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 Post subject: Help Building a Quiet, Green, HTPC, for games and movies.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:53 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:37 pm
Posts: 65
Hello,
I need your help for my htpc build. I had a lot of thinking to get to this configuration to have low noise and be sufficient for most games and 1080p movies. Nom I need the next step, to make it even more energy efficient. I need your help doing that.

I will use the HTPC, for video edition, 3d games but mostly for games like diablo3, world of warcraft, RPG´s in general. I will use it to backup and see all my music and 3d/blu-ray movies.

I´m thinking on these components:

Case: Silverstone Grandia GD07

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-V PRO/THUNDERBOLT or MSI Z77A-GD80 ( I want the thunderbolt, ASUS is better in fan control... but i read that the MSI is more efficient... MSI It has better audio and is more energy-efficient. However, the ASUS Pro/Thunderbolt has a WiFi/Bluetooth adapter...)

CPU: INTEL CORE™ I7-3770T (45W TDP)

CPU Cooler: NOCTUA NH-L12 LOW PROFILE or NH-L9i ( I know that with turbo boost 2.0 the CPU TDP may be higher, and I don't know if the passive part of the NH-L12 is more efficient and maintain the fan with lower speed than the NH-L9i)

GPU: ASUS GEFORCE GTX660 DIRECT CU II 2GB GDDR5 PCI-E 3.0 (has 140 TDP, but the GTX 650 is too slow for me)

Power Supply: Seasonic SS-660XP (do you know a more efficient CPU than this?)

SSD: SAMSUNG SERIES 830 128GB 2.5" SATA III or Samsung Series 840 (do you know a more efficient SSD?)

HDD: 2X WESTERN DIGITAL CAVIAR GREEN 1TB 7200RPM 64MB SATA III 3.5 (do you know a more efficient and low noise than this? I will use this too HDD to backup all movies and music in a way that I only have 1 TB available and everything is duplicated in both HDD to be safer)

Memory: Corsair Vengeance® Low Profile White — 1.35V 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 Memory Kit (CML8GX3M2A1600C9W) x2 (do you know a more efficient ddr3?)

Optical drive: ASUS BC-12B1ST BLU RAY (Is this fine?)



Tell me, please, wat you think of the components, and what i can do to make it better and silent, and greener (more power efficient).

I will need a keyboard and a mouse too...

Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Building a Quiet, Green, HTPC, for games and movies
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:11 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:41 am
Posts: 708
Location: Denmark
First of all, you should check whether the GPU with the ASUS cooling system is quiet enough for you. Though the ASUS Geforce 680 DirectCU OC received the Editor's Choice Award. The ASUS Radeon 7870 DirectCU II, however didn't even get the recommended award. Here's a quote from the conclusion:

"In 2D operation, it's very quiet and should be completely inaudible in most systems, but with a GPU load it gets quite loud. The fan control behavior is set to prevent the GPU temperature from exceeding about 90°C so it's not overly aggressive either. The heatsink is designed for high airflow but the fans are a little undersized and probably don't do it justice as a result. We would classify its cooling performance as adequate but nothing more."

Another thing: Do you really need an ATX motherboard? Especially since you want an HTPC which is usually quite small in size. By going with an ATX motherboard you're limiting yourself to HTPC-oriented cases that supports the ATX format. Choose an m-ATX, or even mITX motherboard and you'll have many more cases to choose from. m-ATX cases are also cheaper in general.

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 Post subject: Re: Help Building a Quiet, Green, HTPC, for games and movies
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:07 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 4682
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
i7's hyperthreading will only benefit video editing/encoding speed...but you are nerfing it by using the T grade 2.5GHz base speed part. Probably better off with the i5-3570 or 3570K (if you think you might OC) for $100 less and 3.4GHz base speed. Also, Blizzard's games benefit from a fast CPU and will only load 2 cores. All the Intel processors will use about the same idle power. Just no benefit to be gained from the T part.

GTX 660 reviews.

motherboard efficiency: the more crap they put on the board the more power it'll use. The more tuned the board is for overclocking (additional VRM phases, etc) the less efficient it seems to be for normal operation.

PSU: how much do you want to spend on the PSU? Your gaming load power will be in the ~220W range. Under 200W if you stick with the 45W CPU. So, the 660W is overkill. The Kingwin LZP-550 is the most efficient.

HDD: Take a look at the WD Red.

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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: Help Building a Quiet, Green, HTPC, for games and movies
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 pm
Posts: 1227
Location: UK
Avirhel wrote:
Case: Silverstone Grandia GD07

This is big because of the full ATX requirement. I would also recommend MicroATX as it gives you a wider choice of media cases.

Avirhel wrote:
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-V PRO/THUNDERBOLT or MSI Z77A-GD80

Is an H77 chipset worth considering? The Z77 is superflouous for most needs. Asus have also announced a Thunderbolt add-in card which may widen your options. MicroATX should be your form factor of choice as there is a tiny power efficiency benefit to be had.

Avirhel wrote:
CPU: INTEL CORE™ I7-3770T (45W TDP)

The T chips can be matched in power terms by a slight underclock and deep undervolt on a normal CPU. This is cheaper and can be done with whichever CPU you want so long as the motherboard supports the speeds/volts that you need.

Avirhel wrote:
GPU: ASUS GEFORCE GTX660 DIRECT CU II 2GB GDDR5 PCI-E 3.0 (has 140 TDP, but the GTX 650 is too slow for me)

Definitely undervolt this. Can be done with some utilities in real time but better if implemented in the BIOS with NiBiTor.

Avirhel wrote:
Power Supply: Seasonic SS-660XP (do you know a more efficient CPU than this?)

This is over the top and hence efficiency is lost. Buying in terms of highest efficiency isn't the most economic thing here. To recoup the cost would take decades, hence just getting the best PSU for the budget would be more sensible. I really can recommend the X-400.

Avirhel wrote:

HDD: 2X WESTERN DIGITAL CAVIAR GREEN 1TB 7200RPM 64MB SATA III 3.5 (do you know a more efficient and low noise than this? I will use this too HDD to backup all movies and music in a way that I only have 1 TB available and everything is duplicated in both HDD to be safer)

Avoid 7200rpm. A 5400rpm or 5900rpm drive will be more efficient, quieter but also noticeably softer and less intrusive.

You should be able to get a <200W total power consumption with a little configuration work.

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Silverstone SG03B: E8200, Asus P5E-VM HDMI, 2Gb RAM, Leadtek 9600GT+S1 rev. 2, Samsung 500Gb, Seasonic X-400, 2x Akasa 120mm, Scythe Zipang 2 fanless


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 Post subject: Re: Help Building a Quiet, Green, HTPC, for games and movies
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:37 pm
Posts: 65
WOW... thank you for the great reply. I wasn't expecting it.
You make me thinking allot... I will think about everything again.

First the Motherboard:
I want this case and a ATX motherboard. This is a game configuration, and if I choose a M ATX I probably in the future will be limited in terms of AGP compatibility. And I probably will need more HDD's in the future.
I don't want to overclock, but I probably have to undervolt so I don't know if the the H77 is the better choice.
I don´t know about the future, but perhaps there will be a time that the CPU will be slow, and at that time with a H77 and the i3770T I can't overclock to avoid buy a new CPU or Motherboard. I just want to have a system that can adapt to my needs for a long time. If I can Urdervolt a i3770k in a way that uses a near 45w TDP like the i3770T, I have a system that can adapt better in the future. I don't know if a undervolt i3770K is so stable like the i3770T... I never overcloked or undervolted nothing, I don't know nothing about it...

So basically I don't know what to do...

The wifi is useful on a mobo, so I don't have to buy a card for that, a good sound is good too so I don't have to buy a card as well. I have to control all the fans for having low noise. I have to have lo noise because the HTPC will be placed in my bedroom under HDTV. I'm confused, don't know what to do...

If I go for the H77, I need help choosing, I don't find many reviews:

Like I said, I have to control all the fans the most efficient way for low noise, I heard that the Asus is better at this than anyone, but the MSI is known for the best energy efficient... witch should I choose?
Asus P8H77-V or MSI ZH77A-G43??? And If I need thunderbolt I should choose the Asus, right? I don't want to regret later...

i'm going for the Z77, because with H77 I have less ATX options...

Now witch I choose... Asus, MSI, Gigabyte

MSI (very energy-efficient): Z77A-GD80 or Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt? Either have wifi :(
Asus (low eergy-efficient, but with wifi and better fan control) : P8Z77-V PRO/THUNDERBOLT
Gigabyte: GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WIFI (dont have thunderbolt....

I give up... don't know what to do...
I like the MSI... but is stupid a high end Z77A-GD80 mobo don't having wifi... i'm undecided between Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt and P8Z77-V PRO/THUNDERBOLT...
Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Building a Quiet, Green, HTPC, for games and movies
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:03 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:05 am
Posts: 47
Location: Canada
CA_Steve wrote:
motherboard efficiency: the more crap they put on the board the more power it'll use. The more tuned the board is for overclocking (additional VRM phases, etc) the less efficient it seems to be for normal operation.

Coincidentally, I was reading the same site yesterday on H77 and found from this chart that just because it's an H77 mATX board doesn't necessarily mean it uses less energy compared to the bigger boards.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Building a Quiet, Green, HTPC, for games and movies
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:37 pm
Posts: 65
Yes. I wil not buy the HTPC right now, I will wait until March next year. The prices are actually higher now that were last week! I have to wait. Perhaps then a MSI thundervolt with Wi-fi is out...

Now the CPU... other problem... I want a i7 3770 I don't know if I choose the normal, the K, the S or the T.

Differences:

Clock Speed: (Just like a stopwatch, clock speed measures how fast a processor performs an activity. Clock speed rates are shown in gigahertz (GHz), which means a billion cycles per second.)
i7-3770 - 3.4 GHz
i7-3770K - 3.5 GHz
i7-3770S - 3.1 GHz
i7-3770T - 2.5 GHz

Max TDP:
7-3770 - 77 W
i7-3770K - 77 W
i7-3770S - 65 W
i7-3770T - 45 W :)

Max Turbo Frequency: (Max turbo frequency is the Maximum Clock Speed the processor is capable of operating at using Intel® Turbo Boost Technology.)
i7-3770 - 3.9 GHz
i7-3770K - 3.9 GHz
i7-3770S - 3.9 GHz
i7-3770T - 3.7 GHz

TCASE: (What is this?)
i7-3770 - 67.4°C
i7-3770K - 67.4°C
i7-3770S - 69.1°C
i7-3770T - 69.8°C

Embedded Options Available:
i7-3770 - Yes (What is this...)
i7-3770K - No
i7-3770S - No
i7-3770T - No

Intel® vPro Technology: (More security)
Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d): (Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) continues from the existing support for IA-32 (VT-x) and Itanium® processor (VT-i) virtualization adding new support for I/O-device virtualization. Intel VT-d can help end users improve security and reliability of the systems and also improve performance of I/O devices in virtualized environments.) (I don't understand...)
Intel® Trusted Execution Technology: (Intel® Trusted Execution Technology for safer computing is a versatile set of hardware extensions to Intel® processors and chipsets that enhance the digital office platform with security capabilities such as measured launch and protected execution. It enables an environment where applications can run within their own space, protected from all other software on the system.) (I don't understand...)
i7-3770 - Yes
i7-3770K - No
i7-3770S - Yes
i7-3770T - Yes

Price:
i7-3770 - 274,85€
i7-3770K - 299,95€
i7-3770S - 297,40€
i7-3770T - 282,06€

Now I have to choose one of these :?:

Well, I think I'm going to lease the K behind because its the most expensive ad don't have all the technology that the others have.
i7-3770, i7-3770S or i7-3770T ????

TDP vs Clock Speed:

i7-3770 - 3.4 GHz - 77 W
i7-3770S - 3.1 GHz - 65 W
i7-3770T - 2.5 GHz - 45 W

The question is: Can I customize any of this to achieve my needs? Or only the K version allow it? Do I really need to change anything?

The T has a very low Clock Speed so, for games and video editing, the i7-3770T probably will be too slow performing that activities. I don't know if the Intel® Turbo Boost Technology (increasing the processor's frequency as needed by taking advantage of thermal and power headroom to giving a burst of speed when needed, and increasing energy efficiency when you don’t.) is capable of managing it effectively. Intel® Turbo Boost Technology is like a built-in overclock feature which increases the maximum clock speed to 3.70 GHz when needed. The TDP may very with this feature. So I think that probably the i7-3770T will do fine, and I don't need to overclock. Am I right?

If this is this way... why the normal and the S version exists in the first place?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Intel® tell us how the Turbo Boost Technology works:

Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 is activated when the Operating System (OS) requests the highest processor performance state (P0).

The maximum frequency of Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 is dependent on the number of active cores. The amount of time the processor spends in the Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 state depends on the workload and operating environment.

Any of the following can set the upper limit of Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 on a given workload:

- Number of active cores;
- Estimated current consumption; ( I don´t understand what this means)
- Estimated power consumption;
- Processor temperature.

When the processor is operating below these limits and the user's workload demands additional performance, the processor frequency will dynamically increase until the upper limit of frequency is reached. Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 has multiple algorithms operating in parallel to manage current, power, and temperature to maximize performance and energy efficiency. Note: Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 allows the processor to operate at a power level that is higher than its rated upper power limit (TDP) for short durations to maximize performance.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I will use the HTPC mostly for playing games (in the future in 3D) and watching blu-ray movies (in the future in 3D). These are demanding tasks that probably will be activating the Boost Technology most of the time. I don't know if this is good for power saving or for the duration of the CPU. The increasing of the clock speed depends on the factors mentioned above (number of active cores, estimated current consumption; estimated power consumption and processor temperature.) and the duration depends on the workload, operating environment and TDP (this value can be increased but the Turbo Boost Technology only allows it for short durations of time). So there are many variables is stake here, what I expect is that probably this i7-3770T is taking too long for doing the most things I will do with the HTPC, and probably this CPU is for someone who doesn't play games in 3D or watch movies blu-ray 3D frequently.

I need to find some numbers about this CPU performance...


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 Post subject: Re: Help Building a Quiet, Green, HTPC, for games and movies
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:04 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 11:23 am
Posts: 677
Location: Germany
You probably never will use the full power of i7 doing regular chores. And if you plan on buying in March 2013, everything we write of things existing today is old and history by then.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Building a Quiet, Green, HTPC, for games and movies
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:00 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:37 pm
Posts: 65
Pappnaas wrote:
You probably never will use the full power of i7 doing regular chores. And if you plan on buying in March 2013, everything we write of things existing today is old and history by then.


By regular chores you mean 3d gaming and movies? So in your opinion the i7-3770T is sufficient to accomplish effectively this tasks?

Yes I will buy it between February and March, because here in Portugal we are going through a serious economic crisis and so I have to save some more money first, before thinking of buying the HTPC :|

I think I'm going to wait for the Haswell CPU's... http://www.pcworld.com/article/262241/i ... ttery.html

Thank you.


Last edited by Avirhel on Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Help Building a Quiet, Green, HTPC, for games and movies
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:13 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 11:23 am
Posts: 677
Location: Germany
In my opinion any i5-3xxx is enough, especially since i assume you'd be gaming at 1080p. If i'd be afraid the system hasn't enough oomph, i'd max out my GPU-budget because normally framerates are GPU-limited way before the CPU sets a limit.

And in reality you wont notice the difference between having 120 fps with i7 and 95 fps with i5. But the price gap between i5 and i7 is pretty real.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Building a Quiet, Green, HTPC, for games and movies
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:45 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:37 pm
Posts: 65
I have a full hd tv, but in the future I will buy a 4k... in 2 years or so.
Well... I will wait for the new Haswell CPU's and motherboards, they are more energy-efficient.

Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Building a Quiet, Green, HTPC, for games and movies
PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:20 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:37 pm
Posts: 65
Hello everyone :-) Thank you for your excellent help last year. I waited for the haswell to go out. Now I have to view everything again to be sure that still the right configuration.
I was thinking, and now the 4th gen CPU have better graphics, so I wont be using for now a GPU, but in the future probably I will need to use it.

This is my config at the moment:

Case: LIAN LI PC-C60 BLACK…………………………………..............………………..………….....…….… 205,70€
Motherboard: ASUS Z87-EXPERT SKT 1150……………………………………….….........…...………..212,05€
CPU: INTEL I7 4770T 2.5GHZ 6M SKT 1150 TRAY……………….……………............……..……..….297,50€
CPU Cooler:NOCTUA NH-L12 LOW PROFILE....................................................................53,95€
Power Supply: SEASONIC P760W SEMIFANLESS MODULAR 80PLUS PLATINUM..........179,70€
SSD: SAMSUNG SERIES 840 ULTRASLIM 250GB 2.5" SATA III.......................................149,95€
Memory: I don't know...

Optical drive, GPU and HDD: None for now. I will buy them later when necessary.

What do you think? I'm still looking for silent and low power consumption HTPC.

Thank you :-)


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