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Thread: Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

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    Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

    So basically I've no need for my system in my sig anymore and am looking to down grade to a low power system that can handle media centre and NAS duties. So I have a few questions if I may...

    1. The age old AMD / Intel question?
    I'm thinking of 3 options E350 Zacate system, D525 + ION or G620T + H61
    So it seems in terms of performance the E350 and D525ION solutions trade blows when it comes to performance and power usage but from what I'm seeing they don't seem to sit at idle very well ( about 40W) which since this will be on 24/7 would be a must, where as the G620T idles down to about 12W.
    So aiming for the lowest price, highest performance and lowest power usage which is the winning option?

    2. ITX or mATX?
    I'd like to go ITX, but seeing as I intend to reuse my two 1TB HDDs and buy a blueray device finding an ITX case that fits them all and doesn't cost the earth is proving tough, alternatively I could just got the ATX route and hide the base unit in the welsh dresser sitting by the TV, any thoughts or ITX case suggestions?

    3. Which power supply?
    Liking the look of the VP 350P-GB (350W 90% Eff) although wondering if some sort of DC-DC supply like the PICO psu, the idea of having the AC adapter outside of the case will prevent extra heat being dumped in the case.

    And just to throw a spanner in the mix... we have the HP ProLiant Turion II N40L MicroServer, with £100 off it's an attractive option, but I have a feeling it would require a dedicated GPU which would push up the power requirements.

    Please help, to many options and not enough information!
    If anyone can help with real world idle and load power usages with the 4 systems I've outlined or can suggestion an option I may have overlooked I would be eternally grateful!

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    Re: Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

    I would say the G620T out of your list, but the AMD challenger should be a Llano configuration.

    Much though I like my tiny E350 based laptop, I wouldn't want one mains tethered. Modern desktop CPUs really only draw power when they need to, ie at the point that an E350 or Atom would have given up. Also the Atom trades blows in benchmarks, but seem to lose heavily to E350 in single threaded everyday stuff like web browsing.

    Sounds like you need mATX to fit your drives anyway, so I would go for that as it opens up more options and should keep costs down.

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    Re: Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

    1. Can the onboard GPU on the G620 handle full HD files? Im not sure sure it can which is what would hold me back from buying it. When you say it idles back down to 12W in comparison to 40W for the other alternatives, are you sure your not comparing the CPU in isolation to an entire platform?

    2. The Lian Li Q08 seems pretty much perfect for the purpose, although it is expensive. There is a silverstone low profile case which im considering myself. Have a look at Silverstones Lascala and Granada series cases, they have a number of different shapes and sizes, many of which could fit the bill depending on what your size limits are and/or how much room you want for expansion... it is a NAS after all
    Suppose we really need to know what you think is cheap and what is expensive?

    3. Any decent low wattage ATX power supply will be fine really, i run off the old corsair CX400 in my HTPC at the moment. Massively overkill i know but at the time i bought it was running 5 hard drives, a GPU and dual core 3Ghz Athlon II. An appropriately sized AC/DC brick to DC/DC adaptor should work assuming you dont want to add too many more hard drives or upgrade too much.

    4. The microsever isn't really set up for HTPC duties, it doesn't even have audio! Its also not that efficient in comparison to the E series.

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    Re: Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

    Thanks for your reply Biscuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Biscuit View Post
    1. Can the onboard GPU on the G620 handle full HD files? Im not sure sure it can which is what would hold me back from buying it. When you say it idles back down to 12W in comparison to 40W for the other alternatives, are you sure your not comparing the CPU in isolation to an entire platform?
    Had a quick look on the XBMC forums earlier and this thread seems to suggest that running the latest version does work with the HD2000 GPU, although they note that these is still problems with 23.976 fps video playback, sure I can live with this.

    Xbitlabs seems to suggest that the 12W idle is for system not CPU in isolation, which seems impresive, although similar to normal (read 65W TDP) CPUs


    Quote Originally Posted by Biscuit View Post
    2. The Lian Li Q08 seems pretty much perfect for the purpose, although it is expensive. There is a silverstone low profile case which im considering myself. Have a look at Silverstones Lascala and Granada series cases, they have a number of different shapes and sizes, many of which could fit the bill depending on what your size limits are and/or how much room you want for expansion... it is a NAS after all
    Suppose we really need to know what you think is cheap and what is expensive?
    Like the look of the Lian Li, although £100 seems expensive to me, the Silverstone looks cool though. Think the initial build will be into an old ATX case hidden in a welsh dresser then if I find this does work for me will revisit the case selection.

    Quote Originally Posted by Biscuit View Post
    3. Any decent low wattage ATX power supply will be fine really, i run off the old corsair CX400 in my HTPC at the moment. Massively overkill i know but at the time i bought it was running 5 hard drives, a GPU and dual core 3Ghz Athlon II. An appropriately sized AC/DC brick to DC/DC adaptor should work assuming you dont want to add too many more hard drives or upgrade too much.
    I do have a 400W Coolermaster PSU hanging around somewhere, suppose that would do to keep costs down

    Quote Originally Posted by Biscuit View Post
    4. The microsever isn't really set up for HTPC duties, it doesn't even have audio! Its also not that efficient in comparison to the E series.
    Well that rules the HP out!

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    Re: Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

    Hi, a lot put a low end (as to be as slot can only supply very little watts, forgot exact figuire ?), low profile GFX card in the HP Proliant Server, to use it as a HTCP etc.



    Cheers BOB

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    Re: Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

    Option 4: Sempron 140 / Athlon II 240e + 880G mobo + heavy undervolt. My 140 will run at 1.05v with C'n'Q enabled (which means it drops down to 0.78v at idle)! With a high efficiency PSU (try to get something rated at less than 300W - I'm using a 1u FSP 250W model) you should find that idles at around 20W - 30W and hits less than 50W at full load from the wall. Hence the < 300W PSU: on a 250W PSU I'm probably not hitting 20% DC load, which isn't great for efficiency...

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    Re: Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

    I have a G620T, Intel basic H61 board, 8GB RAM and 2x2.5" 5400RPM drives which I use as a server, in an Antec ISK 65W case and attached to a UPS the whole lot is <30W idle. So if you dumped a drive, got 1 stick of 1.35V RAM and no UPS I reckon you'd be <20W easily.

    Having said that using a Gigabyte H67 board and i3 2100T in that Antec case and UPS resulted in a 60W system at the wall, when I transferred that setup back to a my Antec Fusion with an old Earthwatts PSU it's down to 36W at the wall - the only thing I changed was to swap in an Intel H67 board over the Gigabyte, so careful motherboard selection must be important. Although when I was trying to get it working I tried a Foxconn DC-DC power board and it was worse than the Earthwatts on the Intel board, the machine wasn't stable to get good figures though, and then I broke the DC-DC board (oops, fat fingers!).

    (i3 2100T is in my HTPC btw, the G620T lacks some of the GPU features and Quicksync).

    Get a good PSU with efficiency at low load, and low overall wattage and get a motherboard with the fewest bells and whistles and sensible power phases, if you want stability then Intel's own boards have always been excellent for me.
    Last edited by kingpotnoodle; 06-12-2011 at 02:35 PM.

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    Re: Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

    I would suggest looking at a Llano A4 CPU and an A55 or A75 based motherboard:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/amd-a...mhz-65w-retail

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/amd-a...mhz-65w-retail

    The A4 IGP is basically the same GPU as the HD6450 media cards.

    There are also quite decent budget A55 and A75 based motherboards starting from around the £50 mark:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/shop/computer-...amd-socket-fm1

    http://www.ebuyer.com/search?sort=pr...imit=10&page=1

    The A75 based motherboads have USB3.0 and SATA3.0 ports and the A55 based motherboards lack them.

    I would check out this A75 based mini-ITX motherboard:

    http://www.dabs.com/products/asus-f1...m_content=Q200

    It comes with its own remote control which has a keyboard built in.

    Here is a review:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4833/a...no-and-miniitx
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 06-12-2011 at 07:01 PM.


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    Re: Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

    Have you considered getting a NAS drive and a media player? I have a Netgear ReadyNAS Duo and a WD TV Live and it's a good combo. Two out of the box solutions that require very little fannying around to get working.

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    Re: Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by leonkehoe View Post
    Have you considered getting a NAS drive and a media player? I have a Netgear ReadyNAS Duo and a WD TV Live and it's a good combo. Two out of the box solutions that require very little fannying around to get working.
    I have considered this, and actually have an ageing Synology 106j and Xbox 360 which is my current setup.
    However the Synology is two slow, and the Xbox is to noisy and doesn't do web browsing.

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    Re: Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

    Thanks for all your help guys, this is my proposed spec:

    Intel Core i3 2100T £99.42
    Asus P8H61-M PRO £63.99
    Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1333MHz XMS3 £32.75
    Antec 380W EarthWatts Green PSU £39.94
    Samsung SH-B123L BD-ROM DVD±RW £46.34
    Silverstone Milo ML03B Micro ATX £51.58

    Total £334.02

    Any thoughts or suggestions on better priced/spec'd alternatives

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    Re: Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

    Think i would prefer the Llano system myself

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    Re: Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    I would suggest looking at a Llano A4 CPU and an A55 or A75 based motherboard:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/amd-a...mhz-65w-retail

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/amd-a...mhz-65w-retail

    The A4 IGP is basically the same GPU as the HD6450 media cards.

    There are also quite decent budget A55 and A75 based motherboards starting from around the £50 mark:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/shop/computer-...amd-socket-fm1

    http://www.ebuyer.com/search?sort=pr...imit=10&page=1

    The A75 based motherboads have USB3.0 and SATA3.0 ports and the A55 based motherboards lack them.

    I would check out this A75 based mini-ITX motherboard:

    http://www.dabs.com/products/asus-f1...m_content=Q200

    It comes with its own remote control which has a keyboard built in.

    Here is a review:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4833/a...no-and-miniitx
    Thanks CAT, was wondering when you where going to weigh in
    I did consider Llano, but it just didn't seem all that power friendly or offer anything in terms of performance over the i3 2100t

    Anyways it's too late for me to change my mind now as.... I've placed an order!

    Intel Core i3 2100T £99.42
    Asus P8H61-M PRO £63.99
    Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1333MHz XMS3 £32.75
    Samsung SH-B123L BD-ROM DVD±RW £46.34
    Keysonic Slim Mini Wireless Media HTPC Keyboard £32.19

    For now will be re-using a case and PSU until I can figure out what I want.

    Thanks for all your help guys!

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    Re: Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by circuitmonkey View Post
    Thanks CAT, was wondering when you where going to weigh in
    I did consider Llano, but it just didn't seem all that power friendly or offer anything in terms of performance over the i3 2100t

    Anyways it's too late for me to change my mind now as.... I've placed an order!

    Intel Core i3 2100T £99.42
    Asus P8H61-M PRO £63.99
    Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1333MHz XMS3 £32.75
    Samsung SH-B123L BD-ROM DVD±RW £46.34
    Keysonic Slim Mini Wireless Media HTPC Keyboard £32.19

    For now will be re-using a case and PSU until I can figure out what I want.

    Thanks for all your help guys!
    You do realise that a standard Core i3 2100 clocked at the same speed as a Core i3 2100T has around the same power consumption?? I have a Core i3 2100 myself BTW.

    The HD2000 series does have issues such as the 23.976FPS bug. Even the ancient Nvidia 9300 found on the Zotac socket 775 mini-ITX motherboards does not have this issue. For an HTPC the CPU seems OTT. The A4 based system would be between £100 to £110 too.

    For media playback there is NO difference in power consumption between an A4 or A6 and a Core i3 system:

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu...3_8.html#sect0

    In low power states there is virtually any difference for the systems. The IGP and CPU are gated so it means under most loads it is fine for power consumption. On top of this the A55 and A75 chipsets seem to be relatively efficient. This is why the laptop Llano laptops have similar battery life to Core i3 and Core i5 laptops under lighter CPU loads,media playback and decent battery life during heavy GPU loads. This is why you need to consider CPU and motherboard power consumption together.

    Are you going to be running something Prime on your CPU all day? No. Are you going to be running Prime and 3DMark all day?? No. This is what most tests will be doing for "maximum" CPU power consumption or "maximum" combined CPU and GPU power consumption. If your media centre is starting to run at 60% to 70% CPU load it is better to get a decode card.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 08-12-2011 at 02:05 PM.


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    Re: Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

    Well there's always DSR...

    I really can't see any reason to choose the 2100T over Llano for a HTPC - you're probably going to need a discrete card paired with an Intel CPU because of the issue CAT mentioned, plus the Llano GPU is much more capable of offloading post-processing i.e. better video and lower power consumption when playing one.

    I looked into the 2100T myself as it looked like quite an interesting CPU, but after a fair amount of research it seems it's just a more expensive, lower clocked 2100. At idle there's nothing in it (i.e. maybe a watt) and at load the 2100T is actually less efficient due to the lower clock. Low load power use is a bit pointless if it takes longer to do a task, cancelling it out. You could just underclock a 2100 if load power use is that important (I believe CAT had a similar decision to make a few months back and ended up with the 2100, but this was before Llano existed).

    Read any HTPC reviews comparing Intel to Llano (obviously excluding the known-biased ones, although even they seem to favour Llano from what I've read).

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    Re: Help! Media Centre / NAS wanted

    I have to agree. Unless someone wants to game on their HTPC, I could not see myself recommending anything but a Llano system for the job at the moment. They just do the job exceedingly well and at the right price.
    Main PC: Asus Rampage IV Extreme / 3960X@4.5GHz / Antec H1200 Pro / 32GB DDR3-1866 Quad Channel / Sapphire Fury X / Areca 1680 / 850W EVGA SuperNOVA Gold 2 / Corsair 600T / 2x Dell 3007 / 4 x 250GB SSD + 2 x 80GB SSD / 4 x 1TB HDD (RAID 10) / Windows 10 Pro, Yosemite & Ubuntu
    HTPC: AsRock Z77 Pro 4 / 3770K@4.2GHz / 24GB / GTX 1080 / SST-LC20 / Antec TP-550 / Hisense 65k5510 4K TV / HTC Vive / 2 x 240GB SSD + 12TB HDD Space / Race Seat / Logitech G29 / Win 10 Pro
    HTPC2: Asus AM1I-A / 5150 / 4GB / Corsair Force 3 240GB / Silverstone SST-ML05B + ST30SF / Samsung UE60H6200 TV / Windows 10 Pro
    Spare/Loaner: Gigabyte EX58-UD5 / i950 / 12GB / HD7870 / Corsair 300R / Silverpower 700W modular
    NAS 1: HP N40L / 12GB ECC RAM / 2 x 3TB Arrays || NAS 2: Dell PowerEdge T110 II / 24GB ECC RAM / 2 x 3TB Hybrid arrays || Network:Buffalo WZR-1166DHP w/DD-WRT + HP ProCurve 1800-24G
    Laptop: Lenovo Flex 2 / 12GB RAM / 240GB Corsair Force 3 Printer: HP CP1515n || Phone: HTC One U11 || Other: Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Pro 10.1 CM12.1 / Playstation 4 + G29 + 2TB Hybrid drive

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