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HTPC Motherboard recommendations please

Discussion in 'System Builder's Advice' started by EnergyFX, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

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    I am putting my first ever HTPC on the drawing board. I have chosen the Origen AE S21T case (yes, the $1200 one). I would like opinions, suggestions, ideas, recommendations on motherboards to stick in it. I am an nVidia fanboy so the graphics will definitely be of that brand.

    Is a nforce 680 board overkill for a HTPC?

    Are there any pitfalls I should know of as far as playing games on a HTPC?
     
  2. nguyenpeter76 New Member

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    so yeah. why not spend the $1200 on an entire nice rigg instead of just the case??

    edit: and btw your other rig is kickass.....
     
  3. Jizzler

    Jizzler

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    Takes an ATX motherboard and PSU so you're not restricted in your choices.

    680i, 780i - sure.

    I'm assuming your target resolution is 1920x1080. Maybe a couple 8800GT or 9600GT in SLI?
     
  4. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

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    Or I could build a nice rig INSIDE the nice case ;)
     
  5. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

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    That's the line of thinking I'm leaning towards. It's just that I've never built a HTPC dedicated system so I am wondering if there are any drawbacks to approaching a HTPC the same way I would a gaming system.

    I know that I need to keep thermal management in mind since the last thing anyone wants to hear while watching a movie is the whine of PC fans. I don't want to go watercooling on this project.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2008
  6. ktr

    ktr

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    EnergyFX says thanks.
  7. Deusxmachina

    Deusxmachina New Member

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    You don't need more than an 8600GT for an HTPC. If you're going to game on it, then put in whatever good gaming card you want just like you normally would.

    There's not much special about an HTPC other than if building it to be quiet or small, or making sure the video card is HDCP compatible if you care about such things. And for HD, a BIG hard drive, or four.
     
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  8. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

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    Thanks Deus, that's the answer I was looking for.
     
  9. wiak

    wiak

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    you only NEED a AMD 780G motherboard for a HTPC if you dont game
    will play 99.99% of all formats :p
    even Blu-Ray Disc
     
  10. thraxed Guest

    To spend $1200 on a case that will be out of date in 6 months is :banghead:, for gaming you should just invest the money in a nice 40+" Sony Bravia TV.
     
  11. DanishDevil

    DanishDevil

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    Hell for $1200, buy the Sharp 32" 1080P LCD TV and a nice Zalman HTPC Case!
     
  12. JrRacinFan

    JrRacinFan Served 5k and counting ...

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    Yeah, I think the main question here is going to be, Are you going to game on it too EnergyFX?

    At first I was going to suggest an X38, then I thought to myself, nope , a single slot PCI-e P35 or a 680i. So your first instinct is good.
     
  13. ShadowFold

    ShadowFold New Member

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    HD 3850 for HTPC.. I love mine when im watching blue ray movies on my 56'' screen :)
     
  14. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

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    games = yes

    folks, the cost of the case is a non-issue. I'm not sacrificing anything to get the Origen AE case, except maybe spending a few extra weeks saving the money.
     
  15. JrRacinFan

    JrRacinFan Served 5k and counting ...

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    Gaming eh?

    Then it would probably have to be anything 750i and above.
     
  16. GameSinewPCs

    GameSinewPCs New Member

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    If this was going to be just an HTPC, then I'd say go with the AMD 780G Chipset and a low end Athlon X2.

    Example system:
    Case: Zalman HD 160XT (if you insisted on an expensive case)
    Motherboard: Asus 780G
    PSU:Enermax 400Watt modular
    CPU: AMD Athlon X2 3800+
    Price < $770 before Hard-drives and optical drives and it should play any HD format without any problems. You could drop that price a lot with a cheaper case (probably by about $400 for a total of around $370 before Drives).

    However, if you intend to play games on it...the system configuration becomes dependant on what games you intend to play and at what settings.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2008
  17. ktr

    ktr

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    If you want gaming, then build a gaming machine, there is no mobo recommendation. Just use ideal gaming parts.

    As I said earlier, the to main things for an htpc is silence, and the ability to display HD content to a TV (HDMI is common in todays gcards).
     
  18. JrRacinFan

    JrRacinFan Served 5k and counting ...

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    I almost forgot to ask, Strictly Intel?
     
  19. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

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    Absolutely!

    It's looking like this is going to be based on a nForce 700 series board. I just wasn't sure if maybe there was some critical bit of technology out there (like perhaps some sort of DRM or HDCP processing chipset) that needed to be considered for a true HTPC system.

    If that is not the case then approaching this build much in the same manner as a gaming system sounds like the most useful advice.

    And Thraxed... I fail to see how my case choice will be out of date in 6 months. I don't think touchscreen technology and ATX formats are going to be out of date any time soon. Sure a new MB format will most likely come out in the near future, but that isn't going to instantly make the ATX format obsolete. We have years of ATX usability ahead of us and touchscreens are here to stay.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2008
  20. Deusxmachina

    Deusxmachina New Member

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    For the record in case anyone missed it, HDCP chipset no, HDCP video card yes.

    I'm not much worried about when that stuff is supposed to go into full effect (2010?) anyway. Every time a new form of copy protection comes out, it tends to be so intrusive and annoying even when the person has fully paid for it and jumped through all the hoops, that often the copy protection makers merely create more people who use methods to bypass protection because otherwise they can't get the stuff to work anyway. That's the only reason Blu-Ray and HD-DVD protection got bypassed so quickly. The guy jumped through all the hoops and laid out all the cash and then got pissed when it still didn't work.

    And, yeah, since formats and standards are pretty much set in the U.S. for years to come now, whatever you put together now and works well now will work well until it breaks or until/if your wants change.

    Anyway, enjoy. After putting an HTPC together, I can't believe I ever watched TV any other way.
     
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  21. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

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    Thanks Deus, this is the info I was looking for. I guess I was just being too vague in my initial post.
     
  22. Guytz72 New Member

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    I am just putting together a HTPC based on the S21T and an Asus Maximus Extreme. I have just found out that the M/B is 20mm too long and about 3mm too wide to fit the case (the iEEE connector hits the rail)

    Will be getting the grinder out to shave a few mm off the M/B tray rails and moving the HDD fans to get it to fit. Had a similar problem (with the length anyway) with a Silverstone case so it is more of a M/B issue than the case.

    BTW the case looks wicked, will look good int eh living room so can't wait to get it together!
     
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  23. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

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    Very good info since I was considering going with that MB. I still have an extra first gen Striker Extreme that I may go with. I'll have to cross check the dimensions.

    Edit: Correction, I am considering the Striker II, not the Maximus. Still good info to know.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2008
  24. Guytz72 New Member

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    Got it together (finally) although it is not a good fit at all. After shaving 3mm of the rail, removing one of the HDD fans and shaving a bit off the corner of the other fan the board is still 7mm too big.

    I have had to put M/B risers in the back of the case and screw the M/B tray into those....not quite what I wanted but as it is at the back I can live with a small gap so I am not too worried.

    Kinda wished I had started from scratch when I got the case now! :banghead:

    BTW, I had a 1st gen Striker Extreme, it should fit the case as I had no problems with it in the Silverstone case, just too many CPU INIT problems....

    Good luck with your build
     
  25. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

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    Sorry to hear you had so many problems with the Maximus. One thing about the Origen cases is that they are a couple of inches shorter on the 'depth' measurement than other HTPC cases. Not usually a major factor, but on some entertainment systems, 2 inches is a lot of extra room to work with on the back of your equipment and helps keep stuff from hanging off the front. The down side is you run into issues like what you are experiencing with internal clearance since the case is built to very tight measurement specs.

    EDIT: The Maximus measures 12x10.6 inches while the Striker series measure 12x9.6 inches.

    Were your problems strictly in the front to back measurements? How did the long side of the board fit?
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2008

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