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Intel or AMD for HTPC ??

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Spy, Sep 11, 2005.

  1. Spy

    Spy
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    Dear All,

    Which processor would be best for an HTPC that will not be playing any demanding games but will be playing TV, recording TV, playing MP3 and playing DVDs from both disc and drive ?

    Reading the forums, I noticed many people use AMD but I thought intel, with hyperthreading etc was better for encoding video which I thought would make it the preferred choice for recording TV ?

    Is this right ? Your expert advice (as always) would be useful
     
  2. tinoest

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    AMD is better for games etc

    Intel is better for multimedia,office etc

    Although the Dual Core AMD has basically got rid of the advantages of Hyperthreading
     
  3. JohnS

    JohnS
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    The old AMD v Intel argument......

    It used to be clearly better with an Intel chipset and Intel processor but with the latest hot running Prescotts I'd pick an AMD64 with a nforce4 mobo if I was building a new machine today and take advantage of cool n quiet tech.
     
  4. gslater

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    Agreed on the cool & quiet comment...if you are building a pc which needs to be quiet it needs to be cool first....AMD wins hands down on this front with their high end chips....prescott runs too hot. Of course you could always look at lower end chips but for me that always feels like taking a "step back" especially when you will always need more grunt power for all the multimedia stuff being put out these days....just my opinion though.
     
  5. Spy

    Spy
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    Thanks for the replies.

    Coolness and hence quietness are at the top of the agenda.

    If I went the AMD route, which would be the best:
    1) Full ATX board ?
    2) micro-ATX board ?

    It needs to be cool n' quiet with decent onboard graphics as I would prefer not to buy a graphics card. Needs to have a digital audio output (onboard) for inputting into my Denon 3803
     
  6. willsy2

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    If you want really cool'n quiet, and prepared to spend a bit more cash how about a Pentium M and one of these boards Here
    It has Component output as well.
     
  7. JohnS

    JohnS
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    I think a socket 939 nforce4 mobo like the MSi K8N is a good overall performer (I use one in my xlobby server with a 3500 venice) and offers an upgrade route to dual core chips in the future when they become more reasonable.

    The pentium m route does provide a quiet solution if you are determined to go intel it doesn't have the outright grunt of the higher performing chips.
     
  8. pragmatic

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    Abit and Asus do silent, passively cooled motherboards. I personaly find that the fans on the motherboards chips are generaly very noisey, thats why i went with the abit one.

    As far as small form factor is concerned i doubt there will really be any difference to a full sized atx, aslong as it has the chipset/features that your looking for. Obviously you'll lose some upgradability through pci slots, and i doubt you'll be able to get sli. Pretty much every thing is onboard the motherboard these days anyway so the pci expansion slots are a bit of a mute thing, expect for the one you'll need for a tv tuner (could always go USB 2.0 for an external one though)

    I think if you want to play games as well as do other office like things and home theature watching and pvr functions the only options are truely, pentium m or althon 64.

    Stay away from the pentium 4 though as they are noisey heat producing pollution machines, and all future pentium generations seem to be build arround the pentium m, with 4 being a dead end arcitecture.

    The video conversion thing is not really true anymore and if your only bothered about recording from tv any decent internal tv tuner card does it all in hardware, meaning that your cpu takes pretty much no hit from recording.

    The pentium m motherboards at last look did lack alot of finctionality, but that might have changed now. The pentium m also has the low powered/heat producting factor over the athlon. The lower powered ones, i.e. the cheaper ones with not so good GHz can be overclocked very well, to the same speed as the more expensive (ones that cost £500).


    If games are your thing then an sli based athlon motherboard will see you through, espectialy with the rumor that in the not so distant future you'll be able to pick and choose between different chips, i.e. mix a 7800GT with a 7800 GTX. With a decent cooler the advantages the the p m has over the athlon w.r.t. noise and heat are made null but they usualy require quite a bit of room. The lower level athlons are also very good at overclocking, i.e. almost a 40% bost can be gotten from the 3.2 venice chip.


    In summary i'd say if your after a quiet but powerful machine, go with pentium m for small form factor(it will be more expensive though as those motherboards and cpu's aren't cheap), if you want to go for a more game oriented machine the athlon is almost certianly the way to go(a bit cheaper too).


    Oh btw i went with this config and it makes about 16db's inside the case so is even quieter outside.

    Motherboard: Abit AN8 SLi (passively cooled)
    Gfx Card: XFX 7800GTX (supprisingly quiet)
    Cpu Cooler: Thermaltake big typhoon (absolutly massive, but only 16 dbs max)
    PSU: Antech 430 Watt True power ( it only makes a noise if you stick your ear right next to it)
    DVD-R/W: Pioneer 109 in brushed aluminium silver, has a special structure to absorb noise
    Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 Plus (quietest and one of the best performing around, although the samsungs are also very quiet)
    Memory: Some corsair memory matched pair cas 2.0, although this wasn't ever gonna make any noise :smashin:

    Normaly there isn't much noise, and when there is a large amound of disk access you can hear the HD, but this is when i'm sitting over it.
    The Gfx card can get noisey but this is only ever when i'm playing 'stressing' games, at which point sound effect and music dround out the noise entirely.
     
  9. Cable Monkey

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    2 options in my mind, taking all considerations of a HTPC into account.

    AMD 64, powerful, relatively cool, decent boards available, cheap.

    Intel socket 479, powerful, very cool, not to many boards available (though Asus supply an adaptor for socket 478), expensive.

    When people discuss the pros and cons of the various options, remember the differences are not that big. Quite often the deciding factor has less to do with performance and more to do with heat.
     
  10. Jim_Fear

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    Just remember if you have a decent tuner card with a hardware MPEG ecoder etc then you'll be offloading that data from the processor, so intel loses a bit of its flair, they're hella toasty too, I have an AMD athlon 64 3000+ overclocked from 1.8GHz to 2.4GHz with a large XP-90C heatsink and quiet fan sitting at 32°C :)

    Thats the sweet spot right there ;)
     
  11. Spy

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    I think the Pentium M approach may be more suited to my requirements.
    The lower power consumption will help.

    Thanks for the detailed post Gaz.

    Which is the best Pentium M board ? I believe they need an intel 915 based board.
     
  12. stuartmc

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    Only real option is the AOpen i915GMm-HFS. Designed from the outset for HTPC use. Only mobo that has VGA, DVI and component output on the motherboard, also has SPDF audio in/out in optical and co-ax. We have sold a lot to HTPC builders and many satisfied customers. Latest design has larger CPU cooler that keeps it running cooler than the original spec cooler.
     
  13. Skunkpipe

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    Hmmm toughie this one - a lot depends on your requirements
    Socket 479 option - good if you want a compact HTPC with everything one board - not a huge amount of room for expansion with only 2 PCI slots

    Socket 939 option - good if you want to use a large case. Cool 'N' Quiet when used with a good heatsink and set up correctly can see you running the fan at 0 RPM for large periods of time, and very slow (silent) the rest of the time. There are plenty of NF4 ATX boards out there with passive cooling and offering more in the way of expension slots.

    Horses for coarses really - socket 775 is a bad choice; socket 478 has some advantages. Socket 754 is cheap but no cool'n' quiet

    I build systems around all except 775.
    The system I currently run at home is based around a Dual core socket 939 and I believe is as quiet as a PC can be.
     
  14. FruitBat

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    I've been looking into socket 479 boards myself.
    Of the 2 Aopen boards (855 and 915), although the 915 has more suitable outputs (as pointed out by stuartmc) it has 2 PCI slots. The 855 has 3 PCI slots. Another option is the Asus CT-479 socket adapter which allows a Pentium-M to be used with a regular socket 478 board. I believe that only a few Asus boards have been designed to work with this and they need their bios flashed first (so you'll need a 478 chip to start off with).
     
  15. Cable Monkey

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    There is a full ATX option from Aopen now...
     
  16. Skunkpipe

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    indeed there is. However, I believe you can do a better job (not to mention more choice in way of motherboards, cooling etc.) with a S939 if you have the space of a full ATX case. All IMHO of course..
     

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