Motherboard?

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by ldoodle, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. ldoodle

    ldoodle
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    Hiya,

    Looks like my board (AMD based) is on the way out so need to replace it.

    What is currently the best uATX board (doesn't have to be AMD!) for HTPCs, without going mad on price.

    The only main requirement is BluRay playback (optical and ripped) and multichannel audio over HDMI.

    I have the Lian-LI PC-C37 case, so the board/cpu combo must be heat efficient - where is Mini ITX at with BluRay playback, such as this http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Zota...00-SATA-3Gb-s-SATA-RAID-Mini-ITX-On-Board-VGA

    While i'm at it, thinking of trying something else instead of Windows Media Center - any suggestions?

    Thanks...
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2009
  2. fumanchu2001

    fumanchu2001
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    I would stick with mATX for the time being, take your pick from 780g boards from Gigabyte (pref with side port ram), otherwise there are the 9400 chipsets...

    I will be changing to mITX at some point, but they are not quite there yet in terms of performance.
     
  3. ldoodle

    ldoodle
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    In terms of what, 1080p?

    I only have a 1080i screen, so force everything to 720p.
     
  4. rjames

    rjames
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    The best mini atx mobo at the moment is Gigabyte's NVIDIA 9400 mobo. Congrat on the Lian Li! Very happy with my setup. You can look at my specs which I collected after a few weeks of posting around.
    Let me know if you need to know more.

    James
     
  5. rjames

    rjames
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    Btw, I have always used other media centers than Windows Media Center because it didnt take all files as ..mkv, integrated blu-ray playback etc.. I used Media Portal, XBMC but all without the perfect one player for all purposes.

    BUT, now with windows 7 RC setup for the first time I am enjoying Windows Media Center as the one player for all purposes. Perfect integrated blu-ray PowerDvD performance, good quality on my HD video playback (720p-1080p) as well as my SD serie playback for the lady. And all of this with my Harmony remote handled.

    So, my advice.. try out WMC as well when you go for windows 7 RC. This would be the better choice anyway compared to Vista.

    Good luck!
     
  6. bryanchicken

    bryanchicken
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    i have a mini-itx board with geforce 8200 onboard and a measly 4850e CPU.
    It can play everything at 1080P with multichannel HDMI audio.

    In fact, it has the same performance as a mATX board with 8200 GPU and 4850e CPU.
    I'd be interested to hear why it is thought that mini-itx is not up to it??
     
  7. Stephen Neal

    Stephen Neal
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    If you want decent de-interlacing and 5.1/7.1 HDMI PCM audio then the Gigabyte E7AUM-DS2H board (nVidia 9400 based) is an excellent and reliable choice. It is an Intel board - and people are using anything from an E5200 to E8xxx series with it (though it won't work with the new Q8400 AIUI) There are other 9300/9400 (Intel) and 8200/8300 (AMD) boards out there - but the Gigabyte does seem to be the best. (I had a requirement for Firewire for my FireDTVS2 satellite receiver - so the choice of boards was reduced somewhat)

    If you are only interested in playing progressive content - like 1080p Blu-rays etc. - and not watching SD and HD TV (which will require de-interlacing) and DVDs - then the 780G boards - like the MA78GM-S2H etc. are a very good value buy - coupled with a low-cost/low-power AMD CPU like the 4850e. However you only get SPDIF quality audio over HDMI and the de-interlacing is sub-par. However you can then bung in a 4550 GPU if you want at a later date - which will give you 5.1/7.1 HDMI PCM audio and better de-interlacing.

    I first built a 780G model but the de-interlacing was too annoying for me - so I bunged in a 4550. When I built my second HTPC I went the nVidia 9400 route.

    Both are good performers for me - though I think the ATI is easier to get consistent black levels with.

    There are mini-ITX solutions knocking around that do the same things in a smaller form factor - though you pay a premium for the smaller size and have less scope for installing PCI/PCI-e tuner cards, graphics upgrades etc. - and some have some nasty limitations (the Zotacs have problems with some wake-up from sleep systems)
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
  8. ldoodle

    ldoodle
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    Good news afterall. The board is fine... the problem was caused by a faulty SATA power supply cable (I have a modular one).

    But, still interested in looking at the Zotac Dual-Core, so how much should I be looking for the following:

    aBit A-N78HD board
    AMD 4050e CPU (might be 4250e will check tonight)
    Corsair HX520 PSU (minus faulty cable mentioned above). Note I discarded most of the modular cables as for it's use I only need 1 double SATA power cable.

    Thanks
     

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