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  1. Seen a few posts about this type of thing online, but, some posts are a few years old and this type of stuff tends to change a lot year-to-year so thought I'd ask.

    I have a Core2Quad Q9450 system with a GTX650Ti 2GB video card that for years was being used with a monitor and a TV, I'd be watching a movie on the TV while working on the monitor. For a few years before that, I was using an ATI 4560 1GB card, same setup and ran fine.

    Finally built a new system, so the old PC is now a standalone HTPC. But, to find a case I like that holds a full size ATX board and more than 3 hard drives costs about as much as buying a new cheap mATX board and celeron G1840 processor and a small case. So... started to look at doing that and donating my PC to my nephew running an old Dell DualCore.

    Upgrade for him... upgrade (sorta) for me.

    Which leads to my question... onboard video for an HTPC... are they any good these days?

    I saw a few forums and sites where people are recommending $250CAD (or more) video cards, which I ignore... again, for years I used Photoshop and played Warcraft while watching movies on a different screen, using a $125CAD 4560 video card from years ago. I had no problems with that. Onboard card wise, not sure if they're any good these days or not.

    I'd be playing MP4/MKV files, under 6GB in size through XBMC/KODI on a 40" Sony Bravia.

    If the onboard works fine, saves me some money and helps with the decision... otherwise, I can save money on a board that doesn't have HDMI, and I'd probably be looking at a 1GB HD5450 card with a heatsink. About $50CAD.

    System
    http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/JHfMHx

    Just looking for some feedback. The GTX650Ti 2GB card is a nice card, but for video playback it's a bit overkill, and my nephew would get more use from it than an HTPC would.

    Thanks
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    I use Intel 4600 HD graphics for my main PC (1 year) and ATI Radeon HD 4200 graphics on my HTPC (6 years old). Both have been fine for decoding MPEG-2 and H.264. Space is at a premium inside an HTPC case, so in your place I would try Intel onboard graphics and see if its good enough.

    If you would like hardware decoding for HEVC/H.265 you might want to wait a while longer to build your HTPC. Presently it is only available with the new Skylake CPUs and Nvidia GTX 960 graphics cards.
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  3. Actually my new PC has the Asus GTX960 Strix card in it. Didn't know it did that though, bought it simply because it was the best card in my budget.

    Not finding what graphics are integrated yet, just that the board needs a CPU with integrated graphics... still researching specs. I have time though, haven't really looked too deep into the idea yet, just been seeing roughly what prices are out there to see if worth while.

    Looking at cases that take a full ATX board and at least 3 HDD's... looking at $160CAD and up for something I like, and some are too deep for the shelf.

    If I can build a new HTPC that runs as well or better than my Core2Quad for close to that price... makes sense to do that and donate my PC to the nephew.

    Oddly enough... cases seem to be the difficult part of the equation. Needs to meet certain specs, and not be ugly. Hardware like motherboards, ram etc... just needs to work, not worried about the looks.
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  4. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    Are you looking at a desktop case or a tower case? I'm guessing the latter. I don't recall many desktop cases that accept a ATX MB.

    I've built several HTPCs in the last few years, all of them with MATX mother boards. The older ones used motherboard video.
    A couple did have a video tuner card and most had two hard drives. All in desktop cases.

    The next three had APUs, a BD burner drive and two hard drives. The latest was in a a small MATX case and has one 2TB HDD, a 120GB SSD boot drive and the BD burner.

    All of them play back Blu-ray discs and HD MKVs with no problem or stutters.

    I don't need that much HDD space on my HTPCs as I store my video on a couple of servers and access it over a gigabit LAN.

    My original HTPC has also been converted to a APU, due mainly to CPU heat problems. It's in a Lian Li desktop case.
    That case has survived at least four MBs over the last few years and though ~$170 US, it wasn't cheap, but very well built.

    My main non-HTPC PC (In my computer details) is also in a Lian-Li tower case that I've had for over 5 years and numerous ATX MB and HDD changes.
    It presently has four 1.5TB HDDs, a 120GB SSD boot and three BD burners.

    Both cases have no plastic, no windows, no lights, are very well built and both run very quiet and cool and fit in well with the rest of my sound and video devices.
    Take a look at Lian Li. http://www.newegg.com/Computer-Cases/BrandSubCat/ID-1375-7 Consider it an investment.
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  5. We use a Core i3 4130T with onboard graphics in our HTPC. It's fine for viewing HD video. We have a cablecard tuner (HDHomerun Prime) and use the HTPC as a PVR as well as for watching video files stored on our NAS. It's just an old mini ATX case. 128GB SSD for boot, large hard drive for recordings.
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  6. Desktop... I like the Silverstone LC10-E, but, over $160CAD for a case without a power supply is a bit much for me. Oddly, not many other cases seem to have room for more than 2 HDD's... which like I said, surprised me. I figured if running a media server, you'd have a hard drive for your OS, and 4xHDDs setup as a RAID or something.

    I have a 250GB for the OS, and 2x3TB drives for media, and even with that I've had to clean up a few times because running out of space.

    Also the issue of shelf space. The TV stand I have is very nice, but, few inches too shallow to fit a lot of the cases onto. That's why I started looking into mATX and those even smaller ones, mITX? but even cases for those might be too deep. A few like the Thermaltake Core V1 aren't really HTPC cases, but, kinda cool... 2 internal bays though... but even then may be a bit too deep.

    This HTPC will also act as a server. For the past (almost) year, the Core2Quad ran my PC, my media player on my TV and the HTPC in the front of the house streamed video from it as well. HTPC in the front is a Dell Core2Duo desktop, added in a fanless low-profile 1GB video card, extra GB of ram and works great with Win7x64 installed. Would love to have used OpenElec... but could not figure out the iR remote thing so had to give up.

    I don't need a DVD/Bluray drive on the primary HTPC. All computers are ethernet connected, and this PC has full access of the drives (mapped) so I do everything on here and just dump to the HTPC.

    The HTPC (my old computer) is in an ASUS case, bought it 14yrs ago and it's just been used parts for upgrades ever since. Had some unused vacation pay coming that I wasn't expecting so finally splurged on this new system. Case has been a tank and still great... but... mid-tower, doesn't look great with the TV, and not much for cooling. 80mm fan and that's all.

    But again, comes down to $$$. Idea of building an HTPC was because if a case for the ATX board was $160, I'd rather a new system if can be done under $200. Some nice $60 cases out there. But, hitting a wall for size, and number of HDD's.
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    After watching ebay for months, I spotted a second-hand Lian Li PC-C50B (MATX), which saved me about $30. Shortly thereafter I guess this model was discontinued because no retailers had it anymore. Sometimes even I have a little luck. It looks great, but is only about 13 inches deep (325 mm). It is tight in there. The optical drive and power supply have to be chosen carefully.

    The Silverstone Grandia GD09B ATX, Silverstone GD10B andFractal Design Node 605 FD-CA-NODE-605-BL are the most shallow current model ATX desktop HTPC cases
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  8. Silverstone Grandia GD09B ATX... looked at that one before, $100CAD, but space for only 2 hard drives. 3 if I use the DVD spot probably.

    Silverstone GD10B... same drive space issue as the Grandia, $120CAD and not a fan of it... weird locking flap at the front, which would be fine if the power button was accessible when the flap is closed.

    Fractal Design Node 605... I saw the price and didn't look any further... costs more than the Silverstone LC10-E which is what started this whole thing.
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    Originally Posted by THRobinson View Post
    Silverstone Grandia GD09B ATX... looked at that one before, $100CAD, but space for only 2 hard drives. 3 if I use the DVD spot probably.

    Silverstone GD10B... same drive space issue as the Grandia, $120CAD and not a fan of it... weird locking flap at the front, which would be fine if the power button was accessible when the flap is closed.

    Fractal Design Node 605... I saw the price and didn't look any further... costs more than the Silverstone LC10-E which is what started this whole thing.
    A shallow ATX desktop case only a bit more than 14 inches deep and 17 inches wide isn't going to have room for more than 2 or 3 3.5 inch HDDs. A creative individual might find a way to add an extra 2.5 inch drive or two.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 6th Aug 2015 at 23:18.
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  10. I figured there'd be some overlap... like, hard drives floating over top of the motherboard, but then again I guess some people need the space for cards and such.

    But... I need space for 3 x 3.5" drives. Too bad, the Silverstone Milo I thought was perfect, then saw it was 2.5" not 3.5" drives it held.

    Just find it odd that so few (inexpensive) cases have space for drives. I don't mind getting creative but, don't want to spend money on a case, get it and then find out it won't work for what I need.

    OP question... since way off topic... motherboards say needs a CPU with integrated graphics, CPU says Intel HD Graphics... how do I tell what it is? Like Post#2 that mentions Intel 4600 HD, or Intel 4200... not seeing it in the specs anywhere for the board or cpu. I assume some CPU's have better GPU's than others... just trying to figure that out.
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  11. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    This is my older HTPC case, 17X17X6 inches. It has a MATX MB and has one 2TB HDD and a 120GB SSD boot drive.
    It's a bit cramped as is. Not much room for another HDD.

    It does have two BD drives, so one of them could be replaced with an additional HDD.
    Cooling is more difficult in a desktop case. It took me a while to get the right combo that was cool and still quiet.

    Look for a low wattage CPU/APU. The APU I use now is low power APU that runs cool, and still has good performance. It's a AMD A6-3500.
    I also use 120mm PWM fans that are very quiet, but still move enough air.
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    Originally Posted by THRobinson View Post
    I figured there'd be some overlap... like, hard drives floating over top of the motherboard, but then again I guess some people need the space for cards and such.

    But... I need space for 3 x 3.5" drives. Too bad, the Silverstone Milo I thought was perfect, then saw it was 2.5" not 3.5" drives it held.

    Just find it odd that so few (inexpensive) cases have space for drives. I don't mind getting creative but, don't want to spend money on a case, get it and then find out it won't work for what I need.

    OP question... since way off topic... motherboards say needs a CPU with integrated graphics, CPU says Intel HD Graphics... how do I tell what it is? Like Post#2 that mentions Intel 4600 HD, or Intel 4200... not seeing it in the specs anywhere for the board or cpu. I assume some CPU's have better GPU's than others... just trying to figure that out.
    As I recall. the expensive ATX HTPC cases that have room for more drives are larger than the ones I listed. A large case is also a problem for you because it's too big for the shelf it needs to sit on, so I guess you'll have to consider your options carefully.

    The Intel HD graphics in the Celeron CPUs are probably less advanced than the Intel HD 4200, 4400 and 4600 series graphics in the Haswell i3, i5, and i7 CPUS.
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  13. Weird thing is, I was expecting to look at the CPU specs and it list the Intel HD series, but it doesn't... just says Intel HD Series and no number. Same as the Intel Pentium G3220 Haswell Dual-Core 3.0GHz... not much more than a Celeron, but still just says Intel HD. :S
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    Originally Posted by THRobinson View Post
    Weird thing is, I was expecting to look at the CPU specs and it list the Intel HD series, but it doesn't... just says Intel HD Series and no number. Same as the Intel Pentium G3220 Haswell Dual-Core 3.0GHz... not much more than a Celeron, but still just says Intel HD. :S
    Specs for the Celeron G1850 with Intel HD graphics that you are considering:
    http://ark.intel.com/products/80798/Intel-Celeron-Processor-G1850-2M-Cache-2_90-GHz

    Specs for the i5 4570T with Intel HD 4600 graphics, which I have:
    http://ark.intel.com/products/75045/Intel-Core-i5-4570T-Processor-4M-Cache-up-to-3_60-GHz

    There are more features listed for the Intel HD 4600, although many of them are not related to video decoding and display. However, Intel HD 4600 has a higher Graphics Max Dynamic Frequency and probably supports higher display resolutions.

    A Celeron may be OK, but I would be looking at an i3 for insurance due to HEVC/H.265 and other emerging video formats that don't have good hardware decoding available with either current on-cpu graphics or discrete graphics adapters.
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  15. See this is where I'm probably looking in the wrong spot... I was at those links before looking for the info, and it just says "Processor Graphics - Intel HD Graphics"... I'm not seeing 4200, 4600, or anything like that. I'm looking under Graphic Specifications.
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    Originally Posted by THRobinson View Post
    See this is where I'm probably looking in the wrong spot... I was at those links before looking for the info, and it just says "Processor Graphics - Intel HD Graphics"... I'm not seeing 4200, 4600, or anything like that. I'm looking under Graphic Specifications.
    Graphic Specifications are where you should look in the links I gave. You won't find any version/model numbers for the Intel HD Graphics on the Celeron and Pentium CPUs because Intel doesn't assign any. Remember, these are very basic, low-end products.
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  17. Ah... so I'm not going crazy... I was in the correct spot, just, they don't list anything.

    Well, the debate continues... I was hoping to build something cheap and donate what I have to the nephew, but... $20 here, $40 there, adds up. Plus no luck finding a case that meets my required specs, looks good, and doesn't cost $150+.

    I'd rather put the money towards my motorcycle and my car, than another computer.

    I'll probably just keep an eye online for a used cheap system and gut it. Maybe build a nice case myself, black cherry finish... TV stand is black tempered glass shelves and a cherry finish wood arc on either side. Would be a nice match. Grab an old case from the recyclers and cut out the back and where the board mounts, hmm... not a bad idea. Use to make nice stuff with wood 20yrs ago, been a while but tools still around somewhere.
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    I love the "SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / Steel Grandia Series SST-GD08B ATX Media Center / HTPC Case" that I have.

    It is one of the best purchases I made $159.99! It saves me so much problems, and has filters that you can remove without opening the case to clean. It is silent, and it provides plenty of cooling. I had another Silverstone before this one that wasn't so hot, it had a drive door bay. Very good box.
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  19. "The AMD 6550D in the A8-3850 is much better than the Intel HD 3000 Graphics in video post processing quality. However, this leads to increased expectations like support for full post processing on Blu-ray videos. Unfortunately, the 6550D has a number of issues which prevent it from fulfilling the requirement."

    So, better to end up using a 6670 or even 6570 low-profile card. Or NV if that's your preference.

    As a bonus, you can also use a more flexible Socket 1155 build, will cost a little more to get USB3 and etc, but you'll have a platform that will at the very least be upgradable to IB 4C/8T, which is almost certainly more powerful than anything that will ever be released for FM1. Although of course if it remains purely for HTPC duties forever, this won't be an issue. In my experience though, boxes often get repurposed down the line, and the more capable they are, the easier that is.

    Even a dual-core Pentium (SB-based), will be more than enough for the CPU side of things.
    Last edited by acheter; 15th Mar 2016 at 15:51.
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  20. "The AMD 6550D in the A8-3850 is much better than the Intel HD 3000 Graphics in video post processing quality. However, this leads to increased expectations like support for full post processing on Blu-ray videos. Unfortunately, the 6550D has a number of issues which prevent it from fulfilling the requirement."

    So, better to end up using a 6670 or even 6570 low-profile card. Or NV if that's your preference.

    As a bonus, you can also use a more flexible Socket 1155 build, will cost a little more to get USB3 and etc, but you'll have a platform that will at the very least be upgradable to IB 4C/8T, which is almost certainly more powerful than anything that will ever be released for FM1. Although of course if it remains purely for HTPC duties forever, this won't be an issue. In my experience though, boxes often get repurposed down the line, and the more capable they are, the easier that is.

    Even a dual-core Pentium (SB-based), will be more than enough for the CPU side of things.
    Last edited by acheter; 15th Mar 2016 at 15:51.
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