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Old 04-26-2009, 10:25 PM   #1
Spectre5
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AMD vs Intel Build for a HTPC


I'm looking at building a computer to use as a web server and for boxee/MythTV/something similar. I've decided on most components for this computer. I have two configurations, one of which uses AMD and the other one that uses Intel.

Here are the two builds (the intel build is just $10 more)
AMD:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5050e Brisbane 2.6GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 45W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
<http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103298>
ASUS M3N78-VM AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 8200 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
<http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131318>

Intel:
Intel Pentium E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
<http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116072>
GIGABYTE GA-73PVM-S2H LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 7100 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
<http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128072>

I would like the know the following information:

Which would use less power (I know the amd is 45W and the intel is 65W, but including the mobo and actual experience with these)

Which would be more powerful/better for video decompressing, boxee/MythTV, etc, etc?

Is the on-board nVidia 7100 for the Intel build good enough? How about the on-board nVidia 8200 on the AMD build? Are both/either/neither good enough for 1080i or 1080p video? Note also that both of the mobo's have HDMI which is one of my requirements.

I've been unable to find good information comparing these two even though they seem pretty comparable to me...both are close in price, close in frequency, the intel has twice as much L2 cache though.

Thanks for any help!

Note: This is not intended to be an AMD/Intel flame-war - so please don't say one is better than the other simply because it is AMD or Intel, please provide some reasoning/support/links for the answer.


EDIT: hm...for the same price (actually $1 cheaper right now), I could get this AMD instead:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Kuma 2.7GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 95W Dual-Core black edition Processor - Retail
<http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103300&Tpk=7750>

Would there be any reason to not do this?? This one seems like it is better than the one in my post above - although it is 95W instead of 45W.

Last edited by Spectre5; 04-26-2009 at 10:47 PM.
 
Old 04-27-2009, 01:20 AM   #2
DanceMan
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I would suggest Anandtech for a comparison of the motherboard chipsets -- they've tested them and rated them against each other and against the AMD 780G chipset.

The larger L2 cache helps in gaming, but makes no difference in audio or video encoding.
 
Old 04-27-2009, 01:45 AM   #3
corbintechboy
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Here is my current build:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103289 AMD5400+ x2

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813135075 A780GM-A ECS

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820211364 2 sets of this 4 gigs

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817703005 Single rail 610watt PSU (don't fall for the dual/quad rail hype)

I think this would make a great HTPC. I use this as my main setup and for the price, I can't see how it can really be beat. I got a really good deal on 2 500 gig sata 2 drives and they are really fast.

This would make a good cheap system and I have even heard of people running this CPU with passive cooling. With the HDMI out on the board and such, this is a good setup!

On the AMD vs Intel thing. Your choice really is between chipset or CPU. Mine is not slow by no means but the Intels are supposedly a little faster, on the other hand the chipsets offered to AMD are what keeps me using them.
 
Old 04-27-2009, 01:53 AM   #4
lazlow
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You should google VDpau. Video decoding is rapidly moving over to the GPU (yep, on Linux). There are a lot of people running MythTV boxes(1080P) with an Intel Atom processor (use standard 32/64bit distros) paired with a PCI based series 9 Nvidia card. An Atom330 might be able to handle what you want to do, depending on your definition of a web server, and the entire system will use a lot less power(Watts). Atom330 motherboards start at around $80, complete boxes start at around $150.
 
Old 04-27-2009, 01:59 AM   #5
Spectre5
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lazlow-
It is interesting that you should mention the atom 330 as that is what I was originally planning to use - I only decided to switch the a more powerful processor because I didn't think the atom 330 could handle the video streaming (since decoding is done in the cpu). I didn't know that it is being moved to the gpu...when did this happen? I haven't heard of this yet.

corbintechboy-
Have you had any bad experience with the ECS mobo? I was/am a little uneasy using something other then the "big/main" brands like MSI, gigabyte, asus, etc...

DanceMan-
Thanks for the info - I have seem a few reviews and I'll head over the amandtech next.
 
Old 04-27-2009, 02:29 AM   #6
DanceMan
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Speaking of Atom, I've just bought an Atom DTX Intel 945 chipset cpu/board, because it was cheap, and to use it as a server box. But researching the board brought up a test that showed a single core basic A64 and (I think) AMD chipset combo actually used a watt or two less and had cpu performance nearly twice as fast. The old Intel 945 chipset was negating the Atom's efficiency.
So I think you're on the right path with your choices.
 
Old 04-27-2009, 02:58 AM   #7
lazlow
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Spectre5

Just google VDPAU. Here is one of the better pages: http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/VDPAU . The last numbers I can remember seeing were sub 15% cpu utilization running 1080p (using VDPAU).

The articles, I THINK Danceman is talking about, were dealing with under clocking those cpus. If I remember correctly they were getting down close to 50W while the Atom 330s were in the high 30s. So the cpu power/W is going to be better for the under clocking method but the total power(W) consumed is higher than the atom 330s.


If you are serious about quiet and low power, you should look at the pico psu . Basically an over sized wall wort that sits outside the case (no heat in case) and is very capable of running these small machines (Atom based or otherwise).
 
Old 04-27-2009, 10:17 AM   #8
Spectre5
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It seems that using a 9 series Nvidia card with the Atom 330 (and it's power hungry support chipset) would use more power than one of my other options using the on-board graphics card? I'm still not sure if they would be powerful enough or not...but I did notice from that VDPAU link from lazlow's last post that the on-board 8200 is supported which is on my AMD build from the first post. I guess the 7100 on the Intel board I suggested is not supported though. So if I choose to try using the VDPAU, I would need to choose my AMD build from above.

But back to my original post and original questions - of those two builds I suggested - which would use less power (including the other AMD processor I added as an EDIT to the bottom of that post), and would the on-board graphics be powerful enough? Would the system (i.e. CPU's) be powerful enough? And which would you suggest I go with (of the 2 AMD's and 1 Intel, or suggest another if it is around the $60-$70 price range!) and why?

Thanks!
 
Old 04-27-2009, 10:46 AM   #9
Spectre5
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Hm...I guess the ATI/Radeon drivers have come a long way on Linux since the last time I looked into them....which opens up this as a possibility for the motherboard for the AMD build (either of the two CPU's I listed):

MSI KA780GM2 AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
<http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130222>


Would this be better then the previous one I listed for the AMD build? Is the HD 3200 better/worse than the nVidia 8200 (both integrated)? Is one going to be better/worse for my computer's use? Both have the HDMI and see pretty comparable besides the integrated graphics (though the one with the 8200 seems to have more extras like an eSata port, more usb, etc). Which if the have better support chipsets (north/south bridge, etc)?

Thanks a lot - and sorry for expanding my options to much! I'm hoping to purchase these parts ASAP...
 
Old 04-27-2009, 12:23 PM   #10
corbintechboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre5 View Post
corbintechboy-
Have you had any bad experience with the ECS mobo? I was/am a little uneasy using something other then the "big/main" brands like MSI, gigabyte, asus, etc...
I really like my board! I haven't had any problems with it other then a typo in the user manual that caused me a little problem. ECS has been around a long time and I still have some old 440BX machines here that I could hook up and fire up right now that have ECS boards.

I have had really good luck with ECS. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a new build!

OOPS! Thats actually the wrong ram in those links. I do have that ram but mine is DDR2.

Last edited by corbintechboy; 04-27-2009 at 12:34 PM.
 
Old 04-27-2009, 12:52 PM   #11
Spectre5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corbintechboy View Post
I really like my board! I haven't had any problems with it other then a typo in the user manual that caused me a little problem. ECS has been around a long time and I still have some old 440BX machines here that I could hook up and fire up right now that have ECS boards.

I have had really good luck with ECS. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a new build!

OOPS! Thats actually the wrong ram in those links. I do have that ram but mine is DDR2.
So you've had good luck with the HD 3200 integrated graphics for the motherboard? I've always heard bad things about the ATI/Radeon graphics in linux, though I've heard the open source drivers for them have improved by leaps and bounds lately. Which drivers are you using for it?

Do you have any idea or experience one how it compares to the the nVidia 8200 (also integrated)?
 
Old 04-27-2009, 02:46 PM   #12
DanceMan
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Here's the test I mentioned, from Tom's Hardware. They used an Athlon 64 2000+ and an AMD 780G chipset Gigabyte board. It was not underclocked, but Cool & Quiet was operating. They ran it fanless with a stock aluminum cooler and under load only hit 55C. The ECS Atom 230 board in the test is the one I bought.

I have a Kill-a-Watt coming and a build with a Gigabyte Nvidia 8200 chipset board and a second-hand X2 3800. I can't wait to do some power readings after the Atom is built.
 
Old 04-27-2009, 03:03 PM   #13
corbintechboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre5 View Post
So you've had good luck with the HD 3200 integrated graphics for the motherboard? I've always heard bad things about the ATI/Radeon graphics in linux, though I've heard the open source drivers for them have improved by leaps and bounds lately. Which drivers are you using for it?

Do you have any idea or experience one how it compares to the the nVidia 8200 (also integrated)?
I have used the onboard graphics for a short time before using my trusty old X850XT. The drivers for ATI card have vastly improved over the last couple of years. I would say that they compare pretty close to the nVidia cards pretty close now.

I know really nothing about the nVidia products, but I stand firm on the 780G chipset for being great for a HTPC.
 
Old 04-27-2009, 03:25 PM   #14
Spectre5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanceMan View Post
Here's the test I mentioned, from Tom's Hardware. They used an Athlon 64 2000+ and an AMD 780G chipset Gigabyte board. It was not underclocked, but Cool & Quiet was operating. They ran it fanless with a stock aluminum cooler and under load only hit 55C. The ECS Atom 230 board in the test is the one I bought.

I have a Kill-a-Watt coming and a build with a Gigabyte Nvidia 8200 chipset board and a second-hand X2 3800. I can't wait to do some power readings after the Atom is built.
What 8200 board did you go with? Just curious

Right now I am leaning towards one of the AMD chips with the nVidia motherboard. I think the nVidia mobo is a little better then the other for about the same price and I've used the nVidia drivers with success before (not to say the Radeon ones wouldn't be great too, I've just never used them on a Linux box before). It seems that the 8200 and HD 3200 are pretty comparable too...

I think the E5200 would be a better CPU then either of the other two, but I want something more powerful than the 7100 on that Intel board I suggested, thus I'm going to go with the AMD (I think).

I'm not sure which AMD processor I'd go with though...the 5050e, 7750, or maybe even the 4850...I want the extra features of the 7750, but I'm not sure yet if it is worth the extra power...the prices are all about the same right now.
 
Old 04-27-2009, 03:33 PM   #15
farslayer
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A little more GPU power.. and a DisplayPort connection on top of the HDMI, DSub and DVI connectors

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131348
ASUS P5N7A-VM LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 9300/nForce 730i HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

This was the board used in the Linux Format MythTV article April 2009 Issue 117

Just another option for you to look at. It is a touch more expensive than the board you originally posted.

Last edited by farslayer; 04-27-2009 at 03:46 PM.
 
  


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