Low Power HTPC - which components?

Soldato
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Just ordered an Antec Micro Fusion to replace my current HTPC case (Akasa Zen -way too big!).

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My aim is to make a low-power and energy efficient HTPC that will be used for lots of tv-recordings and blu-ray playback, as well as music etc.

My current spec:

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E6600 on a Zalman 9500
GA-P35C-DS3R
4GB OCZ Gold
8800GTS 320mb
Sound blaster Live! 5.1 (added after pic above)
Corsair HX620
WinTV Nova-T 500 (ordered a low profile bracket)
500GB RAID 0 (2x250GB) (not the IDE test drive as shown in pic)
BD-ROM

As you can see, this is more of a gaming spec as I originally intended to play games on the machine too, though have since decided against it as I already have a much better gaming machine (in sig).

The following will need to be ditched as the Antec case is MATX with a proprietary PSU and low profile:

Zalman 9500
GA-P35C-DS3R
8800GTS
Corsair HX620
RAID array
Sound blaster

So basically I'm not left with much, (though that's the idea) and will need at least a new HTPC mobo and possibly CPU.

Suggestions for a low power CPU?

Also need a MATX mobo that has good enough onboard GFX for blu-ray playback and HDMI out (with audio) if possible.

Intel or AMD? What are you guys using? I read that the 785G with a 4850e is a good combo, though the CPUs seem unavailable. I'm looking to do this as cheaply as possible really.

TIA
 
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Associate
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I'd drop the 8800GT for a passively cooled ATI model if you can find one about. They'll handle HD flawlessly and the main thing I notice in my PC when it's running as a HTPC (uni room) is the GPU noise.
 
Associate
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Do you really want the Micro Fusion ? Is Fusion Remote too big ? You know, it's mATX PSU + 8cm fans vs standard ATX PSU + 12cm fans.

I'm not at home with BR requirements (i have a Linux HTPC), but 4850e with Asus M3N78 (GeForce 8200) was running with nearly zero CPU usage while playing SD or HD content, power usage was 45W in idle at socket side, that means 30-35W depending on PSU efficiency. ATI probably also have some video acceleration support.
 
Soldato
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I'd drop the 8800GT for a passively cooled ATI model if you can find one about. They'll handle HD flawlessly and the main thing I notice in my PC when it's running as a HTPC (uni room) is the GPU noise.

I have a nvidia 7200GS passive card I could drop in if the mobo isn't up to it, it'd need a low profile adapter though, would that do the job do you think?

Do you really want the Micro Fusion ? Is Fusion Remote too big ? You know, it's mATX PSU + 8cm fans vs standard ATX PSU + 12cm fans.

I'm not at home with BR requirements (i have a Linux HTPC), but 4850e with Asus M3N78 (GeForce 8200) was running with nearly zero CPU usage while playing SD or HD content, power usage was 45W in idle at socket side, that means 30-35W depending on PSU efficiency. ATI probably also have some video acceleration support.

Yes, I wanted the Micro version as the normal one was too big for me, and too overpriced for what is a fairly straightforward case. I got the Micro Fusion for a very good price too, less than £70. The 8cm fans can be changed easily for quieter ones, it's a common size.

The Micro Fusion has a pretty efficient Antec PSU (80 plus certified) so not bad for an OEM model.

Can anyone suggest any micro-atx boards and CPUs that'd be decent for blu-ray playback with low power (and cheap!)?
 
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Intel :
- the only real alternative is the Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H with GeForce 9400. All other GeForce 9300 motherboards from other manufacturers are buggy as hell. Disadvantage - long video card means 2 lost SATA connectors, but i think you don't need any video card at all. Hell, for GF9300 even the Atom 330 is more than enough (just building a Atom HTPC with XBMC).
- CPU - get the cheapest and most low power one... So maybe some E5xxx?

On AMD side, i can't suggest anything as i'm not sure how ATI handles video acceleration, but i would choose from boards with GeForce 8200 or AMD 785G chipsets, plus the cheapest CPU with lowest TDP on market :). Or used 4850e from somewhere.
 
Soldato
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Thanks for the useful info on the intel side, I'll bear that in mind, though AMD is looking more promising at this stage.

Used 4850e don't seem to exist, so it'd have to be a cheap 65W TDP athlon or phenom to go in there. I hear there are some 45W TDP athlons coming out soon, though I imagine they're probably out of my price range.
 
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You still have the option of ordering Athlon II X2 240 and then undervolt... The only problem is that the NVIDIA boards don't have the option in BIOS, so the only option is tools like RMClock.

So maybe Athlon II X2 240 + 785G board ?
 
Soldato
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That's the way it's looking, entry level Athlon II X2 and 785G would be ideal by the sounds of it. If I can undervolt that'd be great, though I haven't had an AMD CPU since my Duron 1Ghz, so I'll have to learn that all again! Not a prob though.

Might actually try source a CPU second hand, or at least see what's out there, might save some cash.

Any suggestions for decent 785G boards?
 
Soldato
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I've put up a wanted thread in the MM, hopefully I'll get some offers that'll fit the bill.

Any other suggestions welcome.
 
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