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What to upgrade to?

tigermad

Distinguished Member
Hello. I currently have a system made up of a GA-MA78GPM-DS2H motherboard, amd 4850e processor and 2gb ram. I use xbmc on windows 7 as the main software. I would like to stick with xbmc since it plays most things I throw at it.

What I would like is a quiet unit that I can use hd sound and play 1080p. I can play 1080p now but it always seems to be on the edge. I have a silverstone case at the moment and don't mind changing everything if needed.

I don't play games on it at all. It is solely a htpc. Would a ssd be suitable for the main drive?

What is the best spec at the moment for what I need?
 

robbo100

Well-known Member
To be honest, your motherboard does not support the latest types of CPU socket types, so to get an upgraded CPU will cost more than the going rate. You can get one of these: AMD Phenom II X4 960T 3.0GHz 8MB 95W Black Edition (HD96ZTWFGRBOX) - dabs.com but it is overkill for an HTPC and quite expensive. Also, this alone won't give you HD Audio, it will just make your system run faster (and hotter!)

It really depends upon how much money you want to spend, and what of your existing setup you would like to keep. If you want HD Audio over HDMI, then the cheapest thing to do would be to add a new graphics card (such as the ATI 5450 which you can get for less than £28). That will speed up your graphics and offload the CPU.

If you want to get a more modern CPU for a reasonable price (you don't want something overpowered, because that will cause heat, which you will need noisy fans to dispel), then you will need to swap out your motherboard, and probably get more memory too. A motherboard, CPU and memory could be as cheap as £80 for something reasonable, but if you wanted to miniaturise your system and buy a very small case, then the motherboard and CPU will be much more expensive.

For a quiet unit, you are going to need a quiet PSU (about £50 ish) and a quiet CPU heat sink - the type of heat sink you go for will depend upon your case. You might even go completely silent, but that is very very expensive.

Basically, there are many ways to skin a cat and it is difficult to help without knowing budget etc.

What is the best spec at the moment for what I need?
I am not sure you want the answer to that question, because the price might be well out of your budget!
 

tigermad

Distinguished Member
Hello. Thanks for the reply.

I don't mind a complete new build. I would like to spend less than a grand. Probably around £600. Small form doesn't matter so much anymore as long as I can keep it as quiet as possible. I would not need any tv cards or the like.
 

Herbiefish

Well-known Member
Have you considered an acer revo? Me and quite a few of my mates use this with xbmc and it handles all 1080p mkvs very well. Can be had for around £250 with windows 7 from ebuyer, or cheaper with linux. That's what I have with xbmc running on it perfectly an all my films streamed through 3tb of nas.
 

robbo100

Well-known Member
With £600 you could have a very nice system!

If you want to spend that amount, I suggest you pick a nice case and then ask for help as to what components you are best to fit into it.

Your requirements are still too open for people to really help you, you need to define what you actually want.

Case - Tiny? / Slimline AV? / Large AV? / Massive? / ????? - (e.g. FC5 OD Fanless Chassis | Streacom or OrigenAE M10 Mini-ITX HTPC Case Black | Ebuyer.com)
Performance - suitable for video transcoding or just watching content
Graphics - 2D? / 3D?
Media - Blueray player? / DVD Player?

You will need to do a bit of legwork to define the sort of thing you need, and then people will be able to help you refine your requirements.

Robbo100
 

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