I use an AMD Athlon 750 and A7V MB. It seems ok although it will crash now and then if you try stuff like running TV capture and DVD at the same time. It had many glitches at first which I have been able to eliminate (mostly) with new drivers and manipulating the order in which they are installed.(do not ask me why that helped)
The 750 and the 760 chipsets are completely different, and aren't really comparable.
I've had an A7M266 (full ATX, but I'm sure the M is similar) since it was first released, and it wasn't til the SIS735 and the KT266A chipsets were released about a year later that anything held a candle to it performance-wise. I've got 2 KT266A boards, I still think the A7M holds up really well against them considering it's comparatively ancient. It was amazingly stable with my T-Bird 1.2GHz.
If you're planning to run an Athlon XP or Morgan core Duron, make sure you have the bios updated before you set it up.
___When we are speaking of an HTPC, stability is far more important than the performance given todayâ€™s boards with ultra high frequency CPUâ€™s and reasonable fast busses. On the CPU and memory front, latency also takes a toll but not nearly as much as it used to. When you discuss stability, nothing touches the Intel chipsets although there are variances depending on what manufacturer and board you choose. If you already have the AMD chipset based board and are not willing to invest another penny, by all means use it but if you are considering new, you have so many better choices available. In your short list, I highly recommended that you consider an older Intel I815EP-B or latest I845-D/E as the chipsets of choice for not only features and all there performance you will need in the near term, but for quiet and extremely dependable HTPC operation as well as enjoyment.
Wayne, I generally agree with your posts, and I generally agree with this one, with a few exceptions:
IMHO, the AMD760 chipset is to Athlons what the 815 chipset is to Coppermines/Tualatins. My last Intel-based system was a 933MHz P-3 in a CUSL2C, and I completely agree with your high opinion of this basic combination; However, the P-3 platform was nearing the end of its design life, and the P-4 at the time was the Socket 423. Even Intel makes some mediocre products, and 1.5 years ago the AMD760/t-bird combo was pretty unbeatable. The only area of mediocrity in most AMD760 implementations, including the Asus A7Ms, is the use of Via's 686B southbridge, but I've never had any problems as long as a late revision of Via's 4-in-1 drivers are installed. I think that, depending on what constitutes Golfdawg's purposes for his HTPC, he could have a VERY stable, very inexpensive, and rather fast solution. Just pop a fast Duron or an XP1600 or 1700 in there (those run comparatively cooler than the higher-clocked XPs - stay away from the 1.4 GHz T-birds, as they run quite hot too), add a stick of DDR, and a quiet cooler like the Zalman or the new Coolermaster heat pipe HSF, and you've got a really decent system.
Sure, if the budget's limitless, the 845 or the SIS645 chipset boards and a P4 are better HTPC solutions, but I don't share your opinion that it makes sense to invest in an 815 chipset board at this late date. Sure it's stable, but if you're gonna make an investment now, the P-4 solutions are an upgrade from an Athlon, but I see the P-3 solutions as a step back. My new HTPC is gonna be a P4, but if I had an A7M266M mobo kicking around, I wouldn't hesitate to put it to good use, or recommend it to a friend.
___The I815EP-B w/ a Tualatin is the lowest latency chipset/CPU combination you can purchase today as well as can be cooled almost silently. The I845D/E/G series boards are a lot less expensive than you may think and with a 1.6A at a more suitable FSB, are some of the fastest systems out there bar a SiS 645DX with DDR 333/400 or an I850E w/ PC1066. As far as cooling, the Alpha PAL8942 is a much better alternative than the two HSâ€™s listed.
___The AMD 760 had just as many incompatibilities for HTPC uses as the VIA based boards. The 686B Southbridge not withstanding â€¦ and that is why it is not a very suitable HTPC board either. Even the ancient BX with a SECC based PIII would be a more compatible setup albeit slower. Slower means nothing in an HTPC as you already know because with a 1 GHz P III, these systems will handle even DScaler with the most aggressive deinterlacing algorithms.
___As far as Intel and their mediocre product releases based more on profit potential than performance, you have not read some of my many past posts regarding the I810, 820, 820 w/ the MTH, and socket 423 based boards as well as the I815 getting trounced by the BX chipset at 133 MHz FSB ~ 2 years ago. Intel doesnâ€™t get a way with anything in this forum if I can help it â€¦
PS: I am a proud owner of a Soyo Dragon +, CUSL2, TUSL2, (2) busted A7V133â€™s w/ the infamous 686B Southbridge, and my latest SiS 645DX based $110.00 P4S533 â€¦ That should just about take care of any discussion of Intel bias, shouldnâ€™t it
I never considered your Intel-bias to be unwarranted. I don't consider my own Intel bias to be unwarranted either - they really do make superior products, overall. I have also had great success with AMD products, which you've unfortunately not experienced. The A7M266 board, and my Soltek SL75DRV4 (KT266A), both rank among the best boards I've ever owned, and both have bordered on being crashproof. I've been building my own systems to suit various purposes for about 16 years, and the decision for me to get an AMD product was not an easy one after so many great Intel-based systems. Had my first AMD system been an A7V133 and not the A7M266, I might not think as highly of the Athlons as I do. I recall reading that your preference for an AMD board would be the NVidia, which I considered but I felt that since I was going to use ATI video anyway, their products don't make much sense to me. A good KT266A board or a good AMD760 board have proven themselves to me, and many of my friends. I've seen the stability of the KT333, NVidia, KT133A, AMD750, SIS730 and 735 - hell, I've seen the stability of virtually ALL AMD chipsets called into question, except for the KT266A and AMD760.
Finally, I just got my heat-pipe Coolermaster HSF but my P-4 and P4S333M haven't arrived yet so I've got nothing to test it on. Are you sure that the Alpha with a 2000RPM or 2500RPM fan outperform this supposed miracle of HSF technology? I know the heat-pipes look really cool, and I'll be sure to post a review once I have something to connect them to!
___I have tried every VIA chipset from the KX133 on up with Hi-Pixâ€™s, M-Audioâ€™s, and of course Radeonâ€™s from the KT133â€™s on up and found everyone of them needing a fix or special install before they would work properly. In the case of the onboard C-Media 8738 solution of the KT266Aâ€™s (The Soyo Dragon + I own), DTS discâ€™s never quite work with it properly whereas with a detune of the latest M-Audio drivers using an M-Audio AP2496, does. I did not receive these problems with the (2) nForce 420-Dâ€™s I built late last year and have never had that problem from a SiS 735 or my latest 645DX and never from a BX chipset equipped Abit BF6 all the way through the latest Asus P4B266â€™s. There is simply something wrong with VIAâ€™s design and until they fix the latency bugs apparent, I highly recommend that everyone considering an HTPC stay away from them â€¦ Inexpensive gaming boxes however are fair game up and until the 1.6A on the 645 and 845 boards arrived, an OCâ€™ed T-Bird on a KT266A was the king
___As for the Heat-piped Coolermaster, if you have followed the reviews of it, it never quite places in first place with the very loud 6800 RPM fan attached. The only way to achieve silence with it is going to be with a funnel. Even the Reviewmakers test of the HHC-001 gives a glowing report of the Coolermaster HHC-001 just barely edging out the Dynatron 1206-BM and SVC Goldengate (both of which I also own) and there is nothing spectacular for T-Bird/XP + cooling using those HSâ€™s. For PIII cooling however, the SVC Goldengate and the Dynatron -625 with a funnel and low RPM case fan work wonders â€¦ The ace in the whole however is that Dave of KDComputers (the guy that supplied the HHC-001 to Ipkonfig) is a good friend of mine I had previously worked with for over 10 years. Being just being up the road a bit, I have at my disposal many of the HSâ€™s and fans he sells. The HHC-001 performed similar to an SK6 with a modded slow speed (maybe 2700 RPM) 60x60 mm fan which is not that great. The Alpha 8045 using the 1900 â€“ 2200 RPM Panaflow L1, Sunon TB-4, and Silencer kicked the Coolermasters $%^#! You simply cannot find a low RPM 60x60 fan on the Coolermaster to compete in either air flow, low dB output, or especially in thermal performance that a low RPM 80x80 case fan on an Alpha PAL8045 can achieve. Simply put, the temps were higher using the Heat-piped Coolermaster with a lower RPM fan than stock yet higher dB output on an OCâ€™ed T-Bird vs. the quieter 80x80 fans on the Alpha 8045 with the same chip and board. You can look up my PAL8942 quick review here in the HT Computer forum for more information along the P4 line as well â€¦
I bow to your wisdom! Forgive me for thinking your distaste for the AMDs was based only on the KT133s! I've generally used my systems more for audio than video, and the HTPC that I'm now building will be a P-4 with an Audiophile 2496. Now that I'm planning to use it for an increasing amount of video functionality, I really appreciate your insight, and have for quite some time. Knowing it's based on even more expertise and testing than I had imagined, I appreciate it all the more!
Also, I know the Alphas are really good, having had a 6035 on a 1.4GHz Athlon that I no longer have, but I now realise that I should either have done more research or simply asked you before I bought my IHCL71. Thank you.
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