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  1. #1
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    Building An HTPC And Looking For Good Motherboard

    I am planning a SageTV HTPC that will be able to support at least two media extenders (watch via the tv) and one placeshifter (remote pc access via internet). I am pretty decided on everything except the motherboard. I was interested in boards with integrated graphics, but as I understand it that won't suffice for HD playback. These are my ingredients:

    Case: CM Media 280
    PSU: Enermax Infiniti 650watt
    CPU: Athlon 64 X2 3.0GHz
    Graphics: Nvidia 8600GT 256MB/8600GTS 512MB
    Tuners: Hauppauge HVR 1600 & 1800
    HDD: 500 & 750GB DVR drives +up to two more 750GB
    Ram: 2GB
    Motherboards: MSI K9N Neo-F & K9N SLI Platinum

    Tips and suggestions are greatly appreciated!
    Cats are people too!

  2. #2
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    Re: Building An HTPC And Looking For Good Motherboard

    The power supply seems to be bit overkill. You might want to look into Seasonic PSUs, they are quiet and efficient.

    If you plan on hooking up to a HT receiver then you should look for a MOBO with onboard Digital audio output. That would rule out the K9N Neo F. If you dont ever plan on running SLI GPUs then you might be better off getting a non SLI board to give you better expansion options.

    Your other hardware picks look good and Sage is about the best commercial HTPC software I've found yet.

    Good Luck
    Apap
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  3. #3
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    Re: Building An HTPC And Looking For Good Motherboard

    The Gigabyte Ga-ma69gm-s2h is a super little MB, and from reports on AVS, with a 3 gig CPU it will run HD with the onboard video with little problem. I have one in my GF's system, but it has a BE2350 in it, so until overclocked is a bit underpowered for HD.
    But the board has onboard HDMI, VGA, Component, Optical digital output, with HD sound. 4 SATA ports, etc.
    I put her's together with a Corsair 450 PS and it has been running 24/7 for 2 weeks now with zero problems, folding all the while.

  4. #4
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    Re: Building An HTPC And Looking For Good Motherboard

    The power supply seems to be bit overkill. You might want to look into Seasonic PSUs, they are quiet and efficient.
    When it comes to PSUs, i don't think there's such a thing as too much. I usually try to buy more than I need to leave room for add ins and upgrades later on. I am also loyal to Enermax as I had a horrific experience with another brand once.
    look for a MOBO with onboard Digital audio output
    I hope I can find some. The manufacturer sites don't list their HTPC boards separately from the rest. I find my self having to open each product page to see if they have what I'm looking for. It takes a while.

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm pretty sure that any motherboard with integrated graphics has the option in bios to disable it, but could I use both onboard and off board graphics? My bios currently has the option to set the primary vga, but I never paid any attention to this as I only have one graphics card. Would enabling two vga increase performance or possibly hinder it?
    Cats are people too!

  5. #5
    Joined
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hamilton, New Zealand
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    466

    Re: Building An HTPC And Looking For Good Motherboard

    I have to recommend anything with a AMD 690 chipset. In the wiki link, they say that you can play any kind of HD format you want as long as you have at least a 2.4GHz processor and the most recent BIOS update. The on board video for these boards are equivalent to Radeon x1200/x1250 graphics cards. They also support 7.1 HD audio.


    So I agree with John C on the Gigabyte GA-MA69GM-S2H, but other good choices would be:
    Gigabyte GA-MA69G-S3H
    Asus M2A-VM HDMI
    Microstar (MSI) K9AGM2-FIH

    Oh and as for the "on board and off board" graphics, I know with the 690 chipset, the ports are additive, so with just the board you can have up to 3 monitors (VGA, DVI and HDMI) and you can add more with additional graphics cards.

  6. #6
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    Re: Building An HTPC And Looking For Good Motherboard

    I have been doing a bit more research and am now looking at boards with the Nvidia 7050 PV nForce 630a. It's the latest technology and the boards are under $100.00. Only three manufactureres have models available. The choices are:
    Abit AN M2 HD http://www.abit.com.tw/page/en/mothe...YPE=Socket+AM2
    Biostar TF7050 M2 http://www.biostar.com.tw/app/en-us/...t.php?S_ID=182
    MSI K9N GM3 http://global.msi.com.tw/index.php?f...5&maincat_no=1

    I haven't looked at other chipsets. I think going with nvidia is a good reliable choice. I'm leaning towards the Biostar right now just because of the layout. I am concerned about how I will connect to my tv. I don't own an hdtv yet (by the end of next year). In the meantime I will either have to connect it to a monitor or find an appropriate adapter. More research to do. Tell me what you think of these boards.
    Cats are people too!

  7. #7
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    Re: Building An HTPC And Looking For Good Motherboard

    It looks like the Biostar board has Svideo out as well as HDMI. That should cover your current and future connectivity needs.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Building An HTPC And Looking For Good Motherboard

    Quote Originally Posted by mskitty666 View Post
    When it comes to PSUs, i don't think there's such a thing as too much. I usually try to buy more than I need to leave room for add ins and upgrades later on. I am also loyal to Enermax as I had a horrific experience with another brand once.

    I hope I can find some. The manufacturer sites don't list their HTPC boards separately from the rest. I find my self having to open each product page to see if they have what I'm looking for. It takes a while.

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm pretty sure that any motherboard with integrated graphics has the option in bios to disable it, but could I use both onboard and off board graphics? My bios currently has the option to set the primary vga, but I never paid any attention to this as I only have one graphics card. Would enabling two vga increase performance or possibly hinder it?
    That PSU is overkill... there's really no need to go over 400 watts for that build. You want a silent PSU with a high efficiency rating (Seasonics are good). I would also suggest ditching the AMD chip and board for an Intel Core2 or Quad. It sounds like you'll be doing a lot of HD transcoding for the extenders/placeshifter client, and the Intel chips just have more horsepower for the money right now.

    Most onboard graphics disable themselves as soon as you plug in a real video card. Some have a BIOS option to allow them to be used in addition to the primary display. However, onboard graphics are severely memory bandwidth starved. They simply can't drive a high resolution display at 60fps, and will drop frames like crazy.


    Intel 7820X, ASRock X299 Taichi, 32GB DDR4 3200, Radeon 290X, 8TB WD Gold with 32GB Optane cache

  9. #9
    Joined
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    18,901

    Re: Building An HTPC And Looking For Good Motherboard

    if you're still in the hunt..for sheer 24/7 dependability, i can't say enough about any msi or gigabyte board that has the options you want. i have 3 pvr's in mine and every day am recording show after show after show. my former msi board did this for 3 years (and is still running strong as my wife's computer) and i have a gigabyte board for 1.5 years that has been rock solid running currently. my first gigabyte board is now 9 years old and running fine in my daughter's machine i had one biostar board before i bought the gigabyte. pretty and all the features i needed, but from the get go, it wouldn't boot up...(serious issues with that particular board's chipset and configuration the board, it turned out) will never try a biostar again to save a few bucks.

  10. #10
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    Re: Building An HTPC And Looking For Good Motherboard

    I'll be putting this board (Intel, I know) GA-G33M-S2H in my upstairs HTPC case tomorrow and I'll report back on it. This has onboard Intel graphics that apear to be quite promising to me at first bite, as well as HDMI out.
    Main Rig: EVGA 141-BL-E769-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 CLASSIFIED/WATERCOOLED ED. cooled by the Monster Water Cooling Setup
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  11. #11
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    Re: Building An HTPC And Looking For Good Motherboard

    I have decided to go with an Enermax Noisetaker 600 watt psu. I actually have one in my current pc and it's quiet. It will also exceed the needs of the components I'm putting in and leave room for upgrades.

    I would also suggest ditching the AMD chip and board for an Intel Core2 or Quad.
    I don't know what's wrong with AMD. I've never built an Intel system because AMD gives you more bang for the buck. I will be putting a dual core processor on board and from the reviews I've read, that should work very well.
    However, onboard graphics are severely memory bandwidth starved. They simply can't drive a high resolution display at 60fps, and will drop frames like crazy.
    I will definately be adding in a graphics card later. Probably a Geforce 8600 GT or GTS. I do like the fact that with the on board graphics I can hold of on the card for a while. Maybe prices will drop and I can get an even better card.
    I looked at the GA-G33M-S2H. Nice board, but I would want more sata.
    Cats are people too!

  12. #12
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    Re: Building An HTPC And Looking For Good Motherboard

    BEFORE you buy, do your homework. I've been checking, and even some of the newest micro atx boards won't support a 6000/6400 cpu. I was hoping to use the new 6400 in my K9-FID MSI board, but no such luck. The largest cpu I can use is a 5600.If the board has a DVI connector, that's a plus, because you can use a hdmi cable either way. with the dvi at the motherboard, and a hdmi at the tv, or the other way around. Newegg has the cable for around $10, so don't get talked into a $119 cable from one of the big boxes. My little 3800 x2 works quite well in a K9 FID, that powers a 32" Magnavox lcd.I did jump up to a 1650 pro video card, for a little faster response . I REALLY like the new K9 MSI listed at Zipzoomfly as notify me, $175 but it's loaded with goodies, if you are gonna use a tower. and will the new 6400 cpu.
    Last edited by BIGDADDY51; 12-01-2007 at 02:47 AM.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Building An HTPC And Looking For Good Motherboard

    Well, I bought the Biostar TF7050-M2 and am using the 3.0Ghz dual core. It works well. My hard drive and OS don't arrive until next week, but memory testing and live Linux CDs have been working very well. I don't expect to be fully up and running until January. I did decide on the 600 watt noisetaker. So far I'm pleased with everything. I was even able to fit the Zalman CNPS9700 on the cpu. The real test comes once it's doing it's recording thing.
    Cats are people too!

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