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Help me find a small htpc mobo

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by bard, 28 Mar 2006.

  1. bard

    bard Modding isn't what it used to be

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    I am planning on building a HTPC within the not-so-distant future, but I need some help finding the right hardware. I have tried looking around for the motherboard that can suit my needs, but I have not been successful yet. I am hoping to be able to build it as a mini-ITX, but if that isn't possible, mATX will do too.
    I need a system with TV-out, 5.1 surround sound and one free PCI port for a TV tuner. I have looked around for mobos that have both TV-out and surround sound, but haven't found any, and since mini-ITX only has one PCI port, I need it for the TV tuner. I am aware of the 2xPCI riser cards for mini-ITX, but it says that they are not possible to use with all mobos. It would be a bit sad to build a whole system and then having it fail due to lack of compatibility.
    Do you have any suggestions for a mobo to use, mini ITX or mATX?
     
  2. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    With the 5.1 sound: do you want S/PDIF or 3.5mm jack?

    I'd go mATX: P4 805, LGA mobo with intel chipset and HD audio that has Dolby live so you get surround sound all the time. You just need to find one with a couple of PCI slots, and then, if you're going that route you might as well buy a full size, but cheap graphics card as well with TV out. More choice.
     
  3. bard

    bard Modding isn't what it used to be

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    I want SPDIF for the 5.1 sound (and a 3.5mm for regular stereo as well, but I guess that's standard). A mATX would be alot simpler, since it has more PCI slots. However, do I need a full-size PSU to power a mATX system with a TV Tuner, DVD-RW and a few peripherals? If I can use a smaller PSU, I think I might go for mATX.
     
  4. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Definately 805+LGA mobo with HD audio then. Dolby Live or Virtual Surround IIx via S/PDIF is the way to go. Depends what power rating mATX psus come in. You definately dont need something 400+W for it, and there are plenty of LGA heatsinks out there that are very quiet.
     
  5. bard

    bard Modding isn't what it used to be

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    Thanks for the help, do you have a link to the mobo you suggest, bindi?
     
  6. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Uh. ABIT do an LGA mATX one. There was one for sale in the UK Trading forum not too long ago, it'll probably be page 2 by now. Otherwise none come to mind sorry but im sure they're out there.
     
  7. bard

    bard Modding isn't what it used to be

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    I was hoping to find a new one, though. Have searched for LGA mobos at komplett, but I didn't find any. Why aren't threre any LGA mobos when they have LGA processors?
     
  8. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

  9. bard

    bard Modding isn't what it used to be

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    Aha :duh: , thanks alot! :thumb:
     
  10. Goreblast

    Goreblast What's a Dremel?

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    I would get a Biostar Tforce 6100-939 motherboard (very overclockable) and a dual core Opteron.
     
  11. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Why a DC opt? Surely that's insanely powerful for no reason. Also the 6100 only has crappy onboard AC97 sound.
     
  12. herbs

    herbs Nobody but us chickens

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    Why anyone would recommend a 775 board for htpc is beyond me, as a hot P4 will just heat up the components in a htpc case. Let me see if you put in a 90 watts (roughly) cpu and a 40ish watt graphic card i.e 6600GT thats roughly 130watts of heat to get rid off in a micro-atx case, whereas a amd semperon / A64 might give out 65 watts so that with gfx card is 105watts, at idle even less with CnQ. Also you have add in the heat of the psu if it's not very effecient.
    Obviously a mobile version of amd's or intels range would be the best but cost money.
    Also unless you pc will be in a cupboard it will be noisy and will become annoying when watch quiet parts of films/shows, so either you will have to run you fans at 7-5 volts or go for a fanless psu and case etc and put up with the extra heat. Again another reason for going with cooler cpu. Also don't forget you can't put in a massive heatsink like the ninja as you don't have the room in a m-atx case or generally full size htpc cases. I suggest you visit both www.htpcnews.com and www.silentpcreview.com for info.
     
    Last edited: 7 Apr 2006
  13. tank_rider

    tank_rider What's a Dremel?

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    herbs, thanks for the silentpcreview link, their article on CPU power consumption is excellent and has opened my eyes to the whole TDP measurement, on that subject i did a quick test of my 2 A64 cpu's and found that my opteron 144 has a faily low tdp of 44.1W @ stock, the same as the 3000 venice on the test, yet my 3200 venice in my media pc has a tdp of just 38.2!! Am gonna give lowering the voltage on that a go and see if i can get the temps down a bit (its running with all fans on 7v at the moment so is nice and quiet. Also might see if i can reduce the voltage and still keep it running at 2.2 :)

    In terms of relating to this topic, it's clearly a no brainer to go for an A64 based CPU due to their massively lower power consumption (and hense thermal generation) figures. Real kudos to the guys at AMD for the power used by the X2 cpu's, really suprised me with how little power they use :thumb:
     
  14. gimplish

    gimplish What's a Dremel?

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    are you only going for a x86 mobo, or can you go for PPC
     
  15. BUFF

    BUFF What's a Dremel?

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    Pentium M TDP is 21 - 24W ...
     
  16. Glider

    Glider /dev/null

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    True, but Pentium M price is very high compared to A64.
     
  17. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Have you ever USED a socket 775, herbs? If you get the LGA right and a half decent cooler they work fine. If they run hot, so what? They tollerate heat better than the equivilient AMD CPUs and the Intel chipsets are about 100 times better than anything AMD have.
    I dont understand how people can say that it'll be so damn noisy because I run an overclocked dual core prescott and it's pretty damn quiet. And that's with a bog standard arctic cooler on it. Intel's 4pin PWM tech works great. Either I have the technique of a god or everyone just goes by knee jerk reactions. From experience if you have a good cooler for either, either can be very quiet.
     
  18. tank_rider

    tank_rider What's a Dremel?

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    Bindi i agree if we are talking about a full size atx case, but in the smaller confines of an htpc the extra heat will tell. It's not just whether you can actually cool the cpu, the heat is still being generated inside the case, and so has to be exhausted. The higher temperature of the air around all the other componenets will make them hotter, especially things like passively cooled gfx card which are commonplace in htpc's due to their low noise. If low noise is the target, then having any tiny amount of heat more than you need is your enemy, as it WILL require more airflow to shift it out of the case in order to maintain a reasonably cool case interior.

    Certainly there are advantages of using a P4 in an htpc due to its raw video processing speed etc, but in my opinion the drawback of the increased amount of heat they generate are not worth it. I've seen first had the problems a hot intel can cause in a small form factor pc, with my mates dell 5150c which has a damn small and very packed case with an 800 series dual core in it which basically roasts all the other components in the system, HD constantly at 50 degrees? can't be healthy.
     
  19. herbs

    herbs Nobody but us chickens

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    Yes, I have used socket 775 in a m-atx case and the cpu got very hot but was quiet, I had to evaluate it for work where we might be getting 700 of them. I also tested a model in an atx case which did not get so hot (had to install quite a few of these), as bard asked for a m-atx mobo it's a good asumption that he has or wants a micro-atx case. As I already stated m-atx cases tend to limited you cooler choice, you might like running higher temperatures but not everyone else does. Higher temperatures on components will lower life expectancy of them, you can say well I won't keep them more than a year or two, which might be fine you but for others it may not.
    Finally what you define as quiet might not be quiet to me, each to their own. When you get into trying to silence a pc it can become an obsession. My htpc is quiet but not silent to me but other people have said they can't hear it.
    May I enquire Bindibadgi which gfx card and cpu do you have and what coolers they have on them, and what your psu is? also is your case full atx?
     
    Last edited: 8 Apr 2006
  20. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    480W Antec, 820D at 3.2 and 6800GT, both with arctic coolers on them. It's not silent, but it's a low hum. The LGA coolers are extremely iffy and even the slightlest non-perfect contact can make things a thousand times worse. I plumped for replacing the plastic crap pop clips for metal springs and metal bolts and it works great.

    Ok, Ive never run matx, but for ultra reliability I would put up with hot stuff over something AMD after trying all sorts of mobos. Intel CPUs last donkeys years, even in crappy environments.

    HDs at 50C isnt good, whatever system.

    My case *is* a YY cube :blush:

    But my sisters PC and my PC works 24/7 regardless of the abuse, and they work first time without pissing about. My sisters even being on the floor caked in dust in a shuttle. Whereas my brothers AMD939 in another shuttle is giving us no end of jip. And during testing mobos you find that Intel mobos were more likely to just *work* rather than an AMD.
     

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