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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

I am about ready to purchase the parts for an HTPC that I hope to use for some gaming. I have built one before, but it wasnt the right time so I took it apart and sold it all. So here I am again, over a year latre, ready to build another.


Main use will be for storing and playback of DVDs and Blurays at 1080p, able to bitstream the HD codecs to my Onkyo 886 prepro. I will be able to add HDDs as I need them.


I would also like to be able to play Startcraft II when it comes out. Any other games would be minor and not very graphics intensive.


I would like the unit to make as little noise as possible-because it will be placed in front of room-under screen.


Here is what I have for now:


Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 AM3 770 ATX

CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 555 3.2 Ghz Dual-Core 80W

Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 5770 1GB

Power Supply: OCZ 600W

RAM: G.SKILL 4 GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600

Hard Drive: WD Caviar Green 1.5 TB

Bluray/DVD: LITE-ON Bluray Combo Drive

DVD: LITE-ON 24x DVD Writer w/ Lightscribe

Chassis: SILVERSTONE LC13B-E HTPC Case

OS: Windows 7 32-bit Home Premium


After tax and shipping with rebates: $1104.39


So here are a few questions I have for you experts:


Do I really need more than the stock CPU cooler?


Is this overkill if I want to play some games? Also, are there any games I couldnt play with this rig?


Thanks for any advice and I look forward to purchasing and building this HTPC!!
 

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Well, first and foremost, if you're not going to use the on-chip graphics, there is really no point in getting a Corei3, the performance versus other ~$100-125 chips is going to be worse. Given the useage you're looking at, I would suggest a Phenom II X2 or X3. It should be slightly less expensive and actually be faster for your useage.


As for cooling and silence, you're going to have to decide just how quiet you want, and how much budget you're willing to throw at it. IMHO, there are no GREAT HTPC cases designed for silence(as commonly defined as generating less noise than the ambient sound floor of a given enviroment, and not meaning generating 0 noise, like the difference between 0 degrees, and true 0.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I noticed the on-board graphics but figured it was cheaper than the i5. I guess I will go for the i5. I have edited my original post. The i5-750 is the same price as the i5-650. Which should I choose?

The 650 is a dual core 3.2 Ghz 73W and the 750 is a quad core 2.66 Ghz 95W


Again, this whole system may be overkill for HTPC with some gaming capabilities. I know the specs arent officially out yet for SCII, so that is why Im cautious about overspending but I also want to build a system I will be happy with for a while.
 

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are you going to be playing games now? or are you just going to be waiting until sc2 comes out?


why not get either a) something with decent onboard gfx performance, or b) a lower end gfx card that is near silent. Then, when sc2 comes out, you'll have a better idea of what is needed for the game, and what sort of silent options you have.


that's actually what I plan on doing, something like a 5570 now and upgrade later if needed.
 

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Personally I'd go with the i3 530 and pair it with a decent H55 motherboard (Asus p7h55d-m evo looks pretty solid so far). With this setup you can go with the onboard graphics (which are perfect, ok almost perfect, for HTPC tasks, including bitstreaming HD audio) and then upgrade to the best GPU option when SC2 comes out. And, when game time rolls around and you find the CPU could use a little more oomph, the 530 is a very efficient overclocker - it's widely acknowledged they can hit almost 4Ghz with practically no increase in voltage using the stock air cooler. With an upgraded cooler you can get a nice overclock and keep things very quiet.


The only benefit you get from the dual core i5 over the i3 is turboboost and you can achieve better performance via overclocking than turboboost will provide. In fact, just about every pro review site out there (at least the ones I've read) will tell you the dual core i5 lineup pricing really doesn't make much sense. As was already mentioned, you will also get very little benefit from quad core in most of today's games (there are a few where it makes a pretty dramatic difference though) and the quad cores will run hotter (yes, the 75W chip will run cooler than the 95W).


A couple good relevant reviews:
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets...oc.aspx?i=3724
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets...px?i=3704&p=16
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtosDracon /forum/post/18151416


The rule for gaming right now is fewer faster cores, games are just not well multi-threaded yet.

Thats what I have read. I think I will stick with the Dual-Core.


Im not very educated on the overclocking business and would rather not go there.


So in order to save money I could use a different board:


Motherboard: ASPock P43DE3 LGA 775

CPU: Intel E6500 Wolfdale 2.93 Ghz Dual-Core 65W

Video Card: SAPPHIRE Radeon 5770 1GB (with rebate is in same price range as 5750)

Power Supply: OCZ 500W

RAM: G.SKILL 2gb (2 x 1 GB) DDR3


Everything else the same as above system


This is using the 775 board and an older CPU, etc, but sounds like a good machine. And it would probably run cooler during HTPC use.


What would you pick, knowing of the $225 difference in price?
 

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Personally, with as cheap as the Core i3's are I'd pick up the 530 for $125 and a cheap Gigabyte or Asus board for around $90. DDR2 and DDR3 is so close in price doesn't matter what board you pick on that front but the Core i architecture is about 25% faster per cycle than the Core 2. And yes, the 5770 for a few bucks more is a very solid decision. I'd also recommend 4GB of ram over anything. There's places to cut corners, and then there's not. That is one place (ram) I consider a "no go" when cutting corners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtosDracon /forum/post/18148906


Well, first and foremost, if you're not going to use the on-chip graphics, there is really no point in getting a Corei3, the performance versus other ~$100-125 chips is going to be worse. Given the useage you're looking at, I would suggest a Phenom II X2 or X3. It should be slightly less expensive and actually be faster for your useage.

Is this true for the i5 and i7 too? They also have integrated graphics. I am planning on getting the HD 5770, so what would be the best processor for the money? ($100-$150) I thought the i3-530 was a good choice but is there a better one since I wont be using the onboard graphics of the i3?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoSheezy /forum/post/18185947


Is this true for the i5 and i7 too? They also have integrated graphics. I am planning on getting the HD 5770, so what would be the best processor for the money? ($100-$150) I thought the i3-530 was a good choice but is there a better one since I wont be using the onboard graphics of the i3?

IMHO the $100 Phenom II X2 555 is a better processor for the money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtosDracon /forum/post/18187754


IMHO the $100 Phenom II X2 555 is a better processor for the money.

OK, willing to save a few bucks so The Phenom II X2 555 will replace my previous choice. (original post updated)


Is this mobo a good match: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128419


or should I move up a step?


This one is a good price too: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128378

but I think it is for X3 and X4 processors. Am I correct, or is it compatible with the X2 as well?


New build cost: $1104
 

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IMO, I think you can do better for the money. Also, I hope you are going to use 64 bit Windows 7 instead of 32 bit otherwise you will be wasting about a 1.5GB of system ram.


Hitachi Deskstar 2TB 7200RPM - $155

HIS HD5770 - $160

Corsair 650TX - $100

OCZ Obsidian 4GB DDR3 1600 - $100

Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3L - $100

Core i5-750 2.66Ghz Quad Core - $195

Samsung Blu-ray combo drive (DVD-RW) - $85

Silverstone LC13B-E - $115

Windows 7 64-Bit OEM - $105

Total w/shipping: $1134 (that doesn't include $70 worth of mail in rebates which puts it at $1064 shipped. All from Newegg.com)


Edit: I just saw you want to play Starcraft II. FYI, an RTS will need more CPU power, such as a quad core, more than GPU power because of all the unit computations that could possibly be on the screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Natedog51 /forum/post/18193013


IMO, I think you can do better for the money. Also, I hope you are going to use 64 bit Windows 7 instead of 32 bit otherwise you will be wasting about a 1.5GB of system ram.

Last time I endeavored an HTPC build, the recommendation was to stick with 32-bit due to DVD/Bluray/video software compatabilty. This was over a year ago, so maybe things have changed. I would like to do 64-bit if everything is good to go...
 

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I have been using Win 7 64-bit and TMT 3 for 6 months so far with no problems. Personally I wish 32 bit Win 7 wasn't even an option.
 
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