General discussion

Help building a HTPC

I am building a home theater PC. I need suggestions on which processor and mother board to use. I don't want this to turn into an Intel vs. AMD thread. I only want to know your reccomendations on which setup to build around. My needs from this setup will be as follows:
1. Must be fairly quiet
2. Must support SATA drives
3. Must have PCI express slot for graphics card
4. Must have optical audio output
5. Possibly slots for both DDR & DDR2 ram (for future upgrades)

My plans are to start off with a basic setup, possibly a mobo with integrated graphics & audio. Then upgrade gradually as my budget permits. I know that I'll want an expensive graphics card for better picture quality down the road, but integrated graphics will be fine for now. I don't play any games on my PC, so that is not a concern for me. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks

Discussion is locked
Reply to: Help building a HTPC
PLEASE NOTE: Do not post advertisements, offensive materials, profanity, or personal attacks. Please remember to be considerate of other members. If you are new to the CNET Forums, please read our CNET Forums FAQ. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Reporting: Help building a HTPC
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
- Collapse -

Intel 915P with Intel 640 3.2GHz
or AMD Athlon 64 3700+ with mobo, i don't really know AMD motherboards.
Intel 915P supports PCI-X.
Intel 915P supports DDR2.
AMD does not currently support DDR2 until they revamp their processors...
Check out this article


- Collapse -

for the input. I was begginning to think no one would reply. The article did help clear a few things up for me. As far as the cpu/mobo I guess i was just curious which processor would perform better for this type of setup....AMD or Intel?

- Collapse -
hmmm, AMD vs. Intel it is

i would first off NOT COMPARE A 3.2GHZ CHIP AGAINST THE 3700+

the 3700+ would CRUSH THAT P4 with ease

for the simple reason that:

AMD's PR is about 90% accurate this time around, meaning you'd need a 3.7GHZ P4 to compete with that 3700 (in reality, it's more like a 3.5GHZ chip...)

just because they have EM64T does not make them faster

the 5xx chips perform better under all benchmarks

I would not say you need DDR2, but it is a newer/incoming feature

getting PCIE is a good idea

i would suggest something like the following (avoid the 3700 in general, it's Socket 754, which means single channel RAM and AGP 8x only...neither of which he wants)

I would get the Athlon64 3800+ (only around $50 more, and the performance increase is great for $50)
an nVidia nForce4 based motherboard (nForce4 is the only chipset AMD chips have to run PCIE, also, you need a Socket 939 board for the 3800+)

as for video
i'd get a PCIE X850XT or X850Pro

but really
since PCIE AIW cards aren't out (except the horrid X600 based one)

i'd get the 3800+ with an AGP board
and an AIW X800XL

- Collapse -
Not True
- Collapse -
Not true....

"an nVidia nForce4 based motherboard (nForce4 is the only chipset AMD chips have to run PCIE,"

Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and probably other motherboards will run PCIE.
PCIE = PCI-Express with x1 bus(s) and posssibly a x16 bus for a video card.

- Collapse -
you sound like a ****

this really proves your lack of general knowledge

nVidia nForce4 is a chipset
just like Intel's 925XE for Socket T

in fact the nForce4 Ultra is the AMD S939 equivalent to the 925XE

i was expecting fourm goers here to understand that i was meaning nVidia nForce4 meant the board chipset because:

A) nVidia does not produce CPU's
B) nVidia does not produce their own PCB/own their own OEM

which means it can only be a chip
it's not graphics
as their graphics line is clearly called GeForce
and GeForce is incapable of controlling a motherboard

which would leave a motherboard's chipset
Asus, Gigabyte and MSI are OEM manufactuers

as to those benchmarks
i guess i misread the Pentium IV 5 vs 6
not like it matters
when you consider that the P4 EE 3.73 is averaging like the Athlon64 3500+

now which is the better CPU john?
i'm going to say that the $275 3500+ which is, utterly, killing the Pentium IV EE 3.73 which isn't out yet, and will retial much was it? $1000? $1100? $1200?

making it what? 3? 4 times as much money?
for 2 or 3% LESS power?

i still fail to see your logic on anything john
you are anti ATi, and anti AMD
just because nVidia and Intel have produced good products in other generations (NV40 and Pentium III are my examples) doesn't mean their kings in current past generations

i know that's a little weird
let me re-phrase

just because Intel used to be good, doesn't make them good now

their getting whipped

same goes for nVidia's NV3x line against's ATi's R3xx line

can't you accept that Intel and nVidia aren't the best?

you seem to find anything you can, just to tear AMD and ATi down...

you make me want to buy ATi products
just to piss you off

as to the OpenGL benchmarks which i'm sure your to gripe about
my personal favorite, the Athlon64 3800+ is still taking names
it loses in woflenstien
by about 1 FPS

now let's consider this again
i know this is really super hard math to compute

you take the Athlon64 3800+, which is $355
still with me?
now you take the Pentium IV EE 3.73, which is unreleased and the guessed MSRP based on past EE series chips on release is $1100 (in the range of)
still with me?

now we subtract $355 (hell, make it $390, over price the chip to give the PIV some advantage)

let's take $390 from $1100

that is $710

now what in hell would possess someone to pay $710 for a 1FPS increase in 1 game, and 2-4FPS drop in every other game, not to mention a roughly 8 FPS drop in Half-Life 2?

by your logic it works though

we spend more money than we should on a gfx card
so then we waste yet more money on the CPU
so while we are at it
let's buy that Fatal1ty motherboard, so we can have a $230 motherboard, which can be had for $170 if you take all the tags off of it

but oh no
gotta use john's system
gotta spend hundreds more (currently in your advice the total ammount of money you've suggested wasting is around $600...i'm not saying you've suggested the EE chip, i'm saying you've suggestd 6xx chips and over priced graphics cards...i thought the idea was to help members SAVE money, not waste it frivoulsly)

- Collapse -
RE: sound like ****

Have been reading some of your posts and find them informative yet very biased for AMD vs. Intel (not necessarily a bad thing) and suspect your "expertise " is more derived from reading than hands on systems experience.

Seems the forum goal is to have an intelligent exchange of information be it for one point of view or another in order to further thought and knowledge and development of those interested in accessing its resources

- Collapse -
What?..."AVOID THE PENTIUM IV 6xx series"

"just because they have EM64T does not make them faster"

What a brash statement, along with some others, that belongs in the kiddies column of a gaming forum.

The 6xx series is the wave of the future for Pent IV and slowly makers of Pentium computers are trying to sell off their 5xx to make room for the 6xx series, which mainly also differs along with EM64T, in having the new PCI-Express technology, including the new PCI-Express graphic cards.

Here are some comments extracted from Tom's Hardware:

"AMD has been offering 64-bit capability since Fall 2003, even though only a few users have been able to really benefit from it.

"Without a doubt, the future belongs to the new PCI Express interface.
The PCI bus and the AGP interface will be and is slowly being replaced by PCI Express."

"The new models 6xx differ from the 500 series in offering SpeedStep and the larger cache."

"If we directly compare the 500 and 600 series families, the conclusion we arrive at is very clear: the new version clearly is the better processor.
Thanks to features such as EM64T 64-bit extensions, the Execute Disable Bit, Thermal Monitoring 2, the Enhanced Halt State and Enhanced SpeedStep, the new 2 MB Prescott finally meets the standard of being a processor that is both fast and reasonable in feature set and power consumption.

In the coming months, Intel is going to make some real news in their Pentium 4 family. The best example will be the virtualization technology called Vanderpool or VT."

- Collapse -
just wanted to reply again

i bet you can't even explain vanderpool
or what it does

and BTW
AMD is making something simmilar (virtualization)

- Collapse -
AMD based config (Extract from a french magazine PCUPDATE)

1) AMD Athlon64 3000+ (

- Collapse -

These guys seem to be knowledgable & have posted recommended systems for various price ranges here:

They also have a few "do it yourself" articles that are very readable & interesting.

- Collapse -
the french one is over priced

most of those parts aren't that expensive least, if the euro:USD is still where i remember it at (like 1.5:1 right? so 300 euroes is like? 450 US?)

- Collapse -
Prices were just as reference

Prices were just as reference, when I looked at USD prices you can get in the states, just forget your 1.5:1 ratio, a 1:1 is more like it.
I mostly wanted to point the different elements with an idea of cost.

CNET Forums