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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:56 am 
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Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 11:55 pm
Posts: 1206
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
I've been a slacker. My old KM system just keeps plugging along so I've skipped a few generations. Now I'm caught. A friend wants to build a brand new LinHES box (FE/BE combo) and has decided to go all HD. He has a HD HomeRun for the tuner but now needs a recommendation on the motherboard and graphics card to get.

I was accustomed to the NVidia GeForce 8000 and up being the one to get, but that's now way long in the tooth and nobody uses that now. I don't know if the Atoms really have the juice for a FE/BE system since it takes a lot of cycles to process the video for ad skipping. Everything I know about building myth boxen is just... old.

So I need a quick crash course. My friend is cost sensitive, he will probably only watch HD 1080 shows, and will need about a 2T drive for his viewing pleasure. He may want to store a few DVDs on the box, but he's not much of a DVD watcher. He will be using HDMI to get the signals to the flatscreen TV and he has a rather old receiver that can handle SPDIF for digital audio.

Extra credit awarded for parts that can be obtained from Fry's. Because, you know, your BEST buys are always at Fry's! Guaranteed! No? At least they have a good return policy...

Joe

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:16 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 11:00 am
Posts: 9551
Location: Arlington, MA
Take a look at my recent refresh. I can't fully recommend the motherboard due to problems with the NIC and some other silly issues, but the rest of the components have been great.

The video card is a fanless Nvidia G210 (GT218 GPU) which has more than enough horse power for the job, and with the well ventilated case has barely cracked 50C under max load in summer heat. Everything else runs cooler than that, typically within 10-15C of ambient even under load.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:42 am 
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Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 11:55 pm
Posts: 1206
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
I'll go take a look at your setup. I was hoping for a good integrated solution to save money. It's tough to tell my cost-conscious friend he has to spend around $70 for a graphics card on top of the $100 on the mainboard.

I did find an old AM2+ board with built-in GeForce 8200 that looks inviting. If I can only find a processor that will work! (Not much that isn't AM3 these days. Dunno how compatible they are. Prolly not or they wouldn't have changed the socket name.)

EDIT:

According to the bible, uh, I mean Wikipedia...

AMD confirmed that there is an upgrade path from Socket AM2+ to AM3:

AM3 processors work on AM2+ motherboards due to the presence of both the DDR2 and DDR3 memory controllers on the processor

-- Joe B.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:14 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 11:00 am
Posts: 9551
Location: Arlington, MA
I don't think my mobo or video card cost that much... The mobo was like ~$60, the CPU was another $60, RAM was ~$25 and the video card was ~$45.

I ended up adding some extras that pushed the total cost of the system just barely over $500, but that was only because I'm counting everything including the HDMI cablles, wireless keyboard, etc., and it ended up as a complete new system, with the only parts reused from the old box being the tuner cards.

Oh and because of the problem NIC on the motherboard I had to spring for a good one. :evil:


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