Kaveri-based HTPC build

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Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:53 am

Do you folks have suggestions for a living room PC build using the strong integrated graphics performance of AMD's new Kaveri APU? It opens the door for moderate gaming without a discrete graphics card.

Processor:
$190 AMD A10-7850K Kaveri quad-core 3.7 GHz CPU with 8 Radeon R7 GPU cores, 95-watt socket-FM2+ APU

Motherboard:
$107 ASRock FM2A88X-ITX+ mini-ITX socket-FM2+ motherboard
or $ 99 Gigabyte GA-F2A88XN-WIFI mini-ITX socket-FM2+ motherboard

Memory:
$159 2x8 GiB PC3-17000 G.Skill F3-2133C10D-16GSR (DDR3-2133, CAS 10, 1.6 V)
or $75 2x4 GiB PC3-17000 G.Skill F3-2133C10D-8GAB (DDR3-2133, CAS 10, 1.6 V)
or $95 2x4 GiB PC3-17000 G.Skill F3-2133C9D-8GAB (DDR3-2133, CAS 9, 1.65 V)


Where do we go from here? Do we select a case and power supply that would be expandable with a gaming graphics card later on, or should we opt for a super-compact case that eschews any PCIe card expansion?



EDIT: Here's a full list:
Later in this thread, I wrote: $185 AMD A10-7850K Kaveri quad-core 3.7 GHz CPU with 8 Radeon R7 GPU cores, 95-watt socket-FM2+ APU
$46 Scythe Big Shuriken 2.B
$107 ASRock FM2A88X-ITX+ mini-ITX socket-FM2+ motherboard
$95 2x4 GiB PC3-17000 G.Skill F3-2133C9D-8GAB (DDR3-2133, CAS 9, 1.65 V)
$146 or $140 0.25 TB Samsung 840 Evo MZ-7TE250BW
$65 1.0 TB HGST 0S03508 hard-drive
$63 Panasonic UJ240 slim-line Blu-ray burner
$10 Slim-line to desktop SATA adapter cable
$2½ SATA cable
$87 Antec ISK300-150 with internal 150-watt power supply
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:46 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Reason: Added full parts list
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:19 am

I imagine first we use links that aren't through some randomass other site to get to the ones they link to. Seems shady.

That said I'd go with an expandable case, cause then you can retask the machine later if you want to.
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:20 am

Looks good overall but unless you absolutely have to build it now, would it be possible to wait for the A8-7600 to become available instead? It should have a lower power envelope (easier/quieter cooling) and from the benchmarks I've seen, it doesn't sacrifice a huge amount of performance.
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:22 am

Savyg wrote:I imagine first we use links that aren't through some other site to get to the ones they link to. Seems shady.

viewtopic.php?f=32&t=88984
The auto-affiliate script provides a small amount of revenue to Tech Report if you make a purchase from the links to Newegg.

You'd certainly be right to be suspicious of strange URLs from a first-time poster.
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:23 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:The auto-affiliate script provides a small amount of revenue to Tech Report if you make a purchase from the links to Newegg.

Ahh. heh. nevermind then :) I'd be suspicious of weird URLs from any poster, heh. Just didn't know they were doing that.
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:39 am

chuckula wrote:Looks good overall but unless you absolutely have to build it now, would it be possible to wait for the A8-7600 to become available instead? It should have a lower power envelope (easier/quieter cooling) and from the benchmarks I've seen, it doesn't sacrifice a huge amount of performance.

I don't imagine the power management on these procs is all that bad. You're not likely to be using the most power available most of the time on an HTPC build.
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:03 am

http://techreport.com/discussion/25908/ ... ost=793472
DarkMikaru wrote: I think these people do exist but don't really know it themselves. Not really "casual gamer", but definitely curious about gaming. So I think it would be a pleasant surprise for any user who purchased a $400 desktop / laptop to randomly install a game demo and discover... wow, this actually plays decently! Cool! That's a win not only for AMD but gaming companies and consumers as well.

Basically, AMD's APU & Intel's improved IGP are the gateway drugs gaming companies and consumers are looking for.

http://techreport.com/discussion/25908/ ... ost=794305
MrJP wrote: I've also been surprised with how much gaming you can do with a laptop with an A8-4500M. I think you're right that there's actually a good number of people out there that would be very happy with an APU and just don't know it.


I like that argument in favor of building a starter PC that can accept a $150-$200 graphics card at a later date to become a very decent gaming PC if the users become hooked on gaming.
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:21 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:I like that argument in favor of building a starter PC that can accept a $150-$200 graphics card at a later date to become a very decent gaming PC if the users become hooked on gaming.


With Mantle and TrueAudio these things might actually be fantastic gaming PCs. (IMO 'will' but I don't need to get into more stupid discussions about things when we don't even have any benchmarks yet.)
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:38 am

For me, the most dificult component to choose is the case, because I don't see yet in the market much possibilities in terms of mini-ITX cases. But I believe the market will continue to push forward in this subject, giving more offers in this matter.
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:34 am

Savyg wrote:
chuckula wrote:Looks good overall but unless you absolutely have to build it now, would it be possible to wait for the A8-7600 to become available instead? It should have a lower power envelope (easier/quieter cooling) and from the benchmarks I've seen, it doesn't sacrifice a huge amount of performance.

I don't imagine the power management on these procs is all that bad. You're not likely to be using the most power available most of the time on an HTPC build.


Fair enough, but I still think waiting for the 7600 and running it in 45w mode is the way to go for an HTPC, then you can use a case like the Antec ISK 110 and easily stay inside the 90w PSU even with the CPU and GPU under load. I can confirm that the same cannot be said for a 65w Trinity chip.
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:51 am

drfish wrote:I still think waiting for the 7600 and running it in 45w mode is the way to go for an HTPC, then you can use a case like the Antec ISK 110 and easily stay inside the 90w PSU even with the CPU and GPU under load.

I wouldn't call 79W Under Load "easily under 90W." You'd definitely want to run in 45W TDP mode if you're going to use the ISK 110.

But, I agree the 7600 looks the most attractive to me considering the A10-7850K IGP is only about 10% faster most of the time (and peak CPU boost clock only 200MHz faster than the A8). $120 for the A8-7600 vs $173 for the A10-7850K.....the A8 definitely has a higher Price/Performance ratio.
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:17 pm

I was also looking for a system like that. Just beware that most top/down coolers are made for 65W chips.
I quite like Noctua coolers, but the mini-itx ASRock motherboard doesn't allow for their bigger coolers (like Noctua NH-U12S) to be installed (you can see this on the Noctua site).

If you plan to use another cooler brand (with the mini-itx ASRock) I'd check on the website of the cooler manufacturer as well for compatibility.
And if you go for the A8-7600 perhaps the Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev. B is a good cooler (the Noctua top/down cooler sadly doesn't perform too well).

I'll probably go for the Gigabyte GA-F2A88XN-WIFI motherboard, although it only has Realtek 892 (instead of 1150 for the AsRock) and it's hard to find nice 2400Mhz RAM for it.
(I'm seriously thinking of just going ATX size and use the ASRock FM2A88X Extreme6+ to have a bit better audio and good 2400Mhz RAM).

Anyway, good luck and let us know what you choose :)
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:23 pm

I'd rather have 20-30% to spare instead of ~10% but I think it would be safe for most heavy use. An ISK 110 with a 120w PSU would be ideal but the move up to the ISK 300 wouldn't be a bad option either. I've spent a LOT of time thinking about and working with miniITX cases and I agree that there is still significant room for improvment...
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:18 pm

drfish wrote:An ISK 110 with a 120w PSU would be ideal but the move up to the ISK 300 wouldn't be a bad option either. I've spent a LOT of time thinking about and working with miniITX...

I suppose 78W is more within the working range of a 90W PSU than the A10-5700 in your ISK 110 build that can draw around 100W under heavy load.
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:24 pm

I believe that we'd have enough power with something like the 7.0 liter Antec ISK 300-150 for $87. It accepts only half-height graphics cards (hello, Radeon HD7750), but if we never intend to add a graphics card to the APU, it's plenty large enough. If we go up to a case that could later accept a full-height double-width graphics card up to 10" long (hello, GeForce GTX760), we could use the 10.8 liter Silverstone Sugo SG05 for $135 with a massive 450 watt PSU or a slightly less expensive one with a 300 watt PSU.
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:59 pm

As for the case, although expensive, its a beauty in my opinion:

http://www.lian-li.com/en/dt_portfolio/pc-q12/

Although its cooler limits are pretty small I think, at 55mm.

Includes a 300W 80+ PSU, which is more than enough for a HTPC.

My choices would be the A8-7600 45W, any mini-ITX board with all the goodies, 2x4GB 2133 of RAM, a Samsung EVO 120Gb and something like the Shuriken 2 Rev. B, although this is to big to fit...
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:04 pm

JAE,

The graphics performance is not a whole lot better going from the A8 to a A10 K series CPU...that being said if I had the money I would definitely go for the A10 7850k and the ASROCK board since I kinda like the WIFI module . Also The ASROCK board supports DDR3 2400 memory, so I would spend the xtra $ and get some good 2400 rated memory since memory bandwidth is the main thing holding back the IGP, Plus it just might be enough to enable you to get the most from the 512 cores in the 7850k 128 more cores then the A8 TR reviewed.

$84.99 for G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2400 (PC3 19200) Desktop Memory Timing 11-13-13-31
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820231667

or for slightly faster timings of 10-12-12-31 for $94.99 G.SKILL Trident X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2400 (PC3 19200) Desktop Memory Model F3-2400C10D-8GTX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820231587

I would really like to see the performance difference with the fastest ram possible. Actually a review of even the A8-7600 with memory speeds from 1600, 1866, 2133 all the way through 2400 ddr3 to see the difference between them all when it comes to the IGP and CPU performance.
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:56 pm

vargis14 wrote:I would really like to see the performance difference with the fastest ram possible. Actually a review of even the A8-7600 with memory speeds from 1600, 1866, 2133 all the way through 2400 ddr3 to see the difference between them all when it comes to the IGP and CPU performance

Tomshardware (curse them) have done this for every AMD APU generation thus far. Here's their latest with Haswell/Richland.

[Add] Here is anandtech's Haswell memory scaling article where they recommend 1866MHz CAS 9 as optimal price/performance for Haswell.
Last edited by DPete27 on Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:39 pm

Keeping an eye on this thread as it is very close to a build that I am looking at for my girlfriend.
The goal is a modern build at under $400.
I have a few pieces that I am reusing... SSD and HDD are among those.

My change to it is:
MD: ASUS A88XM-A
Case: Antec VSK-3000E-U3 Micro ATX USB3.0 Mini Tower Case
RAM: I'm not picky... just aiming for under $80
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Tue Jan 21, 2014 6:15 pm

DPete27 wrote:
vargis14 wrote:I would really like to see the performance difference with the fastest ram possible. Actually a review of even the A8-7600 with memory speeds from 1600, 1866, 2133 all the way through 2400 ddr3 to see the difference between them all when it comes to the IGP and CPU performance

Tomshardware (curse them) have done this for every AMD APU generation thus far. Here's their latest with Haswell/Richland.



After a quick skimming of that article it looks like the best memory for AMD or intel is low latency tight timed 2133 memory unless AMD changed something in their memory controller.
Like this G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-2133C9D-8GAB with 9 cas latency and timing of 9-11-10 for $95 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820231554 good reviews too
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:45 pm

We'll want an SSD.
$146 or $140 0.25 TB Samsung 840 Evo MZ-7TE250BW
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:47 am

JAE,
You might want to read this german article TR posted in Wednesday Shortbread showing how Kaveri performs better with dual rank memory vs single rank memory.
http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/proz ... -speicher/

I had to read it to figure out that dual rank means the memory sticks have chips on both sides. But it does seem to help :) The report also found out that Kaveri can take advantage of DDR3-2400 as advertised.
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:44 am

I've fleshed out the build with the remaining components. What do you guys think now?


Processor:
$185 AMD A10-7850K Kaveri quad-core 3.7 GHz CPU with 8 Radeon R7 GPU cores, 95-watt socket-FM2+ APU
Includes free Battlefield 4 game

CPU cooler:
$46 Scythe Big Shuriken 2.B
or $35 CoolerMaster GeminII M4
These coolers are 58mm and 59mm tall. We have only 65mm available.

Motherboard:
$107 ASRock FM2A88X-ITX+ mini-ITX socket-FM2+ motherboard
or $110 Gigabyte GA-F2A88XN-WIFI mini-ITX socket-FM2+ motherboard

Memory:
$95 2x4 GiB PC3-17000 G.Skill F3-2133C9D-8GAB (DDR3-2133, CAS 9, 1.65 V)
or $159 2x8 GiB PC3-17000 G.Skill F3-2133C10D-16GSR (DDR3-2133, CAS 10, 1.6 V)
or $83 2x4 GiB PC3-19200 G.Skill F3-2400C10D-8GZH (DDR3-2400, CAS 10, 1.65 V)
or $75 2x4 GiB PC3-17000 G.Skill F3-2133C10D-8GAB (DDR3-2133, CAS 10, 1.6 V)

Ripjaws Z and Ripjaws X DIMMs are 40mm tall. The Big Shuriken 2 CPU cooler reportedly allows up to 39mm underneath the outer part of the heatsink. However, the bottom image on this page shows it clearing a Ripjaws X module, so we may not have to use the slower 33mm tall Ares DIMMs.

Graphics:
Integrated Radeon R7 series in APU
(The case has room to add a Radeon HD7750, cable card tuner, over-the-air tuner card or other low-profile PCIe expansion card up to 7" long.)

Storage:
$146 or $140 0.25 TB Samsung 840 Evo MZ-7TE250BW
$65 1.0 TB HGST 0S03508 hard-drive
$63 Panasonic UJ240 slim-line Blu-ray burner
and $10 Slim-line to desktop SATA adapter cable
We will need one more SATA cable. The ASRock motherboard comes with only two.

Audio:
Integrated Realtek ALC1150 on motherboard

Network:
Integrated Qualcomm Atheros AR8171 gigabit ethernet on motherboard
WiFi IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 Class II on included mini-PCIe half-card (antenna and bulkhead connectors included)

Case:
$87 Antec ISK300-150 with internal 150-watt power supply
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:19 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:$87 Antec ISK300-150 with internal 150-watt power supply

The newegg page for that case is a mess. The overview tab says it has USB3.0, the specifications tab says USB2.0. Which one is it??
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:27 am

The USB ports in the Newegg photos are blue, so I'd bet on USB 3.0. When in doubt, go straight to the source.
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:02 pm

The USB ports look black in the Newegg photos. They're blue in (some of) the photos from Antec on the "Overview" tab though.
Main: i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB 1600MHz G.Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:22 am

Resurrecting this thread.
I've just ordered the parts for a build of this myself :-)

The Kaveri processor has been hard to get (out of stock up north here on back order) but they just came in stock today.

Everything cost me $550 shipped. More than I planned for but I think the system will work well.
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:53 pm

Outstanding. Please post back in the thread to share your experience building your new PC. Take photos if you're so inclined.

What was easy, what was challenging, what did you learn that you didn't know when you started, what worked well, what would you do differently the next time, and how satisfied are you with the end result?
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
JustAnEngineer
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:15 am

It'd work fantastic for an HTPC build. Having owned one a while now, the only thing I wouldn't use the proc without a dedicated GPU for is gaming...I trend toward the $200 or so dedicated GPUs and they still stomp on it naturally (though I am only using 1600 on RAM speeds for now.)

I need to replace the default HSF though, it doesn't really care for having both GPUs enabled at the moment. The heatsink they included...you'd almost think it's a joke heh.
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Savyg
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Re: Kaveri-based HTPC build

Postposted on Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:06 am

I will take some pics. I'll start a new thread when everything comes in... It looks like it is coming in 4 boxes arriving next Thursday

I'll say I'm not a novice nor is this even my first APU build.
I've build 3 APU builds in the last 2 years.

I have an A6-3500 for my WHS2011
I did an A8 (cannot remember which) for a neighbours PC
and now this A10 for my girlfriends new PC.

This is my first build in a slim m-ATX case so it should be interesting.
So far the APUs (except for my laptop one) exceed expectations.
Arvald
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