I generally agree with SoCo. Just a couple things to add:
1) Asrock Pro4-M has 4 total fan headers. Only the 4-pin header can be automatically ramped, the other three can be manually set to a fixed % of the full fan speed.
The alternative to the AsRock board would be the Asus P8Z77-M for $120.
In all practicality, it's the same as the AsRock board, but with better fan contols. The Asus board has less on-board audio capability (no optical out), but that's a moot point if you'll have a discrete sound card.
Hmm. That's nice. Additionally, the legacy PCI slot will let me migrate my existing capture card.
DPete27 wrote:2) Since you'll be re-using your 7770, I do agree with an Intel processor. (otherwise I'd suggest an AMD APU) If you want 4 cores, an i5 is the ticket. I don't see the need for the unlocked multiplier though. If you're running the i5-3470 or i5-3570 on a Z77 board, you'll still be able to OC it by 400MHz. At that point you're nearly at the OC limit of the processor using stock voltage. Increasing voltage = increasing heat output = not wanted in HTPC use.
I have a philosophical objection to overclocking an HTPC. So no worries there.
If you want to save some money, you could go with an i3. I don't see too much demand for gaming while multitasking
in an HTPC environment but even then the i3 does a respectable job.
My desire for an i5 was solely for smooth gaming goodness. I have no plans to multitask gaming with encoding. Any encoding on the HTPC is going to be via batch process overnight. Speaking of which, I'll come back after this build is complete and ask about converting MKV to MP4 so they'll show up in MCE... (Which I'll do ASAP before the SWMBO gets PO'd about my heavy acronym use.)
frumper15 wrote:Do you have requirements beyond what you've listed that require the additional physical cores of the i5? I just built an HTPC using the i3-3225 and it's been great. I see that you've got a discreet GPU, so you could probably save even more with an i3-3220
Negative. If the i3 will not hinder my gameplay, then I'd be fine with the cheaper processor. Thanks!
frumper15 wrote:You're going to need a sound solution that will do Dolby or DTS encoding for you and then use a digital optical over to your receiver for surround sound in gaming. [snip] I own a Xonar but couldn't stand the drivers (that were never updated) and would constantly change inputs on me so it sits in a box now.
It seems that several third party drivers are available for these cards now that fix a lot of these problems. The reviews of the cards at NewEgg are full of tidbits and useful search terms.
JustAnEngineer wrote:I like that HTPC case. It's $36½ (28%) cheaper at Amazon than at Newegg.[snip]That's also cheaper at Amazon.
Yeah, I have two wishlists going, one at each site. I'm doing direct model number comparisons between the two. It looks like I'm going to have a race to see who has the faster shipping.
JustAnEngineer wrote:Setting up the guide in Windows Media Center to assign the correct listings to the unidentified clear-QAM channels takes a while, but once you've done it, it works well.
I've done that before and it's not too difficult. It just takes time. I think the only thing stopping me previously was that I only had one HDTV input on my capture cards so it was a choice between OTA or clear-QAM. OTA won out due to higher resolutions. I don't watch a lot of TV. I use the DVR function to record the one show SWMBO follows, plus the occasional special event (Superbowl, Grammys, Olympics, etc.) so it wasn't a hardship.
JustAnEngineer wrote:Have you checked out some of the other recent HTPC threads here? I linked some good power supplies in that one.
Yes indeed I have. I was hoping you'd pop into my thread and lend your expertise. Between SoCo and BostonHokie doing their builds, I've been soaking up the state of the craft for weeks. I should be able to post a parts list today for final approval from the HTPC Gerbil Committee before sending it off to accounting.
JustAnEngineer wrote:When I had the A75 motherboard in my HTPC, I was able to fix the 5.1 vs. 2.0 over HDMI problem by installing some Realtek drivers.
Hmm. I have gone to Realtek's website and installed their drivers for my current Realtek chip and it doesn't seem to have solved the problem. I just assumed it was because the board is now relatively ancient and it wasn't supported by the chipset. I checked my NewEgg account and the last upgrade to the HTPC was 2009. Something to ponder, surely. Perhaps I'll order the card and hold off opening it until I play with the onboard audio a bit.
Chrispy_ wrote:I'm late to the party but I'll throw in another vote for the Silverston Grandia (the GD05 and GD04 differ only by the optical drive cutout shape)
You're not late yet. I haven't placed the order(s) just yet, so I'm still soliciting advice.
Chrispy_ wrote:It has a Pentium B960 in it [snip] It's no i3 but considering it's very cheap, power efficient and that you're only talking about "light" gaming I would recommend it as a way to shave around $75 off your build cost if you're interested in doing that. It's certainly enough to give us smooth framerates in things like BL2 (even split-screen). If it's not enough power for you, an i3 isn't likely to be orders-of-magnitude faster so at that point you should probably look for a true quad-core.
Thanks. It definitely sounds like I can safely downgrade to an i3 and not lose playable framerates thanks to the discrete graphics card. That's nice as I can shave off a large chunk of the price tag.
Thank you all for the advice! I should have a proposed shopping list in a few hours.
If there is one thing a remote-controlled, silent and unseeable surveillance/killing machine needs, it’s more whimsy. -- Marcus