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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for a good board for an HTPC, no gaming, it doesn't have to be great, price is the biggest factor.


Must have onboard HDMI and optical sound out, I'm not picky on core 2 duo or athlon, whichever will perform for the price.


any recommendations?
 

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I would say a board based on the NVidia 9400 chipset, so a board like the Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H ( thread about it ), this for Intel processors


I'm not sure how they compare on price but you can also get various boards built around Intels G45 chipset.


Both these would do Blu-Ray in Vista but given the choice I would go with NVidia (I own a G45 board)
 

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I really dont mean to jack your thread but this is something ive been racking my brain on for a while now. Its so overwhelming.


is onboard hdmi and optical a good idea? Im looking for something that will give great output on a 1080p display, when viewing divx, avi, mpg etc, and still have clear text when surfing the web...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by shoulderlean /forum/post/15424657


I really dont mean to jack your thread but this is something ive been racking my brain on for a while now. Its so overwhelming.


is onboard hdmi and optical a good idea? Im looking for something that will give great output on a 1080p display, when viewing divx, avi, mpg etc, and still have clear text when surfing the web...

by all means... jack away.


i don't even know where to start, onboard seems like a good idea is you are going to put it into a htpc case since space is limited, but if there are performance issues, id like to know.


this to me is most difficult part, how do i know whats good or not, there are so many specs and any buying advice i find on the net gives no advice, just generalities.


what the diff between this board:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128365


and this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813182161


besides about $50? and the number of memory slots, the g43/g45. is there that much of a difference?
 

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Only the G45 can accelerate Blu-Ray movies, it has the GMA X4500HD chip. The G43 has the GMA X4500 which doesn't have the hardware acceleration.


It depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you don't play games and just listen to music and watch videos (SD and HD) and you want 5.1/7.1 output over HDMI then you have two main choices (I'll ignore the Asus Xonar)


You can get a standard motherboard and put on a newish ATI graphics card (any of the 4000 series). I don't know the entire ATI range but I don't think any of them are fanless and theyfore they ain't silent and you may need a higher watted PSU.


Or you go for onboard graphics with HDMI output. You'll spend a few dollars more on the board but as long as the graphics chip is up to the job you should be happy. So you have boards based on the Intel G45 (for Intel CPUs), NVidia 8200/8300 (AMD) or the NVidia 9300/9400 (Intel) . Boards like the Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H are based on the new NVidia 9400 chipset and it is a lot quicker at 3D than the G45.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by salacious /forum/post/15426353


Only the G45 can accelerate Blu-Ray movies, it has the GMA X4500HD chip. The G43 has the GMA X4500 which doesn't have the hardware acceleration.


It depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you don't play games and just listen to music and watch videos (SD and HD) and you want 5.1/7.1 output over HDMI then you have two main choices (I'll ignore the Asus Xonar)


You can get a standard motherboard and put on a newish ATI graphics card (any of the 4000 series). I don't know the entire ATI range but I don't think any of them are fanless and theyfore they ain't silent and you may need a higher watted PSU.


Or you go for onboard graphics with HDMI output. You'll spend a few dollars more on the board but as long as the graphics chip is up to the job you should be happy. So you have boards based on the Intel G45 (for Intel CPUs), NVidia 8200/8300 (AMD) or the NVidia 9300/9400 (Intel) . Boards like the Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H are based on the new NVidia 9400 chipset and it is a lot quicker at 3D than the G45.

Unless you are stating the Intel G45 is the only INTEL chipset that supports h/w acceleration, then you are incorrect. G45 is NOT the only chipset that supports h/w acceleration. Virtually all the newer chipsets support h/w acceleration. AMD, Intel and NVidia all have UMA chips all support h/w acceleration.
 

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MSI 7411 (aka MSI Media Live Diva) is a great choice. Yes, my opinion may be slightly biased, but there is a reason for this.


Most other boards were designed for PC applications that can be shoe horned into an HTPC application. Some work very well for this, others not so.


With the MSI board, it was designed from the ground up to serve a specific purpose, the HTPC.


Virtually all the decisions around this board were made based upon the primary use as an HTPC.


For example, 780M chipset was used because of the full HD support. However, it was also selected because of it's lower power, ability to support side port memory and the ability to support component out video alongside HDMI and VGA.


No other chipsets offer all these features in one package.


128MB of sideport memory was added to the board because it would improve HD playback.


D2Audio's DSP was added to provide a better audio experience.


Everything about the board was designed to meet the needs of the HTPC usage model.


While you could use this board for gener PC use, that is not what it was designed for.


@ Mike...onboard graphics are plenty good engough for most people. Yes there are those that are uber videophiles that can only be satisfied with the performance a discrete solution can provide, my guess is that you would be satisfied with onboard graphics. There are also those that like to run applications and file formats that are not typically supported by h/w accelleration and therefore, might need for CPU or GPU horsepower, but for most mainstream viewing, again onboard graphics like the 780 based solutions are more than enough to meet the needs.


As mentioned, I have the 780 based solution and I can play Blu-ray content, 1080i/720p TV content, h.264, etc. without any issues, stuttering or any problems at all.


Since I have the MSI board mentioned, I also get awesome audio quality during movie and music playback.
 

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As of right now the IGP performance for playing HD content is like this...


Intel: NVidia 9300/9400 > G45


AMD: NVidia 8200/8300 > 780G (ATI 3200/3300)


That means when content is played at 1080p/24Hz providing 8 Channel LPCM sound thru HDMI.


If you don't care for the above, then any board with a recent IGP will do for you.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Java Jack /forum/post/15428024


Unless you are stating the Intel G45 is the only INTEL chipset that supports h/w acceleration, then you are incorrect. G45 is NOT the only chipset that supports h/w acceleration. Virtually all the newer chipsets support h/w acceleration. AMD, Intel and NVidia all have UMA chips all support h/w acceleration.

The G45 was designed with accelerating HD formats e.g Blu-ray. Although you can also do this on the G35 I wouldn't recommend it. It is currently the only chipset MADE by Intel that I could recommend for HD playback and I don't think the G43 is up to it. I did say that the solutions from NVidia have better performance for 3D and run Intel processors
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm trying to figure out if i getting less confused or more...


so on the specs which is most important the onboard video chipset or the Northbridge? and how do i find out which is better? You guys are throwing a bunch of numbers at me, which Im sure would make sense if i had any idea what they meant.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 /forum/post/15430494


I'm trying to figure out if i getting less confused or more...


so on the specs which is most important the onboard video chipset or the Northbridge? and how do i find out which is better? You guys are throwing a bunch of numbers at me, which Im sure would make sense if i had any idea what they meant.

For integrated (or UMA) chipsets, the northbridge is the video chipset. There is the rare discrete chip put down on a motherboard to create onboard graphics, but that is a very rare design and therefore, not really part of the discussion. I can't even think of any boards out right now that are doing that other than mobile designs.


Therefore, when referencing onboard graphics, that is the same as integrated or UMA platforms.


Typically found in uATX form factors, UMA platforms are pretty good for HTPC designs.


The chipsets used on thes platforms come from 3 places, AMD, Intel and Nvidia.


AMD chipsets supporting UMA designs are based upon the RS780 chipset. There are a few varieties of this chipset 780G, 780V, 780M, etc. Each chipset is slightly different than the other to support different market segments and cost.


The ones most suitable for an HTPC design are the 780G and the 780M on the MSI board. This is because they have a faster clock speed and a few other features that are not in the 780V.


Nvidia has 2 different families of chipsets, those for the AMD platform (8200/8300) and those for the Intel platform (9300/9400).


Intel has a few different UMA chipsets G35, G43, and G45. Of these, most people are suggesting the G45 as the best Intel chipset for HTPC.


Each chipset has it's strengths and weaknesses.


Does that clear it up for you?
 

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Jack,


That is a nice summary; thx.


Mike, I am a similar position as you, and I want a mATX solution that supports socket 775; and I also want an HDMI connector. Furthermove, I have always used MSI boards so the MSI G45M Digital seems a good choice, but this is new and doesn't appear readily available. You might consider the ASUS P5Q-EM, which seems to get good reviews.


Java Jack and others may also have comments?


Scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Java Jack /forum/post/15430586


For integrated (or UMA) chipsets, the northbridge is the video chipset. There is the rare discrete chip put down on a motherboard to create onboard graphics, but that is a very rare design and therefore, not really part of the discussion. I can't even think of any boards out right now that are doing that other than mobile designs.


Therefore, when referencing onboard graphics, that is the same as integrated or UMA platforms.


Typically found in uATX form factors, UMA platforms are pretty good for HTPC designs.


The chipsets used on thes platforms come from 3 places, AMD, Intel and Nvidia.


AMD chipsets supporting UMA designs are based upon the RS780 chipset. There are a few varieties of this chipset 780G, 780V, 780M, etc. Each chipset is slightly different than the other to support different market segments and cost.


The ones most suitable for an HTPC design are the 780G and the 780M on the MSI board. This is because they have a faster clock speed and a few other features that are not in the 780V.


Nvidia has 2 different families of chipsets, those for the AMD platform (8200/8300) and those for the Intel platform (9300/9400).


Intel has a few different UMA chipsets G35, G43, and G45. Of these, most people are suggesting the G45 as the best Intel chipset for HTPC.


Each chipset has it's strengths and weaknesses.


Does that clear it up for you?

wow, thanks. I needed that.


I guess for the most part its trial and error whether you like the board. So im trying to make a good decision based on what i read here, as i really don't feel like trying a bunch. I want to build it and use it, and maybe upgrade in the future.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Java Jack /forum/post/15430586


For integrated (or UMA) chipsets, the northbridge is the video chipset. There is the rare discrete chip put down on a motherboard to create onboard graphics, but that is a very rare design and therefore, not really part of the discussion. I can't even think of any boards out right now that are doing that other than mobile designs.


Therefore, when referencing onboard graphics, that is the same as integrated or UMA platforms.


Typically found in uATX form factors, UMA platforms are pretty good for HTPC designs.


The chipsets used on thes platforms come from 3 places, AMD, Intel and Nvidia.


AMD chipsets supporting UMA designs are based upon the RS780 chipset. There are a few varieties of this chipset 780G, 780V, 780M, etc. Each chipset is slightly different than the other to support different market segments and cost.


The ones most suitable for an HTPC design are the 780G and the 780M on the MSI board. This is because they have a faster clock speed and a few other features that are not in the 780V.


Nvidia has 2 different families of chipsets, those for the AMD platform (8200/8300) and those for the Intel platform (9300/9400).


Intel has a few different UMA chipsets G35, G43, and G45. Of these, most people are suggesting the G45 as the best Intel chipset for HTPC.


Each chipset has it's strengths and weaknesses.


Does that clear it up for you?

wow... Thank you so much. that was just what i needed..... now all those random numbers make sense to me.

Off to do some comparisons.......
 

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I'm waiting to see the reviews of the G45M Digital when it comes out. I'm looking for a good balance between energy efficiency, noise and HD playback quality. MSI's energy conservation is getting good reviews, and I've seen one or two reviews of the NVidia 9300 chipset suggesting it runs quite hot and needs more cooling. All the reviews I've seen suggest that the G45 chipset isn't quite as good for HD playback as the NVidia chipset, but I'm hoping that it'll be good enough.
 

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Hello all,


I am in the same boat as a few others here. I am working on a low budget and I am looking for recommendations for a mother board.


I am looking to have a ubuntu setup running boxee.


Like others I vaguely get what you guys are saying when it comes to all the chipsets, but this is all out my of realm of knowledge. I do know I hate the idea of having a to hookup a ir blaster on the outside of the case, do any of these boards have bult-in ir connectors/module? Or is that something I am going to have to deal with. Was looking at mATX boards as well. Newegg doesn't seem to list that in specifications of the boards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by crowbar77 /forum/post/15432641


Here's what I've been using.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...pk=asus%20730i


Getting flawless 1080/24p and 8 channel sound. As far as I'm aware, atm nvidia's the only one that can do both with no problems.

this board is getting really good reviews, what kind of cpu would you recommend with it? enough performance with the lowest price.
 
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