Gaming HTPC Page 3

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  • Armoured_Bear 14 Sep 2012 08:50:49 11,939 posts
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    @vizzini
    I'm trying to carefully choose everything to be as quiet as possible but with good performance. To confirm, it won't really be used as an HTPC in my case, it's a licing room gaming PC in an HTPC case.

    Watercooling has been mentioned but seems impractical due to space and noise, if you can't have pumps and other crap in another room then it will be no quieter than good quality, large, slow spinning fans.

    XBL : ecosse011172
    PSN : ecosse_011172
    NNID : armoured_bear

  • richardiox 14 Sep 2012 09:42:45 5,739 posts
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    @vizzini

    You're talking about performance per watt and per decibel. Fair enough.

    Everyone else is talking about performance in terms of drivers, compatability and framerates. Which for a gaming HTPC is more important.

    I can't believe this is even a point for discussion but as is always the case with you - you're right and the entire rest of the Internet is wrong. See also when you claim digital foundry and (gulp) Lens of Truth get their information wrong and you know otherwise but can never prove it.

    Anyway - Ecosse, when are you going to hit the "buy" button on this bad boy?
  • Deleted user 14 September 2012 09:52:13
    @Armoured_Bear

    Fair enough I hadn't notice water cooling was out. So air cooled quiet and power efficiency are would likes now? But using a bleeding edge GPU for gaming, HTPC case size, and keeping the purchase cost down to a minimum are the most important criteria?

    Well that makes sense, judging by the reaction from your mates like diox, that probably knew that all along.

    Going by that criteria, it seems like you need to change the focus of the problem then. Work back from a target noise level that is acceptable at low workloads(DVD/Blu-ray playback). Choose components that fit within that noise level; starting with PSU and the largest HTPC case you like the look of, and those two items and one fixed criteria will short list a lot of other stuff automaitically.

    It may turn out you already picked the optimum gear.
  • Deleted user 14 September 2012 10:10:39
    richardiox: Everyone else is talking about performance in terms of drivers, compatibility and framerates. Which for a gaming HTPC is more important.

    The first two criteria you listed are superior on the Professional GPUs. They produce more performance per watt partly because the drivers are more efficient, with less memory leaks, and day by day bug tracking for professional consumers, and they are compliant with far more OpenGL/DirectX/OpenCL/DirectCompute features, as a reference driver would be, hence why pro cards have a Game Development profiles. The aim being to eliminate much of the driver compatibility testing issues that QA teams uncover.
  • richardiox 14 Sep 2012 10:32:04 5,739 posts
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    Cut to the chase and supply something other than waffle that proves the "professional" GPUs provide better framerates on current games, Metro 2033, Arma 2, BF3 etc etc. And no, using a Fire vs 9800pro benchmark on an alpha build of doom 3 doesn't prove your point at all.

    You even acknowledge above that professional GPUs don't provide better framerates...so why would anyone buy one for a gaming PC?

    Noone disagree's that their better for a development environment but we're talking mainstream gaming performance here.
  • Deleted user 14 September 2012 11:04:22
    I guess the fact that the GPU market is so competitive between ATI and NVidia would indicate that if there were a way to improve performance, either software or hardware, they would take advantage of it.

    Also the size of the gaming market must dwarf the PRO market. So the significance of it would have to take precedence.

    In short I guess the performance of each company correlates directly with how their gaming GPUs perform in relation to their competitors.
  • Armoured_Bear 14 Sep 2012 11:19:25 11,939 posts
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    richardiox wrote:
    @vizzini

    You're talking about performance per watt and per decibel. Fair enough.

    Everyone else is talking about performance in terms of drivers, compatability and framerates. Which for a gaming HTPC is more important.

    I can't believe this is even a point for discussion but as is always the case with you - you're right and the entire rest of the Internet is wrong. See also when you claim digital foundry and (gulp) Lens of Truth get their information wrong and you know otherwise but can never prove it.

    Anyway - Ecosse, when are you going to hit the "buy" button on this bad boy?
    I'm hoping to do some ordering this weekend (as well as flogging the Wii and 360), work has been mental this week :-(

    I'm slightly unsure about getting the X-560 or just the fanless X-460..
    Hmmm...

    XBL : ecosse011172
    PSN : ecosse_011172
    NNID : armoured_bear

  • Deleted user 14 September 2012 14:13:19
    @richardiox

    It seems that the absent, but important benchmark to check would be an OpenGL game (something like Rage) running on a Quadro K5000 and GTX 680 to prove the point about the driver support. As they share the same Kepler technology, core count, with the 680 using nearly twice the power(or more when at 18Watt idle) and the 680 having a little memory bandwidth boost, but other than that they are fairly matched in my opinion to test the device drivers, provided they are in workstations that won't CPU/L2 cache bottleneck the cards.

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/quadro-k5000.html

    http://www.geforce.co.uk/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gtx-680/specifications
  • richardiox 14 Sep 2012 14:58:13 5,739 posts
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    The K5000 costs about 1,700. The 680 costs 450. The 680 would perform better in that vast majority of games especially as most use DX.

    Is the 1,250 price difference worth it for a lower power draw and less noise?! Even if the Quadro can match the 680 for framerates it costs literally 4x as much.

    And there's a reason why it's hard to find gaming benchmarks for workstation GPUs - it's because they are not designed for or have drivers for mainstream gaming.

    I can't believe you're still banging this drum.
  • Armoured_Bear 14 Sep 2012 16:42:03 11,939 posts
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    The point of this thread is to share knowledge and experience on building quiet gaming PCs for the living room. Spending nearly 2 grand on a professional Graphics card is irrelevant, can we drop it please?

    XBL : ecosse011172
    PSN : ecosse_011172
    NNID : armoured_bear

  • Deleted user 14 September 2012 16:53:56
    You don't know! He could be so good at flame wars that he gets you to sextuple your budget.
  • Deleted user 14 September 2012 23:30:31
    @Armoured_Bear

    The PSUs you are looking at look quite good, but do you think the average power drain from your configuration (Fans, 3.5 hard drive/s or SSD, GPU, CPU, DVD, Blu-ray drives and motherboard) will keep the X-560 quiet even at idle? Or allow the X460FL to provide adequate power at maximum load for a 660 GPU(and overclocking if needed)?

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4217/seasonic-xseries-560w/6
  • Deleted user 15 September 2012 16:31:50
    @Armoured_Bear

    Have you considered using an externally powered USB hub for items like the blu-ray, Dvd, or for large/slower storage (3.5 SATA drive in a caddy)?

    Like my old system intelligent PSU, it might mean the PSU/motherboard might not powerup if it detects external power from the hub, making booting off the DVD/blu-ray with OS install disks a military precision exercise. But it would allow you to reduce the load on internal power supply, and offloaded it to a passively cooled external usb3.0 hub supply.

    It will look messy (with external cables), and external usb hubs/blu-ray/dvd writers are more pricey, and shouldn't be used for extensive processing(eg 8hrs at a time), but it would certainly reduce the base load on the PSU, to keep noise down, to share the passive cooling.
  • Armoured_Bear 15 Sep 2012 17:10:55 11,939 posts
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    vizzini wrote:
    @Armoured_Bear

    Have you considered using an externally powered USB hub for items like the blu-ray, Dvd, or for large/slower storage (3.5 SATA drive in a caddy)?

    Like my old system intelligent PSU, it might mean the PSU/motherboard might not powerup if it detects external power from the hub, making booting off the DVD/blu-ray with OS install disks a military precision exercise. But it would allow you to reduce the load on internal power supply, and offloaded it to a passively cooled external usb3.0 hub supply.

    It will look messy (with external cables), and external usb hubs/blu-ray/dvd writers are more pricey, and shouldn't be used for extensive processing(eg 8hrs at a time), but it would certainly reduce the base load on the PSU, to keep noise down, to share the passive cooling.
    No, not at all.
    I want something that fits into an equipment rack in the living room and is as unobtrusive as possible, external hubs are the last thing I want.

    This case with the quietest components, fans and fan profiles I can find should be pretty quiet as far as I can gather.

    XBL : ecosse011172
    PSN : ecosse_011172
    NNID : armoured_bear

  • heyyo 15 Sep 2012 17:18:45 14,369 posts
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    The thin, flimsy aluminum panels on that case are going to hum and buzz like fuck with a non-SS HDD and case fans - don't bother with the slow RPM 'slient' fans they barely spin/move air.

    Well, unless they're 140mm big as in that review case.

    Edited by heyyo at 17:19:27 15-09-2012

    Edited by heyyo at 17:21:39 15-09-2012
  • Armoured_Bear 15 Sep 2012 17:27:50 11,939 posts
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    heyyo wrote:
    The thin, flimsy aluminum panels on that case are going to hum and buzz like fuck with a non-SS HDD and case fans - don't bother with the slow RPM 'slient' fans they barely spin/move air.

    Well, unless they're 140mm big as in that review case.

    Edited by heyyo at 17:19:27 15-09-2012
    I'm planning on only using SSDs.

    XBL : ecosse011172
    PSN : ecosse_011172
    NNID : armoured_bear

  • FutileResistor 15 Sep 2012 18:04:07 1,239 posts
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    Even with overclocking, Armoured Bear's proposed system won't draw more than 360W at load.

    The X-460 would be fine. I'm disinclined to trust a fanless system but it is Seasonic, so probably alright.

    Edited by FutileResistor at 18:05:22 15-09-2012
  • Armoured_Bear 15 Sep 2012 18:27:20 11,939 posts
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    FutileResistor wrote:
    Even with overclocking, Armoured Bear's proposed system won't draw more than 360W at load.

    The X-460 would be fine. I'm disinclined to trust a fanless system but it is Seasonic, so probably alright.
    It's probably alright but it sounds that for heap dissipation and extra headroom it's worth having the 560 even though the fan is rarely used.

    I'm not 100% though

    XBL : ecosse011172
    PSN : ecosse_011172
    NNID : armoured_bear

  • Deleted user 15 September 2012 19:17:24
    Armoured_Bear wrote:
    FutileResistor wrote:
    Even with overclocking, Armoured Bear's proposed system won't draw more than 360W at load.

    The X-460 would be fine. I'm disinclined to trust a fanless system but it is Seasonic, so probably alright.
    It's probably alright but it sounds that for heap dissipation and extra headroom it's worth having the 560 even though the fan is rarely used.

    I'm not 100% though
    The graph(rpm vs load) might not be to perfect scale on seasonic's website

    http://www.seasonicusa.com/NEW_X-series_560-660-760-850.htm

    But if your system does use 360watts out of 560watts (eg 360/560 = 64%) then according to that and anandtech it will seem about 19dB of noise from the PSU will be expected. Maybe slightly less in Winter, and slightly more in summer, given the rotation will be temperature dependent, and will naturally get worse as the PSU clogs up with dust over the first year and heat dissipation deterioates.

    As a side comment, the components you've chosen might draw slightly more power than quoted at startup in cold weather, due to their resistance increasing inversely proportionally to their temperature (causing larger power draw initially). This is a problem I experienced with a seasonal flaky machine at bootup some years back with screen corruption9from the GPU), as it was built too close to the PSU limit. So maybe adding a little head room for component dust ageing, and season fluctuations might be an idea.

    Edited by vizzini at 19:18:37 15-09-2012
  • Fake_Blood 15 Sep 2012 19:51:09 4,469 posts
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    Have you taken in account cosmic rays?
    They are freaking everywhere!
    What you really want is one of these:


    Sure, it's only a gold plated powerpc 750 running at 200mhz, but it can take 1Mrad of radiation and works in temperatures from -55C to +125C.
  • Deleted user 15 September 2012 20:12:19
    @Fake_blood

    I bet that'll still cost less to make with gold plating than using two SLI Quadro K5000s in a Dell Precision :)
  • FutileResistor 15 Sep 2012 21:42:31 1,239 posts
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    Armoured_Bear wrote:
    FutileResistor wrote:
    Even with overclocking, Armoured Bear's proposed system won't draw more than 360W at load.

    The X-460 would be fine. I'm disinclined to trust a fanless system but it is Seasonic, so probably alright.
    It's probably alright but it sounds that for heap dissipation and extra headroom it's worth having the 560 even though the fan is rarely used.

    I'm not 100% though
    I'm not worried about headroom, it's Seasonic, probably the most trustworthy brand when it comes to PSUs. The X-460 will deliver 460W continuously no problem. Even overclocked you would have over 100 watts of headroom.

    They would also have thoroughly tested that the heatsink dissipates heat adequately under sustained load.

    It's the idea of a "fanless" that has me irrationally feeling it would be less reliable. If anything, eliminating the moving part should make it more reliable.
  • Armoured_Bear 15 Sep 2012 22:04:15 11,939 posts
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    Reliability isn't a concern, just that going fabless may allow too much heat in the case to build up.

    XBL : ecosse011172
    PSN : ecosse_011172
    NNID : armoured_bear

  • FutileResistor 15 Sep 2012 22:17:29 1,239 posts
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    That's a fairly big case. The i5 and the 660Ti are typically under 70 degrees at load.

    You can fit a 140mm exhaust fan on top and two front 140mm intake fans to keep the air flowing.

    Should be fine.
  • TVoJ 17 Sep 2012 15:19:47 2,046 posts
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    After being asked by a mate to look into this I've decided to build a new rig for my pub. Here's what I came up with, and if anyone can suggest a better option then please do.

    Asus AT5IONT-I, Intel NM10, Atom D525 Dual-Core, DDR3 SO-DIMM, SATA II -3Gb/s, PCIe (x4), Graphics On Board, Mini ITX

    CMSO2GX3M1A1333C9 -2GB Corsair DDR3 SO-DIMM PC3-10600 (1333), 204 Pin, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 9-9-9-24, 1.50V

    MTX002B -CiT MTX-002B Black mini-ITX Case with 300W PSU

    AK-186-L2B -60mm Akasa Amber Case Fan, 3 Pin, 2 Ball Bearing, Ultra Quiet and Long Life

    191.24 inc delivery.

    There's no hard drive as the 120 gb ssd I was going for is now unavailable. I called scan and they've told me to keep an eye on the front page for a better option in the next few days. So add another 40 quid to the price. 230ish.

    Picked the motherboard and cpu combo as it looks like it will run real cool and as the case only has space for 1 60mm fan, I thought it was a good idea.

    I will be using the pc in my pub to keep a spreadsheet (horse betting), Web browsing and streaming video. No gaming or design work so the dual 1.8ghz cpu should be plenty.

    The board has hdmi and dvi out. Anyone know whether I'll be able to dual screen or will I need a gfx card?

    All suggestions welcome.
  • FutileResistor 17 Sep 2012 18:23:52 1,239 posts
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    Sorry thought you were asking about the HTPC for your mate again.

    A normal dual core would be fine for a spreadsheet. The CPU in the Atom will really struggle with a spreadsheet with any significant amount of data.

    I strongly advise against the Atom. In your link the price of that part is 128.

    An A6-3500 is 53, an A6-3670K Black Edition is 65 and An FM1 Motherboard would be 35-40.

    The A6 is better in every way and it's cheaper.

    The Atom wouldn't even win in power consumption. 1080p playback with an atom would be drawing around 40watts. Based on the A6-3500 1080p playback on the A6-3670K would be around 35watts.

    Two years ago, you could make a case for Atom + Ion for an HTPC. I can't think of a single reason to get an Atom system over an A6 now, especially if you are running any kind of productivity application.

    Edit. Sorry didn't read the entire post. I think most FM1 boards will support dual monitors. Some combination of HDMI/DVI/D-Sub. You should check the individual motherboard manual to see what resloutions and combinations are supported.

    Edited by FutileResistor at 20:58:03 17-09-2012
  • Deleted user 17 September 2012 20:21:23
    @TvoJ

    Everyone will probably get upset again, but for someone technically capable, this is a perfect task for the raspberry Pi. All you need is two SD cards with great performance(Sandisk Extreme Pro 8GB) One with Fedora 17 remix(for libre office scalc), and the other with xmbc for video streaming. And maybe two powerline adapters instead, if you were wanting to use wifi.
  • mikew1985 17 Sep 2012 20:28:11 13,058 posts
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    Rpi is fine for video playback but its a little laggy in the interface area.
  • TVoJ 17 Sep 2012 20:29:02 2,046 posts
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    Thanks for the reply. I can understand what your saying about the cpu but what about the case? It's quite small but measures perfect for where I'll place it. I thought because of that, the massive heat sink on the atom would help. You reckon the chips you've suggested will be okay with the stock coolers tho, so would they fit in my case?

    Also another point, that motherboard has hdmi, dvi and wifi built in. Can I still get similar for the 35-40 mark you've suggested?
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