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Thread: Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

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    Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

    EDIT: 15/11/09 - This thread developed and shows the process I went through before ordering the HTPC for the living room. It does switch from talking about a NAS/HTPC box, but the common theme is I'm trying to do a HTPC on a low power basis


    (I did ask in the HTPC section over on AVforums - but no-one seems to know . Hexus-ites, your honour is at stake!)

    Does anybody know if a AMD 760g motherboard + 240e CPU can cope with HD content? I understand 760g hasn't got UVD (?) which offloads the decoding from the CPU to the integrated graphics. If that's right, can a 240e or 235e cope with HD content by itself?

    (Alternatively, can anyone recommend a specific low power 780g/785g board??)

    I am trying to do something silly which is trying to build a low power NAS box which has the flexibility to also take on a 2nd role as a HTPC. Short term it'll be in the lounge till I get my proper HTPC sorted.

    Long term I'll put this NAS box in the loft, but I hope to hook it up to a tv in the bedroom. Hopefully I can leave it in the loft, run a display cable (somehow....) to the tv in the bedroom and control it with this rf remote: E3199 - Gyration GYR3101EU Media Center Vista Remote Control - Scan.co.uk.

    So either way, I'd want it to be able to cope with media-playback duty. I'm asking about the 760g chipset rather than the obvious choice of a 780g or 785g board because of a thread suggesting the biostar 760g mobo can reach very low power levels, around 30w with just one HDD (http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums...ic.php?t=54409).

    It's been very difficult to find info on which specific motherboards use the least power, and the suggestion in that thread seems the only board I can actually find. I understand there can be wide variations in power draw between different manufacturer's motherboards even if the chipset is the same.

    So do you reckon the AMD Athlon II X2 240e or 235e can cope with HD and blu-ray by itself, without GPU support? Alternatively, can anyone can point me in the direction of a (very) low power 780g or 785g mobo?

    Thanks for any help
    Last edited by GaryRW; 15-11-2009 at 10:13 AM.

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    Re: Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

    I would have a look at the 785G TBH as the IGP does have lower power consumption than the 780G. This is because it clocks itself lower than the 780G when it is idle:

    http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3615&p=11

    Also if you use ATI Tray Tools you could try underclocking the IGP manually too.

    Regarding the 760G it should be possible to run HD content only using the CPU although utilisation will be higher and hence power consumption would increase too!

    OTH, an Ion motherboard with a dual core Atom would do the job AFAIK.


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    Re: Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

    Thanks Cat - I lurk more than I post here, and I had a few people in mind who I hoped would reply. You were near the top of the list

    I hadn't realised the 785g clocked lower at idle, and obviously it will be idle most of the time as a NAS. From that thread on SilentPC, and my very basic understanding of such things, I think one advantage of the biostar board was that it doesn't support high TDP processors, so has fewer phases (?) on the power side of things which means it draws less power. Does that sound right to you, and does non-support for high wattage processors probably mean a lower power draw for the board?

    I've just noticed this thread: http://forums.hexus.net/hexus-hardwa...ec-please.html in which ScaryJim has recommended the Asus M4A785TD-M EVO - http://www.scan.co.uk/Product.aspx?WebProductID=1049185 - I'll ask in that thread whether ScaryJim can post power figures

    ps - a reply within 12 minutes. Hexus honour definitely upheld!

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    Re: Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

    Hey Gary

    I don't have power draw figures at the minute because I don't have a power meter to check with: I've been promising to post them for about a month but just haven't had time to buy a power meter yet! (if you happen to have a spare one you'd care to donate that'd be cool ). However, I can confirm that Athlon IIs can run heavily undervolted, making them perfect for low power draw applications (reducing the core voltage reduces the power draw exponentially). Doing this is *very* easy with the EVO board - there's a single BIOS setting, or you can use the AMD overdrive tool. You can also use this to under / overclock most aspects of the board (including the IGP, which can also be underclocked from the BIOS - so many ways to tweak the EVO ). The only thing that disappoints me slightly about my EVO is that you can't undervolt the IGP or the RAM...

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    Re: Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

    Thanks Jim (Is Scary to distinguish you from SnootyJim??)

    I do have possession of a power meter, but it's not mine to give

    I have been messing around with ideas for a HTPC for so long now that I am very tempted to just order the evo board you mentioned, and find out for myself. The only thing stopping me is that the 235e/240e don't seem to be available over here yet. I am assuming that an 'e' model would undervolt even better than a standard chip

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    Re: Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

    I've been scaryjim on the internet since about 1996, for reasons far too complicated to go into in a normal thread

    Not sure if they'd undervolt better, but they have a lower TDP as a starting point. Most Mobos will only allow you to drop the vcore by a certain amount anyway (for the EVO it's 0.3v under stock) so it's best to have the lowest starting point possible.

    Interestingly, in that other thread someone's pointed out a new Celeron E3000 series that appear (although based on one review only, so caution is advised) to have very low power draw. If that's representative, it may be worth getting one of those, sticking it in the cheapest LGA775 mobo you can find and adding a sub-£25 HD4350. Unfortunately, the review only tests it against a K8 Athlon, not an Athlon II, so it's hard to know exactly what the comparitive performance and power draw would be. Perhaps if we start enough threads Hexus will review the Celeron E3300 against an Athlon II X2 240

    If you can wait, I'd personally hold off for the rest of the 45W Athlon IIs to come out - there should be 45W versions of the X3 and X4 coming, I believe, so that'd give you more choice, and they should all undervolt reasonably. When I manage to get hold of a power meter I'll be posting comparitive readings for my Sempron at stock and undervolted, locked and unlocked - but I'm afraid I don't really know when that will be

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    Re: Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

    I think the 9300/9400 compares favourably against the 780g, but not so sure about the 785g. Like you say, it would be nice if Hexus did a compare review pitting the e3200 + 9300 against the 785g + 235e. Not going to happen though is it?

    What really irritated me when the 235/240e's came out was that, although this was specifically a low power chip, almost all of the reviews focused on how much you could overclock it, and most didn't even post up any power figures at all (let alone underclocked figures)

    Anyway, power meters are £10 at maplins (http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=286534) - go on, you know you want to!

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    Re: Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

    Quote Originally Posted by GaryRW View Post
    I think the 9300/9400 compares favourably against the 780g, but not so sure about the 785g.
    Performance wise the 785G is identical to 780G. Powerwise it has some improvements, but not many. I suspect there's very little difference between the two at full load, for example. I think the decision has to come down to featureset: in which case it may be worth remembering that the AM3 785G boards use DDR3 RAM...

    Quote Originally Posted by GaryRW View Post
    Anyway, power meters are £10 at maplins (http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=286534) - go on, you know you want to!
    You're right, I do want to, but even a tenner is stretching the bank this month! Still, £10 is about what I thought I'd be willing to pay for a power meter, and there's a Maplin fairly close to work, so I could always go in for a browse on Monday...

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    Re: Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

    I assume that you are looking at a DDR2 based motherboard?? It would be useful to look at DDR2 and DDR3 and see if there is lower power consumption using DDR3 as it runs at lower voltages than DDR2 usually.


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    Re: Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    I assume that you are looking at a DDR2 based motherboard?? It would useful to look at DDR2 and DDR3 and see if there is lower power consumption using DDR3 as it runs at lower voltages than DDR2 usually.
    That's another one to add to the review list: AM2+ DDR2 785G mobo vs AM3 DDR3 785G mobo! I hope someone at Hexus is listening, we could keep them busy for months at this rate!

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    Re: Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

    According to SPCR there is a few watts difference in favour of DDR3:

    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article949-page5.html


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    Re: Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

    CCL has the X2 235e and X2 240e listed on their website and Yoyotech had a few OEM X2 235e processors in stock too:

    http://forums.hexus.net/hexus-hardwa...ml#post1794371


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    Re: Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

    yeah - yoyotech comes up on froogle, but I can't seem to actually see them on the site

    CCL have been listed on froogle for a week or so, but it seems to be a sign posting listing rather than a we've got stock listing - it's been "Stock: 10 in 2-3 days " for a while now... plus they seem to be more expensive than the other listings on froogle.

    Lamdatek list them, but no stock.

    Couple of guys on ebay seem to be selling oem chips. I'm getting tempted but comments like this from one of the sellers put me off: "Please be aware that where CPU's are very delicate components, refunds/replacements will only be issued when proof of installation by a qualified PC technichian." Do you think he'll accept A level computer studies?

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    Re: Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

    Quote Originally Posted by GaryRW View Post
    yeah - yoyotech comes up on froogle,
    aah, good old froogle. I laugh but to be honest I think that everyone here uses it...

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    Re: Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

    I always double check on froogle after looking at my list of primary sellers, just in case

    I take my hat off to you Gary, normally are threads are "is this enough power?" "will this be fast enough to play (insert fps game here)"
    Don't get "is this low enough power?" or "which has lower power consumption?"

    I've got a few questions here, after reading through that spcr thread.
    EEC or non-EEC ?
    They seem to think EEC over non-EEC, but apart from it mainly being server memory I've not got any real idea of realworld benefits.
    If you do want EEC that's going to limit your choise as there's gar fewer boards with EEC support.

    Number of drives &/or raid, are you thinking of a seperate sata controller card or using onboard?
    This has the potential to have a big impact on the motherboard choise.

    As far as my understanding goes you're right on the power phases, they step down the 12volt feed from the psu to far lower voltages at far higher amp's to feed the cpu.
    The fewer phases the more efficient it should be as a small amount of wattage is lost at each phase.
    However the reason for more phases (and the reason for the many +1 phase designs) is increased stability and longevity as the load is spread out more.
    So this might mean you could make up for the loss of efficiency because you can undervolt more and still remain stable.
    (I've not gone into low wattage computing, so that's some thing to research)

    On a side note, I thought the 780g was based on the 3xxx series where as the 785g is based on the 4xxx series and is a more powerful IGP

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    Re: Is an AMD 760G board and a Athlon II X2 240e good enough for blu-ray + HD?

    Thanks Pob

    To take your questions, ECC isn't something that had really bothered me or that I'd looked into. My understanding is pretty much limited to the SPCR thread i.e. in theory a good idea if a box is running 24/7 as a NAS as that just increases the chances of something going wrong, but I did notice that the guys in that thread were having a hard time actually verifying that ECC was working! I can't say, touch wood and all that, I've ever had a file corrupt due to power loss or some over problem. Not in the last few years anyway.

    Number of drives - to start with probably just 2 x 1tb in raid 1. I think I'll probably just end up using a spare copy of windows so could mirror a smaller partition for photos and important stuff, and leave the rest of the drives free for video. Longer term, raid 5 obviously appeals, but the biostar board from that thread has 6 sata ports, and I figured that would be plenty. Performance would be nice, but I figure you've got to spend >£200 on a raid card to better even OS RAID. And I figure OS raid is probably (?) easiest rather than motherboard based.

    I did look at an atom board: http://www.silentpcreview.com/Intel_...th_Morex_T1610
    That is atom plus the mobile intel chipset, so much lower idle figures. Only 2 sata ports though, and I considered add in boards to give more sata ports. Then I saw people querying whether all raid/sata cards played nicely with the various atom boards and I got cold feet. & of course atom with an intel chipset rather than ION would really struggle with an HTPC duty.

    re power phases, I think you're right - there's more factors at play and it's difficult to draw general conclusions. It is really difficult finding figures on individual boards though and usually the info I can find is contradictory

    For example,this page: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Ha...oundup/16.html suggests that the Asus M4A785TD-M EVO board that ScaryJim has recommended actually has the highest idle power draw of the 785g boards they tested. Yet of course that site didn't try undervolting anything. The only site I've seen that really addresses low power stuff consistently is silentpc. HINT TO HEXUS STAFF - there's room for another site to cover this stuff Wouldn't be too hard to test along with everything else as well would it?

    Most of the sites I've seen show idle figures of around 60w for even quite low spec setups. So i'm not sure whether it's just that biostar board is very low power, or whether it's because they undervolted, turned off anything that wasn't needed in the bios, etc...

    Come on ScaryJim - you know you want to figure out (and post ) power figures

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