Guide to Building a HTPC, Workstation and Server - Page 472 - AVS Forum
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Home Theater Computers > Guide to Building a HTPC, Workstation and Server
Davinleeds's Avatar Davinleeds 04:44 PM 06-23-2010
Once again impressive. I have a few rebates on the way.

JAB's Avatar JAB 07:38 PM 06-23-2010

Again, I don't have anything against the CoolerMaster. I haven't reviewed the youtube link, but none of those reviews actually measure noise. Three of them don't talk about noise at all. Another three say things like "practically silent", "can't really hear the fan", "essentially silent", and "doesn't make a lot of noise". Two make say things like "Even with all case-fans turned off at full system load, the unit ... ran silently" and "with my ear right beside the fan all I heard was the crickets outside my window". I'm a bit skeptical of those last two, which is why measurements are good.

You can't beat silentpcreview for these types of things. I wish they had published a review of the CoolerMaster Silent M 600W. They have published a review of the CoolerMaster Silent M 700W, of which they speak well, and a review of the Nexus Value 430. Finally, here's the list of SPCR recommended PSUs, broken into SPCR Editor's Choice and SPCR Recommended PSUs.

Since you bring up the standby power, the standby power consumption on the CoolerMaster is 3W according to the review you were quoting. I'm not sure I really believe it is that high, given that the CoolerMaster Silent M 700W is much lower at 0.3W. Nonetheless, the standby power consumption on the Nexus Value 430 is 0.4W, not that the extra 2.6W or 0.1W should be a factor in the decision.
yanksno1's Avatar yanksno1 08:22 PM 06-23-2010
So if I plan to do some encoding and editing, ie cutting stuff out, etc. with my HTPC; should I go w a i3 or i5? I mostly plan to do some ripping of Blu-rays and some capturing off my HD-PVR into mkv and xvid (if I can ever figure out how to do that from TS format). I'm not sure if i3 would be fine or if I'd be better off going for an i5 for that type of stuff. Thanks.
DrApnea's Avatar DrApnea 08:49 PM 06-23-2010
ever used the Enermax Aurora Micro Wireless Keyboard KB008W-B ???
http://www.quietpcusa.com/Enermax-Au...B-P706C90.aspx

Was thinking about that one.
ilovejedd's Avatar ilovejedd 10:41 PM 06-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by yanksno1 View Post

So if I plan to do some encoding and editing, ie cutting stuff out, etc. with my HTPC; should I go w a i3 or i5? I mostly plan to do some ripping of Blu-rays and some capturing off my HD-PVR into mkv and xvid (if I can ever figure out how to do that from TS format). I'm not sure if i3 would be fine or if I'd be better off going for an i5 for that type of stuff. Thanks.

There are two i5's - one dual-core (i5-6xx) and the other quad-core (i5-7xx). Aside from the higher clock, the i5-6xx is almost the same as the i3-5xx. The quad-core i5-7xx, however, should help quite a bit with x264 encoding (but not so much with Xvid). Take note, though, that only the dual-core (codename Clarkdale) processors have integrated GPU and HD audio bitstreaming. You're going to need a discrete GPU with a Core i5-750.

How much encoding are you planning on and how patient are you? Simple merge/cut, remuxing, etc, even the i3-530 is more than fast enough. Encoding is the big differentiator. If you're like me and tend to leave encoding overnight, I doubt you'll notice any difference between a dual-core i3-5xx or quad-core i5-7xx.
JAB's Avatar JAB 10:45 PM 06-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by yanksno1 View Post

So if I plan to do some encoding and editing, ie cutting stuff out, etc. with my HTPC; should I go w a i3 or i5? I mostly plan to do some ripping of Blu-rays and some capturing off my HD-PVR into mkv and xvid (if I can ever figure out how to do that from TS format). I'm not sure if i3 would be fine or if I'd be better off going for an i5 for that type of stuff. Thanks.

The fastest i5 is only about 50% faster than the slowest i3. I'd stick with the i3 or go for a high-end i7. But, a high-end i7 isn't friendly with making a quiet PC, since it burns a lot of power and puts out a lot of heat.
ilovejedd's Avatar ilovejedd 11:25 PM 06-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by JAB View Post

The fastest i5 is only about 50% faster than the slowest i3. I'd stick with the i3 or go for a high-end i7. But, a high-end i7 isn't friendly with making a quiet PC, since it burns a lot of power and puts out a lot of heat.

The i7-8xx Lynnfields aren't bad and post similar performance to i7-9xx Bloomfields. They idle within 5~10W of Clarkdales and only consume significantly more power when loaded. However, the i5-750 is nearly as good and costs $100+ less.

For light use, though, the i3-5xx is better.
JAB's Avatar JAB 12:15 AM 06-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post

The i7-8xx Lynnfields aren't bad and post similar performance to i7-9xx Bloomfields. They idle within 5~10W of Clarkdales and only consume significantly more power when loaded. However, the i5-750 is nearly as good and costs $100+ less.

For light use, though, the i3-5xx is better.

Agreed. Rough numbers:

CPU - Price - Performance Index - Power at load
i3 530 - $115 - 1.0 - 100W
i5 750 - $200 - 1.5 - 140W
i7 860 - $280 - 2.0 - 140W
i7 980X - $1,000 - 2.8 - 170W

IMHO, the sweet spot is the i3 530 or the i7 860. I had no idea the i7 980X was so expensive.
badbob001's Avatar badbob001 07:18 AM 06-24-2010
Renethx,

Thanks for the update!

Seems like there is a shift in preference to the new ASRock H55 boards with USB3 and SATA3. But these boards are so new that I can't find any reviews and don't even see them on newegg to purchase!

Anything special about these new boards catching your eye? I don't see them having a PLX chip to give more bus bandwidth to non-video components, especially USB3 and SATA3, so perhaps there are still bandwidth restrictions.

I do like that the MicroATX ASRock H55M/USB3 has two 1x PCIe slots but the one next to the 16x PCIe seems completely wasted since any decent video card would at least have a big fan that would take up the adjacent slot. What good H55 board can actually have unobstructed access to at least one 16x PCIe and two 1x PCIe? I rather they remove the PCI slots and shift the 1x PCIx slots over.


If I look at the ATX Midrange, the ASRock H55 Extreme3 board has three 1x PCIe so I THINK this might work, unless there is some strange restriction I'm not seeing in the manual such as this-slot-is-disabled-if-a-video-card-is-installed. All this trouble just to access a second 1x PCIe slot, but I do like this board's additional two ram slots.


Oh, just noticed that there is no ATA/IDE port. I guess I can't make use of my old DVD drive or use my large cache of 40GB drives for the OS (thinking of using RAID1 for the OS drive, either via the board software or Windows 7 itself). Maybe I'll consider the Gigabyte GIGABYTE GA-H55-USB3 ATX board. It doesn't have SATA3, but I don't need that level of speed. But of course, a big factor is that there are reviews and I know where to buy it. I still am interested in seeing a comparison of the two ATX boards and what new or improved things that ASRock brings.

Renethx, you mentioned that a requirement for the mid-high range ATX is:
* one x PCIe 2.0 x8 for a 2-slot graphics card
* one x PCIe x8 for HBA
* two x PCIe x1 for a sound card and a TV tuner

I think the boards I've mentioned don't have any x8 PCIe slots, but it's hard to tell given the chipset situation.

Thanks!!!
renethx's Avatar renethx 09:31 AM 06-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by badbob001 View Post

Seems like there is a shift in preference to the new ASRock H55 boards with USB3 and SATA3. But these boards are so new that I can't find any reviews and don't even see them on newegg to purchase!

Anything special about these new boards catching your eye? I don't see them having a PLX chip to give more bus bandwidth to non-video components, especially USB3 and SATA3, so perhaps there are still bandwidth restrictions.

I do like that the MicroATX ASRock H55M/USB3 has two 1x PCIe slots but the one next to the 16x PCIe seems completely wasted since any decent video card would at least have a big fan that would take up the adjacent slot. What good H55 board can actually have unobstructed access to at least one 16x PCIe and two 1x PCIe?

If I look at the ATX Midrange, the ASRock H55 Extreme3 board has three 1x PCIe so I THINK this might work, unless there is some strange restriction I'm not seeing in the manual such as this-slot-is-disabled-if-a-video-card-is-installed. All this trouble just to access a second 1x PCIe slot, but I do like this board's additional two ram slots.

As far as I know, there is no H55/H57 mb (except for ASUS P7H57D-V EVO) that has the PLX bridge. In some mb (GIGABYTE), the NEC chip is connected directly to the PCI Express bus of the CPU when no device is in the bus, but connected to H55 when it is in use. Nevertheless USB 3.0 at 250MB/s is still a lot faster than USB 2.0 (60MB/s).

(x-bit labs)

You will have to wait for Sandy Bridge (not so far away, Q1 2011) if you want a satisfactory solution.

ASRock started as a subsidiary of ASUS, but is now blowing away ASUS (a kind of ). In my mind, ASUS vs. ASRock = bloated, overpriced vs. lighter, a good set of features, cheaper. H55M/USB3 is a nice, cheaper mb. The only missing feature in H55M/USB3 is IEEE 1394, that's the reason why I also listed ASUS and GIGABYTE mb. GA-H57M-USB3 has a second PCIe x16 (at x4) slot, which may be useful in some cases.

If you like usable two PCI Express x1 (or higher) slots with a 2-slot graphics card, ASRock H55M Pro is the only microATX mb (the graphics card in the second PCI Express x16 slot will be connected to H55 at x4, but this is enough for most applications except for serious 3D). Of course, as H55 has only six PCI Express lanes, PCIe x1 + PCIe x4 + PCIe Gb LAN + USB 3.0 is impossible. (MSI H55M-ED55 is seemingly another such mb, but actually it is not; both x16 slots are connected to CPU and hence the second slot will be disabled with Clarkdale.) If you look at P55 microATX, MSI P55M-GD45 is similar to ASRock H55M Pro (but I see no reason to choose it over H55M Pro).

I am currently testing ASRock H55 Extreme3 (another nice mb from ASRock). On my test bed:

There is no stupid restriction on the PCI Express x1 slots. The six PCI Express 2.0 lanes in H55 are used for:

- 3 for 3 PCI Express x1 slots
- 1 for the RTL8111DL Gb LAN chip
- 1 for the Fresco USB 3.0 chip (this supports only one USB 3.0 port, however)
- 1 for the Marvell SATA 6Gbps chip

As usual, the mb does not waste a PCI Express lane on IDE. GIGABYTE GA-H55-USB3 has IDE, but does not have Marvell SATA 6Gbps. This is the best H55 ATX mb available in US right now.

Look at MSI P55A-G55. If you use a discrete card, this is it. (Or ASUS P7P55D-E if you prefer x16+x4 instead of MSI's x8+x8.)
LL
LL
badbob001's Avatar badbob001 09:53 AM 06-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

I own ASRock H55 Extreme3 (another nice mb from ASRock). There is no stupid restriction on the PCI Express x1 slots. The six PCI Express 2.0 lanes in H55 are used for:

- 3 for 3 PCI Express x1 slot
- 1 for the RTL8111DL Gb LAN chip
- 1 for the Fresco USB 3.0 chip (this supports only one USB 3.0 port, however)
- 1 for the Marvell SATA 3.0 chip

As usual, the mb does not waste a PCI Express lane on IDE.

The ASRock H55 Extreme3 is now my top choice (if I can find where to buy it). I figure if I really want to use IDE, I can make use of the PCI slots and get a PCI ATA/133 card.
renethx's Avatar renethx 10:59 AM 06-24-2010
An IDE-SATA adapter is another choice.
H8nXTC's Avatar H8nXTC 11:11 AM 06-24-2010
Here's an AMD based ASRock mATX motherboard that looks interesting, you may want to take a look at.
http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.as...l=890GM%20Pro3 It's $118 at newegg.com, before the $10 rebate.
890GM Pro3 appears to have 24-bit/192 kHz audio all the way out to the 7.1 ANALOG outputs (if you don't have HDMI) using VIA VT2020 (how does this work with the S/PDIF output, won't it get downgraded to 16-bit/48 kHz? EDIT, Looks like S/PDIF supports 24-bit / 192kHz which I wasn't aware of). How do you think this compares with the Realtek ALC892 or ALC889?

The full ATX version "Extreme3" new bios released yesterday has the new AMD Black Edition memory profile support, first I've seen of this being implemented. Just bought some Corsair memory with this feature.
renethx's Avatar renethx 11:37 AM 06-24-2010
My vote went to MSI 890GXM-G65 in the high-end sector. (Dual PCI Express 2.0 x16 [at x8] is hard to pass over.)

I haven't compared VIA VT2020 with ALC892 (just because I am not interested in onboard analog audio). Downsampling something matters only when you use a commercial BD sofware player (i.e. PowerDVD, TMT, WinDVD) at BD movie playback. Both VT2020 and ALC892 support PAP and work with PowerDVD without downsampling.

S/PDIF is limited to lossy compressed audio, i.e., DD and DTS (and stereo LPCM).
sspeace's Avatar sspeace 04:53 PM 06-24-2010
you might have this outlined in your documentation. But I want a fast processor, but my HTPC needs are: support for dual monitors HDCP compliant. One a PC LCD screen the other RBG line going to tv that support 1080p (but its not near the PC so that is why I have a long RBG cable) but only need 1080i support becuase of the cable to it.

Currently have a xonar card that outputs analog to my Amp and speakers (5.1 ).

First, what configuration would deliver : good cpu [erformance, a more then adiquate video (might someday change the RBG cable to HDMI cable if they make them that long - 50ft and take the time to get iy hidden), and last the sound coming from the PC directly to an AMP?

Second, Is the Xonar ok or is there a better card for get an anlog source for the Amp?

Again thanks.

PS> can't wait until we get the four turner card,

http://hd.engadget.com/2010/05/21/ce...delayed-again/
azneonguy's Avatar azneonguy 05:03 PM 06-24-2010
thanks for all the good info in this thread....keep up the good work
fuze1's Avatar fuze1 05:20 PM 06-24-2010
nevermind.
badbob001's Avatar badbob001 10:34 PM 06-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

As usual, the mb does not waste a PCI Express lane on IDE. GIGABYTE GA-H55-USB3 has IDE, but does not have Marvell SATA 6Gbps. This is the best H55 ATX mb available in US right now.

Did you mean the GA-H55-USB3 is the best H55 ATX board in the US now? How are the PCIe lanes on the GA-H55-USB3 used? The manual diagram is a bit confusing.


Thanks!
renethx's Avatar renethx 11:20 PM 06-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by sspeace View Post

you might have this outlined in your documentation. But I want a fast processor, but my HTPC needs are: support for dual monitors HDCP compliant. One a PC LCD screen the other RBG line going to tv that support 1080p (but its not near the PC so that is why I have a long RBG cable) but only need 1080i support becuase of the cable to it.

Currently have a xonar card that outputs analog to my Amp and speakers (5.1 ).

First, what configuration would deliver : good cpu [erformance, a more then adiquate video (might someday change the RBG cable to HDMI cable if they make them that long - 50ft and take the time to get iy hidden), and last the sound coming from the PC directly to an AMP?

Second, Is the Xonar ok or is there a better card for get an anlog source for the Amp?

HDMI cable 50ft is usually no problem.

Every current graphics card supports dual display. Sapphire HD 5670 is a good card. If you need better 3D performance, then 5850 or higher.

It depends on you if Xonar is OK or not (there are lots of Xonar models).
renethx's Avatar renethx 11:28 PM 06-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by badbob001 View Post

Did you mean the GA-H55-USB3 is the best H55 ATX board in the US now? How are the PCIe lanes on the GA-H55-USB3 used? The manual diagram is a bit confusing.

Yes (until H55 Extreme3 is released in US).

PCI Express bus connection to H55 is simple:

- 3 for the 3 PCI Express x1 slots
- 1 for RTL8111D Gb LAN chip
- 1 for JMB363 2 x SATA (3Gbps)+1 x IDE controller chip (so called "GIGABYTE SATA2")
- 1 for NEC USB 3.0 chip

The NEC USB 3.0 chip is connected to the CPU if its PCI Express 2.0 x16 link is at idle, that guarantees the "true" USB 3.0 speed. If you use a graphics card, the chip will be connected to H55 and the bandwidth will be cut in half. That's the role of the "Switch".
kevinqian's Avatar kevinqian 07:41 AM 06-25-2010
So Asrock fixed their Intel MEI issues?
renethx's Avatar renethx 07:51 AM 06-25-2010
Yes, its H55 mbs of the second generation support HD audio bitstreaming with PowerDVD and TMT just fine.
kevinqian's Avatar kevinqian 08:42 AM 06-25-2010
thanks, glad to have you back.
henrylynn's Avatar henrylynn 02:34 PM 06-25-2010
I just moved the guts of an HP Slimline computer into a Antec Fusion Remote case. Everything worked fine except that I got the "fan failure (F2)" alarm on boot because the 2 stock Antec case fans connect directly to the PSU and not the 3 pim connector on the MB. I changed out the Antec fans for Scythe S-Flex 3 pin fans and connected them to the single MB connector with a Y cable. I'm still getting the F2 alarm and the only way to stop it is to connect only 1 fan to the MB connector.

Is there any way to get around this? There's no BIOS setting for fans because I think HP removes that option in their computers.

Thanks for any help you may send!
JAB's Avatar JAB 02:58 PM 06-25-2010
Maybe this? It connects up to three fans to both a fan header on the motherboard and a 12V supply from the PSU.
H8nXTC's Avatar H8nXTC 03:46 PM 06-25-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by henrylynn View Post

I just moved the guts of an HP Slimline computer into a Antec Fusion Remote case. Everything worked fine except that I got the "fan failure (F2)" alarm on boot because the 2 stock Antec case fans connect directly to the PSU and not the 3 pim connector on the MB. I changed out the Antec fans for Scythe S-Flex 3 pin fans and connected them to the single MB connector with a Y cable. I'm still getting the F2 alarm and the only way to stop it is to connect only 1 fan to the MB connector.

Is there any way to get around this? There's no BIOS setting for fans because I think HP removes that option in their computers.

Thanks for any help you may send!

Try removing one of the yellow wires on the Y-splitter. If it still persists then the voltage draw from the two fans is probably too much for the motherboard.
logastellus's Avatar logastellus 08:05 PM 06-25-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post

There are two i5's - one dual-core (i5-6xx) and the other quad-core (i5-7xx). Aside from the higher clock, the i5-6xx is almost the same as the i3-5xx. The quad-core i5-7xx, however, should help quite a bit with x264 encoding (but not so much with Xvid). Take note, though, that only the dual-core (codename Clarkdale) processors have integrated GPU and HD audio bitstreaming. You're going to need a discrete GPU with a Core i5-750.

How much encoding are you planning on and how patient are you? Simple merge/cut, remuxing, etc, even the i3-530 is more than fast enough. Encoding is the big differentiator. If you're like me and tend to leave encoding overnight, I doubt you'll notice any difference between a dual-core i3-5xx or quad-core i5-7xx.

Table:

Intel® Processor Processor Frequency Intel® HD Graphics Graphics Frequency
Intel® Core™ i5-670 3.46 GHz Yes 733 MHz
Intel® Core™ i5-661 3.33 GHz Yes 900 MHz
Intel® Core™ i5-660 3.33 GHz Yes 733 MHz
Intel® Core™ i5-650 3.20 GHz Yes 733 MHz
Intel® Core™ i3-540 3.06 GHz Yes 733 MHz
Intel® Core™ i3-530 2.93 GHz Yes 733 MHz
Intel® Pentium® G6950 2.80 GHz Yes 533 MHz
kin0kin's Avatar kin0kin 08:43 PM 06-25-2010
Finally, all parts arrived and I got everything wired up:

Tons of mods/improvements made to the Norco RPC-4020 case.

- Dampened top 2 X 3.5" hdd rack with foam tape (was rattling before that)
- Dampened mobo tray with foam tape (was rattling before that)
- Dampened PSU mount, side tray, with foam tape (was rattling before that)
- Placed felt riser under the PSU gap
- Sealed off bottom side vents
- Sealed off middle fan wall holes
- Pre-wired all possible drives (although I don't have enough sata ports to use everything now)
- Replaced delta fans with Arctic Cooling Fan 3 TC (monitors temperature individually)
-Cut off useless fan grills, both on the fan wall and rear of the casing.

unRaid powered by:
- AMD 3200+
- Asus A8N-VM CSM (nforce4 board, no funny corruption issues)
- Corsair TX-750 PSU
- 2 X 512mb Geil DDR rams
- 2 x Supermicro SAT2-MV8

Too much power wastage, there's no need for a 2ghz processor. Thinking of swapping the mobo with something that has less TPD and use this for my firewall/router instead.
















ilovejedd's Avatar ilovejedd 09:22 PM 06-25-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by logastellus View Post

Table:

Intel® Processor Processor Frequency Intel® HD Graphics Graphics Frequency
Intel® Core i5-670 3.46 GHz Yes 733 MHz
Intel® Core i5-661 3.33 GHz Yes 900 MHz
Intel® Core i5-660 3.33 GHz Yes 733 MHz
Intel® Core i5-650 3.20 GHz Yes 733 MHz
Intel® Core i3-540 3.06 GHz Yes 733 MHz
Intel® Core i3-530 2.93 GHz Yes 733 MHz
Intel® Pentium® G6950 2.80 GHz Yes 533 MHz

I should have clarified, there were two Core i5 series (thank you, Intel, for the extremely clear product nomenclature ). You're missing the Core i5-750 Lynnfield which doesn't have on-package graphics but does have 4 cores. Again, the only difference between the i5-6x0 and i3-5x0 (aside from the clock speed) is the i5-6xx has Turbo Boost, AES-NI and VT-d support.

By the way, the codename for Intel's dual-core chips with on-package graphics is Clarkdale which I think is what you were trying to refer to. The G6950 aside from losing Hyper Threading and having a lower graphics core clock is also missing HD audio bitstreaming.

There are also a few recent additions to the Clarkdale line-up:
Core i3-550
Core i5-655K (unlocked multi)
Core i5-680
gsr's Avatar gsr 10:07 PM 06-25-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by logastellus View Post

Table:

This may be a bit easier for people to read:

Intel® Processor Processor Frequency Intel® HD Graphics Graphics Frequency
Intel® Core™ i5-670 3.46 GHz Yes 733 MHz
Intel® Core™ i5-661 3.33 GHz Yes 900 MHz
Intel® Core™ i5-660 3.33 GHz Yes 733 MHz
Intel® Core™ i5-650 3.20 GHz Yes 733 MHz
Intel® Core™ i3-540 3.06 GHz Yes 733 MHz
Intel® Core™ i3-530 2.93 GHz Yes 733 MHz
Intel® Pentium® G6950 2.80 GHz Yes 533 MHz

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