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Old October 17, 2009, 08:04 PM
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Default Motherboard Suggestions

Hi All,

I want to build an HTPC system with some spare parts I have left over from old computers. Unfortunately, both systems I have are older ones with AGP slots and 2/3 of the HDDs I have are either no good or have bad sectors. Anyway, after all is said and done, all I have is a P4 @ 2.4Ghz. Not sure of other exact specs ie: FSB speed:

kraig@kraig-desktop:/proc$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor : 0
vendor_id : GenuineIntel
cpu family : 15
model : 2
model name : Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.40GHz
stepping : 7
cpu MHz : 1804.143
cache size : 512 KB
fdiv_bug : no
hlt_bug : no
f00f_bug : no
coma_bug : no
fpu : yes
fpu_exception : yes
cpuid level : 2
wp : yes
flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe up pebs bts cid xtpr
bogomips : 3608.28
clflush size : 64

Anyway, my goal is to run XBMC over linux. A friend has the same setup and it looks great. I plan on buiding it around an ASUS 9600GSO 512Mb card. I'm hoping this will be enough to give me a nice smooth user interface. What I would like are some suggestions on a motherboard. My only criteria are:

- must have a PCI-E slot (of course)
- must be between $50-$80 CAD (I'm trying to build the system for under $200 and still need RAM and a HDD -will buy based on MB)
- must be m-ATX so I can move it to a nicer (and smaller) case later on

Any suggestions you can give would be great!

Thanks,
Kraig

P.S. I was in a store earlier today and the clerk told me that the 9400GT vid card I was looking at might have trouble playing blu-ray if I decided to get a blu-ray drive later on. I asked why, but he couldn't give me a good reason. The 9600GSO I've chosen to go with has the same GPU speed, but slightly higher specs. Was he trying to up-sell me, or would the 9600GT I've chosen do the job?
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Old October 17, 2009, 08:42 PM
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I'm 99% sure that your P4 will not find a motherboard with PCI-E. You're going to need a newer platform for PCI-E. There might be an obscure S478 Asrock with PCI-E but don't get your hopes up.
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Old October 17, 2009, 08:45 PM
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Personally I would just toss that P4. It'll run hot, thus noisy, and it's rather slow. The 9600GSO would take some of the video decoding, but if you don't have suitable codecs, then it won't do much of anything. I think the best way to offload HD decoding is using CoreAVC (need to buy it) as it has CUDA support. And that's of course assuming this P4 you have is LGA775, if it's Socket 478, then it'll be rather tough to find one. Also I highly doubt XBMC would run smoothly on a P4, especially since it relies mainly on it's own internal codecs.

I'd suggest just investing a little more and getting all new parts, like so:
Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H
AMD Athlon II X2 240
G.SKILL F2-8000CL5D-2GBPK 2X1GB DDR2-1000
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 250GB

Comes to $244.37 + shipping/tax and whatever case you buy. Sure it'll end up more like $300-350, but I think you'll be far more pleased with the results.
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Old October 17, 2009, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdrom17 View Post
Personally I would just toss that P4. It'll run hot, thus noisy, and it's rather slow. The 9600GSO would take some of the video decoding, but if you don't have suitable codecs, then it won't do much of anything. I think the best way to offload HD decoding is using CoreAVC (need to buy it) as it has CUDA support. And that's of course assuming this P4 you have is LGA775, if it's Socket 478, then it'll be rather tough to find one. Also I highly doubt XBMC would run smoothly on a P4, especially since it relies mainly on it's own internal codecs.

I'd suggest just investing a little more and getting all new parts, like so:
Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H
AMD Athlon II X2 240
G.SKILL F2-8000CL5D-2GBPK 2X1GB DDR2-1000
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 250GB

Comes to $244.37 + shipping/tax and whatever case you buy. Sure it'll end up more like $300-350, but I think you'll be far more pleased with the results.
And less headaches.
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Old October 18, 2009, 10:38 AM
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Sorry, should have mentioned that it is an LGA775 chip. As I understood it, the Nvidia drivers for linux would offload the decoding to the GPU (VDPAU). Right now, most of my content is my ripped DVDs so no HD decoding would be required, but like I said, adding blu ray later on is one of my goals.

Actually, one of the boards I was looking at was an Asrock, but now that I look over it again, you're right, It doesn't seem like it would support my P4. That puts a little bit of a damper on things. I was hoping to at least use something that I had left over =P. I can of course, up my budge to $400 if necessary.

Do you have the coles notes on this CoreAVC and CUDA support?
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Old October 18, 2009, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kburn99 View Post
Do you have the coles notes on this CoreAVC and CUDA support?
CoreAVC.com: World's Fastest High Definition H.264 Video Software Decoder

No Linux support though (at least I don't think so), but XBMC runs fine under Windows too.

I suggested CoreAVC to another user on here with a similar P4 setup, he bought a 8400GS PCI video card (which has CUDA support), and was able to play back HD content perfectly, which obviously wasn't possible prior to it.

But that P4 2.4GHz is worth, oh say maybe $5? I really wouldn't start building a HTPC around it. If you already had a full system, and were just adding in a CUDA-ready video card, then I'd say go for it.
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Old October 18, 2009, 02:25 PM
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I want to stick with linux and avoid having to buy windows. I'm going to do some more research and see what I can come up with. Thanks all for the help.
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Old October 18, 2009, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by kburn99 View Post
I want to stick with linux and avoid having to buy windows. I'm going to do some more research and see what I can come up with. Thanks all for the help.
Well then I'd say just make sure you have a fairly powerful CPU so that it's capable of doing the majority of decoding. Then codecs don't matter.
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Old October 19, 2009, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdrom17 View Post
Personally I would just toss that P4. It'll run hot, thus noisy, and it's rather slow. The 9600GSO would take some of the video decoding, but if you don't have suitable codecs, then it won't do much of anything. I think the best way to offload HD decoding is using CoreAVC (need to buy it) as it has CUDA support. And that's of course assuming this P4 you have is LGA775, if it's Socket 478, then it'll be rather tough to find one. Also I highly doubt XBMC would run smoothly on a P4, especially since it relies mainly on it's own internal codecs.

I'd suggest just investing a little more and getting all new parts, like so:
Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H
AMD Athlon II X2 240
G.SKILL F2-8000CL5D-2GBPK 2X1GB DDR2-1000
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 250GB

Comes to $244.37 + shipping/tax and whatever case you buy. Sure it'll end up more like $300-350, but I think you'll be far more pleased with the results.
Hey Jdrom,

any particular reason you recommended an AMD cpu/mobo over intel? Was it price? personal preference? or benefits with going that way? Just curious.
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Old October 20, 2009, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by kburn99 View Post
Hey Jdrom,

any particular reason you recommended an AMD cpu/mobo over intel? Was it price? personal preference? or benefits with going that way? Just curious.
Best bang for your buck. And it'll perform better than similarly priced Intel systems.
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