Please help select hardware for new HTPC... (1 Viewer)

nettech_gt

Portal Pro
January 19, 2006
169
0
I have done quite a bit of searching mainly on this forum, but also on HTPC News and haven't really found quite what I'm looking for. I'm trying to figure out what are the best mother board/CPU to buy and is there a significant difference between on board sound/ video w/ seperate video/ sound cards. (worth the extra$$) Anyways... first off beyond personal preferance is AMD or Intel better for a HTPC? If AMD ...64 or Sempron? Why? If Intel which is best for low heat etc.? For mother boards it looks like the nvida 6150 chipset is popular however is the on board sound/video quality equal to a seperate sound/video card? Is the ATI cross fire chipset better? Why?
 

Spif

Portal Member
January 10, 2006
29
0
Falun
Home Country
Sweden Sweden
I would go with the AMD processor. Mainly because it produces less heat than a comparable Intel-processor. I also think they are more bang for the buck. Wether you choose the Sempron or 64 I guess is up to your wallet but why not go with the 64 and get an up-to-date system. Not that you really need the power but anyway...

If you are planning on using a CRT TV as you display I would definitely go for a Radeon 9550 (or similar PCI-Express) graphics card and make your own VGA to SCART-RGB cable. That is the only way to get a good quality output on a standard TV.

I have also heard that Samsung harddrives are silent but I have no personal experience.
 

BennieBoy

Portal Pro
April 22, 2005
134
6
57
Maastricht
Home Country
Netherlands Netherlands
Hi Nettech,

Personally I would go with a AMD processor because the power consumption is lower then a Pentium processor which performs the same. This results in fewer fans needed and less fans mean less noise.
What you do not want is a system, which makes to much noise, because the system will stand in your living room.
Featuring the Cool and Quit technology, my CPU fan hardly runs. The Artic Freezer 64 keeps the fan around 1000 rpm, which is not noticeable.

Do not buy the processor in Boxed version, but buy a third party cooler like the "artic freezer 64" for around $17.-, the difference in noise production is very large while this solution keeps the processor around between 33 idle and 39 full power.

At this moment there are nice Socket 754 and 939 motherboards based on the ATI Radeon XPRESS 200, including AMD Sempron-64 2600 processors for under €150,-. They feature directX9 and onboard video including onboard S-video out. The VGA port can easily be converted into a RGB-Scart out using a special cable and the powerstrip tool.
http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/mainboard/mbd/pro_mbd_detail.php?UID=696
Be careful to pick the right one, because there are 4 versions where some lacks the s-video.

A good Socket 939 alternative is the MSI RS482M4-ILD. It includes s-video, component video, composite video, vga Sub-D port and a DVI port. With these possibilities you can connect any display you want, even through HDMI (this is by use of a simple DVI-HDMI converter cable).
http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/mainboard/mbd/pro_mbd_detail.php?UID=693
A AMD64 3000+ will do fine.

Furthermore, there is a chance that the board features the s-video, but the bracket, which gives you the possibility to connect, is not included. So inform before you buy.

These boards all include a PCI-E 16x socket, so you can always upgrade to a more serious Graphic card (the onboard will do more then fine for Multimedia stuff and even games). There are lots of passive cooled Graphic cards, so pick one of those if you need to run the latest graphic games.

These boards themselves are passive cooled which means NO NOISE.

To make things a bit more difficult you can go for a NVIDIA 6150 based board. They include almost the same, but the VGA to Scart RGB will not work without hassle. Then again, these boards are capable to output 1920x1080p natively while the Xpress 200 can only output 720p. (Based on read specs).

The sound is OK, featuring spdif out. If you don't like what you hear, you can always buy a Sound card. I found it not necessary.

Success with you build.

Greetz,
Ben
 

laeb66

Portal Pro
March 20, 2005
136
0
Sweden
Card tested

I have tested a coupel off card and here is the ranking for use in htpc system.

Best picture:
1: Matrox millenium 650 ( need to turn off overlay for video) 190 euro
2: Nvidia 6600 ( work nice with omega driver)
3: ATI X800 ( work with omega driver)

My choise is the Matrox just for the picture quality abd it+s fanless...

Motherboard..
I usse Intel P3 2.0 D and it works fine in my fanless system. I have a modified Borg heatptpe conected to thechassi. Work temp ca 41-47 degree celsius..

1: MSI Neo series (my choise) the best and most stable
2: Aopen nice board for the price
3: Asus (never more) overheating and nerves

Soundcards

1: Terratec Phase 28 excelent sound Highend HiFi (8 balanced outputs)
2: M-Audio 5.1 and 7.1 A lot off sound quality for the money (if you dont need balanced outputs use this)

9999999: Creative labs (why use this)
 

laeb66

Portal Pro
March 20, 2005
136
0
Sweden
correction Intel P4 3.0 D

laeb66 said:
I have tested a coupel off card and here is the ranking for use in htpc system.

Best picture:
1: Matrox millenium 650 ( need to turn off overlay for video) 190 euro
2: Nvidia 6600 ( work nice with omega driver)
3: ATI X800 ( work with omega driver)

My choise is the Matrox just for the picture quality abd it+s fanless...

Motherboard..
I usse Intel P4 3.0 D and it works fine in my fanless system. I have a modified Borg heatptpe conected to thechassi. Work temp ca 41-47 degree celsius..

1: MSI Neo series (my choise) the best and most stable
2: Aopen nice board for the price
3: Asus (never more) overheating and nerves

Soundcards

1: Terratec Phase 28 excelent sound Highend HiFi (8 balanced outputs)
2: M-Audio 5.1 and 7.1 A lot off sound quality for the money (if you dont need balanced outputs use this)

9999999: Creative labs (why use this)
 

laeb66

Portal Pro
March 20, 2005
136
0
Sweden
DVI-HDMI

nettech_gt said:
I have a HD TV and will be connecting via a HDMI-DVI cable....

This is no problem I use this in the bedroom..
Connected to the Matrox card and the sound card on the computer side and HDMI to the screen...

You can find diffrent cable qualitys...
I use MonsterCable expensive but the quality is stat of the art....
 

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