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Low Power Gaming HTPC

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#1
Hi guys,

Well I want to build a gaming HTPC, but I want it to be low power and kind of small.

At this moment I'm trying to decide on a Power Supply.

HTPC Configuration.

- GA-G31M-S2L (owned)
- E5300 - I plan to overclock it to 3.5ghz-4.0ghz (better option ?)
- HD4350 / 4550 / 4670 (trying to decide)
- 2x2 GB DDR2-800 RAM (owned)
- 1.5 TB Sata hard drive 3.5"
- DVD-RW (maybe present / maybe not)
- TV Tuner / ESI Julia sound card (maybe present also)

Well, I'm trying to figure what kind of power needs it will have.

I already looked for reviews, but review sites are just crazy:
- They put: Ok, let's test 4350 for a HTPC, but with this kind of test system: QX9770 or I7 920 overclock, 780i mobo, x58 mobo tons of ram Raptor HD...... power consumption result just doesn't makes any sense.....
- Also: Ok!! Let's test E5300 for HTPC: 8800GTX or GTX280.... and so on.... you got it by now.

Which kind of real load I may expect from the system above ?

This: http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp I don't trust as it won't give real life results.

The reason I'm asking is because I'm planning to get one of this: - http://cgi.ebay.com/12V-150W-24-Pin..._UPS?hash=item3a528670aa&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14
But having a 12V 12A power out is just too difficult or big....

Any chance that this system will do less than 120W on vga/cpu full load ?

PS: I may forget about overclocking if it's a issue.
 
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#2
What games will you be playing?
 
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#3
What games will you be playing?
Everything, including crysis.... :laugh: :roll: :laugh:

Oh, I mean... also 1280x1024 resolution, but sometimes on 1920x1080.... :laugh:

Don't ge me wrong, I know there will be limitations, but I already played Crysis on a 7600GT with great frame rate (1280x1024), with almost everything on low........ that I think at least a hd4670 can handle 1920x1080 on low settings with tolerable frame rate...
 
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#4
IF you want to play crysis at 1920 I would suggest a HD4770 as the absolute bare min:

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/HD_4770/9.html

If your budget can stretch then go for a HD5850, they are extremely good on power especially when idle and are now one of the best cards available.

Basically you cannot play any games @ 1920 with any of the cards you have listed above :(
 
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#5
Not with the CPU OC'ed. The most power hungry items in a computer are usually the GPU, CPU, and the DVD burner (when burning). The E5300 and the lower end 4000 cards are very efficient in power usage and could possibly get under 150W under full load (guessing, no way to really confirm that from personal testing).

If you want a little more gaming power, for a little more you can get one of the new low power 9800GT's (No 6 pin connected needed). They have 1 or 2 that also come in a low-profile version, but the cooler on those are a slot thick. You could also look into a ATI HD 4770 at that price range.
 
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#6
IF you want to play crysis at 1920 I would suggest a HD4770 as the absolute bare min:

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/HD_4770/9.html

If your budget can stretch then go for a HD5850, they are extremely good on power especially when idle and are now one of the best cards available.

Basically you cannot play any games @ 1920 with any of the cards you have listed above :(
The idea is not max everything. Wizz tests this cards on Max settings. Of course, none of the above will do the task. But when you take a lot of texture, special effetcs and AA out, the story with crysis is completely different.

Not with the CPU OC'ed. The most power hungry items in a computer are usually the GPU, CPU, and the DVD burner (when burning). The E5300 and the lower end 4000 cards are very efficient in power usage and could possibly get under 150W under full load (guessing, no way to really confirm that from personal testing).

If you want a little more gaming power, for a little more you can get one of the new low power 9800GT's (No 6 pin connected needed). They have 1 or 2 that also come in a low-profile version, but the cooler on those are a slot thick. You could also look into a ATI HD 4770 at that price range.

Would a E8400 / E8500 be less power hungry than a E5300 overclocked ?

No extra PCI-Ex power adpter, single slot (doesn't need to be low profile), and not much longer than pci-ex slot are requisites on the VGA I look for....
I think a Low power 9800GT is difficult to find around, but that's a very good idea that I can search. Thanks!!

Well, I do agree with you... from what I've read this system can come to 150W....

Maybe I'll just forget ITX DC-DC power supply and just look for a small regular power supply that I can open and modify to fit the case..... any idea of a small one 150w-200w ?
 
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#7
There are different Micro ATX cases where you can fit standard PSU's. And if you're planning to play Crysis on it, thats clearly not a standard low power HTPC. Those are Atom based systems in ITX cases. But none of it will be able to run Crysis. Plus, even if you use Core i5/i7, power usage is not that high really. Any 550W PSU should be enough for normal usage. Not so power hungry, but still ultra powerful. Though it'll not be so power efficient as some dual core system with lower end components. But those are not able to run Crysis too well. So you have to make a compromise somewhere. Depending what's the most important to you. Power efficiency or performance.
 
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#8
There are different Micro ATX cases where you can fit standard PSU's. And if you're planning to play Crysis on it, thats clearly not a standard low power HTPC. Those are Atom based systems in ITX cases. But none of it will be able to run Crysis. Plus, even if you use Core i5/i7, power usage is not that high really. Any 550W PSU should be enough for normal usage. Not so power hungry, but still ultra powerful. Though it'll not be so power efficient as some dual core system with lower end components. But those are not able to run Crysis too well. So you have to make a compromise somewhere. Depending what's the most important to you. Power efficiency or performance.
Well... HTPC is just a nickname for this PC.
I'll build a custom case from a cheap ATX case I have here (will cut a lot of stuff of course).

You didn't understood the "feeling" of this project.... it's aimed to play Crysis on 1920x1200 Max settings with 8xAA 16xAF.

It's aimed to play almost all games (and maybe Crysis), possibly on 1920x1200 (1080), at the LOWEST settings, WITHOUT AA or AF possible to run it 30 FPS or above, and I'm quite sure this system will handle it although there isn't any review about a system specs and settings like that on the internet.

TO play at max settings I have my main rig, this "HTPC" is supposed to be my "move around" PC.

Diego
 
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#9
Considering your size limitations, I am not sure if a 9800 GT or HD 4770 will fit. They are much smaller than the original version, but it would help if we had a better idea of where it will have to fit. Can you post what case this is going in or a picture of the case if possible.

As for the power issue, still not sure what size case you are fitting this in and I know you can't shop at Newegg.com, but this PSU maybe what you are looking for if you can find it elsewhere.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817374002
 
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#10
palit 4850?
 
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#11
Considering your size limitations, I am not sure if a 9800 GT or HD 4770 will fit. They are much smaller than the original version, but it would help if we had a better idea of where it will have to fit. Can you post what case this is going in or a picture of the case if possible.

As for the power issue, still not sure what size case you are fitting this in and I know you can't shop at Newegg.com, but this PSU maybe what you are looking for if you can find it elsewhere.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817374002
Humm... nice PSU! Thank you for the tip, I'll take this on in account and look for over ebay or something similar around here.

About space.... well, You know neither do I know ? :laugh:

I'm deciding if I go to the standard 24cmx24cm mATX (that would fit 4770 or 9800GT) or If I'll make it just as small as G31-S2L mobo which is around 24x19cm... height can be 13cm or a little less.
I plan to play with the space on a 3D way.... this will not be a standard case, it won't probably fit 99,5% of the hardware else the one I'm buying.

So it'll be smaller than standard designs but with much bigger space for hardware...


When everything is done, I'll make a thread listing build and stuff....
Also a review on the hardware gaming capabilities and power consumption (I'll buy a kill-a-watt from ebay)..... but I guess it will be ready just around nov. or even jan.
 
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#12
Ok, well that opens the doors to a whole lot of options. In the end, get as much power as you can into the space you will have. If you want the card to be no longer than your Mobo, then it will fall into the mid-range area and I say go with a HD 4850 1 GB in that case. If you can fit a ATI HD 4870 sided card into the space once you have a firm idea of what it will be, get the ATI HD 5850.

Since this is going to be "portable" you may want to avoid kW PSU's as they are all pretty heavy and expensive. This setup will have 1 and only 1 graphics card in it and 600W will be more than enough for 99% of hardware out there. It will also save you some weight and possibly space.
 
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#13
Ok, well that opens the doors to a whole lot of options. In the end, get as much power as you can into the space you will have. If you want the card to be no longer than your Mobo, then it will fall into the mid-range area and I say go with a HD 4850 1 GB in that case. If you can fit a ATI HD 4870 sided card into the space once you have a firm idea of what it will be, get the ATI HD 5850.

Since this is going to be "portable" you may want to avoid kW PSU's as they are all pretty heavy and expensive. This setup will have 1 and only 1 graphics card in it and 600W will be more than enough for 99% of hardware out there. It will also save you some weight and possibly space.
LoL I forgot to mention..... cheap... :laugh:

No I'm kidding... I was wondering about size, because I may plan to get latter a HD5850 and a Rampage II GENE LGA 1366.... but that's at least by the end of next year.......
So I decided to make things as simple as possible. And this GENE/5850 case will be a new story, not for now.

A HD4850 is larger than I want, because I really don't want to go over 20cm depth, and I would need 25cm depth for it. Also it needs a bigger power supply.
I guess a HD4670 will be the top card I'll go for this project.

About PSU, I had an ideia that will save tons of space (inside the case) with a big added cost:
http://cgi.ebay.com/12V-150W-DC-DC-..._UPS?hash=item3a53059961&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

and

http://cgi.ebay.com/12V-15A-DC-Univ...in_0?hash=item5ad048ec91&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

Some DC 12V I would get directly from the 120AC-12V power supply, so PICO-ITX psu won't be overloaded.......
The problem is... it's quite big...

Oh boy... decisions, decisions... I think it would be better if I just get a regular 350W power supply, strip and modify it so it fits inside the case.... the downside of this it that I'll lose my 2 PCI slots.... but cost will be far far smaller, it will be a simpler device also by not requiring a external psu and won't be power starved..... :ohwell:
 
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#14
Ok, cool. If you have some room for a little more height than a single slot and depth is the only issue, you can get a 4770 in there. If height is an issue, the Zotac 9800GT (ZOTAC ZT-98GES3G-FSL) maybe just what you are looking for. Should be more graphics power than the HD 4670.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814500113
 
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#15