OK, I am ready to upgrade my nearly 5 year old HTPC (Albeit it has had some enhancements over the year(s) and rebuild it to near bleeding edge status. I have never really been all that thrilled with the Gigabye GA-X48-GQ6 board it was based on. The Bios is pretty old school relative to the newer GUI interface system of recent Asus boards. I actually built a PC with a newer ASUS board and they just are nice.
My old Q6600 Yorkfield though has been pretty impressive, never really being that tasked. RAM, OTH has been pegged alot with 8GB of DDR2. I run 4 Linksys WME's and when they all stream, RAM usage can go pretty high. Ceton recommends 12GB of RAM to stream to 4 of their newEcho's so, this is where we start. I also want to keep all TV DVR and a large subset of movies on the HTPC. Sometimes, I have streaming problems from my older WHS V1 Server and there are skips, stutters, and occasional stutters so, here goes a list of components I intend to use. I am sticking with Windows 7 for now as it is comfortable for me to operate and I am not really convinced that Windows 8's GUI is very friendly for HTPC use. I have Win 8 on my daughters PC and it really needs an advanced touchscreen or pad to work best. Here is my parts list with questions.
CPU: Intel Core I73770K. (Although an HTPC, I am going to onvert all isos to compressed files. I game a bit and this is the mst important PC in the house; thus no skimping here.
RAM: 1 x G.SKILL Trident X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2400 (PC3 19200) Desktop Memory Model F3-2400C10Q-32GTX. Ditto here. I want gob loads of RAM. 1st to run all the streams without issue but wait, there is more. I intend to place Arcsoft TMT plus my rendering software on a RAMDisk, splitting the memory 16gb for the system and 16GB for the programs. I am just learning about this but I should see some amazing speed? Anyone try this yet?
MBoard: 1 x ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard. Many reasons to go with this board. It can do tons of crazy cool stuff. Here goes my ideas!!!
1). It has Blutooth and Wifi built in; well with an expansion device. This feature allows are fairly easy to configure "remote access" capacity. I intend to use this to sometimes control the PC via a touch device. This may actually go well with Win 8 in the future. Anyone try this?
2). It has the ability to integrate an external GPU with the on chip GPU and motherboard. It appears easy to configure.
3). Intel XPU technology to utilize the extreme speed RAM above.
4). SSD caching. Not sure I wil go this route but it is available.
5). Advanced FanControl2. This will allow custon fan control, ideal for an HTPC environment.
6). It has the superior Intel NIC. In addition, ASUS's network packet control features look easy to use and get good reviews.
7). 32GB RAM capacity -too cool
8). Slick looking BIOS as well as class leading software tools.
9). Enough SATA 3 connections for a 5 drive RAID array. If I use 3TB drives, that'll do it.
10). It can spped up USB 2.0 ports with ASUS technology as well as increase USB 3.0 throughput. I see this as potentially improving performance to my USB Ceton Tuner. Anyone try this on an ASUS board with improvements?
I have other less interesting reasons but in short, this is a state of the art board. It may be overkill but the way I look at it; my primary home HTPC must be fast, stable, and capable of running the home distributed video up to its max capacity.
CPU Fan: 1 x ZALMAN CNPS9900MAX-B 135mm Long life bearing CPU Cooler Blue LED. It's big quiet and from a good manufacturer.
OS/Primary Drive: 1 x SAMSUNG 840 Pro Series MZ-7PD256BW 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD). Big enough, fast enough, good manufacturer.
Other Drives: 5 Red 3TB WD's in a RAID 5 format. (Never tried this before - onboard RAID can be tricky but I just need it to go fast enough to serve up media.
Optical Drive: My trusty BluRay/HDDVD Read/Write LG. I want it to play HDDVD's I have not copied over yet.
And now from my old HTPC.
Case: Silverstone CW02/Black. It's big, it's black and it is incredibly well made. Yes, it does not have USB 3.0 fronts and the I-Mon LCD is a touch buggy....... But I want a Marantz AV8801 Pre and they look like twins.
Tuner(s). I Ceton PCIE, 1 USB Ceton.
PSU. 1 x ENERMAX MODU82+ EMD625AWT 625W ATX12V Ver.2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Compatible. It too has enough juice for the whole box.
GPU: 1 x PowerColor Go! Green AX6750 1GBD5-NS3DHG Radeon HD 6750 (Dirt3 Edition) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP ... No fan, low power, works fine for my Sony VPL VW 95 projector.Does 3D. Don't need 4K yet.
Various other doodads and silent fans that I have inside the case. I guess you'd say the case is highly modded.
Software: Arcsoft TMT 5, Win OS 64 Bit 7 (Have copy to upgrade to Win 8), WMC, MyMovies and as well as a few other Media based programs.
So, the build starts next week. Yep, it is overkill but it is an important PC for the house and my old one has issues at times and is getting a touch long in the tooth.