PDA

View Full Version : Going to pull the trigger...


Pages : [1] 2

CaptNKILL
02-17-09, 11:31 PM
... on a new HTPC. :D

I was going to make an ITX HTPC using the upcoming Zotac Geforce 9400 board but I decided I'd rather stick with a reasonably sized micro-ATX system to save some money and avoid having to settle for a cramped case with a crap-ass proprietary power supply.

At first I was going to get an Athlon X2 5050e (2.6Ghz 45w) and an Asus Geforce 8200 board but then I got to looking at the massive advantages that the Geforce 9400 has over the 8200. I thought about the 780G a bit but I'd prefer to stick with nvidia because I've used nforce boards and nvidia drivers for years.

I could get the AMD+8200 setup with 4Gb of ram for around $185 shipped from newegg.

But now I'm pretty much dead set on this Gigabyte Geforce 9400 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128363) board, an E5200 and 4Gb of cheap OCZ DDR2-800. And it still only comes out to $245 with free shipping. I think in the long run it'll be worth the $60 because of the large performance advantage, updated features and significant decrease in power consumption.

Check out the benchmark results:
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3432&p=4
http://hothardware.com/Articles/NVIDIA-GeForce-9300-and-9400-Motherboard-GPUs/?page=8

And the power consumption! :eek:
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3432&p=11

http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/gf9300_101408230507/17621.png

I can't wait to get my hands on this setup.

I just got this Athenatech micro-ATX case (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811190094) and I'm really impressed by the build quality. It isn't perfect but its very solid and has lots of really unique and well thought out features that make it compact and easy to use. The best part is the very solid 350W SPI (Sparkle Power) PSU though. It should be pretty reliable and if it ever dies its easy to find a decent FSP or Sparkle micro-atx PSU to replace it... as opposed to some kind of weird ass FlexATX unit.

I also just bought a cheap VGA to TV converter box from mono-price to hook this up to our old SDTV until we finally make the jump to an HD set.

What do you guys think? :)

mullet
02-18-09, 01:00 AM
If I didn't have a HD set or a Blu-Ray ROM, I wouldn't spend the money dude I would save it.

Absolution
02-18-09, 01:42 AM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128359
+
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121259

That mb is way overpriced, one of the most expensive micro-ATX boards I've ever seen. Are you looking to stick with the 9400 for hardware decode? I don't see how gaming benchmarks make a good HTPC chipset.

CaptNKILL
02-18-09, 01:59 AM
If I didn't have a HD set or a Blu-Ray ROM, I wouldn't spend the money dude I would save it.

A new TV will come eventually. For the time being, we use an HTPC constantly, as well as a file server. My HTPC is that Atari computer my brother and I made and it has some quirks, not to mention its incredibly slow due to the 8Mb intel extreme graphics (some movies go out of sync due to low frame rates and videos that are available online tend to be choppy). Our file server is also a bit unnecessary and has a few problems.

This system will do the job of both and use less than a third of the power. On top of that, we could actually play some games out in the living room or play games over LAN.

I'll also have a monitor, mouse and keyboard attached at a nearby desk so it will basically work as a standard PC without the TV.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128359
+
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121259

That mb is way overpriced, one of the most expensive micro-ATX boards I've ever seen. Are you looking to stick with the 9400 for hardware decode? I don't see how gaming benchmarks make a good HTPC chipset.

Its not that overpriced. The integrated video is probably about the same speed as that 3450 and will use far less power.

This PC will most likely be on 24/7 so low power consumption will probably pay the computer off in a few months considering how high our electric bills have been with two PCs running as file servers and a slow, inefficient HTPC. :o

EDIT: You know, I just realized that those benchmarks are a bit misleading. They're using Phenoms and Core 2 Quads in those boards which makes the AMD boards seem extremely inefficient. Maybe I could just go with an 780G + low wattage Athlon for good performance and lower price. :o

I don't know... its so hard to decide on what to get. I definitely need a new HTPC though. I don't want my nifty little project PC to burn itself up due to overuse in a home made case.

CaptNKILL
02-18-09, 03:28 AM
Ok, I've made this thread a poll.

VOTE. :p

LordJuanlo
02-18-09, 03:36 AM
I say... wait for ION

CaptNKILL
02-18-09, 03:44 AM
I say... wait for ION

Eh... if the Atom was faster I'd think about it, but generally I think I just need something that's practical and fits my needs for a file server (must have room for 3.5" drives), an HTPC (HDMI, hardware video decoding and low power consumption) and a light gaming system (decent GPU and CPU). I already have a good micro-ATX HTPC case so size isn't a factor.

I'm actually leaning toward the 780G right now because its cheap and should perform pretty well. I have no idea what the drivers are like though since I haven't used an ATI card since my 9600 Pro.

mullet
02-18-09, 09:58 AM
45watt AMD all the way dude. The money saved you could get a video card later.

CaptNKILL
02-19-09, 04:22 PM
Alright, well I've pretty much decided on the 780G. Its about the same price as a Geforce 8200 and I guess its much faster for most things.

I'm not sure which board to go with though. The gigabyte (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128379) or the Asus (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131324).

I'm leaning toward the Asus because it has a slightly better sound chip, more USB ports and DisplayPort... which I've never ever seen anything use, ever... but if I end up needing it it'd be nice to have it. :p

I like the extra cooling and power saving features that Gigabyte uses on their boards though.

Also, there is another Gigabyte 780G board that has a 128Mb DDR3 sideport memory for the GPU but its $15 more.

In this review it looks like the extra memory makes a difference, and with a little overclocking this is a very decent setup for some light gaming:
http://ixbtlabs.com/articles3/mainboard/gigabyte-ma78gpm-ds2h-780g-p3.html

Sazar
02-19-09, 04:49 PM
I am going to put the finishing touches on my "new" htpc build this weekend :)

Can't hardly wait :D

CaptNKILL
02-19-09, 07:21 PM
Well I did it. :D

Ordered:

Athlon X2 5050e
ASUS M3A78-EM 780G
Kingston 2x2Gb DDR2-800

Plus...
Samsung 22x SATA SH-S223F DVD Burner (haven't decided if this is going in my PC or the HTPC)
cirago USB 2.0 Bluetooth Dongle (to use a Wii remote and other devices on the HTPC... check out how small this thing (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833242001) is :lol: )
Anywhere GP-IR02BK Vista Media Center Remote

Grand total of $261. Not bad at all.

I would have liked to give the Intel setup a try but I don't think it would have made that big of a difference and I need to get some experience with something other than nvidia, gigabyte and Intel. :p

mullet
02-20-09, 12:38 AM
Kickass dude, word of advice use the drivers from the mobo disk for the video.

CaptNKILL
02-20-09, 03:28 AM
Kickass dude, word of advice use the drivers from the mobo disk for the video.

The latest from ATI are no good?

nekrosoft13
02-20-09, 03:42 AM
Well I did it. :D

Ordered:

Athlon X2 5050e
ASUS M3A78-EM 780G
Kingston 2x2Gb DDR2-800

Plus...
Samsung 22x SATA SH-S223F DVD Burner (haven't decided if this is going in my PC or the HTPC)
cirago USB 2.0 Bluetooth Dongle (to use a Wii remote and other devices on the HTPC... check out how small this thing (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833242001) is :lol: )
Anywhere GP-IR02BK Vista Media Center Remote

Grand total of $261. Not bad at all.

I would have liked to give the Intel setup a try but I don't think it would have made that big of a difference and I need to get some experience with something other than nvidia, gigabyte and Intel. :p



bad choice, just like i did, you should have gone with 8200, 8300 etc.. those at least can do surround sound over HDMI, 780G based boards can only do Stereo over HDMI.

CaptNKILL
02-20-09, 04:09 AM
bad choice, just like i did, you should have gone with 8200, 8300 etc.. those at least can do surround sound over HDMI, 780G based boards can only do Stereo over HDMI.

I read that it can't pass 5+ channel PCM audio, but I thought it could pass through Dolby or DTS?

Either way it doesn't matter too much. We have a big old (like 1970's) Sansui 5000A receiver with some big ass Pioneer floor speakers. Its only stereo and it sounds fantastic. I doubt we'll be going surround sound any time soon.

And if we did, I could just use optical for Dolby or DTS. I like good sound but I'm not one of those people who claim to hear a difference between high quality compressed audio and 18gbit/sec uncompressed audio. :lol:

EDIT: BTW, have you used an 8x00 or 9x00 board? I know you've used a 780G.

And where the heck were you for the last 2 days while I was asking for input? :lol:

mullet
02-20-09, 11:02 AM
The latest from ATI are no good?

Just less problems and they work great.

Edit: its a good board capt, hell I don't even use the HDMI anyway DVI + Optical to Z680's and it sounds awesome.

nekrosoft13
02-20-09, 11:42 AM
I read that it can't pass 5+ channel PCM audio, but I thought it could pass through Dolby or DTS?

Either way it doesn't matter too much. We have a big old (like 1970's) Sansui 5000A receiver with some big ass Pioneer floor speakers. Its only stereo and it sounds fantastic. I doubt we'll be going surround sound any time soon.

And if we did, I could just use optical for Dolby or DTS. I like good sound but I'm not one of those people who claim to hear a difference between high quality compressed audio and 18gbit/sec uncompressed audio. :lol:

EDIT: BTW, have you used an 8x00 or 9x00 board? I know you've used a 780G.

And where the heck were you for the last 2 days while I was asking for input? :lol:

i have 8200 board, but i made bad choice. i bought the 8200 board when i was building the server and 780g board when building the HTPC. now i would like to switch boards around but that means i would have to reinstall both OS, so didn't do that. probably won't

CaptNKILL
02-20-09, 03:15 PM
I think this will work out fine for my needs.

All I really needed for the HTPC was something faster than a Pentium 4 2.4Ghz with 8Mb Intel Extreme Graphics. :lol:

CaptNKILL
02-27-09, 05:59 AM
Well I've had the HTPC running for a couple days now and its been awesome. :)

The system is very fast, Vista is great as usual and its quiet, cool and stable. The loudest things in the system are the two hard drives and the PSU fan.

The only significant problem I had was related to the Anywhere Media Center remote I bought. I bought it with hopes to use Eventghost to control various parts of windows and other apps (I don't really use Media Center) and to double as a replacement remote for our TV since the one we're using now is getting flaky.

As it turns out, its damned near impossible to get a Media Center "eHome" remote working with anything but Media Center in Vista x64 because it requires a hacked eHome driver and no one seems to have bothered to make one for Vista x64. On top of that, the remote apparently is not a learning remote, despite what the manufacturer and NewEgg said. The directions in the manual for programming the remote do not actually work, and the entire section on "learning" is labeled "If available". Meaning, they may or may not include the feature in the remote you're using, even if it was advertised. Several people have complained about this at other stores.

The remote works beautifully for Media Center, and its a shame that I have no need for that because its a great looking remote and its very comfortable and requires no configuration at all to get it going.

So, for my needs it was basically a waste of $27 and newegg had it labeled as a non refundable item. I figured I was screwed, but I emailed them about the massive error in advertising it as a "TV remote" and within an hour they sent me TWO personal emails regarding the problem and immediately issued me an RMA number and a prepaid UPS return label. :eek:

Talk about service! I had no idea they were this good to their customers when they make an error.

So overall its been good so far. I'm still using a cheesy little corded USB hand-held trackball to control the PC until I find a better control device. I may end up using a wii remote if the new Pinacle Game Profiler works well enough, but after toying with a few other programs to use the Wii remote on a PC I'm not expecting it to be very practical.

mullet
02-27-09, 11:21 AM
Cool beans dude.

nekrosoft13
02-27-09, 01:37 PM
i have eHome remote from Pinnacle, also vistax64, wasn't that much trouble to get XBMC working.

CaptNKILL
02-28-09, 02:58 PM
i have eHome remote from Pinnacle, also vistax64, wasn't that much trouble to get XBMC working.

I don't use XBMC. :p

mullet
02-28-09, 03:42 PM
I don't use XBMC. :p

good call. :p

nekrosoft13
02-28-09, 03:44 PM
I don't use XBMC. :p

my point was that it can be programmed

CaptNKILL
02-28-09, 04:08 PM
my point was that it can be programmed

I guess my remote isn't one that can be programmed.

It doesn't come with any software. You just plug it in and it ust uses keyboard input shortcut keys that interact with Media Center. The software that allows you to customize the functions (for use with other players like Media Player Classic) requires a hacked eHome driver to do so. Since I'm on Vista x64, getting a driver for this purpose is impossible.