HTPC Specification

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by robbo100, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. robbo100

    robbo100
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    Hi all,

    I used to be on here quite a lot, having written quite a lot of the stickies etc. However, in recent years I have drifted away from fiddling with my HTPC, because, it just works. Until tonight.

    I got home to a dead machine. The fans turn on, but there is no BIOS screen :-(

    I tried removing all the components, and a different PSU, but no luck. I think I have a dead CPU or MB. Is was an Asus M4A78LT-M with an X2 265 CPU.

    Anyway, I was hoping someone could give me a pointer and suggest a good replacement. It doesn't need to be fast, but I need it to be quiet. It will be fitting in an Antec Fusion case, so doesn't need to be compact at all either. The cheaper the better!

    Any suggestions for an old timer?

    Thanks

    Robbo100
     
  2. robbo100

    robbo100
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    Sorry, I should add, this is for a MediaPortal Client PC. Which needs 5.1 DTS-HD sound.
     
  3. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Sorry to hear that Robbo, boo!

    I've not built a machine in a while either, so can't really help on current tech. I will be building a new client soon, and am planning on something from the Intel NUC range, they get very good reviews, or are you wedded to your Antec Fusion?
     
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  4. robbo100

    robbo100
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    Hi @lisag

    Great to hear from you. I hope you are well.

    Good question regarding whether I have to use the Fusion case. Ultimately, I would say that no options are off the table. I think the NUC is a great idea, but I am slightly turned off by the fact that there will be no built-in IR receiver, so it might look a bit messy.

    The Fusion is good for my setup, because I have a perfect shelf size on the wall for it, so putting something small there will look a bit silly. That said, it could free up the shelf for something else in the future, like a YouView box or something.
     
  5. robbo100

    robbo100
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    I suppose the NUC is also quite a lot lower in performance than my current (dead) machine. I do like the swift menus and quick response from hibernation, and wouldn't want to go backwards in that regards.
     
  6. robbo100

    robbo100
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    Right then,

    To make life as easy as possible for myself, I think I am going to go for a simple motherboard and CPU swap.

    I want to stick with ASUS, in the hope that I might be lucky enough just to stick the current hard drive in it, and that it might boot and update the drivers without me needing to completely reinstall windows from scratch. I know this is bad practice, and it might not work if the architecture is very different, but I just want it back up and running ASAP at the moment, and I can worry about the rest later.

    So, I figure that something like this is OK for a motherboard:

    Asus B85M-G Micro-ATX Motherboard - Scan.co.uk

    and this for a low power cool and quiet CPU (35W, so half the power of my old chip for 4 times the performance):

    Intel Core i5 4590T Haswell Processor - CM8064601561826 - Scan.co.uk

    In theory, I won't need my GPU anymore, which will save power and heat. I should also be able to reuse my PSU and Memory from the old system.

    Does this all seem sensible and compatible to you all?
     
  7. Rambles

    Rambles
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    I'm not an expert in NUC's but I know you can get them as Celeron, i3 or i5's (not sure about i7's) so power shouldn't be an option. I also think an inbuilt IR receiver is a possibility.

    I've just moved house, so all a bit chaotic here, but we have more space, so will soon be setting up a server machine in a spare room, and smaller clients's, such as NUC's attached to TV's throughout the house.

    Be interested to see what you go with and how you get on!
     
  8. robbo100

    robbo100
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    The problem is, that a higher power NUC will cost quite a lot more than the £200 a new uATX motherboard and CPU will cost.
     
  9. kmark40

    kmark40
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    Hi Robbo, I was recently in a very similar situation to you. It seems that the fervour for HTPCs has died down over the last five to six years and has gone more in the direction of servers + low power min-pc/nuc media players. That said, in my opinion, as technology has moved forward so much, most of the low power mb+ cpu options are going to be a significant upgrade over your present, dead set-up. For minimum disruption, I'd try just sticking with the same MB/CPU manufacturers before saving your data and doing a clean install.

    As an aside, in my recent upgrade I kept all of my one box components other than the MB/CPU/RAM. I went from AMD to intel and did a clean re-install. I completely over-specced my components, but I'm happy with it :)
     
  10. robbo100

    robbo100
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    Thank @kmark40

    I was almost tempted to go down the route of the Raspberry Pi 2, with OSMC, but am not ready to give up my full HTPC quite yet.

    This forum even seems a lot quieter than it was 3 years ago, which means that everyone has got their system working perfectly and doesn't need any help (like me), or that people are drifting away, in favour of the off-the-shelf solution.

    Smart TVs and PVRs are offering much much more now, but I don't think they are quite there yet, especially when it comes to Live TV and system flexibility.

    I have just put my order in, so fingers cross the rebuild goes to plan!
     
  11. kmark40

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    I agree. Unfortunately, as well as those systems work, they do eventually break, as did mine after 6 years of flawless use. To be honest though, prior to my CPU/mb croaking I did have one eye on emerging codecs such as hevc/h.265 and the development of 4K/uhd, so an upgrade was on the cards sooner or later. I chose to go for an Intel core I7 4790K and retired my old amd HD 4850 gpu as the igp in the 4790K is sufficient for everything I need :) . On top of that it's hugely more powerful and runs cooler than the phenom X2 550 it replaced!
     
  12. Jolltax

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    I also just built an i5 based HTPC system (thread is somwhere here), it's way over the top for running MP client and Kodi but having a super zippy interface and never seeing a slowdown pays back over the next 3 years or so on a daily basis! Plus there is the very high WAF factor.
    I have a Pi (admittedly not the ver 2) running Kodi client for fun and fiddling and it works fine, but the waiting and sluggishness is very annoying - I wouldn't go near a low power device for daily use e.g. living room viewing.

    J
     
  13. robbo100

    robbo100
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    Hi all,

    FYI the motherboard and CPU arrived a couple of days ago. I installed them and it booted without any problem and updated all the drivers. It was very easy and I didn't need to reinstall Windows (although I would likely get far better performance with a fresh install).

    I went for an i5 4690T, since I felt this was the best compromise of price, vs. performance, vs. power consumption in my target price range.

    Long live the new HTPC!
     

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