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HTPC to WHS 2011 repurpose, and a new HTPC - advice please?


Captain Reynolds

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Captain Reynolds

After playing around with the onboard RAID controller of my ASUS P5K WS a few times, I have decided that it is time for me to upgrade to a dedicated RAID controller. The P5K doesn't have onboard graphics, and it's only PCI-E x16 slot is being used by an 8400GS. I am therefore contemplating repurposing my current HTPC as my WHS2011 and getting a new MB & CPU for the HTPC.

 

Current setups as follows:

 

HTPC: Core i3 540, Gigabyte GA-H55M-D2H, GSkill 4GB DDR3, Corsair Force 80GBSSD (OS), WD2TBEARS (Recorded TV), LG Bluray Combo, W764Bit

WHS 2011: Q6600, ASUS P5KWS, 4GBDDR2, 8400GS, 2x500GB RAID1 (OS & Work Files), 3xWD2TBEARS (Everything else)

 

Proposed setups:

 

HTPC: AMD A6-3500, 4GB DDR3, Corsair Force 80GBSSD (OS), WD2TBEARS (Recorded TV), LG Bluray Combo, W764Bit

WHS 2011: Core i3 540, Gigabyte GA-H55M-D2H, GSkill 4GB DDR3, Highpoint RocketRaid 2720, 2x500GB RAID1 (OS & Work Files), 4xWD2TBEARS (Everything else)

 

I use the HTPC for DVD & BD Ripping (it has the only BD player I own), recording OTA with Media Centre (HD Homerun) and playback of all media from WHS 2011.

My WHS2011 is fairly simple - it is mainly file store with a couple of add-ins (Lights out, Advanced Console, Crashplan) I haven't used it for anything virtual as yet.

 

My questions:

 

1. Do I go for the AMD Llano on my HTPC? Would the extra video and third core help my media and ripping? Often the rig will be recording 2 shows and ripping a disc.

2. Would I be better off leaving the HTPC as is and going for say an i3 2100T & new MB for my WHS 2011

3. Is either of these options not worth all the work? Could I instead use a USB video card and just put a Highpoint 2720 in the ASUS board's only PCI-E slot??

 

Thanks in advance!

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I am testing my A8 Llano HTPC and so far there is nothing it cannot do. And it is surprisingly cool ( I have cool and quiet turned on). Any thing that takes advantage of the GPU will run well compared to a i3. I love it so far but it is not in my entertainment rack yet, just on the test desk.

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Captain Reynolds

I am testing my A8 Llano HTPC and so far there is nothing it cannot do. And it is surprisingly cool ( I have cool and quiet turned on). Any thing that takes advantage of the GPU will run well compared to a i3. I love it so far but it is not in my entertainment rack yet, just on the test desk.

 

Thanks for the info - it's good to know others have AMD as a HTPC option. In over 15 years of building my own computers, I have to admit I have NEVER owned an AMD CPU. Llano has me interested, and just may be enough to get me to take a splash!

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After playing around with the onboard RAID controller of my ASUS P5K WS a few times, I have decided that it is time for me to upgrade to a dedicated RAID controller. The P5K doesn't have onboard graphics, and it's only PCI-E x16 slot is being used by an 8400GS. I am therefore contemplating repurposing my current HTPC as my WHS2011 and getting a new MB & CPU for the HTPC.

 

Current setups as follows:

 

HTPC: Core i3 540, Gigabyte GA-H55M-D2H, GSkill 4GB DDR3, Corsair Force 80GBSSD (OS), WD2TBEARS (Recorded TV), LG Bluray Combo, W764Bit

WHS 2011: Q6600, ASUS P5KWS, 4GBDDR2, 8400GS, 2x500GB RAID1 (OS & Work Files), 3xWD2TBEARS (Everything else)

 

Proposed setups:

 

HTPC: AMD A6-3500, 4GB DDR3, Corsair Force 80GBSSD (OS), WD2TBEARS (Recorded TV), LG Bluray Combo, W764Bit

WHS 2011: Core i3 540, Gigabyte GA-H55M-D2H, GSkill 4GB DDR3, Highpoint RocketRaid 2720, 2x500GB RAID1 (OS & Work Files), 4xWD2TBEARS (Everything else)

 

I use the HTPC for DVD & BD Ripping (it has the only BD player I own), recording OTA with Media Centre (HD Homerun) and playback of all media from WHS 2011.

My WHS2011 is fairly simple - it is mainly file store with a couple of add-ins (Lights out, Advanced Console, Crashplan) I haven't used it for anything virtual as yet.

 

My questions:

 

1. Do I go for the AMD Llano on my HTPC? Would the extra video and third core help my media and ripping? Often the rig will be recording 2 shows and ripping a disc.

2. Would I be better off leaving the HTPC as is and going for say an i3 2100T & new MB for my WHS 2011

3. Is either of these options not worth all the work? Could I instead use a USB video card and just put a Highpoint 2720 in the ASUS board's only PCI-E slot??

 

Thanks in advance!

 

My two cents:

1. I would stick definitively stick with the core I3 for your HTPC as it is still overall faster in every way. Not worth the upgrade.

2. Definetyly would go for I3-21xx for the WHS server. Much better choice than what you are presently running.

3. Yes, Leave the HTPC, and upgrade you WHS for a better experience, more CPU power, less power draw and better setup for future tasks.

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Captain Reynolds

Is the Llano cheaper than an i3/H67? Only reason I would go the AMD route is if it was cheaper.

 

Aussie pricing:

 

AMD A8 3500 $105 or A8 3650 $125, Gigabyte GA-A55M-S2H $85

Intel i3 2100 $125 or i3 2100T $148, Gigabyte GA-H67MA-USB3-B3 $112 (Can also get the GA-Z68M-D2H for $115 on special at the moment)

 

So $190 - $210 for AMD or $237 - $260 for i3

 

If there really is nothing else to consider, it would seem AMD is the way to go for a media centre at present... Beyond that, I think I am leaning towards pcdoc's suggestion and going for the i3 2100T & Gigabyte board above to start a brand new WHS.

 

The Z68 board above seems like a good choice for an extra $3 - are there any downsides (possibly power draw?) to choosing Z68 over H67?

 

Thanks again folks for your input

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Aussie pricing:

 

AMD A8 3500 $105 or A8 3650 $125, Gigabyte GA-A55M-S2H $85

Intel i3 2100 $125 or i3 2100T $148, Gigabyte GA-H67MA-USB3-B3 $112 (Can also get the GA-Z68M-D2H for $115 on special at the moment)

 

So $190 - $210 for AMD or $237 - $260 for i3

 

If there really is nothing else to consider, it would seem AMD is the way to go for a media centre at present... Beyond that, I think I am leaning towards pcdoc's suggestion and going for the i3 2100T & Gigabyte board above to start a brand new WHS.

 

The Z68 board above seems like a good choice for an extra $3 - are there any downsides (possibly power draw?) to choosing Z68 over H67?

 

Thanks again folks for your input

 

 

One minor correction. Go with the 2011 not the "T". The extra $20 is not worth it. It is slower and translates to about 1 watt difference out of the wall. As for the Z68/H67, for a WHS it will not much matter as the primary difference is SSD caching which I am assuming you will not do for a server.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just a FYI. I replaced my i3 h55 htpc that had a gigabyte mother board with a A8 3500 and a Msi mother board. After testing the box just runs better than my i3. It maybe the graphics difference but for my htpc needs it rocks and I am very happy.

 

As a side note the mother board is a Msi a75ma-g55 and I have to say the board is much better than my gigabyte ga-h55m-usb3. The hudson chip set is much nicer than the h55 and x58 All the USB 3.0 ports are native and there is 6 native sata 6gb ports where the h55 x58 uses an external chip.

 

Also I am starting to think that gigabyte is on the balls of their feet with the bios offerings. I just think they have fallen to far behind and the time from post to login is terrible compared to the latest asus and Msi offerings . That's with intel or amd. My Msi board does not spend more than two seconds before its into windows. It amazes me every cold boot. I will check asus and Msi's offerings for my z68 setup.

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