Hybrid PC

the_phantom

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Mar 14, 2009
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Hi,

I'm upgrading my old PC, keeping my midtower ATX case, hdd and other drives.
A friend gave me a Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition (chip only, no cooler), so that's my starting point.

I'll be using this PC mostly for web and email, but also on occasion for 3D and Adobe Flash development, and sometimes gaming.
I would also like to convert it in a couple of years in an HTPC (getting an HTPC case and BluRay drive), so it must be silent and have a IGP powerful enough to play full-hd movies etc...

These are the components I'm pretty sure on:

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper Tx2
Memory: Corsair Twin2X 4096-8500C5D Dominator EPP
GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 - 1GB PCI-E

I'm still undecided however on mobo and psu.

MOTHERBOARD
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For the mobo I've read quite a few reviews and comments. The 790gx+sb750 chipset seems to be better for normal pc use, while the best for an HTPC seems to be the nVidia 8300, since it supports 8-channel LPCM output via HDMI and smooth 24p playback. The 790gx has better performance but on 24p playback it's choppy and only has 2-channel LPCM output via HDMI.

Since I don't care about the IGP for normal PC use, I'm thinking of going with the nVidia 8300.

The problem is that there are very few 8300 boards around (or at least I haven't found many). The only ones I know about are:
Zotac GeForce 8300 (which has layout problems for the power connector)
Asus M3N78-EM (of which I've read mixed reviews and some serious problems with hdmi)
Asus M3N78 PRO (which is full-atx so will limit my HTPC case options, and has layout problems for the power connector, the SATA ports and other problems)
XFX GeForce 8300 (which seems to have some problems for HTPC use)

Ignoring the layout problems, this leaves me with the Zotac and M3N78 PRO.
Any opinions on these boards?

Also, what would you do? Get the 8300 now with its disadvantages but ready for HTPC "transformation" at no extra cost or get the 790gx and in a couple of years throw it out and get whatever is the best at that moment for HTPC?


PSU
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For the PSU I'm not sure about how much power I need: the GPU requires at peak consumption about 280W, the CPU 140W and then there's all the rest.

So to keep it safe I'm thinking of getting a 600W PSU.

Can anyone suggest a good PSU?
Will the Coolermaster Silent Pro M600 work? http://www.coolermaster.com/products/product.php?act=detail&id=4199
Is there anything cheaper but good?

GPU
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One last question, will the nVidia chipset give problems with the Radeon 4870?

Thank you for yuor opinions!
 

Helloworld_98

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For a HTPC a 4870 is overkill, a 4670 passive or one of the chrome GPU's will be best and save you a bit of cash.

For the PSU, it should be ok with the gpu's I've listed above but the 4870 might need a higher quality PSU.
 

the_phantom

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Well, actually when I will transform it in an HTPC I'm going to remove the GPU and use the IGP to keep it cooler and more silent. That's the main reason why I thinking of a more HTPC oriented IGP.

In the meantime, I discovered that the Zotac doesn't handle Black Edition Phenoms very well at all, so that leaves me with only the Asus M3N78 PRO. Maybe I should settle for the 8200 which has the same features except that it's a little less powerful, but has many more mobo's to choose from.
 

the_phantom

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I forgot...for the PSU what do you mean by higher quality?
I don't know anything on PSU's, but I've read a review on JohnnyGuru (as suggested in the guide) and the Coolermaster Silent Pro seems to be pretty good.
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story4&reid=134

What should I look for in a PSU with this configuration?

Thanks
 

MykC

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Nov 24, 2008
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I'd stick the AMD board. Asus 780g $78. When stick with AMD you get access to the AMD overdrive utility which is handy for OC the processor easily.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131324

XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail $26 after MIR. Probably best cooler for your money.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233003
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound $7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835100007

This may not fit your mATX case...
 

the_phantom

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Mar 14, 2009
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The OC utility on AMD boards is one of the things that makes me wonder if the 24p support is worth the sacrifice...

The Xigmatek seems indeed better! Unfortunately here in Europe I have to get it from Germany and the shipping costs make it inconvenient. :pfff:
If it were available w/o shipping though, I'd certainly get this instead of the Hyper Tx2. Thanks!