Low power MP build - i3 3225, ssd and quad dvb-t card

Discussion in 'Ongoing HTPC Projects' started by datfreak, February 4, 2013.

  1. datfreak
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    datfreak MP Donator

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    I will update this with photos and specs as I go along

    Hi, a quick intro- Ive been using a pc to run for main lounge TV for about 8 years now. I've found that I need 4 tuners, and I use the HTPC as a file server so a cat5 network is a must. This drives a 2-3 yr LG 1080p 60" plasma - hopefully soon also a 5.1 receiver.

    In this time i've had many configs - my current rig is a ~3 year ago AMD 550 dual core with 5xxx series ati gpu card.
    Watching HD tv this systems uses about ~130w according to my inline meter.
    This system always has had issues with mediaportal health after s3 resume.. sometimes it will work for weeks, then crashes until i reinstall MP. So often it is left on 24hours/day.I have tried under volting the cpu but it made very little difference.

    I've done some reading and it seems the new gen I3 3225 can be less then 50w for total system power(sometimes as low as 30w!)

    WARNING - BORING POWER CONSUMPTION INFO NEXT -
    I have a return to grid solar system, its only a modest 2kw but it just covers my power bill most of the time. I "earn" $.44 for each kw exported but pay $.22 for each imported. This makes energy consumption a real consideration.
    Rough figures, as the nature of solar power exporting isn't straight forward
    Current older AMD setup ~ 3kwh /day - ~ $1/day (mix ex/import) $365/y
    New I3 (presuming 40w) ~ 1kwh/day - ~$.35/day(mix ex/import) $128/y
    Difference $237/year, perhaps more if the newer system is agreeable to S3 standby.

    OR maybe I just use power use a excuse to the mrs for buying new gear.

    So I've just ordered:
    Corsair CMX8GX3M2B1600C9 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 $52.00
    ASUS P8H77-M Motherboard $89.00
    Intel Core i3 3225 $135.00
    Samsung 840 Series 120GB SSD Retail Box $109.00
    With post it is about $400au total.

    I already have from my current rig:
    A htpc case - TT tenor about 10-12 years old but looks nice and clean
    2tb green drive
    Digitalnow QUAD dvb-t card - see specs at:
    http://digitalnow.com.au/product_pages/Quad.html
    windows 8 pro --which was about $50
    500w psu - i think it is a seasonic- but will check. This may be a issue for the low power state I require- i'm looking into a pico psu.



    I won't bother keeping the old dvd drive - it is never used anyway

    I picked the I3 3225 for it has the 4000 igp. - the lesser 3200 has the 2500 ipg which probably would do the job but the dollar difference between the two was so small i think the 3225 is worth it.

    I plan to get windows and MP on and stable then try undervolting the cpu a little to improve power use.
    I will use the standard heatsink but i will get a larger one soon and hopefully have a fanless htpc.

    Anyone else use pico psus? The ebay ones are only $30 delivered(plus 12v power pack) - i'd like to hear from others who have used them.

    The 120gb SSD will hold the OS and MP, photos, music, onlinevideo downloads and timeshifting files while the 2tb HDD will handle TV recording and movies storage. Backups done over the network to another pc.
    It seems all I have to do is enable ahci in bios for the SSD..

    I'll update when my new gear arrives!(cant wait to play with a sdd)
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
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  3. 2BitSculptor
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    2BitSculptor Super Moderator

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    Interested in how the ASUS mobo and i3 3225 works out... looking for something similar
     
  4. JimCatMP
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    Used and abused pico PSU's they work, they fail [waiting for new one at the moment] - like full fat PSU's:)

    Your total power requirement, with 2 USB tuners & 2TB drive may be pushing limit on pico supply, depending on selection - would suggest if you can use your 500W unit to get figures on your usage in new rig before spending on pico AND the power brick (which can be rather more costly than the pico unit:)

    Noted above, using the SSD for timeshift - ram disk is possibly a better option (as your fitting 8G..) - lower power (not much) but less 'wear' on SSD, which your using as large FIFO buffer (so lots of RW cycles).

    Sure we'll all be interested to hear how it all hangs together - you going to try for MePo 1.3.0 RC (released today)?

    Cheers - JCMP
     
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  5. datfreak
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    datfreak MP Donator

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    I didn't consider the usb tuners using much power -- yes your correct, it will be safer testing it first before getting the pico. I read somewhere(i'll find the link soon) that normal psus are/can be very inefficient at low power levels. Something like 10-15w, but i'm guessing that is dependent on the quality of the psu in question. It may not be worth the extra expense while I have a perfectly good psu already.

    Thats a good idea putting timeshifting on the ram...I will look into it once ive got it running.

    Yes re: the new 1.3 RC! I just saw it was released, thats great timing for the new build
     
  6. kiwijunglist
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    Yes most PSU are less efficent when they are operating at a low percentage of their max rate. The PSU 80 plus rating only tests at 20 + 50 + 100, so if at less than 20% load a PSU doesn't have to be efficent to maintain a good rating.
     
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  7. datfreak
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    datfreak MP Donator

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    I think i may have made a poor pick with the samsung 840 -- review :
    http://reviews.cnet.com/internal-hard-drives/samsung-840-120gb-ssd/4505-9998_7-35507727.html

    seems it "wears" more quickly then other sdds in the review it mentions:
    " Per my rough calculations, if you write/rewrite about 10GB of data daily, it would still takes about 7 years for a 250GB Samsung 840 series drive to run out of P/E cycles."

    So we(as a family) watch about 5 hours of hd tv per day --which is about about 20gb/day. Mine is only a 120gb drive, so with timeshifting does that mean mine will be exhausted in approx 1.7years(thats if i reserve ALL of the drive to timeshifting)?

    if so I better suss out using the systems 8gb to timeshift as mentioned above
     
  8. kiwijunglist
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  9. datfreak
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    datfreak MP Donator

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    I received all my gear!
    Spent a lot of time last night working on it.. Stupid annoying things like:
    1)windows 8 had to be reactivated by phone - the first windows worker hungup on me after I'd read out my 80ish digit code. Took 30+ min to activate.. no wonder people use "other" ways to do this.
    2)My ADSL line is reduced to about 10kps due to line damage from a storm 3 weeks ago. Took 4-5 hours for mediaportal to download and install its support files. At the end I gave up and used my phone ($$$ downloads) to tether.
    3) Tvserver kept crashing and freezing MePo--- took a long time to work out it was because the tuner sticks were in the USB3 slots.. Put them into the old usb2 slots and all good.
    4)Kept getting errors and didn't realise win 8 does "quick boot" which is like hibernation.. So a reboot does not cure incorrect settings.This is a setting in advanced power management.

    The good
    - the ssd is very fast - boot , button press to "ready to go" desktop in ~ 10secs(I will time and edit in tomorrow the exact time)
    before I had installed the chipset drivers and while downloading mediaportal files(slowly!!) it benchmarked at read 440 mb/s and write 125 mb/s. I will run it again when I have it sorted. - kinda freaky that the benchmark test itself has a warning about wearing the drive if it is run to often.

    -resume from standby almost instant.. I had to change the tuner settings (preload and pause) but after resume there is very little pause before live TV can start, this was about 70 seconds on the old system.
    -I used RAMdisk, for some weird reason it only let me use 2048meg but that enough for timeshifting, working very well so far. The gui is simple to use.
    -I have offset the CPU voltage to -0.05, its down to .8 something at idle. I will lower it more soon.
    -The new intel system is nearly silent..Even with the crappy std intel heatsink. Touching the HS is does not even feel warm. I did use artic silver 5 on this though.
    - The Asus board has a nice layout - esp without any GPU card.

    I will update this soon (i need more time in the day).. My power meter seems to have gone missing, when it is found I will post power consumption of the new system.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
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  10. datfreak
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    datfreak MP Donator

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    Sorry for the long time before reporting back. Just found my power meter.
    So prev my oldish 550 (x2) AMD system was using 130w while watching TV.

    This new i3 uses 52w doing the same! This is using the same 2 X 2 tuners/ 2tb green drive.
    The only difference is the the new system has a extra drive - the ssd.
    I think it may be even less then 52w after the hdd "idles down".

    The new gear will pay for itself in about 1.5yrs and is more stable - very pleased.
    There may be more power savings with a more efficent PSU but at the moment I think i have gotten the best bang for buck. If I get a PICO PSU I will report back with the new measurments.

    At the moment, I have the CPU offset at -.05 volt with "Asus moderate power savings, I'm not sure what the last does.
    I did try -0.8 and asus "high power savings" but this caused rare crashes, so i will leave it on the above settings.

    Tips for HTPC with win 8 pro I've found:

    If using a older usb tuner, use the usb2 plugs on the motherboard -using the usb3 ones caused crashes
    Do all windows updates early(before installing mediaportal) - i had lots of crashes until I did this.
    Use Classic shell to make win 8 behave like win 7. skips metro screen and makes win 8 more MP friendly.
    Turn off windows defender( only in safe network!)
    Lower the uac settings. ( only in safe network!)
    Turn off sleep button to make pc sleep under power settings -this stops the MCE remote from putting the pc to sleep too quickly, as I was getting crashes when doing this. Let MP power scheduler handle this.
    If using a SSD do use a ramdisk for timeshifting- they are free and easy to setup.
    ***************

    EDIT: 4/4/13
    Still happy with this system. With a bios update and resetting the cpu to -.05 undervolt system uses ~48W watching(and recordering) hd tv.
    interesting, when the pc is at desktop it uses only 40w BUT going into MP home screen -then it goes upto 48W -weird?
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
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  11. kiwijunglist
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    for ramdisk i found imdisk wasn't good with windows 8. Instead i used softperfect ramdisk.
     
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