Originally Posted by lacquer
I am considering building a new HTPC around the AMD Phenom architecture. As the Phenoms are really expensive and have some issues at the moment, I thought I would buy a new Phenom motherboard and use an X2 until the better Phenoms come out later in the Spring.
The question is, what is the best Phenom motherboard for a HTPC? All I can find are high-end 790FX boards and low-end 770 boards. I would like more than 4 SATA slots, SPDIF out, overclocking options, 1394, and eSATA. I could care less about Crossfire and multiple PCI-X slots. Is anything around that fits my needs or anything coming out really soon?
While a motherboard choice is of course up to the individual, you should take another look at why/what do you "really" need in an "HTPC".
- Overclocking - while nice to have, a lot of motherboards can overclock a CPU, just by raising the FSB. You really don't need a boatload of overclocking options for an HTPC, for a gaming machine, yes, but not for a machine that's dedicated to media functions.
- 4 SATA slots - should be way more than enough. If you need more than that, you are cramming way too many drives into your media PC. Try and isolate them to network storage/external storage. It will have a side benefit of keeping it cooler and quieter.
SPDIF out - a must have. And most modern motherboards have it.
1394 - although not a "must have" it is becoming pretty essential, and a large number of modern motherboards have it.
eSATA - Yes, this is a good thing to have. But even if you don't have it on the motherboard, a simle PCI/PCI-e card can give you 2, if not more ports. These cards aint even that expensive. ~$30-35.
And back to the original point. There is no practical reason for a Phenom for a media playback machine. Hell, a 5000+ with a half decent GPU will play anything you throw at it. Of course if you gotta have one, you gotta have one.