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My quest for a pseudo futureproofed casual gaming ATX HTPC

Wharfedale Linton Heritage Speakers

corElement

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Well, I've saved up enough for a pc upgrade finally but I'd still qualify as broke :p So I thought i'd make this thread to voice the kind of stuff that was/is/will go on in my mind as I decide parts for my new pseudo htpc. Please feel free to give me any feedback you guys may have.

Motherboard

To find components that are at par with my present nforce 2 with nvidia soundstorm onboard soundcard that makes my creative audigy 2 sound silly I began looking for the right cpu but ended up searching based on motherboards

I quickly realised amd and intel were on the verge of releasing complete refreshes of their cpu's in mid 2011 that are completely different from all cpu's within the 8 years. But I have no option, my pc is dying, need an upgrade right now to continue work.

After a LOT OF RESEARCH I found this this to have some weight.

GA-890GPA-UD3H @ 10k That will run an AMD phenom II x4 965be ( about 5-7% inferior compared to i5 750 )

gigabyte_890gpa.jpg


Instead of saying what am I looking for in a mobo, I'm going to say what I found in this mobo together as features in one single unit.

- Latest as of april 2010

- The ONLY motherboard with NATIVE sata3 / 6gbps controller without a 3rd party controller ( this is a major thing because my previous motherboard didnt have native controller and to run something like a sata harddrive I would have to install a DRIVER to run an hdd, back then I thought sata, too new.. I'll stick to IDE, 9 years later im still on ide because the sata controller I have is an annoying piece of shit so im not going to make that mistake again)

- The ONLY motherboard under 17k which does not have a bottleneck if you actually WANT to use a sata3 or usb3 device in the future which all intel boards below x58 chipsets other than one or two high end p55 motherboards ( which is the standard for i5 750 cpus ) do. P55 motherboards are the best motherboards for core i5 cpu's as of april 2010 for you features who are from the future. P55 motherboards are crippled with a serious bottleneck - if you want to run any sata3 or usb3 device the primary video card slot will automatically drop its PRIMARY VIDEO CARD PCI SLOT BANDWIDTH BY 50%! From 16x to 8x. If you add two video cards on a p55 motherboard and still want to run any sata3 or usb3 device, the bandwidth will FUTHER drop to 4x. There are no intel based solutions for this bottleneck and horrible crippling future proofing feature unless you go upto x58 motherboardsm, these motherboards are all above 15-17k and come with an nforce 200 controller to artificially handle the bandwidth bottleneck.

- High quality onboard audio (dont bother telling me to get a discrete card because I will later when my pockets are fat again :D)
Realtek ALC892
7.1+2(for headset while gaming) with dolby digital live.
Integrated DAC x 10 channels @ 110snr
HDMI 1.3 bitstreaming
Dolby Encoding input and output through spdif

- Highest integrated video card with DX 10.1 compatibility - ATI radeon 4250
To give you an idea, it runs crysis at medium settings at 30fps

- Auto crossfires onboard video card and additional video card placed into PCI express slots adding to gaming capabilities even more! This is not there on any other onboard video solution to auto crossfire itself with discrete board (if there is please feel free to post it here as I may not be aware of the model number)

- Gigabyte ultra durable standard build with copper and hq capacitors.

CPU

AMD Phenom II x4

yes yes, its nothing like an i7 but it is indeed comparable to the core i5 750 however it consumes more idle power ( approx 20watts more ) and overall about 10% lesser in over all performance, price is the same at 9k give or take 1k from sellers. If there was a better cpu ( the 6 core amd cpu launched today is meant for applications which need multiple threads like video encoding, games and audio, photoshop have been benchmarked to run better on quad cores in comparison to 6 cores.

RAM

Looking, any inputs?


Video card

I was looking at the 5770 but I hear the geforce 260 is good too but I dont know.. researching at the moment for best gpu under 11k that has

hdmi
dvi
display port
not too obstructive

Storage

I've love to get my hands on an ssd but theyre like 6k for a 40gb I think, any idea if its possible to get it any cheaper? or if theres any sata 3 mechanical hdd?
 
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thevortex

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Well, if it can run Crysis at medium settings why do you want to plonk a Video card as well into the unit? :) About the RAM 2 GB of matched DDR3 RAM would be the way to go.
 

Rem

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Well, if it can run Crysis at medium settings why do you want to plonk a Video card as well into the unit?

Gud question thevo

I thk you can save on the video card for the time being if the onboard one is this gud and go for a newer better GPU based graphics card packed with more awesomeness( i luv tht word :)) in future or spend that money on a better power unit,cooling or cabinet (with more awesomeness of course).

how much L2 cache does this AMD processor have.(more the L2 cache more expensive the CPU gets but i do believe it adds to performance )
 

Rem

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yep was trying hard to keep away from this addiction I had. Unusually was caught up with some work as well hve send u a pm thevo.
 

vivekam

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Any specific reasons for selecting four cores instead of two cores.
Four cores will be helpful if you are into animation and movie making. Extra cores are always helpful in encoding. For decoding two cores are enough.
 

corElement

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According to anandtech 4 cores is the best balance between dual and hex cores for general activities and newer games and applications using threads on multiple cores while dual for older games and less threaded applications. I'm just going by whats the highest available from amd right now which is the phenom II x4 965be, they have another 6core chip but its a worse performer than the x4 in everything other than encoding and animation.
 
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