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Enough benchmarks...which one will work in real world better?

WildViper

Senior member
Feb 19, 2002
287
0
71
Hi All,

I am researching to build an HTPC/Server/Medium Gaming rig. I have gone through so may reviews and head-to-heads that my head is exploding!

My system will be connected to a Yamaha A/V Receiver. Going to use Win 7 64bit with XBMC or WMC. Everything connected via Gigabit ethernet and HDMI 1.4 cables.

The stresses I could put the system through:

  • HD 1080p video encoding/decoding/transcoding - No DVR functions - mainly backing up my DVD/BluRay collection to ISO format and then seeing it via XBMC/WMC
  • HD Audio for DTS/Dolby Surround
  • Steam gaming - I like FPS/Car Racing and so on. The max rez I would want to play at would be 1080p since that is my TV currently. Would love to play Battlefield and such games. I am not sure at what fps since I have no idea. Have been out of gaming for a while.
  • Netflix HD streaming / Youtube HD
  • File Server for my other PC (AMD Phenom X4 960T)

The choices I have in CPU are:

  • Intel Haswell i3 - higher end
  • Intel Haswell i5 - lower end
  • AMD A10-6800K - Richland
  • AMD A10-7K series - Kaveri

I have read that Xbit showed that even the lowest i3 beat the crap out of highest AMD Richland. Then I read that Xbit is biased towards Intel. Sigggghhhhh. Which would you recommend and why?

I am not going to have discrete graphic cards due to budget.

Thx for the help!
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,209
38
91
HD 1080p video encoding/decoding/transcoding

I am not going to have discrete graphic cards due to budget.
Easy pick... i5.

Horsepower to encode/transcode, Intel HD4600 graphics; however, if you are looking to run 3D you will have to go to a discrete CPU.

Edit:

Would love to play Battlefield and such games. I am not sure at what fps since I have no idea.
If you get back into gaming, you will probably want to upgrade to a GPU. I played MW1/2 with my 2500K's iGPU (HD3000 at the time) and it was playable... just not optimal. Leave yourself an open as far as a GPU...
 
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poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
HTPC plus server? Haswell i3.

Why?

Because the last thing you want is more heat pouring out onto those HDs.
 

WildViper

Senior member
Feb 19, 2002
287
0
71
Thx you two.

Everytime I think I have provided enough info, I realize..sighhh..I can give more.

Few things:

1. I am going to put this in a mid-tower with 3 or 4 fans. Since it is in my office, I am not concerned about miniITX and making it look stunning. But of course I don't want too much sound coming from this either. A good balance to find.

2. I am not going to run 3D.

3. I am going to have 3 or 4 HDs..each about 3TB or so running in here.

4. I am probably going to be more of a casual gamer rather than hardcore. I can always add a GPU later if I want too since I am going a MidTower with lots of space in there.

5. I am not going to overclock.

6. I am hoping for smooth HD video playback. No stuttering from content on HD or even streaming.

:)
 
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pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
7,017
2,128
136
Hi All,

I am researching to build an HTPC/Server/Medium Gaming rig. I have gone through so may reviews and head-to-heads that my head is exploding!

My system will be connected to a Yamaha A/V Receiver. Going to use Win 7 64bit with XBMC or WMC. Everything connected via Gigabit ethernet and HDMI 1.4 cables.

The stresses I could put the system through:

  • HD 1080p video encoding/decoding/transcoding - No DVR functions - mainly backing up my DVD/BluRay collection to ISO format and then seeing it via XBMC/WMC
  • HD Audio for DTS/Dolby Surround
  • Steam gaming - I like FPS/Car Racing and so on. The max rez I would want to play at would be 1080p since that is my TV currently. Would love to play Battlefield and such games. I am not sure at what fps since I have no idea. Have been out of gaming for a while.
  • Netflix HD streaming / Youtube HD
  • File Server for my other PC (AMD Phenom X4 960T)

The choices I have in CPU are:

  • Intel Haswell i3 - higher end
  • Intel Haswell i5 - lower end
  • AMD A10-6800K - Richland
  • AMD A10-7K series - Kaveri

I have read that Xbit showed that even the lowest i3 beat the crap out of highest AMD Richland. Then I read that Xbit is biased towards Intel. Sigggghhhhh. Which would you recommend and why?

I am not going to have discrete graphic cards due to budget.

Thx for the help!
If budget (and desired case) allows for it.
i5 and a discrete card, followed by i3 with a discrete card.

The AMD's offer better onboard but having an onboard that allows you to play current games with the settings dialed back is a half ass way of going about setting up a dual use httpc\steam machine. Its a good option if you are willing to give up on dual use and have it strictly for light gaming, casual stuff or you are fine with it being close to console quality.
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
12,977
2,512
126
Either of the Haswells are going to be fine for the HTPC part of your build. The streaming of 1080p video is not going to cause either of those any problems. The i5 will be faster at transcoding, but if you are going to ISO format it will not be by much as that is not nearly as computationally demanding as transcoding to a compressed format.

The problem comes in gaming. No APU is currently up to the task of running Battlefield at an acceptable frame rate. So, if you really dial back the settings you can run it on the HD4600 graphics built into the i5 but even a $100 GPU will outperform it, often by large margins.

If budget is a major concern and gaming is something you want to do with this system, my recommendation would be to take the i3 and take the money saved and put it in a GPU fund and add a few extra every week until you can afford a Radeon HD7770 or R7 260X.

EDIT: Even better would be to get the i5 and play something older for a few months until you an afford a Radeon R9 270X. That would let you play most games at medium to high settings at 1080p.

EDIT EDIT: I should also point out that all this comes with a cost. Discrete GPU's suck down power, which also means more heat, which means more and faster spinning fans. Although if you get a few decent fans in a midtower case noise should not be a bit problem.
 
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WildViper

Senior member
Feb 19, 2002
287
0
71
I just thought about this...I could consider giving my primary PC (Phenom X4 960T / 8 Gig RAM / Radeon 6770 / SSD Drive) to be this HTPC/Gaming/Server Rig.

And I can get myself something "lower" powered instead.

Is my Primary PC capable of doing all what I need?
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,209
38
91
I just thought about this...I could consider giving my primary PC (Phenom X4 960T / 8 Gig RAM / Radeon 6770 / SSD Drive) to be this HTPC/Gaming/Server Rig.

And I can get myself something "lower" powered instead.

Is my Primary PC capable of doing all what I need?
I don't see why not. :p The 6770, while not a powerhouse, will work pretty well as a casual gamer GPU (and certainly for HTPC duty.) The 960T should be OK to trans- and encode as well.
 

piasabird

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
17,183
60
91
I often wondered if you can switch back and forth between Intel HD Video and a discreet GPU. You don't want a bunch of noise watching a video.
 

WildViper

Senior member
Feb 19, 2002
287
0
71
I often wondered if you can switch back and forth between Intel HD Video and a discreet GPU. You don't want a bunch of noise watching a video.
I have tried this with my current setup with on-board graphics and the discrete card I have.

It is a PITA...I had to go into my bios and set the on-board video as priority....and then when logging back in Win 7, it takes a long ass time...I guess it is figuring out that something is different.

Then I have to select HDMI audio and turn off the on-board sound.

Repeat and Rinse everytime. Not ideal by any means.
 

andrx47

Member
Dec 6, 2012
37
0
0
I wouldn't go Kaveri right now. I just purchased one and had nothing but issues with it. I think the hardware is promising, but the drivers just aren't there yet. I think once the first non-beta driver release comes out it will work well, but I had stability issues, CCC would crash, and the HDMI port on my mobo wouldn't work. Luckily Newegg was gracious enough to let me return it for store credit. Kaveri would get you BF4 at medium settings IF mantle works the way it is suppose to, which it sounds like it is off to a good start, but I think it is too early to tell if mantle will become widely supported. Just my 2 cents.
 

WildViper

Senior member
Feb 19, 2002
287
0
71
Well...thx to all and Andrx47 (for Kaveri results)...I ended up ordering an i5.

here is what I got:

- Intel i5 4570
- ASUS H87M-PRO LGA 1150 Intel H87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 uATX Intel Motherboard
- 8 Gig of DDR3 1600 RAM

Here is my thinking on why I finally went with i5. I checked AMD benchmarks against Intel and even the i3 was beating the crap out of A10-6800K. In fact, the i3 was beating my current X4 Phenom 960T!!!! I mean come on...how can a i3 dual core beat this 4-core monster?

After looking at the difference between i3 and i5 (quad-core), the performance benchmarks are consistently 60% to 70% better for the i5. That's huge gain in my opinion for a price that was $60 difference. I got the i5 at the MicroCenter for $160.

As for the mobo, I went with the H87 rather than then the Z87 to save some cash. The major difference between the two is overclock ability on the Z and couple of extra Sata Ports. I may regret this decision due to Sata ports but no so much the overclock part. I don't overclock.

I went with Asus board mainly because of the USB Boost that they have. I know there are not that many USB devices using UASP yet...but I will make sure to buy those if I need them in future. Plus, figure that I can have my DVD/BluRay collection on USB drives as well if need be.

Hope that helps someone else.

And Thank you for all of your help. Now on to software! Fun! :)
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
12,977
2,512
126
Well...thx to all and Andrx47 (for Kaveri results)...I ended up ordering an i5.

here is what I got:

- Intel i5 4570
- ASUS H87M-PRO LGA 1150 Intel H87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 uATX Intel Motherboard
- 8 Gig of DDR3 1600 RAM

Here is my thinking on why I finally went with i5. I checked AMD benchmarks against Intel and even the i3 was beating the crap out of A10-6800K. In fact, the i3 was beating my current X4 Phenom 960T!!!! I mean come on...how can a i3 dual core beat this 4-core monster?

After looking at the difference between i3 and i5 (quad-core), the performance benchmarks are consistently 60% to 70% better for the i5. That's huge gain in my opinion for a price that was $60 difference. I got the i5 at the MicroCenter for $160.
I think you went the right way. Haswell is a beast. AMD has decent APU, but the compute simply is not there. Do you intend to add a discrete GPU to it later?

As for the mobo, I went with the H87 rather than then the Z87 to save some cash. The major difference between the two is overclock ability on the Z and couple of extra Sata Ports. I may regret this decision due to Sata ports but no so much the overclock part. I don't overclock.
I doubt you will ever miss the extra SATA ports. The board you chose has 6. Unless you are going to fill them right now you will almost certainly be better upgrading to bigger drives later on then adding more. Remember that spinning platters have a limited lifespan and have to be replaced periodically. Six 4TB drives is a lot of space. You could easily store over a thousand high quality BD Rips on that.

And Thank you for all of your help. Now on to software! Fun! :)
You are welcome. If you have questions about the software ask away, we have a lot of knowlageble people in that area too.
 

WildViper

Senior member
Feb 19, 2002
287
0
71
I doubt you will ever miss the extra SATA ports. The board you chose has 6. Unless you are going to fill them right now you will almost certainly be better upgrading to bigger drives later on then adding more. Remember that spinning platters have a limited lifespan and have to be replaced periodically. Six 4TB drives is a lot of space. You could easily store over a thousand high quality BD Rips on that.
Oh Shoot. I just noticed that I got a microUTX board and I have bought a mid tower case! I guess they won't dance well now will they?
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
12,977
2,512
126
Oh Shoot. I just noticed that I got a microUTX board and I have bought a mid tower case! I guess they won't dance well now will they?
It matters on the case, but uATX spec is compatible to ATX cases. The mounting should be a subset of the ATX mounts and the I/O panel is identical.

Edit: The only problem you will probably have is if you ordered a micro PSU then it will leave a big hole in your case, but uATX boards are compatable with normal PSUs.
 

WildViper

Senior member
Feb 19, 2002
287
0
71
Siggghhhh...now I know why I didn't see any PCI slots. I was wondering about that and figured cause I am moving on up in the world of latest tech! :p
 

WildViper

Senior member
Feb 19, 2002
287
0
71
Well I cancelled my order for the micro UTX board and got myself another Asus board. This time I decided to just spend the money so that I can get the 2 extra Sata ports. Got the Z87-Plus.

With the H87 having 6 sata ports ...it is really like having 4 cause one will goto the cd burner and the other for the boot drive. And since my idea is to put more drives in here (haven't fully figured this out yet)...the z87 will give me 8 Sata ports to start with.

I am gonna now post about the next step in my build in another thread. :) - Part 2
 
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piasabird

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
17,183
60
91
This may not be worth it at all However, I remembered that this was talked about for Intel Sandy Bridge and later.

This was from a website:

The way in which this switchable graphics technology works is that Lucidlogix presents a sort of virtualized graphics card to the operating system. There is then a bit of logic that determines which graphics card will process the various Direct X API calls. When only using the Aero desktop and IntelMedia processor graphics instructions, the dedicated card can be in a low power state while the integrated GPU handles the workload. When running games or when activated by a user (or their profile settings), the virtualized card passed the dedicated card instructions to process that are then routed out the Sandy Bridge video output connection. This allows enthusiasts the best of both power draw and performance worlds that mobile users have enjoyed for some time.

This may not be worth messing with. I think it started as a way of running laptops with discreet graphics to use less power when not playing games.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4199/lucids-virtu-enables-simultaneous-integrateddiscrete-gpu-on-sandy-bridge-platforms
 

WildViper

Senior member
Feb 19, 2002
287
0
71
Another update. I had to cancel my Antec 750W PSU order cause it came to my attention that it may not be able to take advantage of lower C states on the Haswell CPUs.

Apparently, the Haswell CPU can lower the power state so much that it is barely pulling any watts. I think like 0.5 or so in that state. This is something that is important to me and I am sure others who have HTPC that maybe on "stand-by" for a long time. Lower energy pull = lower electricity cost. :)

However, not all PSUs in the market are able to handle such low pulls. See this article.

As mentioned in the article, PSU manufacturers are not marketing this..though they should.

After reading comments and links...I came across this Intel PSU Selector site. Filtering for 12V2 at 0Amps gave me a list.

I ended up getting Corsair 750 since according to Intel's site...this should be ok.

This is more an FYI for other builders out there..especially how the budget can be thrown off by $100-$200 or so.
 

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