the market for at least 4 more years, with prices dropping in the future. I remember when Microcenter had the i5 2500k for $99 less than a year ago (I was on my honeymoon and could not grab one). A K series CPU is really what you want if you want to be overclocking, and Z87 leaves you open to that. Z87 also technically is a better chipset (memory controller, stability, pci lanes, sata ports etc)

An Asrock Extreme 3 or 4 (even a pro 3 or 4) is going to be a couple more bucks, but sometimes there is actually value in those things (depending on your needs)

81>85>87

That said, I think an 81 is going to make a perfectly fine HTPC even with ram running at 1333mhz wink.gif

There is about a 10% difference in speed when running faster ram- but the big difference in in the iGPU where the faster ram makes more difference than it does for the CPU side of things percentage wise. This might be of interest if you do rendering or stuff like madvr upscaling.

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Old 10-06-2013, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post



81>85>87

CORRECTION:

81<85<87 The higher the better.

Normally I let my typos go uncorrected because I am lazy but in this case... I need to make the point. tongue.gif


AnandTech had a good memory article recently:

By order of performance or importance:
Quote:
1. Amount of memory

2. Number of sticks of memory

3. Placement of those sticks in the motherboard

4. The MHz of the memory

5. If XMP/AMP is enabled

6. The subtimings of the memory

I use this order on the basis that point 1 is more important than point 3:

A system will be slow due to lack of memory before the speed of the memory is an issue (point 1)
In order to take advantage of the number of memory channels of the CPU we must have a number of sticks that have a factor of the memory channels (point 2), known as dual channel/tri channel/quad channel.
In order to ensure that we have dual (or tri/quad) channel operation these sticks need to be in the right slots of the motherboard – most motherboards support two DIMM slots per channel and we need at least one memory stick for each channel
If the MHz of the memory is more than CPU is rated for (1333, 1600, 1866+), then the user needs to apply XMP/AMP in order to benefit from the additional speed. Otherwise the system will run at the CPU defaults.
Subtimings, such as tCL, are used in conjunction with the MHz to provide the overall picture when it comes to performance.

So ideally you want to make sure you have "enough" memory before you worry about anything else. Once that is done - You worry about running dual channel (2 sticks) and making sure they are in the right slots (usually slot 2 and 4) and that dual channel gets engaged. You can't run dual channel with a single stick of 4GB or 8GB. You need two of them, and they must be in the right slots and the sticks must be identical.

Once your situated on that aspect- then you can worry about mhz, and then CAS timings.

The interesting point is that low timings does yield some improvement- and as such a CAS 7 or CAS9 subtiming it going to outperform a 10 or 11 all the time. Most "fast" RAM also has a higher sub timing- but when you use that exact same ram at slower speeds (like 1333 or 1600) you can really tighten up the timings. So buying a faster RAM even with a 1333 CPU/Board might allow you to run that 1866mhz or 2400mhz ram at a much lower (faster) subtiming.

Once you start worrying about this stuff you really should be looking at the enthusiast board, and likely your going to get sucked in which takes you out of "budget" territory and into enthusiast terrirotry. You will be rewarded with better performance- but also a lighter wallet. If you don't need it- or if you do is the choice you need to make up front.

Give this a read:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/7364/memory-scaling-on-haswell

My HTPC is a 3570k. I had Gskill Trident X 2400mhz RAM (8GB with 2 sticks of 4GB in dual channel) installed originally. The ram was very good by the standards of the time (2400mhz is much more common today). I got excellent GPU performance by my HTPC, and I could even run SVP on level 4G (hard to do) and I got pretty decent MadVR performance.

I removed that RAM and installed it into my desktop (4770k on Z87) and put in some 1600mhz Gskill (also 8GB of 2 sticks of 4GB in dual channel) and while my HTPC is plenty fast and ram is not a problem, the one area I can noticed the change is in the integrated iGPU. The slower ram does not lend itself as well to integrated graphics. Adding a video card can quickly solve all that (there is a reason why "real" video cards come with 2GB+ of 256-bit GDDR5 memory and it's not because it's cheaper wink.gif )

That is also why more RAM is better these days if you are on iGPU. You are going to share RAM with video - so if you only go 4GB and you normally would need 2-3GB for windows, and possibly another 1-2GB for video then you are hitting a wall without only 4GB where the performance penalty will show greater than anything else- even if you have ultra fast high end memory. That's why 8GB is getting more common with machines these days, because more and more machines are using iGPU and the iGPU is getting better and better (and more sensitive to RAM quality, speed and amount)

Circling back around,

You are still stuck at the cross roads- do you want a "cheap" value oriented HTPC build that will only do simply playback of movies and tv shows ? If so- slow ram and a pentium CPU is "enough" and so is 4GB. If you might want to do some advanced video rendering for better PQ, play some games or do more advanced things (photoshop loves RAM) you should consider first upgrading to 8GB, second making sure you have dual channel kit and third you likely want 1866mhz ram or greater. (1866 is nearly as cheap and the "value" sweet spot )
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Old 10-06-2013, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Can anyone help me with transcoding.

I will be storing most of the movies as MKV. If I want to stream these from HTPC to IPHONE, IPAD does this involve transcoding, will the G3220 be ok with this, or is the I3/I5 required for this?

Thanks
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Old 10-06-2013, 04:47 PM
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changing the resolution on the fly in real time transcoding requires a decent CPU- so if you want to convert 1080p to the native resolution of your smart phone or tablet or a lower resolution so it can go over online or over wireless then you would want a more powerful CPU. Some people just roll with a pentium for now- and upgrade if they need (just the cpu which is easy)

If you are certain this is very important you would want to get more CPU now.
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Old 10-06-2013, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, I will only be streaming to one device at a time, say HTPC to IPAD, can the G3220 not cope with this?
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Old 10-06-2013, 06:13 PM
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G3220 is fine for that.
I don't know if you will use plex server to transcode (that uses ffdshow) but here are the requirements:
http://wiki.plexapp.com/index.php/PlexNine_PMS_SysRequirements#Hardware_Minimum_and_Recommended_Requirements
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Old 10-06-2013, 06:36 PM
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So when a CPU is Transcoding, it is actually trying to take a 1080P movie and "dumb" it down if you will to a resolution that you smart phone or table can handle. Correct? If that is the case, what are some of those devices that can produce true 1080P.

For example, i have the HTC EVO 4G LTE from sprint. I am assuming it can not do 1080P. However, I was thinking about upgrading to a the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. I believe I read somewhere that this can do true 1080p. If I am correct and It can do this, does this mean that if I streamed from Plex to this phone, transcoding would will not have to happen?
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Old 10-06-2013, 06:40 PM
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This issue is more you can't send a full bit rate bluray rip mkv over wires less as the amount of data exceeds your wireless LAN or if you are away from home also your internet speed .

Dumbing it down so it fits over wireless or over Internet is what you need to do

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Old 10-06-2013, 06:40 PM
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Otherwise run a wire and don't worry about transcoding wink.gif

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Old 10-06-2013, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stamina1914 View Post

So when a CPU is Transcoding, it is actually trying to take a 1080P movie and "dumb" it down if you will to a resolution that you smart phone or table can handle. Correct? If that is the case, what are some of those devices that can produce true 1080P.

For example, i have the HTC EVO 4G LTE from sprint. I am assuming it can not do 1080P. However, I was thinking about upgrading to a the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. I believe I read somewhere that this can do true 1080p. If I am correct and It can do this, does this mean that if I streamed from Plex to this phone, transcoding would will not have to happen?
It also depends on bit-rate and bandwidth. If your 1080p is already low bit-rate (compressed AVC for example) or if your phone and network can handle the high data rate of 'uncompressed' 1080p (straight blu-ray rip for example) then no, you won't have to transcode. Please note that the second scenario is not likely, especially with wireless. Remember, YouTube has 1080p stuff but it often looks like crap because of low bit-rates.
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Old 10-06-2013, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stamina1914 View Post

So when a CPU is Transcoding, it is actually trying to take a 1080P movie and "dumb" it down if you will to a resolution that you smart phone or table can handle. Correct? If that is the case, what are some of those devices that can produce true 1080P.

For example, i have the HTC EVO 4G LTE from sprint. I am assuming it can not do 1080P. However, I was thinking about upgrading to a the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. I believe I read somewhere that this can do true 1080p. If I am correct and It can do this, does this mean that if I streamed from Plex to this phone, transcoding would will not have to happen?

 

Hey stamina1914, transcoding can certainly be thought of as "dumbing" down the stream, along with changing the codec of the stream entirely if the client requires it.

 

Your correct in your assumption that streaming from PMS to a Galaxy Note 3 would not involve transcoding, as DirectPlay would come into effect, since your endpoint can natively render 1080p:

 

 


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Old 10-06-2013, 07:51 PM
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In my experience your experience with streaming to your cell phone over your mobile carrier's network is almost entirely dependent upon that carrier's quality of their network.

Same can be said about your hotel's crappy wireless speed, airport wireless speed, etc.
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by edp33 View Post

I thought only DDR3 1333 was supported by the G3220

When I ordered the parts for my G3220 build, I saw this Intel webpage that says the G3220 uses DDR3 1333 ram.

http://ark.intel.com/products/77773/
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

In my experience your experience with streaming to your cell phone over your mobile carrier's network is almost entirely dependent upon that carrier's quality of their network.

Same can be said about your hotel's crappy wireless speed, airport wireless speed, etc.

It's true sometimes you get a less than "good" speed.

That's the reason your HD material won't work without transcoding.

Personally if I don't have decent wifi and decent quality I just say heck with it. No use using it when it's bad.

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Old 10-07-2013, 01:26 PM
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When I ordered the parts for my G3220 build, I saw this Intel webpage that says the G3220 uses DDR3 1333 ram.

http://ark.intel.com/products/77773/

That is correct - stock pentium defaults to a 1333mhz speed.

"stock" or "auto" settings are different than manual or overclock settings. Likely in your case leaving everything on "auto" in your motherboard BIOS will be fine, and you will get 1333mhz. That's the normal set up for a pentium CPU like you bought.

If you buy faster ram, and you have a motherboard and cpu that support it you can always overclock the ram speed(higher) or you can manually set it (including lower) depending on what you want. Tightening the timings is worthwhile most cases, as it's free and it help improve performance.

8 is better than 9 which is better than 10 etc... With slower ram speeds it's easy to tighten your timings with most modern RAM. That's why faster ram is almost always better because if you buy 1866 or 1600 for basically the same prices as 1333 you can still run it as 1333 and often run it tighter timings.

For most Pentium builds though- most people do not worry about such things. Buy your ram, set everything on "auto" or default (like how it comes out of the box from Asrock without changes) and just enjoy it biggrin.gif

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Old 10-07-2013, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, here is my final build, going to order the parts now

CPU: Intel G3220
Motherboard: MSI H87M-G43 Micro ATX LGA1150
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600
SDD: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" SSD
HDD: WD 3TB Green
Case: Use existing ATX
PSU: Use existing Corsair 400W
Keyboard/mouse: Enermax KB008W-B Aurora Micro Wireless Black Keyboard
OS: WIndows 7 64 bit

http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/1M13L

Priced up a G1610, it was £24 cheaper, so going to stick with the G3220.

Although my old ATX case is a general PC case, I get to save money on the case and PSU, and I can use most of the components for a NAS later, motherboard supports 6 SATA ports, and keep the Blu-ray drive, SSD for a new HTPC in the future.
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

That is correct - stock pentium defaults to a 1333mhz speed.

"stock" or "auto" settings are different than manual or overclock settings. Likely in your case leaving everything on "auto" in your motherboard BIOS will be fine, and you will get 1333mhz. That's the normal set up for a pentium CPU like you bought.

If you buy faster ram, and you have a motherboard and cpu that support it you can always overclock the ram speed(higher) or you can manually set it (including lower) depending on what you want. Tightening the timings is worthwhile most cases, as it's free and it help improve performance.

8 is better than 9 which is better than 10 etc... With slower ram speeds it's easy to tighten your timings with most modern RAM. That's why faster ram is almost always better because if you buy 1866 or 1600 for basically the same prices as 1333 you can still run it as 1333 and often run it tighter timings.

For most Pentium builds though- most people do not worry about such things. Buy your ram, set everything on "auto" or default (like how it comes out of the box from Asrock without changes) and just enjoy it biggrin.gif

Good to know.
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:26 AM
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We always tend to lump transcoding as a catch all definition. There's a bunch of options really that fall under the easier to say catch-all term of transcoding
  • Transrate - convert data rate while preserving container/codec
  • Transsize - convert resolution while preserving container/codec
  • Transmux - convert container (mkv/mp4/avi/ts) while preserving container/codec
  • Transcode - convert to target codec (audio or video)

Most phones and tablets always need audio transcoded, and outside of a very few cases need the data rate transrated. I'm not sure, but I'd bet that each requirement is a "transcode" profile stored for each needed case as re-encoding can apply every separate action in a single profile.

As to the "trans" vs "re" - I'm pretty sure that "re" applies to editing the file while "trans" is used when action is temporary and performed on the fly
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Old 10-08-2013, 03:59 PM
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I will thumbs up that biggrin.gif

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Old 10-12-2013, 12:38 PM
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does anybody know if the pentium g3220 can handle madvr default settings with smooth motion enabled
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:45 PM
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does anybody know if the pentium g3220 can handle madvr default settings with smooth motion enabled

With a GPU ? Or iGPU ? What settings ?

Lots of answers based on different scaling methods and if you use a video card or not. MADVR is very GPU dependent do my guess is the CPU you ask about might handle it but the iGPU would only do well in the easier types of rendering.

I am just guessing. I could be totally off or wrong IDK ?

ReneTHX is the master. He's the one that knows I bet.

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Old 10-12-2013, 12:51 PM
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i was just wondering if the igu in the pentium 3220 would be able to hand madvr defaults and smooth motion enabled
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:56 PM
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Probably not. My 4770k overclocked iGPU and 2400mhZ ddr3 does a decent job ... ( I don't think I tried smooth motion ) but it's still underpowered ideally so I am guessing a stock clock iGPU and slower ram isn't going to help things.

You likely want a nice cheap Radeon card (7770 for $69 @newegg). That's better than any iGPU ...

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Old 10-12-2013, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Probably not. My 4770k overclocked iGPU and 2400mhZ ddr3 does a decent job ... ( I don't think I tried smooth motion ) but it's still underpowered ideally so I am guessing a stock clock iGPU and slower ram isn't going to help things.

You likely want a nice cheap Radeon card (7770 for $69 @newegg). That's better than any iGPU ...

thanks for the info m8, i was interested to know what the igu was capable of with madvr, yeh a 7770 or 7790 seems a good choice
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Old 10-12-2013, 03:40 PM
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You could still use MADVR and get a decent result , just perhaps not maxed out. Intel does decent job (compared to amd or Nvidia ) actually so I'm not saying you can't use it. Just I'm not sure what exact settings would work best or worst.

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