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 Post subject: Sub $300 M-ATX MB/CPU/MEM/Video Recommendation
PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:09 pm 
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For the last two years I've been pretty happy with my PS3 feeding my projector setup until these last few months. I've grown tired of firing up the system only to find I have to do yet another update before we can begin watching a bluray, netflix, or streaming video from my Linux bittorrent server.

I would repurpose my Linux server but its an aging socket 939 ATX tower and I'd much prefer to use a spare NSK2400 case.

I was looking at the system guide at arstechnica and see I could put the following together:
    AMD Athlon II X3 450 retail = $79.99
    ASUS M4A88TD-M/USB3 motherboard = $97.99
    G.Skill 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3-1333 1.5v = $39.99
    Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB = $54.99

I already have a bluray optical drive and TV tuner to install. Would likely use Windows 7 but may first see how far I can get with Xbmc.

Would this meet my needs or is it overkill? Alternatives? Will the onboard video have any issues driving a 1080p projector? I have no current frame of reference given my youngest system is an E6600.

Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Sub $300 M-ATX MB/CPU/MEM/Video Recommendation
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:50 pm 
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Take a ride the Microcenter in Northern California and you can get:
1. Phenomâ„¢ II X4 840 (or Phenomâ„¢ II X2 560 Black Edition) plus
2. M4N68T-M V2 Socket AM3 630a mATX
Together as a bundle for $99.99
http://www.microcenter.com/specials/pro ... PROMO.html

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 Post subject: Re: Sub $300 M-ATX MB/CPU/MEM/Video Recommendation
PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 2:22 am 
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Well, if you really want to save some money then an Athlon II x2 will probably suffice, but the Athlon X3 really is the performance-to-price leader. Wise choice.

However, you could probably save some money on the mo-bo.

I'll be waiting for a report about how quiet the Samsung F3 is :P

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 Post subject: Re: Sub $300 M-ATX MB/CPU/MEM/Video Recommendation
PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 6:47 am 
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Bit-tech on the 880G.

If media playback is the primary purpose/heaviest lifting app, take a look at the Fusion platform. Newer graphics engine, less $, less watts.

Bit-Tech and Anandtech on the E-350. Downside is the Gigabyte mobo fan. Zotac just released a couple of passive mobo's.

I can't speak to XMBC support.

Also, here's a similar thread on this topic.

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 Post subject: Re: Sub $300 M-ATX MB/CPU/MEM/Video Recommendation
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 9:16 am 
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Thanks for links. I'll need some time to digest them.

ITX is too small as I need room for a TV tuner card that I already have and would like the option of adding a dedicated video card if the need arises.

I'd like to keep the cost as low as possible while keeping flexibility high. I tend to repurpose my machines somewhat frequently. I don't really have any use for a high-efficiency, low processing power machine.

Seems like my options are:
-low power "netbook" class (ITX form-factor, limited usage scenarios)
-ultra efficient PC class (relatively pricey)
-mainstream PC class (cheap CPUs but lower efficiency)

Or... buy a cheap 775 board and move my E6400 and 8800GT to it and then replace my main machine.


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 Post subject: Re: Sub $300 M-ATX MB/CPU/MEM/Video Recommendation
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 1:47 pm 
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ultrachrome wrote:
Thanks for links. I'll need some time to digest them.

ITX is too small as I need room for a TV tuner card that I already have and would like the option of adding a dedicated video card if the need arises.

I'd like to keep the cost as low as possible while keeping flexibility high. I tend to repurpose my machines somewhat frequently. I don't really have any use for a high-efficiency, low processing power machine.

Seems like my options are:
-low power "netbook" class (ITX form-factor, limited usage scenarios)
-ultra efficient PC class (relatively pricey)
-mainstream PC class (cheap CPUs but lower efficiency)

Or... buy a cheap 775 board and move my E6400 and 8800GT to it and then replace my main machine.


That is a great board. I have several of them in service (one at the church and two in local businesses) and they are great. That would be the direction I would go. Definitely cost-effective and would do all that you need. Do some undervolting and you are in buisness.

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 Post subject: Re: Sub $300 M-ATX MB/CPU/MEM/Video Recommendation
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 2:12 pm 
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ultrachrome wrote:
Or... buy a cheap 775 board and move my E6400 and 8800GT to it and then replace my main machine.


Well, heck. I've got a new/never opened ECS G31T-M that I bought at Fry's as part of a cpu combo deal (I opted to use a P45 mobo instead). It's collecting dust. If you really want to go cheap, I'll sell that to you for $20 + shipping. It might have a pretty limited bios menu - don't know if you can mod voltages, etc.

I don't recommend reusing the 8800GT though. While it's was a geat card, it consumes 40W when idling.

Get an ATI HD6450 or 6570. ~10W idle power, low load power, high ratings for video decode/playback tests.

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 Post subject: Re: Sub $300 M-ATX MB/CPU/MEM/Video Recommendation
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 2:33 pm 
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CA_Steve, thanks for the offer on the MB but my TV tuner is PCI-1x and it will be too close to the video card to allow installation of a larger heatsink.

And thanks for the video card recommendation. I might just do that.


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