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AMD APU ITX mobo's

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Looking to replace the BluRay Player in my bedroom that I use for streaming. I'm having to many issues with streaming from it. I'm looking to build a small HTPC in the ~$250 range (not including OS / keyboard).

I haven't done much research but from what I can tell the AMD APU seems to be the way for me to go. My only concern is heat. I have picked a mobo with a decent HSF (most do not have a fan). In a case with no fans would heat be an issue? At the most the PC would see ~2 hours of playback a day and that's being very generous, most nights it probably would not be used.

My Bedroom TV is a Vizio 32" LED 720p. HDMI to the TV then Optical out to a Vizio sound bar. No gaming required. Just streaming of Hulu, Netflix and streaming Rips from my main HTPC.

These parts come out to $287..

GIGABYTE GA-E350N-USB3 AMD E-350 APU (1.6GHz, Dual-Core) AMD Hudson-M1 FCH Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo

Crucial Ballistix sport 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model BL2KIT25664BA1339

Rosewill RS-MI-01 BK Mini ITX Tower/ Desktop Computer Case with 250W 20+4Pin & 1SATA Connectors Power Supply

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM

INTELLINET Network Solutions 524773 USB 2.0 Wireless 150N USB Mini Adapter
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post #2 of 13
Unless you're sure it's possible to use GPU decode acceleration for all the content you wish to playback, I suggest going for a little more CPU power than the E-350. You could always fall back on the CPU to handle software decoding while you're not always guaranteed to get GPU hardware acceleration.

That said, assuming you're sure you can live with Zacate's limitations, I don't really see any heat issues with that case as long as the fan on your motherboard is running. It should be enough to keep it within thermal specifications (just don't be alarmed if you see high temps - these nettop CPU's are designed to be able to withstand it). Just as a warning, though, the tiny fan on that Gigabyte is quite annoying.
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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hmm, you think this setup would have trouble with 720p? All the reviews I've read on the E-350 said it played 1080p with no issues. I would think any stuttering would be unrelated. I get stuttering in hulu on my main HTPC, I believe it's caused by Hulu desktop.

Would a mobo with only a very large HS be better? Not really wanting to hear a whining fan.
Edited by Mudfrog - 8/2/11 at 8:18am
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post #4 of 13
I have the Asus E350 mini-ITX in an Antec ISK 310.

At first, there was stuttering during playback, but once I enabled GPU acceleration for VLC, it can handle 720p and 1080p mkvs without hiccups. No problem with Hulu or Youtube either (I don't have Netflix to test.)

From what I've read, the fan on that Gigabyte can get loud. People seem to switch it out. My Asus has the very large heatsink, and I keep the two 80mm fans in the ISK on low. I can't hear them at all unless I put my head near the case. Temps are fine also.

I don't mind the E350 for just HTPC, but looking back, I have no room to expand on it if I ever wanted to.
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post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
This would be strictly a streaming box in my bedroom. No real reason to expand. I'm looking at an ASUS now that has a huge HS. I also found a very small Antec case with a 100mm fan on the side which supposedly is quieter than the hsf on the Gigabyte. If I build something new I will probably end up going that route.
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post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudfrog View Post
This would be strictly a streaming box in my bedroom. No real reason to expand. I'm looking at an ASUS now that has a huge HS. I also found a very small Antec case with a 100mm fan on the side which supposedly is quieter than the hsf on the Gigabyte. If I build something new I will probably end up going that route.
If you're talking about the Antec ISK-100, suffice to say that 100mm fan is more annoying than the 40mm (?) fan on the Gigabyte. I thought the SPCR review was exaggerating about the noise but apparently, it's really that bad. I ended up using the Gigabyte fan, which, while quite noisy, isn't quite as annoying as the 100mm fan on the ISK-100.

With Silverlight 4, Netflix 720p is a no-go for Zacate. Not sure if SL5 has fixed that yet. However, I do urge you to consider that if you buy Zacate, you're effectively stuck at that level of performance and if you find it doesn't quite meet your needs, upgrading would require a new motherboard and CPU. Not saying you should get an i7 or Thuban. However, you'd be better off going with at least Athlon II X2 Regor or Pentium Sandy Bridge level performance. Heck, even older Windsor and Brisbane chips outperform Zacate (granted, the latter two have considerably higher power consumption).
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post #7 of 13
the apu is great for this, my friend has a apu on a netbook and runs hd content to his 1080p tv with no lag or issues and he only has 2gbs of ram
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post #8 of 13
diggity dog, I'm waiting for ASUS' and ASrock's llano ITX mobos, first...
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post #9 of 13
Well, Ontario, Zacate and Llano are all APU's. Of the three, though, the only one I'd consider for an HTPC is Llano. Zacate and Ontario are just too little CPU and can't handle HD video playback when hardware acceleration doesn't work (e.g. Linux, certain player+decoder+filter combos, etc).
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post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yes, I was referring to the Antec ISK 100. The reviews on Newegg said you cannot hear the fan if your more than 3 feet away. I would be watching tv from around 12 feet away so I assume it would not be an issue.

Hmm.. I have a spare x2 4600+ (2.4GHz) laying around, just wasn't planning on using it as I wanted a smaller build and I have not seen any ITX boards that support a 125w cpu. It was in my main HTPC prior to my upgrade so I know it's sufficient.

I'll toy around with the idea of what I want a little more.
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