Low-power HTPC/File Server recommendation - Overclock.net

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post #1 of 9 Old 02-06-2012, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm considering an upgrade to my HTPC with a new CPU, mobo, and RAM. My current machine runs an Athlon X2 4850e (full specs in sig) and I'm not unhappy with its performance, but I want a newer mobo that can POST faster, and DDR3 support so I can upgrade to 4GB RAM.

This will be used entirely for media, streaming, and network storage so I am not looking for any kind of powerhouse. I'd also like less power consumption than what I have now—ideally under 30W idle. Price and power consumption are the main considerations. I will be undervolting and possibly underclocking it. The main option I'm looking at right now is an Intel G620 with H67 mobo. I was hoping to get some input from someone more familiar with building a low-power machine.

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post #2 of 9 Old 02-07-2012, 01:14 PM
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What about something like this guy with a 6450:

BIOSTAR MEDIA HD61 LGA1155 Intel H61 Barebone with Remote Control - $140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856115040

Intel Pentium G620 - $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116399

XFX 6450 512MB - $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150581

Then just find a cheap storage box for HDD's



Personally I got a Acer Aspire AX1800 on clearance for $200, added a 5670 and a TV Tuner for under $300



 



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post #3 of 9 Old 02-07-2012, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, but this is going to upgrade an existing HTPC. I have an Antec Veris case with IR receiver, PSU, SSD/HDDs. I'm only planning to upgrade the CPU, mobo, and RAM. I would prefer H67 over H61 because I do care about AHCI and RAID support. I also want to stick to onboard video, since I see no purpose for discrete. If anything, I'd be willing to spend an extra $18 to upgrade to Intel 2000 graphics and a faster CPU with the Pentium G850. I was considering the following:


Intel Pentium G620 or G850 - $70-87
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116399
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116397

ASRock H67M (B3) - $88
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157233

Crucial 2 x 2GB DDR3 1333 1.35V - $22
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148474

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post #4 of 9 Old 02-07-2012, 02:03 PM
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This build should be around 30w idle. It provides marginally faster CPU performance but four times the GPU performance:
$70 AMD A4-3400 (dual-core, 2.7GHz, 65W TDP)
$60-80 mATX FM1 motherboard

If you can deal with 40w idle, a $109 A6-3600 will provide 60% more CPU performance and eight times the GPU performance.



Intel HD 3000 vs AMD 6550D in image quality: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4479/amd-a83850-an-htpc-perspective/3

To answer most of your questions: (1) a fridge cannot cool a PC (2) 64-bit OS for over 3.4GB (3) If a PCIe card fits, it should work (4) Resolution, not screen size (5) Report, not respond to Spam (6) Single-Rail/Non-Modular PSUs are not always better than Multi-Rail/Modular (7) Sequential does not matter as much as random for OS drives (8) Requirements come before hardware for servers

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post #5 of 9 Old 02-07-2012, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
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I originally opted for Pentium over Llano because my understanding is that it uses less power, while providing slightly better CPU performance. Considering that any of these is a huge upgrade to my current Athlon X2 4850e, which is already perfectly usable in this application, I'm not particularly concerned about CPU power.

You and that review have convinced me that Llano may be the better option. I am considering A6-3500 as well since it's only $10 more than the A4-3400 and offers 50% more graphics power. However, I don't think I would benefit from that 3rd core so taking a hit like that on clock speed (2.7GHz to 2.1GHz) seems like a bad deal.

Edit: On the other hand, having 3 x 1MB over 2 x 512KB L2 cache would further skew this in favor of the A6-3500. Unfortunately, benchmarks on these models seem to be nonexistent.

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post #6 of 9 Old 02-11-2012, 09:56 AM
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Hi,

I did build a fileserver(nas) and HTPC in one but learned from my mistakes. I built a mini-ITX one with one PCi express slot and soon released that the one board graphics are not good. and with the AMD found that the transfer speeds between network or from HDD to HDD were very slow.


HTPC video playback if the video does not use hardware acceleration that you CPU will need to be powerful enough to decode the HD content.

my orginal HTPC
ASUS E35M1-I DELUXE
Areca 1220 Raid card in Raid 5 with 2TB x 5
G Skills 1.35v 1333mhz Ram 4GB
Crucial M4 SSD 63GB

my revised spec.
Asrock H67
Intel 2500T + Samuel 17 cooler
removed raid card to make way for graphics card ATI 6670 Silent Passive 1GB
2TB - could have more but moved the Raid card and rest of the drives to my main PC to act as nas drive

now everything works fast and quick, I could still have 4 x 2TB drives in the case but decided not to.

a5ian300zx

Server Qnap 869 Pro 4GB ram 3TB x 8 in Raid 5
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-22-2012, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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I ended up going with an AMD A6-3500, Asrock A75M, and Samsung 2x2 DDR3 1600 RAM. I just built it over the weekend and it's been working great. The only thing Intel has going over AMD here is processing power, which is kind of useless in this context. Llano offers graphics performance that can compete with discrete cards, without the extra cost and power usage. Llano motherboards also tend to offer more features at a lower price point than 1155.

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post #8 of 9 Old 03-27-2012, 12:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Personally I got a Acer Aspire AX1800 on clearance for $200, added a 5670 and a TV Tuner for under $300

I also have an AX1800 and am looking add a video card, but I'm not sure which cards fit. Which 5670 card did you get?

Thanks.
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-27-2012, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by normancw View Post

Quote:
Personally I got a Acer Aspire AX1800 on clearance for $200, added a 5670 and a TV Tuner for under $300

I also have an AX1800 and am looking add a video card, but I'm not sure which cards fit. Which 5670 card did you get?

Thanks.

I have this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102923


And here's what I had to do to make it fit. I had to cut a hole for the cooler to fit through. I though about getting a single slot low-profile, but because it is right against the top of the case, you would still need to drill some air holes anyway or it would get far too hot if it was ever stressed.

A new 5550 or 6570 should be more than enough and there and there are plenty of them available last time I checked in low-profile, single-slot variations.

LL



 



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