Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 7th Aug 2011 22:46 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems And yes, another item, right away. I'm on the hunt for a mini-ITX motherboard for use in a living room HTPC, and considering there's so much choice out there, I'm a little confused. Then I realised I have you people to help me out, and, well, one thing led to another.
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by bassbeast on Mon 8th Aug 2011 14:55 UTC
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If you are going HTPC the extra performance of the AMD setups on GPU will be WELL worth it. I have had quite good luck with the ZOTAC 890GXITX-A-E , just drop in a nice cheap triple or quad and voila! A nice basic HTPC.

The nice things about that board is the IGP is a 4290, which has good hardware acceleration for just about any major format, and it will hold up to 8Gb of RAM which is great for having a whole movie loaded up into RAM for instant seeking.

That said, does it HAVE to be mini-ITX? Personally on my HTPCs I prefer using mATX as that gives you a PCIe x16 which means the machine will have upgrade potential and last longer. Today you can get an HD4830 for something like $60 and the 256bit pipe absolutely stomps anything else out there for HD performance. if you want an ultra quiet machine there are several after market coolers for the HD48xx chips although frankly I never notice the fans on my HD4850. There are also several mATX cases that look like a DVD player so you still get the HTPC look without the limitations of the Mini-ITX form factor.

I hope this helps but if you were my customer I would be recommending a mATX with an Athlon X4 630, 4Gb of RAM, and either an HD4830 or an HD5770 depending on your budget, wrapped up with a nice DVD style case and a wireless keyboard/mouse combo. With a setup like this unless you are wanting to play Crisis on your HTPC you should be able to easily get a good 7 years if not a decade. The quad CPU gives you plenty of power while not sucking a ton of wattage, the mATX gives you future options, and the RAM and GPU speak for themselves.

I have built several along these lines and the ONLY things they come to me for now with regards to their HTPCs is the need for ever larger space to hold their movie collections. Another nice thing about the Athlon quad, its great for DVD ripping and transcoding as my customers quickly find out. Having all your movies and music loaded into Win 7 on your HTPC ready to go? that's nice, REAL nice.

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