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 Post subject: i3-2100T System
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:53 am
Posts: 21
Hi all,

Looking to build a basic (no gaming), low power HTPC capable of playing Blu ray/HULU. When I last researched this, the i3-2100T was the logical choice, the Atom CPU's at the time barely having enough horse power and virtually the same power.

I'll run 4 PCIe (2 cards) tuners max.

For MB, I was thinking Asus P8H61 -

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813131716

I have another system I built many years ago using a CoreDuo + GIGABYTE GA-E7AUM-DS2H LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 9400 HVR2250 + Antec Fusion (overkill on the case) that has worked flawlessly with a 1080p TV. I can't believe how much use I have gotten out of that system while only paying basic cable rates (also use OTA).

The only complaint I have is that I can hear the harddrive head fairly easily. I may try using a laptop drive with suspension system if I feel that the 1TB vs. 2 TB tradeoff is worth it.

Thanks for any advice.


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 Post subject: Re: i3-2100T System
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:26 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:06 pm
Posts: 3395
Location: US
1. All the sandy bridge CPUs draw basically the sames watts at idle (something like 4 or 5 watts). Ivy Bridge is probably about the same... being more energy efficient... but also carrying along a lot more graphics horsepower.

Interestingly, the 4 core Ivy Bridges are 77 watts TDP compared to the 95 watts TDP for the 4 core sandy bridges. I suspect that has no real world significance though.

2. Get a low cost sandy bridge or ivy bridge CPU with either the 2500, 3000 or 4000 graphics unit. Given that you will seldom be operating at much above idle, and they all idle at about the same wattage (the board is what takes most of the energy), why not get 4 core chip so you have the horsepower when you want to get in the passing lane.

It will last you a long time. When Windows 8 comes out you will even be able to cap the CPU energy usage using the operating system.

3. I have the Prolimatech Samuel 17 with a 12 volt nexus fan on it, and it has more than enough cooling capacity for any sandy bridge or ivy bridge CPU and is plenty quiet.

If you want even more coooling capacity just to make yourself feel secure, try the Noctua NH-L12 downdraft with the PWM fans. With both fans it apparently performs only 3-4C behind the mighty NH-D14.
lodestar wrote:
This review http://www.nikktech.com/main/articles/pc-hardware/132-noctua-nh-l12-low-profile-cpu-cooler?showall=&limitstart= compares the NH-L12 with Noctua's NH-D14 cooler (the LGA 2011 version which features two PWM fans). The NH-L12 stands up quite well in this comparison, running under test conditions about 3C hotter at idle and 4C hotter under load. In doing so noise levels were signifcantly less than the NH-D14 SE2011.

With just the lower 92mm pwm fan, it will be only 66mm high and will fit into any case you might choose. Oops just checked its compatibility with your motherboard:
http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=comp ... A1155_Asus
Looks like it will block one of your PCIe slots if you have putting a full height card in it.

4. If you have issues with HDD noise, look here:
viewtopic.php?p=539359#p539359

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 Post subject: Re: i3-2100T System
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:33 am 
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Posts: 4686
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Here's more than you wanted to know...

If you want to buy the components today:
- the Asus mobo is good. There's always the Intel DG61AG to consider.
- As CES mentioned, there's little difference in idle power amongst the Intel CPUs. Also, load power is dependant on the load...not the TDP. So, an i3-2100 uses the same power when you watch a movie as an i3-2100T. No reason to spend the extra $'s for the T designator.
- You don't say whether you do any ripping/encoding. If you don't, an i3-2100 is fine. If you do, then it's a matter of money vs time for quad core vs. dual core.
- HD2000 vs HD3000. Doesn't matter if it's just DVR/TV/watching BD disc functionality. Might matter if you rip/encode.
- HQV scores and the ~24Hz thing. Pretty subjective and doesn't matter much if it's just time shifting TV. If you watch BD in film mode, then lack of true ~24Hz syncing might bug you. YMMV. If you are particular about this stuff, get an ATI HD6570 card.

If you want to but the components in the next couple of months, the Ivy Bridge CPUs will mostly all be out and the early motherboard firmware revisions will have settled down.
- I really like the new ASUS boards. Great fan control, you can easily underclock the CPU, etc.
- The iGP gets a bump in processing power and does a better job with HQV. ~24Hz is better but not perfect.

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


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 Post subject: Re: i3-2100T System
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:58 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 4686
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
I don't know what your budget constraints are...but consider an SSD in your system. For the Hxx boards, you could go with an SSD for OS/apps and a slow/quiet HDD for media. For the Zx7 boards, you could even go with a cache SSD + a slow/quiet HDD.

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


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