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Low power HTPC build

basslover1

Golden Member
Aug 4, 2004
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I'm planning on rebuilding my current HTPC with something new that will be quieter and use less power.

My current setup is as follows:

AMD athlon x2 4850e
Foxconn A7GMS
4x1GB DDR2800 Kingston Hyper X
Sapphire hd4670 512mb
160gb OS drive
2TB storage drive
Apevia 500w PSU

Works fine mostly, kinda slow on occasion but I think that's because the OS drive is older. Figured if I'm going to replace that HDD with an SSD might as well do the whole thing as I've had it for about 6 years now anyway.

New setup I'm looking at is as follows:

Intel Pentium G3220
Gigabyte GA-H81M-H Micro ATX
2x2GB DDR3 1333 G. Skill F3-10600CL9D-4GBNS
Samsung 840 EVO 120GB OS drive
2TB storage drive
Corsair 430W 80+ bronze modular PSU.

It's my DVR foremost paired with a Ceton Infinitv 4, other usage will be HD movies from the HDD, some streaming but I have a Chromecast that usually handles that for me. DVR playback I'd say is about 95% of my usage.

From CPU-world it appears even the Celeron G1830 bests my current CPU in everyday tasks, which is what I was going to get initially but the Pentium is only 9 bucks more so I figured what the heck. I'm just worried about whether or not the G3220 will have enough GPU power for my use-case.

Anyway, total price shopping around is 275.xx after rebates and shipping. I want to keep it as close to 250 as possible, so if you can think of something better, let me know.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,210
38
91
Great minds think alike... Your build has 3 of the components in my 'under construction' build.

Couple of things... Yes, the G3220 has plenty of power to drive a HTPC and stream pretty much everything except 3D. My HTPC has a Sandy Bridge G620 and does just fine... the G3220 is that and more.

The GA-H81M-H does not have a USB3.0 header on the mobo... depending on the case you have or are getting... if it has USB3.0 ports up front and you want to use them, you need a different board or a discrete USB3.0 PCIe card with a USB3.0 header.

Normally I say go for 2x 4GB RAM, but it has been my experience 4GB total RAM in an HTPC is fine... and you are trying to save money.

If you can wait until the CX430 non-modular goes on sale, you can probably save another $10 or so... (you didn't list prices.) You could probably save another $10 by getting a Crucial M500 instead of the Samsung EVO.

What are you using for an OS?
 

basslover1

Golden Member
Aug 4, 2004
1,921
0
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Great minds think alike... Your build has 3 of the components in my 'under construction' build.

Couple of things... Yes, the G3220 has plenty of power to drive a HTPC and stream pretty much everything except 3D. My HTPC has a Sandy Bridge G620 and does just fine... the G3220 is that and more.
I don't have a 3D TV so that isn't an issue. Plus I didn't list an optical drive because I have a PS4 for that anyway.

The GA-H81M-H does not have a USB3.0 header on the mobo... depending on the case you have or are getting... if it has USB3.0 ports up front and you want to use them, you need a different board or a discrete USB3.0 PCIe card with a USB3.0 header.
Since I'm reusing my old case that I bought about 6 years ago, no USB 3.0 up front, just 2.0 so that isn't an issue.

Normally I say go for 2x 4GB RAM, but it has been my experience 4GB total RAM in an HTPC is fine... and you are trying to save money.
A single 4GB stick is a little bit cheaper than the 2x2GB sticks I'm currently looking at, but I haven't been able to find whether or not Haswell is as reliant on memory bandwidth as my AMD APU, which needs dual channel memory for the best performance. I ask because I could do the single 4gb stick now, and get a second at a later date as long as it isn't detrimental to performance.

If you can wait until the CX430 non-modular goes on sale, you can probably save another $10 or so... (you didn't list prices.) You could probably save another $10 by getting a Crucial M500 instead of the Samsung EVO.
Well, the CX430M is a buck cheaper than the non-m, after rebate. I'm leaning towards the modular because my current PSU isn't, and it's pretty crowded in the case.

I opted for the Samsung because it seems to be the best overall performer in the 120GB capacity range, but true I could save 10 bucks because anything over my current setup should be an improvement.

What are you using for an OS?
I have Win7 ready to go.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,210
38
91
I ask because I could do the single 4gb stick now, and get a second at a later date as long as it isn't detrimental to performance.
...yes, that was my thought. No, you won't see a tangible difference using 1 RAM stick vs 2.

The little mobo seems like it's pretty decent, I'm lamenting the missing USB3.0 header, but I'll get over it.

Yes, they are really pushing the 430M right now; it, too, seems like a decent unit. For a while, you could get a CX430 for $17 (AR) but I haven't seen that in a while.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
You would probably see a small improvement in benchmarks but I would challenge anyone to notice the difference when doing HTPC duties.
That isn't true at all. Improvements in GPU power can be directly felt in your ten foot interface.

For my HTPCs the biggest use of the GPU isn't for playback (unless its 3D or interlaced), it is for driving the best XBMC skins at 60fps. Aeon runs at 60 on a GT430, but you get down to a AMD 6450 or GT510-level of power and you will be lucky to hit 30fps.
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
13,026
2,581
126
That isn't true at all. Improvements in GPU power can be directly felt in your ten foot interface.

For my HTPCs the biggest use of the GPU isn't for playback (unless its 3D or interlaced), it is for driving the best XBMC skins at 60fps. Aeon runs at 60 on a GT430, but you get down to a AMD 6450 or GT510-level of power and you will be lucky to hit 30fps.
I don't disagree with you, GPU can certainly effect the smoothness of the XBMC interface. But at the same time you are not twitch reacting to anything going on in screen either. I doubt you would notice a momentary drop of 2 fps in your interface, which is what we are realistically looking at when dealing with the difference between memory configurations.
 

basslover1

Golden Member
Aug 4, 2004
1,921
0
76
...yes, that was my thought. No, you won't see a tangible difference using 1 RAM stick vs 2.

The little mobo seems like it's pretty decent, I'm lamenting the missing USB3.0 header, but I'll get over it.

Yes, they are really pushing the 430M right now; it, too, seems like a decent unit. For a while, you could get a CX430 for $17 (AR) but I haven't seen that in a while.
Like I said my current case doesn't have front USB 3.0 ports anyway so the two on the I/O should be plenty, besides I don't think I have a single device that can take advantage of 3.0 anyway.

I could always hold off on the PSU until a better deal comes along but that corsair is the cheapest 80+ bronze modular PSU which is why I picked it.

Sometimes the integrated GPU has performance gains from dual-channel memory.
I know my AMD a-10 had a tremendous increase in performance going from single to dual channel but it also has a much more powerful iGPU than the Pentium. I haven't been able to find anything concrete on the performance differences between single and dual channel though.

I don't disagree with you, GPU can certainly effect the smoothness of the XBMC interface. But at the same time you are not twitch reacting to anything going on in screen either. I doubt you would notice a momentary drop of 2 fps in your interface, which is what we are realistically looking at when dealing with the difference between memory configurations.
I won't even be using xbmc at all. I can do everything I need with WMC and MPC-HC + Chromecast.

It sounds like the g3220 has enough GPU power to handle my usage but the single vs dual channel is what I'm hung up on. I'd rather have 8gb down the road when I buy another stick at some point than have 2*2 now and have to upgrade both at a later date if needed.
 

basslover1

Golden Member
Aug 4, 2004
1,921
0
76
OK, updated build setup:

Pentium G3220 $61.99
Gigabyte GA-H81M-H Micro $49.99 - $10 rebate = $39.99
G. Skill 4GB DDR3 1333 (or 1600, they're the same price) $34.99
Crucial M500 120GB SSD $74.99
Corsair CXM 430 $49.99 + $3.99 s/h - $10 rebate = $43.98
Total = 255.94

Right where I want to be price wise. Not sure if I should go with the DDR 1600 over the 1333 (not sure if the G3220 supports it) as they're the same price.
 

basslover1

Golden Member
Aug 4, 2004
1,921
0
76
Ok, so I'm going to get the DDR3-1600. I suppose if I ever upgrade to a new CPU down the road that can use the faster RAM, I wont have to upgrade that later on.
 

basslover1

Golden Member
Aug 4, 2004
1,921
0
76
Son of a b*tch, ordered the 1333 stick by accident, and it's too late to change the order :\

Meh, I'll probably just stick with it.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,210
38
91
Son of a b*tch, ordered the 1333 stick by accident, and it's too late to change the order :\

Meh, I'll probably just stick with it.
Don't sweat it... I have 1600 in my HTPC, I guess running at 1066? Whatever... that stuff confuses me.
 

basslover1

Golden Member
Aug 4, 2004
1,921
0
76
Yea it should be fine, I was just trying to plan a bit for down the line in a few years if Intel comes out with a newer Pentium that can handle ddr3 1600. Oh well. SSD and CPU will be here Friday from Amazon, the rest well I guess I'll wait and see how good Newegg Premium is.
 

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