New here wanting opinions on Ivybridge HTPC/Gaming build

mw8t

Standard Member
Hi all

I've been lurking on here for the past couple of days and this forum looks right up my street :smashin:

Ok, I've been building PCs for years so not a newb but kind of new to the HTPC game :D

The aim of this build is to put the box underneath the TV in the front room connected through HDMI for media playback and Steam Big Picture gaming (using a gamepad of course :D) controlled using Windows 8 and a Logitech Harmony remote.

I also want a separate screen (1080p/clone mode) connected elsewhere along with a mouse and keyboard for everyday PC stuff. (maybe using Intel WIDI for the display and wireless kb and mouse)

I will say first that I've been waiting for Haswell but cannot justify a 6 month+ wait so the following mobo+cpu is a kind of stop-gap and I intend to upgrade to Haswell (depending on the new technologies it offers not really bothered about speed increases).

Here's my build which is currently on order:

CPU: Core i5 3570K
Mobo: Asus Maximus V Gene S1155 Intel Z77 DDR3 mATX
RAM: 8GB (2x4GB) Corsair DDR3 Vengeance Jet Black, PC3-19200 (2400), Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 10-12-12-31, XMP, 1.65V
HDD: 2x Seagate 3TB Barracuda SATA 6GB/s 64MB 7200RPM 3.5" Hard Drive (in RAID 1)
ODD: LG 10x Blu-ray Reader, 16x DVD±R, 8x +RW, 6x -RW, 12x RAM - OEM

Case: Silverstone GD04B-USB3.0, Black, HTPC, microATX Case
PSU: 550W SilverStone Strider Gold SST-ST55F-G, Full Modular, 80 PLUS Gold, 90% Eff', EPS 12V, 120mm Fan, ATX

Will add a GTX660Ti at some point for gaming.

Now I am undecided on the SSD and the TV card.

Firstly the SSD. The mobo on order has a mini pci-e combo card which can house an msata SSD but unfortunately only at SATAII speeds. I would really prefer to get a 256GB mSata SSD (crucial m4 SATAIII) for my primary OS drive over a 2.5" SSD as IMO this tech is already obsolete :eek: (why tie up a drive bay in my already space constrained HTPC case + a 256gb SSD the size of a box of matches sat directly on the motherboard :eek: :smashin:)

Now, from what I've gathered off Google/Wiki, the mSata SSD SATA port is nobbled to SATAII speeds due to the mini PCI-e 2.0 x1 bus it sits on.

My question is do you think mPCI-e slots will be upgraded to 3.0 specs in the next gen (Haswell) therefore unleashing the SSDs on the market today? In which case, I will go for the Crucial M4 mSata and live with the degraded performance for now.

Long shot question I know, but my SSD purchase hangs on this.

Secondly, the TV card. A bit simpler this one :D I already have a PCTV 290e DVB-T2 USB nanostick. Is there any benefit to having an internal card other than it having twin tuners? I mean quality/performance wise?

Was looking at this

TV Card: BlackGold BGT3620 High Definition PCIe Card, Dual DVB-T and DVB-T2, Dual Digital DVB-C

but at over a 100 sheckles will not buy if my USB tuner is good to go.

Sorry for the long-winded post, I just want to get this build finalised and ordered, it's been doing my swede in for the past few days :zonked:

Oh yeah, one final thing. There is no IR header on this mobo, and the case has no IR built in :mad:, so what are my options for remotes and receivers? Heard good things about the Logitech Harmony so want one of those.
 
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spacemanc

Active Member
I've recently built an i5 gaming PC and also an AMD Trinity gaming/HTPC. The first thing I would suggest is that you ask yourself what you REALLY need. A lot of your components plans are very powerful for what you seem to be intending to do, and then you mention the gfx card almost as an afterthought?

It's hard to make a powerful gaming PC/HTPC as something that you would want in your living room under the TV. The main problem is that gaming PC's are hot and noisy and hard to fit in a small case (due to the gfx card). HTPC's tend to be the opposite.

If you can "live with" playing the latest games on med/high settings, rather than ultra, then an A10 Trinity build would probably be the best route for you.
 

mw8t

Standard Member
The graphics card is not an afterthought, just something that I don't need straight away to get the system up and running.

The build does need to be able to game. I have GTA V (if it comes to PC :rolleyes:) maxed out in mind. Not into fps or anything like that.

As well as having enough grunt to game, it also needs to have enough power to edit high def tv recordings (Match of The Day). Remember this is my main and only PC so it needs to be an 'all-rounder'

Like I said, I am looking at Haswell which I believe is going to reduce power consumption even further than Ivybridge and therefore heat and noise. Here's hoping that the VGA makers also get their act together and improve the efficiency of their cards in the next refresh.
 

spacemanc

Active Member
If you're editing then that explains the CPU, but the problem isn't with the CPU - in fact I doubt it would be worth upgrading from an i5 3570k for a least a couple of years.

The problem is the graphics card. If you want to play the latest games on max settings, then you need a good card, and they all use loads of power, generate loads of heat and the fans are therefore pretty noisy. They also tend to be quite long so you will have problems fitting them into a HTPC case (they usually only just fit in a desktop case!)

I would just build a normal gaming PC and use your DVB nanostick with it for stuff you want to edit. Then maybe get a normal FreeviewHD STB for normal TV viewing. The reason I say that, is purely due to the noise issue when you watch TV.

My i5 has an aftermarket fan, it's in a Silencio soundproofed case and the graphics card is a Gigabyte windforce2 HD 7850 which is a very quite card. It certainly wouldn't be considered to be noisy, but I personally wouldn't want it under the TV when I'm watching a film.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Your USB DVB-T2 tuner is obviously a single tuner, so depending on what TV recording software you use, you may be restricted to just watching or recording one channel at a time.

If you use MediaPortal though, it is able to simultaneously watch / record all channels on one mux with one tuner. So for Freeview HD you could record all four HD channels at the same time, you may want to add a cheaper DVB-T SD tuner card to also add the SD channels to the mix, without tying up your DVB-T2 card.
 

mw8t

Standard Member
If you're editing then that explains the CPU, but the problem isn't with the CPU - in fact I doubt it would be worth upgrading from an i5 3570k for a least a couple of years.

The problem is the graphics card. If you want to play the latest games on max settings, then you need a good card, and they all use loads of power, generate loads of heat and the fans are therefore pretty noisy. They also tend to be quite long so you will have problems fitting them into a HTPC case (they usually only just fit in a desktop case!)

I would just build a normal gaming PC and use your DVB nanostick with it for stuff you want to edit. Then maybe get a normal FreeviewHD STB for normal TV viewing. The reason I say that, is purely due to the noise issue when you watch TV.

My i5 has an aftermarket fan, it's in a Silencio soundproofed case and the graphics card is a Gigabyte windforce2 HD 7850 which is a very quite card. It certainly wouldn't be considered to be noisy, but I personally wouldn't want it under the TV when I'm watching a film.

The GTX660Ti fits in the case no bother.

My understanding is when watching tv/blu-ray or playing music the gfx card is shut down and the load is switched to the hd4000 onboard graphics so I am not going to hear the fan on the card as it will be virtually idle :confused:(nVidia optimus or synergy according to wiki) is this not the case?

Of course it would be easier to build 2 pcs but that's not the point. I want a single pc solution. I think 'regular' pcs with their horrible tower cases and being confined to a desk are ugly as sin and definitely not for me.

With the way hardware is moving with increased performance along with efficiency Im confident I can achieve my aim with this build.
 

STdrez625

Banned
I think your worrys about the degraded performance of the Msata SSD are like this:
Std HDD is being hit on the head with a club
Sata2 SSD is being hit with a pistol bullet
Sata3 SSD is being hit with a rifle bullet:
Also you need to find out whether the msata socket is bootable from at all> plus upgrading the processor will not upgrade anything on the mobo. SSD's will fit pretty much anywhere in your case, i would have thought ?
One other thought .. your ram is 1.65v .. that will run hotter and consume more power than std ram or even lo-volt ram (1.25v?)
HAswell will lower power reqs yes, new features? nothing noteworthy, possibly something on the encryption front.
Considering all your choices seem financially unconstrained, then the additional purchase of a tiny twin tuner card would seem a small additional outlay. :blush:
 

spacemanc

Active Member
The GTX660Ti fits in the case no bother.

My understanding is when watching tv/blu-ray or playing music the gfx card is shut down and the load is switched to the hd4000 onboard graphics so I am not going to hear the fan on the card as it will be virtually idle :confused:(nVidia optimus or synergy according to wiki) is this not the case?

Of course it would be easier to build 2 pcs but that's not the point. I want a single pc solution. I think 'regular' pcs with their horrible tower cases and being confined to a desk are ugly as sin and definitely not for me.

With the way hardware is moving with increased performance along with efficiency Im confident I can achieve my aim with this build.

Yes with the right parts, the gfx card will switch to idle for web browsing, but I'm not convinced it would stay idle for watching blu-rays.

I wasn't suggesting getting two PC's - I suggested a set top box and a gaming PC, and you mention ugly towercases, but alot of m-ATX cases are a very similar size to the Silverstone case (except upright)

I've no doubt you can achieve what you are looking for - you could use water cooling and all kinds of things, but the reason I mentioned in my first post to really think about what you need, is that you could end up spending loads of money that you don't need to, as well as creating a whole load of hassle for yourself, for very little gain.
 

mw8t

Standard Member
I think your worrys about the degraded performance of the Msata SSD are like this:
Std HDD is being hit on the head with a club
Sata2 SSD is being hit with a pistol bullet
Sata3 SSD is being hit with a rifle bullet:
Also you need to find out whether the msata socket is bootable from at all> plus upgrading the processor will not upgrade anything on the mobo. SSD's will fit pretty much anywhere in your case, i would have thought ?
One other thought .. your ram is 1.65v .. that will run hotter and consume more power than std ram or even lo-volt ram (1.25v?)
HAswell will lower power reqs yes, new features? nothing noteworthy, possibly something on the encryption front.
Considering all your choices seem financially unconstrained, then the additional purchase of a tiny twin tuner card would seem a small additional outlay. :blush:

The mpcie/msata port is bootable. I thought this at first as a lot of people mentioning using it as a cache for HDDs.

I have swapped out the msata for a Samsung 840 256gb 2.5 anyway.

Noted about the RAM and I've just found out they won't fit under the Scythe Big Shuriken cooler. Looking at Corsair's Vengeance again but low profile 1.5v. :smashin:
 

mw8t

Standard Member
Yes with the right parts, the gfx card will switch to idle for web browsing, but I'm not convinced it would stay idle for watching blu-rays.

I wasn't suggesting getting two PC's - I suggested a set top box and a gaming PC, and you mention ugly towercases, but alot of m-ATX cases are a very similar size to the Silverstone case (except upright)

I've no doubt you can achieve what you are looking for - you could use water cooling and all kinds of things, but the reason I mentioned in my first post to really think about what you need, is that you could end up spending loads of money that you don't need to, as well as creating a whole load of hassle for yourself, for very little gain.

According to reviews the HD4000 is more than capable of playing Blu-ray. I would be surprised if there is not a way of setting it to use the IGP instead of the card.

This switchable graphics business, will it still work even though my displays will be connected through the gfx card :confused:
 

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