AMD htpc for gaming


Dec 3, 2007
Haven't built a pc in a while so I'm looking for suggestions on the mobo/cpu component. The requirements are:

A) It's an AMD (mobo can be any brand)
B) It's for gaming
C) It'll be for an htpc (but I have no idea what that really entails... I'll probably just play games all day on it)

There's a combo right now of the following for around 280$ shipped:

-AMD Phenom II X4 920 2.8GHz Socket AM2+ 125W
-ASUS M4A79 Deluxe AM2+/AM2 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard

Looks pretty solid but the mobo seems like overkill. I'm gonna be using nvidia cards so the 4x crossfire is pretty pointless. The mobo is 140$ with the combo, which is what made it tempting. Any better suggestions on the mobo is highly appreciated. I'm pretty firm on the cpu unless someone wants to suggest something that games better and costs less than 150$.

I got my own religion for heatsinks and fans, so no recommendations are required there.

Thanks for reading, any comments are welcome.


In case anyone is wondering, here are the other parts I've decided on for the pc:
-pair of 8800gt from another build (gave up because it wouldn't fit 2*hr-03gt into the tower)
-velociraptor 74/150/300 (probably raid0 a pair of 74s)
-2*2 gb of pc6400 ram from some brand if I don't already have some somewhere.
-pc power n cooling 750 watt (its shiny red!)
-cm 360 tower; it can lie flat down and doesn't cost much (like a cheap hooker). I took a look at real htpc cases and they were all $100+ for no good reason. They also didn't look like they would have any sort of airflow given their small size (besides the antec nsk2480 (wow, that just rolls off the keyboard... nsk2480... nsk2480...)). The cm360 looks cheap and I'll end up prying off that that crappy cm insignia using an even crappier cm fan blade, but it should get the job done.

This is replacing an e2200 with an 8800gt and other noname parts on an Antec Aria /w 300watt psu. It works fine but it runs slow (using some generic hd/ram so load times are awful) and hot (50c cpu/60c gpu when gaming). I'm too lazy to find a non-stock heatsink that will fit inside that tiny thing. The positioning of the cpu on the no-name mobo is pretty weak.

I never really intended it for gaming at all; I left it in my parents house until I bought an hdtv and wanted to fiddle with stuff (like installing new nvidia drivers which caused unfixable overscan issues)(system restore finally pays off). Framerates on it are actually quite good though. It probably just needs a faster hd and better airflow to make it "work", but we'll leave that to another day.

The only SLI motherboard I'll recommend is Intel, and I suspect that is why you are not getting any replies. Nvidia chipset boards are not very popular here.

You want a Home Theater PC... These have certain qualities in general.
1. Low profile case that fits in with home theater type equipment.
2. Quiet.
3. Cool running - not overclocked usually not two video cards.

I think you just want a gaming PC to hook up to your TV. How will you use the optical drive if it's laying on it's side?

(gave up because it wouldn't fit 2*hr-03gt into the tower)
I have no idea what you are saying there.

So I guess you are asking for a motherboard recommendation at the heart of all this. Here is one that has the right price and features:
I don't recommend any nVidia chipset boards, but I know you have to have one, so there ya go.



Dec 3, 2007

Thanks for your comment!

I'm not really planning on sli-ing with the 2 8800gt's. I just happen to have them lying around so I'll just use them until I figure out what I really want. Speaking of which, I'm probably going to go do 2-way crossfire (with 4890s from newegg and that delicious 10% coupon), so I guess I'll toss that into the list of arbitrary requirements.

The cm360 case can be (and should be) positioned like a vcr player since the cd rom and 3.5 ext bay is sideways when you stand it up like a desktop tower. I really don't understand why they market it as a mid-atx and not a TRANSFORMING CASE FROM THE FUTURE.

Anyways... you are totally right on the 3 important requirements of an htpc. I'm not planning on o/cing this at all, as the plasma screen is burning everything in a 5 feet radius already. My living room is literally hot enough to cook hot pockets if I leave them on a metallic plate. I'm probably going to go with some passive heatsinks and run an assload of airflow through the case.

About the thermalright hr-03gt's; those are 2 of the sharpest, knifelike gpu coolers in existence. I did an intel/thermalright/antec fanboy build (much how this build is going to be an amd thing) and used an 120extreme and 2 hr-03gt's. I gouged myself with those pointy metal blades more than I gouged the guy I was building it for. Remember that one crazy picture with a guy and his arm in a meat grinder (go on, google it, I'll wait)... it was like that.

Anyways, here's a recap of the requirements:

-Cpu needs to be from amd. Probably 920/940/955. Or if there is some gamer cpu I'm missing from amd. amd's dual cores suck so hard, I'm tempted just to bail on them and go with an e8400. Btw... I'd like to know if there's any reason to have a Black Edition if I'm not planning to overclock. I haven't done this amd thing in a while, as I'm sure you've noticed.

-mobo needs to support 2x crossfire. Price is pretty irrelevant, but I'm not planning to overclock so any old board that supports phenom II, ddr3, and 2x crossfire should work (ie, 790x). It's so hard to tell if a bump in price is due to the board being actually reliable, or if it has some crazy feature that no other board has, or if the vender is just tryin to rip you off.

-and as for time of purchase... sooner is better. I'll probably impulsively buy the first shiny thing I see.

Any comments appreciated!
If you're not dead set on DDR3, this is what I would recommend:

AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor - Retail

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail $239.98 (CPU + RAM combo)

GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $109.99

Total - $349.97

If you have to have DDR3 then you could get these, but they're not worth the price premium IMO:

AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor - Retail

OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3RPR16004GK - Retail $288.99 - $20 MIR

GIGABYTE GA-MA790XT-UD4P AM3 DDR3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $139.99 - $15 MIR

Total - $428.98 - $35 MIR's
Or go this route, as you don't really need a quad:
That gives you a 790FX board for your crossfire 4890s, and enough CPU.

See, in most games the 720 and 940 are even:

That's from a recent article here.,2304-7.html

Oh, you mean THAT case. :p


Dec 3, 2007

Nice! That's exactly what I needed. Everyone knows that all ram are the same, so the main requirement for ram was that it looks cool and those reapers fit the bill.

That mobo also works; in fact, I've been eyeing this mobo in combo with the 955 BE:

Seems pretty good right? The 955 goes to 185$ when you add it in the cart with the mobo. This comes to 185+115+73= 373 minus 35 more in rebates.