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HTPC Newbie Specs (avforums taught me everything I know)

hurdy

Established Member
Hey fellas and fellesses. Been a longtime member of avforums and the members of the LCD TV, Sky HD, Xbox etc forums have helped me out massively over the years. Having the wife drop a massive bombshell on me last week ("I'm fed up of that noisy computer that keeps breaking, why dont you take some of the holiday savings and get a new one?" :eek:), I have immersed myself on the rather confusing world of HTPCs.

I know there are hundreds of threads asking for ratings on specs, so I've spent some time whittling mine down until I am fairly happy with what I have. The HDD and BD/HD-DVD combo has been ordered as has the CPU - I'm just hoping you could glance your expert eye over the following and let me know if it looks OK.

I will only be using the machine for playback of BDs, HD-DVDs, h.264s etc. Would be looking at ripping my HD-DVDs as well so I can get them off my shelves.

Mobo:
Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H
http://www.giga-byte.co.uk/Products/Motherboard/Products_Overview.aspx?ProductID=2758

Chosen this as I want HDMI, spdif and coax outs. As far as I can make out, the 780G chipset will do what I want without the need for a graphics card?

CPU:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+
http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=632504

Will these work in conjunction to do what I am after, or have I completely missed the point?
Any recommendations on what sort of RAM I should be going for?
Finally, what size PSU and is there any need for additional cooling?


Cheers!
 

mossym

Distinguished Member
mobo/cpu looks fine, i have a 5000+ and it plays everything and anything (i have a 2600xt as well to help, but you should be fine)

get some fast memory. the onboard graphics on my mobo(admittedly not a 780) couldn't do blu-ray(even though it could do 1080p mkv files) and i'm convinced it was down to the memory.
 

hurdy

Established Member
Thanks dude, its good to know that I'm heading in the right direction. WHen you say fast, how fast/big are you thinking. A guy at work suggested 4gb worth of 667 DDR2 - is this overkill?
 

mossym

Distinguished Member
i think the problem with mine was that i bought matched pairs to run in sual channel mode, but my mobo was unstable with the RAM i bought in dual channel mode, but it was fine in single channel mode, so i think i hit performance problems there. in my book the more/faster the memory the better. what os are you going to run? if vista i would def consider 4g
 

hurdy

Established Member
I have XP Pro already, was thinking of staying with that as for what I want my HTPC to do I can't really see justification for upgrading to Vista. I was thinking 2gb, but to be honest its only another £20 for 4gb, so thinking I might go with that.
 

mossym

Distinguished Member
2g with xp should be fine, but if you can stretch to 4 all the better
 

Andy98765

Distinguished Member
Using 4gb worth of 667 DDR2 has two problems.
1, if you use a 32bit operating system you will only see 3.5 gig, but you could offer .5 gig to the graphics.
2. the graphics rely on the memory used and one person on this forum found to his dismay (he used 667 DDR2). The cure was to upgrade to 800 DDR2. And DO stick to mainstream memory and not some budget brand.
Kingston
Crucial
OCZ
etc etc.
For the couple of pounds its saves it is just not worth it.
 

dazm41

Prominent Member
hi hurdy i have just orded the same mobo and amd 5000+cpu this morning , what case are you going with i have orded the antec fusion with 2gig of ram like you i have been reading with great interest what orther htpc people have been building.i have orded the the scythe mine ninja if it's not quite the missis will be:mad:. hope the build goes well i like to see lots of boxs :devil:
 

Jim_b0b

Established Member
I would personally go for the power efficient 4850e cpu, as it is nigh on as fast as the one your are considering, but it is a lot less power hungry, and will be more than capable doing the tasks requird by a HTPC.
 

hurdy

Established Member
The cure was to upgrade to 800 DDR2. And DO stick to mainstream memory and not some budget brand.
Kingston
Crucial
OCZ
etc etc.
For the couple of pounds its saves it is just not worth it.

Thanks, I was wondering about this - so if I upgrade to 800 this would enable me to overclock the mobo to 800? I read a review on the mobo that said this was possible without becoming unstable and that it resulted in 16% increase in frame rates.

I was looking at Kingston, but was being pulled towards the cheaper Generics - thanks for pulling me back in line! :suicide:
 

hurdy

Established Member
I would personally go for the power efficient 4850e cpu, as it is nigh on as fast as the one your are considering, but it is a lot less power hungry, and will be more than capable doing the tasks requird by a HTPC.

Oops - I've already ordered the 5200+ from scan because it was on the today only special over the weekend and was a couple of quid cheaper than the 4850e. Is the difference worth me asking them to swap it (it isn't being delivered for another week)?
 

ap69

Established Member
I went for the AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ with this mobo, with no additional gfx card.

Got to say I am highly impressed so far. Even without updating to the latest drivers it plays 720p at about 25% CPU utilisation, and 1080p at about 45%.
 

Jim_b0b

Established Member
Oops - I've already ordered the 5200+ from scan because it was on the today only special over the weekend and was a couple of quid cheaper than the 4850e. Is the difference worth me asking them to swap it (it isn't being delivered for another week)?

Thats entirely upto you mate.

The 4850e will save you £'s (as to how much is open to debate) in the long term on electricity costs, but at the end of the day, it's your call.
 

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