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 Post subject: Low noise low heat all in one htpc (with emulators)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:29 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:56 pm
Posts: 15
What it will be used for:
1080p movies and TV shows (on a 55" HD TV)
Streaming from NAS and online (Netflix, maybe iPlayer and 4od)
Watching and recording live HD TV using a DVBS2 USB box, xbmc and tvheadend (already own)
Playing emulators (old playstation, game boy, SNES and megadrive games)

Build:
AMD athlon 5350 AM1 APU
ASUS AM1M-A motherboard
8GB DDR3 ram single channel
lg internal bluray drive
Kingston v300 120GB SSD
PicoPSU 160W (PSU calculator minimum = 97W
2 x Nexus 80mm case fans (17dBA max) (already own these)
Stock CPU cooler (will replace if too noisy, should be OK with a little help from ASUS fan expert.)
Boring old mATX case (no thrills but I already own it and not bothered about the looks because it'll be hidden away)
Flirc dongle for TV remote
Wired xbox 360 pads (already own)
Windows 8.1 pro + media center pack

I've decided to go windows 8.1 and not linux since I've seen some good guides on how to boot straight to a cool interface where I'll have XBMC for general media and TV, Netflix and my emulators all lined up for easy access.

I'm looking for advice on all the parts above but I'm mainly concerned with building a performance machine that won't be slow on the menus and will play old emulators without much fuss (I use xpadder with my 360 pads). Ive never used a low power apu before so not sure if it will easily do what i want without any slow menus or HD playback issues. My budget is flexible but I want to avoid heat (and so noise too) since the PC will be on 24/7[img][list=][*][/list][/img]


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 Post subject: Re: Low noise low heat all in one htpc (with emulators)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:37 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:21 am
Posts: 15
That APU might struggle in HTPC use depending on what you watch. I'd go with a AMD 7400K or 7600.


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 Post subject: Re: Low noise low heat all in one htpc (with emulators)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:16 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:29 am
Posts: 590
Location: de_DE
Streaming in HD and playback of full HD content (with 3D) should work, 4K is out. More demanding emulators like Dolphin won't run either.
The system should be ok for the workload you describe, but there is no headroom. If you want more you'll have to replace the MB and CPU.

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 Post subject: Re: Low noise low heat all in one htpc (with emulators)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:36 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:21 am
Posts: 15
boost wrote:
Streaming in HD and playback of full HD content (with 3D) should work, 4K is out. More demanding emulators like Dolphin won't run either.
The system should be ok for the workload you describe, but there is no headroom. If you want more you'll have to replace the MB and CPU.


And even steaming HD content might not work properly depending on the encoding.


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 Post subject: Re: Low noise low heat all in one htpc (with emulators)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 6:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:56 pm
Posts: 15
Cheers for responding fast. I would like a bit of headroom so I'll check out the 7400K, thanks for the tip.

If I go down this route my minimum psu size according to the calculator is 130w, recommended is 180w. I should still get away with a 160W picoPSU but could you suggest a quiet 200Wish PSU just in case?

[quote="boost"]Streaming in HD and playback of full HD content (with 3D) should work, 4K is out. More demanding emulators like Dolphin won't run either.
The system should be ok for the workload you describe, but there is no headroom. If you want more you'll have to replace the MB and CPU.[/quote]

What do I need to be able to do 4K? I was gona wait a while before I looked at 4K but its worth considering...


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 Post subject: Re: Low noise low heat all in one htpc (with emulators)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 6:31 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:20 am
Posts: 514
Location: Ottawa
For a similar price a 18XX Celeron and a H81 MB will give you a lot more CPU power for your emulators and media that cannot be hardware decoded. Switch the RAM to 2 X 4GB if you do this.

You don't need a 160W PSU, even if you switch to the Celeron. A PicoPSU 90 with appropriate brick should be fine, or get the 120 if you are really paranoid. Or just get a decent ATX PSU like the Seasonic G360 since you are using a normal case. Its probably cheaper than a Pico + brick.

Spend a few bucks more and get a decent SSD, that Kingston one is crap. A Crucial MX100 or Samsung 840 EVO are not much more.


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 Post subject: Re: Low noise low heat all in one htpc (with emulators)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:04 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:21 am
Posts: 15
Foxdie?! wrote:
Cheers for responding fast. I would like a bit of headroom so I'll check out the 7400K, thanks for the tip.

If I go down this route my minimum psu size according to the calculator is 130w, recommended is 180w. I should still get away with a 160W picoPSU but could you suggest a quiet 200Wish PSU just in case?

boost wrote:
Streaming in HD and playback of full HD content (with 3D) should work, 4K is out. More demanding emulators like Dolphin won't run either.
The system should be ok for the workload you describe, but there is no headroom. If you want more you'll have to replace the MB and CPU.


What do I need to be able to do 4K? I was gona wait a while before I looked at 4K but its worth considering...


I don't know what calculator you're using, but the 7400K is a 45/65w TDP processor, so I can't imagine that your build would use anywhere near 130w.

EDIT: The A8-7600 should be able to handle 4K content.


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 Post subject: Re: Low noise low heat all in one htpc (with emulators)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 8:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:56 pm
Posts: 15
I've decided to go for 4k so I'll need something a bit more powerful after all. The 7600 looks fine from what I've read so far but people tend to be using more powerful processors for their 4k htpcs so I'll keep reading and make sure its the best purchase before buying, and I'll post again when I've got a new build plan.

Thanks for the warning about the kingston, ill buy a samsung 840 evo instead.

I used the popular extreme power supply calculator, using only the following:
A8-7600
Desktop motherboard
1 x DDR3 SDRAM
1 x Flash SSD
2 x 120mm Fans
Minimum 130W, Recommended 180W :P (7400K is the same)


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 Post subject: Re: Low noise low heat all in one htpc (with emulators)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:42 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:29 am
Posts: 590
Location: de_DE
Interesting to see how fast you changed your mind about 4K.
I bought a 4K TV for Christmas. Once you have one you'll never look back!

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 Post subject: Re: Low noise low heat all in one htpc (with emulators)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 2:37 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:56 pm
Posts: 15
I saw one in the shops right next to a 1080p TV for easy comparison, very impressive :wink: and they've come down quite a lot in price

New build plan:
AMD A8-7600 (plenty of people agree this can handle 4k)
Asus A88XM-E
Samsung 840 Evo
Seasonic G series 360W 80+ gold (too much power but it does work out cheaper than a pico + brick)
all other parts remain the same as before

This shouldn't cause too much heat, and so it should be quiet enough

I've seen a lot of discussion about 30hz/60hz 4k and displayport 2.1 and hdmi 2.0 but I think i'll stick with boring old 4k 30hz :lol: for now... I am tempted but displayport TVs are quite expensive and we're still waiting for hdmi 2.0 to be rolled out on motherboards. I can always upgrade if necessary but I think I'll be happy with this setup for a long time.


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 Post subject: Re: Low noise low heat all in one htpc (with emulators)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:38 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:20 am
Posts: 514
Location: Ottawa
Looks good, but you really should change your RAM from 1 X 8GB to 2 X 4GB. While the 5350 can't use dual channel, the 7600 and 7400 can. You will want all the memory bandwidth you can get, especially at 4K.


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 Post subject: Re: Low noise low heat all in one htpc (with emulators)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:33 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:56 pm
Posts: 15
I forgot about the RAM, I will be getting 2 x 4gb like you suggest


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