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HTPC+NAS build help

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi – looking for some advice. I am in the process of choosing/building an HTPC+NAS computer and after much reading I would like to confirm a few of my findings with you.

I need this system to be capable of:
A) storing all my media and non-media data in one place within my house network (so I am only interested in systems with 3.5’’ internal HDD bays);
B) playing/streaming media on my HDTV, ONLY of the following kind: ripped AVI files, non-HD Dvds (so I need a DVD Drive) and HD videos streamed directly from online sites (BBC iPlayer, ITV iPlayer, Google Videos, Youtube, etc );
C) using a web browser to check email/do shopping through online sites.

So considering these 3 uses, I decided I cannot use a NAS+Media Streamer (which I originally thought would be OK) as Media Streamers do not provide proper Web Browsers. Then I thought of a laptop/netbook/nettop, but these only support 2.5’’ HDDs so I am not interested in attaching external HDDs. My only other option, considering my budget, I found to be a full-fledged small PC, without dedicated graphics card.

So, please can you confirm the below options?
For playing AVI (i.e. ripped DVD) Movies, HD content from online video sources (such as iPlayers or YouTube), and not to play HD or BlueRay DVDs, is it better to have a system with:
1)A processor scoring high on PassMark (http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html) with standard motherboard Integrated Graphics, e.g. AMD Phenom II X4 + AMD RS780L?
e.g. http://uk.asus.com/Barebone_PC/P_Ser...specifications
2)A lower-spec processor with integrated HD graphics e.g. a socket 1556 processor such as Intel i3 5**?
e.g. http://uk.asus.com/Barebone_PC/P_Ser...specifications
e.g. http://uk.shuttle.com/products/produ...productId=1409
3)A much lower spec processor with better GPU access e.g. Atom D525 + ION2 or AMD E350 based?
e.g. http://uk.asus.com/Barebone_PC/S_Ser...specifications


MANY, many thanks guys.
post #2 of 4
Welcome to OCN

As to your question I see it this way:
*to stream and store media any PC would do; Atom would be good enough.
*for the web on the other hand Atom and E350 would be borderline. They're ok for a 10-12" netbook screen, but once they power a bigger screen they may feel slow.

So my pick is to get a CPU that is good enough and as a complement a motherboard that offers decent IGP. This in turns means that there are only two choices really:
*Athlon II X4 (or Phenom X4 but there's no reason to go for that expensive) and an AMD 880GX motherboard for the SATA3. You may not need SATA3 now, but since this is a rig that may be kept for a while you may want to over-provision. The IGP in the 880GX is decent without being awesome like the one on the E350.
*A side-option would be to wait around a month or so for the launch of AMD's Llano that has 4 Phenom-like cores and a very powerful IGP (5x shaders vs the 880GX).
*Intel i3 2100 and a H67 board. Not the i3 5xx as they have dreadful IGP which will not be of any assistance for web browsing

My favorite is the Llano option which shapes to be an awesome CPU; the demos on the web show it faster than a quad-core SB in media playback and gaming. It's not launched yet, but it will be soon. Then the Athlon II and the i3 21xx are good options, the Athlon II being more fit if you're budget-limited (and need SATA3) and the SB is a better option if you're power/heat limited.
Centurion
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II 940 @3.3GHz 1.25V Gigabyte 790X-DS4 XFX 5850 8GB OCZ DDR2-800 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Corsair Force 3 TRUE Win 7 Pro x64 ACER 23" TN  
PowerCase
400W Silverstone Strider Antec P182 
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Centurion
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II 940 @3.3GHz 1.25V Gigabyte 790X-DS4 XFX 5850 8GB OCZ DDR2-800 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Corsair Force 3 TRUE Win 7 Pro x64 ACER 23" TN  
PowerCase
400W Silverstone Strider Antec P182 
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post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thank you dragosmp.

What you say makes sense, although I wanted to buy a barebones, not all components separately. Also my budget is £350 and with that budget I can get the Asus with AM3 socket, a Phenom II X4, decent DDR3 ram and a good HDD, however, it is based on the AMD RS780L northbridge igp which I think is Radeon 3000.

Do you know concretely if a good Phenom II X4 processor and the basic IGP I mention would be better than the i3 with built in HD graphics in the CPU? The cost is less for the Phenom, but I want to make sure I get the correct system for the needs I defined.

Also, do you know any barebones with AMD 880GX or for that I would have to build a full system from scratch myself? I am kind of worried about having to pick a good chasis, good cooling, good psu, etc, too many choices and too little time.

Thanks
post #4 of 4
Welcome to OCN!
给力鸡
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500k P67A-UD4 GTX580 Corsair 8GB 
Hard DrivePowerCase
Crucial 64GB SSD Corsair AX850 Antec Lanboy Air 
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给力鸡
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500k P67A-UD4 GTX580 Corsair 8GB 
Hard DrivePowerCase
Crucial 64GB SSD Corsair AX850 Antec Lanboy Air 
  hide details  
Reply
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