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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about >|

So just as a heads-up to everyone out there who might be looking for their own HTPC setup and was considering the Asus, the AOpen is considerably cheaper ($135 vs $153), has very close performance (I doubt any one of us could ever tell based on the neck-and-neck benchmarks from Tom's Hardware I just saw), and it seems to have all the same (plus some) options of the Asus and MORE abilities to tweak settings to your liking.


Looks like AOpen just sold another motherboard!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Oh yes... I almost forgot the other point that sold me on it...


There's some software that comes from AOpen called "Silent PC" - that lets you not only take advantage of ramping-down CPU *AND* sytem fans, but you can also set thermal cut-on and cut-off points for each/all of them. So if you know how warm your PC runs while just running a DVD, you can set the fans to not run (or run very low) at all!


Not bad... not bad at all!
 

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How is the stability on the Aopen board?


I trust the Asus name more than Aopen, being from an overclocking background :) I figure if its a stable board when overclocking, it would be perfect for HTPC.


Never tried any Aopen boards. Abit has always been rock solid as well, so I was mainly looking for an Abit or Asus solution for my HTPC (naturally, the 2 most expensive board makers).


-Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've had a few AOpen boards in the past - never a bit of trouble with them. I think the main key here is the Intel chipset, however. A lot of your stability problems come from SiS, VIA and other chipset mfgs' that just don't have the r&d budget of Intel to work out the bugs BEFORE they release a product! And I feel the 845 has come to a point where it's really matured into something most of the other mfgs' only dream about having :)


I like ABit as well... I've got a KT7 in one of my "older" (2 yrs!) workhorse systems, and I've since upgraded it from a 900MHz to 1.3GHz ... never had a problem with it.


If we were talking about Shuttle or PCChips this would be a different conversation!
 

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Heh, I have a Shuttle board in my "workhorse" machine, and aside from the few issues I had in the beginning (which actually werent caused by Shuttle as far as I could see), its been great. And its an Athlon, so Im running on a VIA chipset (KT266a).


But I wouldnt buy a Shuttle board for my HTPC. I dont mind the Via chipsets, so another option was an Athlon setup from Asus or Abit. But theres just something about the possibility of running RAM at the same FSB as a CPU...... ;)


-Chris
 

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Another question -


Which model of AX4 board were you referring to at 135.00? Even the better models on pricewatch are under 100 bux. If its one of those, Id buy it in a second.


-Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I was talking about the AOpen AX4GN-MAX board. The cheaper version doesn't come with all the extra software and goodies that the MAX does, and for about $30, I think it's worth it :)
 

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Resurrecting an old thread rather than creating a new one. I have a few questions about these motherboards as well. First, has anyone gotten one yet? I'm looking to more from my Athlon 750/Asus A7V into the P4 arena. I think I want the 845PE over the GE as I've already got a graphics card, but if this is a horrible choice, could someone explain the difference a bit more? I know enough to get by on computers, but some of the more intricate features escape me. With that said, the boards I'm looking at most are the Asus P4PE and the AOpen AX4PE-Max.


I really like the digital audio in/out feature on the AOpen. Looks like the Asus boards only have outs, and I'm not sure about coaxial. Next, is the quality of this input and output decent and is it in spec? I'm using a Soundblaster live right now and the out of spec output doesn't seem to have any ill effect on my Onkyo (I picked up an extended warranty so I wouldn't have to worry about things like this), but it's worth asking I figure.


Are there other chipsets I'm overlooking? I've read around Toms Hardware a bit, but again, some of this goes over my head. In a quick search through pricewatch, looks like the AOpen board is under $90 including USB2.0 and Audio, while the Asus board is just over $120 including USB2, Audio and LAN. More info on the machine and uses below. Thanks for any input.


Randy


Additional Info: Things I'm getting with the machine are a P4 2.4 or 2.53 533 FSB with Zalman 6500 Cu, 256 PC2700 memory. Existing hardware to be installed includes Radeon 7500 (soon with Zalman ZM50), two Maxtor 5400 rpm 80 gig drives (very quiet!), PVR250 Capture card, and an IRMan, all powered by a TruePower 330 installed in my new AVS Forum/PowerSerge case. :D Things I do with the machine/plan to do eventually is capture/process/archive video from TV, listen to music (all my CD's ripped to MP3), and starting to move toward playing DVD's (prompting this upgrade, the 750 CPU stutters a bit, particularly with a high bitrate DTS soundtrack) and eventually installing a VFD. Right now it's hooked through SVideo to a standard def TV. Hoping to remedy that this spring.
 

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Are we talking apples to apples comparison? I wouldn't trade my P4PE in for anything. Gigabit LAN. All the power features addressed above. FireWire. I got rid of 3 add in cards I used in my old HTPC. Rock solid with MyHD. Promise RAID. Serial ATA. I have 3 fixed and removable hard drive running fine and Radeon 9700 Pro passively cooled with great performance.


Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You wanna know why you should get the AOpen over an Asus? SILENT PC... Asus doesn't touch that, yet Rudolpht. Sure, you can limit the CPU fan, but not the system fans.


If I were building a system and didn't care about noise, I would buy the Asus, as I buy them just about every time I can over any other board, no matter the chipset I'm choosing. But the ability to control every system fan on the board? Now THAT'S worth the price of admission right there, even if the performance was in the toilet (but it's far from that!).


Randy, I still haven't gotten my AOpen board. Problems and confusion in ordering lead me to discover that they've discontinued the MAX series board. However, you must be VERY careful in choosing which board you pick from AOpen, as many of them have similar names but VERY dis-similar features. I was lucky enough to find a GE-MAX over at newegg in stock, so I should have the board in my posession by the end of the week.


Good luck finding a PE MAX board. I wasn't able to find anyone selling one of those in the US.


That said, if you want Firewire, you'd better go grab one of the few remaining GE-MAX boards that are left out there. If you don't care about firewire, serial ATA or ATA-133, you could probably find a AX4PER-N around. If you don't get a PE or GE series board, you won't be able to take advantage of PC2700 RAM.


I also bought into the AOpen due to the SP/DIF in and out on BOTH TOSLink and Coax, although I don't think I'll be using the coax for anything.


Oh yes, one other thing... if you're getting the Zalman 6500, MAKE SURE your case can fit it! That thing is HUGE!
 

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Duplicator,

I'm just wondering who told you that the MAX series was d/c'd. There is no mention of it that I can see on their site. It seems that the PE-MAX was never offered in the US though...
 

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Thanks for the info guys. I just checked again and it was the AX4PER that I found through pricewatch (searched for aopen ax4pe, top one looks reliable and it's $96 shipped) The only thing on the list of things you say are not included that concerns me is ATA133. Both my current drives are 100, but will I want 133 for my next drives? I don't know much about firewire or serial ATA. I've got no deadline for this, so maybe I better step back and do some more research on these newer features. I've heard of firewire and a bit about it, but no real thought to what I might want to do with it. I hadn't heard about serial ATA until I started looking at these boards. My feeling is the PER would be fine for me. It's on the upper end with the 533 FSB (this indicates 3+ghz support, correct?) and PC2700 support. And I'm betting any of these will be more stable than my A7V and I know they will blow away my 750mhz. :) Best of all, with components I already have, it'll only cost about $400 for the upgrade.


Randy
 

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When it comes to regulating the CPU/case fans there is also a software solution that may or may not work (depending on your MB). It's freeware. Seems many MB's have the hardware to regulate their fan hookups, but not all expose this in their BIOS.


I'm going to give this a try on my P4PE as soon as my HD comes in (waiting for a Seagate 120GB serial-ATA, backordered until 1/27 :( ).


-Rob-
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
dcpoppy: I was told by my reseller, who I have no reason to doubt. They often go out of their way for me, and have informed me on the MAX series that it's been discontinued...


So I went and bought one from NewEgg, and now THEY show "NO" for their stock on the board - I don't know if they're going to get more, or what... but like I said, I have no reason to not believe them.


Randy - don't worry about ATA133 support. It's nothing special, and it really doesn't make a lick of difference in speed. So don't make a decision based on the lack of ATA133 support.
 

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I have the P4PE installed right now... and I am switching it for the AX4GE-MAX.


First, I really like the SilentTek/SilentBIOS software... it looks to have much more control compared to 'SpeedFan.' Second, you gotta love the S/PDIF INput. Also, because the VGA port takes place of one of the COM ports, the AX4GE-MAX now internal headers for an additional com port. I have the Vision2 case, so now there is no need to run a serial cable outside the box to hook up the VFD - I can take advantage of the internal headers. Another thing that isn't too bad about the board is the video. Yeah, I will probably never use it... but it may come in handy some day. The Gigabit LAN seems to be the only thing the ASUS has over the AOpen... and I honestly don't think I am going to upgrade all my equipment to Gigabit LAN any time soon... so I am not worried. Tim mentioned comparing apples to apples earlier... I don't see why these wouldn't be in the same class... because the MAX has the 1394/SATA/ATA-133. Another difference is that the AOpen has a TI 1394 chip, where the ASUS has a VIA 1394 chip. I don't know much (anything) about the differences, but since VIA has given me a hard time in the past (with a totally unrelated motherboard) - I would rather have TI :rolleyes:
Disclaimer: I have not tested any of this, Because the board is on it's way to me.


Randy:

I see that you were planning on getting the PVR-250. Just to let you know, the PVR-350 was recently released and is "on sale" over at the hauppauge store . I am not a buff on TV capture cards... but the 350 offers an FM tuner and both hardware MPEG2 encoder and decoder, plus it has a newer remote.


-Leo
 

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Thanks Duplicator. I wasn't doubting you, I just find it to be disappointing news. I wonder what that will mean for future updates and support? Oh well, I bought the AX4GE-MAX anyway. Now which processor to buy...:D
 

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FYI - this is back in stock at newegg...
 
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