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 Post subject: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 3:02 am 
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Hello,

I'd like to replace my aging home computer powered by an AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ (Brisbane 65nm) with TDP of 65 Watts.

I only use it to browse the web, watch a few movies, and write small .Net applications (ie. it should run the MS Express IDE fast enough), so I don't need great hardware to play games.

Which mini-ITX motherboard and CPU would you recommend that is at least as fast as that CPU?

I have no preference for mobos that have an embedded Atom CPU or those that require buying the CPU separately.

Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 8:58 am 
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Location: Suisse Romande
Any Intel processor based on Sandy or Ivy Bridge should be faster than your current Athlon X2. The same applies for AMD's Trinity, but you should get a 4 module version since people report slowness with the 2 module version. (I used the Anandtech Bench for a quick processor comparison and the 2 vs. 4 module issue is something I read in a couple of reviews.)

I own an A10-5700 (~107€) on a MSI FM2-A75IA-E53 board (~77€), but you could get an A8-5500 instead, which is about 82€ and for your use case only marginally slower. The Asrock A85 board is supposed to be good, too, but take care of compatibility with coolers which need a custom backplate.

For Intel you could get a cheap H61 board from a known vendor. They start at less than 40€ and cost only slightly more with USB3. If you need SATA-3 you might want to have a look at B75 boards which you can get at around 50€.

The cheapest Ivy Bridge based Celeron Dual Core (G1610) clocks at 2.6 GHz, costs about 36€ and should be a bit faster than your current processor. The Pentium series with a bit more L2 cache starts at around 50€. They have all a TDP of 55W and are fine for Mini-itx.

I can't give a specific recommandation, because I don't own a mini-itx Intel system. Atom or AMDs E-series processors are probably too slow and you should avoid them. If I were you, I would get an Intel system - they have more Mini-ITX boards, even in Celeron or Pentium form fast processors and for your use case you pay less.


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 Post subject: Re: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 10:55 am 
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Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am
Posts: 106
Intel integrated graphics can stutter during HD viewing due to a frame rate bug, if you are sensitive to that, go amd or else wait for Haswell to see if it gets fixed.

I think the AMD Richland APUs are starting to show up, they should give improved performance and energy usage compared to the current Trinity APUs.

Getting in to lower power stuff, AMD is rolling out some new g series APUs which sound interesting. Intel has new atoms too but I kind of doubt they will match the graphics capabilities of the AMD.

Then there is Kaveri which should be head and shoulders above Trinity but you have to wait about 6 months.

I was considering mini-ITX for a while but the price premium, lack of expansion options and limited selection made me choose mini-ATX instead. I'll deal with some bulk to get everything else I want and save money.


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 Post subject: Re: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 1:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
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Location: Switzerland
littlebigman wrote:
Which mini-ITX motherboard and CPU would you recommend that is at least as fast as that CPU?

I have no preference for mobos that have an embedded Atom CPU or those that require buying the CPU separately.

I don't recall seeing an embedded CPU that was as fast as your in all respects. At best, you can find something that faster for some things and slower for others.

The real issue for you I think is whether you want a board with DC input or not. This depends in no small measure on your choice of case. If the case you're buying isn't bundled with a decent fanless PSU you might find it advantageous to get a board with DC input. They are limited in terms of peripherals however (hard drives especially).

I like Intel's boards which have DC input. The Ivy board would be best but the Sandy is nice as well if you can get a good price on it. If you plan to use the computer a lot, these boards would save you some electricity over the long run.
Else MSI boards tend to be efficient, Asus boards tend to have good features and some other brands tend to be cheap. But used boards are even cheaper.

Forget the official TDP values.
Intels consume less power and you should get one of their CPUs unless you really want AMD's integrated GPU. But I don't see why you'd want one considering what you want to do with this PC.
AMD may release a great solution for your needs before the end of the year but that's not helping you right now.


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 Post subject: Re: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 2:47 pm 
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Out of the link of mobos you have, i would go with Intel DH77DF, intel mobos are really efficient and stable.

As johannes said, any current CPU of intel sandy/ivy will be faster than your AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+,
Intel G1610 - very cheap dual core celeron
Intel i3-3225 - In case you want a dual core with hyperthreading and HD4000

Regardless of what CPU you go with, get an SSD, you will feel the difference a lot more on all day task then a faster CPU.

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 Post subject: Re: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 3:37 pm 
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http://www.sapphiretech.com/embedded/pr ... t3gs&lid=1

I'm not sure if its available now but boards like that will be available at some point.

Quad core, Radeon 8400 graphics, 16 GB max ram.

I'm pretty sure AMD has figured out the 23.976hz issue so its a safe bet for video playback.

If the APU cooler setup is OK (25 watt tdp), that would be close to ideal for a small and silent PC.

Intel Ivy Bridge processors are undoubtably more powerful but the integrated graphics can be a weakness.

I say that because video playback was mentioned.

If video stutter is going to make you hate the computer, go AMD or wait for Haswell to see if its fixed.


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 Post subject: Re: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 5:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:54 pm
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Thanks for the feedback. Video playback is not an issue since I only watch movies once in a while and not in HD (19" monitor). I don't even have a TV anymore :-)

As for internal DC vs. external PSU, the board will only have a CPU + SSD (for OS + apps) + HD (for data) + RAM, so I guess any mobo that has an internal DC should be OK.

Which mobos for Intel CPUs would you recommend that include internal DC, either from Intel or other brands?


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 Post subject: Re: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 6:10 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 1987
Location: Guatemala
Intel has two options

Ivy Bridge: Intel Desktop Motherboard LGA1155 DDR3 1600 Thin mini-ITX - BOXDQ77KB
Sandy Bridge: Intel Desktop Board DH61AG Thin Mini-ITX

Remember on both cases you will need laptop memory, SODIMM like Crucial 16GB Kit (8GBx2) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3-12800) CL11 SODIMM 204-Pin 1.35V/1.5V Memory Modules For Mac CT2C8G3S160BM and you will also need a 19V (laptop alike) PSU/Brick, some have used dell laptop chargers with success or something like 19v/8.4A 160 Watt AC-DC Power Adapter.

On the BOXDQ77KB has a msata port so on your ssd you could even go msata, Crucial m4 128GB mSATA or whatever brand you prefer.

@quiet, i dont have any stutter on all my Sandy/Ivy setups, the only thing that was there is a sync issue with the 23.976 standard, you get 23.973, so a frame will get dropped every ~4 minutes, not perfect, but TBH I never noticed it. Overall IMO, its not a reason of enough weight to go with AMD over Intel, even on forums that build a lot HTPC most still recommend more Intel over AMD. I do think AMD has its own market and they are fine for HTPC, specially ones that want to do some light gaming, but their power consumption and their CPU capabilities are lacking, things that the OP imo will benefit more.

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GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 11:00 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
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Location: Switzerland
16G is overkill.

Abula wrote:
Crucial m4 128GB mSATA

The recently released model (M500) has a reliability feature that's not on other consumer drives (as far as I know). The real-world impact is anyone's guess.


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 Post subject: Re: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 11:05 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
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Location: Guatemala
HFat wrote:
16G is overkill..
I just posted it as it was the first that i saw from amazon, was just an example. He isnt getting it from the US regardless, so was just for pure purpose of not buying DIMMs but SODIMMS.

HFat wrote:
Abula wrote:
Crucial m4 128GB mSATA

The recently released model (M500) has a reliability feature that's not on other consumer drives (as far as I know). The real-world impact is anyone's guess.
The M500 seems better on paper, but there are 3 things that i dont like

1) Its too new, its firmware might take some time to mature. The M4 has almost 3 years on the market so the firmware is stable and probably wont encounter much issues.
2) The M500 has a temp throttling design, if it passes 65C, it underperforms, i never seen on the reviews that it has been reched... but maybe on mini itx with little ventilation and being close to the cpu might be reached, assumptions on my part, might be none issue in reality.
3) The M500 best performers are on the 480/960gb version, by design they made it so the higher capacity has better sequential writes, the 240/120 are kidna crippled by design. While the M4 was deign to get the full speed on 128gb version (even its faster in some benches than my 256gb). Probably wont be detectable by the end user, all ssds in my experience are equally responsive, on a blind test i couldn't pick either.

So in all i would still go with M4 over M500 for msata unless going with the 480gb version.

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GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 11:18 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
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Most drives have sequential writes that scale markedly with capacity.
But yeah, this isn't a drive that's going to dominate benchmarks.
The thing is, compared to what is available in the mSATA format, it could end up being very solid... or not. If you use 2.5'' drives you have more options. You could even RAID0 drives for a reliability that's likely to beat any single drive.


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 Post subject: Re: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 11:34 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
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HFat wrote:
You could even RAID0 drives for a reliability that's likely to beat any single drive.
I have been a fan of raid0 in the past where mechancial hdds were slow, i could feel the benefits of it, and to me was worth the risk of doubling a hdd failure. On ssd im not too sure, what really makes an SSD stand over a HDD is its response time and the 4k none sequential, this what an end user feels, on ssds this doesn't get any better with more ssd on a raid0, its mostly sequential writes and reads, but for most this wont net an actual perceivable gain.

Im running atm twin 128G in RAID0 SSD (mSATA) with what MSI GT70 includes, Memoright MS-701 Series, Model: MRMAD4B128GC9M2C, and to me its fast, but i cant say its much faster than my single M4 on my desktop, and i even have my doubts that trim is working correctly even if im using mateched IRTS/Orom on ivy bridge chipset that supports trim command on raid arrays, here is my last CDM,

Image

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GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 1:54 am 
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I of course meant RAID1. RAID0 would be silly and wouldn't achieve what I said it would (to the contrary!).
Sorry.


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 Post subject: Re: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 2:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:54 pm
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Abula wrote:


Thanks for the links. Apparently, those mobos don't have on-board DC so I'd have to add a power brick.

Is there no recommended mobo with on-board DC that would be enough to power a CPU + SSD + HD + RAM for office use?


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 Post subject: Re: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 3:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
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littlebigman wrote:
Abula wrote:


Thanks for the links. Apparently, those mobos don't have on-board DC so I'd have to add a power brick.

Is there no recommended mobo with on-board DC that would be enough to power a CPU + SSD + HD + RAM for office use?
You need a 1 brick to power the full pc, it will be AC to DC PSU, it will enter the mobo on the back. You dont need an extra brick for them, the mobo has DC connectors for your SSD + HDD (CPU will grab it from the mobo directly so are the fans, same case with the ram). If you wish to read more check SPCR Intel DQ77KB: A Low Power LGA1155 Motherboard,

Image

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GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 7:01 am 
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Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am
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As far as I know, there are no PCs that can plug directly in to the wall.

You have those Intel boards with built in DC-DC converter so all you need is a ~notebook power brick.

There is the picopsu that plugs in to the ATX socket of your motherboard and needs a 12v power brick.

And lastly there are various form factors of computer power supply that plug in to the wall but they are the traditional PSU in a metal can, usually with a fan. Large case required to fit one of these.

Of those solutions, I like the picoPSU because it will plug in to most motherboards so you have an upgrade path that more than likely will not need a PSU change and it is small.


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 Post subject: Re: Which mini-ITX motherboard + CPU for moderate home use?
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 8:09 am 
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There are lots of options out there for mini ITX, if the DH61AG and DQ77KB are not of your liking. You can build as Quiet suggest, into having a picoPSU (or similar) with an external brick and then just chose the case of your liking that can fit your components.

Another alternative is a case that has the PSU included, like Antec Mini-ITX Case ISK110, it comes with its own 90W PSU/Brick, it can also hold 2x 2.5 hdds (laptop size ssd/hdds) on the bottom of the case, so you can still have your ssd for you os/app and a 500gb-1tb mechanical hdd for storage. The mobo that i would choce from the website you posted is Intel DH77DF 3rd Gen Core Socket 1155 Mini-ITX.

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GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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