Best cheapest MB with HDMI for an HTPC? AMD or Intel?

jordan12

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Dec 29, 2000
Messages
9,742
Do I go with AMD or Intel? I really would like to try and get the MB as cheap as I can without too much compromise. Just not sure what to look for or what to look at..I would be probably be playing Blu Ray stuff, etc...But figured an On board solution would be ok with that...

I will not game on this at all..

as always, appreciate the guidance
 

jordan12

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Dec 29, 2000
Messages
9,742
Out of curiosity, if I used the standard VGA connection from my computer to the tv using its VGA connector, and played a blu Ray disc, would I get HD content? Or would it look like standard dvd?
 

DeathFromBelow

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 15, 2005
Messages
7,316
Out of curiosity, if I used the standard VGA connection from my computer to the tv using its VGA connector, and played a blu Ray disc, would I get HD content? Or would it look like standard dvd?

I would assume it would still look better than DVD (if it plays at all, it may be blocked because of HDCP). You'll still want to stick with DVI or HDMI, no analog conversion = better quality. You payed a bunch of money for Blu Ray playback, no sense screwing it up because of a less than optimal connection.

Processor wise, I went with an Intel Pentium 2.5 GHz for my media center. It plays back 1080p Blu Ray rips without a hitch. My old Athlon X2 4200 couldn't handle it. I have a dedicated video card since I play a few games on it.
 
Last edited:

htpc_user

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 27, 2008
Messages
1,425
If you're talking "cheapest", look at a 780G chipset. I believe they're a little cheaper than the nvidia. I have an ECS A780GM-A which has HDMI; I believe it's the cheapest HDMI solution.

You can play bluray through VGA with no problem; I actually play it through component from my PC at 1080i since my TV doesn't have HDMI. As the others said, you'd have the digital to analog conversion, but I doubt you'd really notice.
 

Orinthical

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 7, 2004
Messages
1,635
And even though it's been said countless times in recent threads -- 780G will only give you 5.1 channel audio through HDMI while the 8200/8300 or 9200/9300 (Intel) Nvidia chipsets do 7.1 audio natively. Just keep that in mind if its important to you.
 

CrimandEvil

Dick with a heart of gold
Joined
Oct 22, 2003
Messages
19,670
And even though it's been said countless times in recent threads -- 780G will only give you 5.1 channel audio through HDMI while the 8200/8300 or 9200/9300 (Intel) Nvidia chipsets do 7.1 audio natively. Just keep that in mind if its important to you.

And that doesn't apply to all 780G mobos, only a small handful like the Gigabyte board.

Honestly, 780G is no longer worth it; go with an 8200 board for AMD or a 9300 series board for an Intel chip (but that's going to cost more).
 

magao

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 6, 2008
Messages
214
Agreed - 8200/8300 board with something like a 4850e.If you don't have a receiver with HDMI input (or only HDMI passthrough) make sure you get a board with (preferably optical) S/PDIF onboard.

I'm definitely recommending nVidia at the moment for one simple reason - CoreAVC 1.9.x with CUDA support. The ability to off-load most h.264 decoding to the video card, but still be able to do post-processing is a real winner. Plus it's compatible with more encoding options than DxVA is.

In Australia the J&W JW-G82UM-PV+ (GF8200) appears to tick all the boxes at about AU$100. Or the ASUS M3N78-EM (GF8300) at about AU$140. The 4850e costs about AU$100. Add in same RAM and storage and you're looking at about AU$300-$350 total for the internals, and anywhere from AU$100 to AU$NOLIMIT for the case.

If I were building my system now, I'd be going for the GF8200+4850e. I could have saved about AU$150, have a quieter and lower-power HTPC (not that my current HTPC is audible where it is in my cabinet) and be able to off-load a lot more of the video decoding.

I don't think the 9300/9400 makes sense at the moment - the cheapest GF9300 board I found was over AU$200. Note that the GF8200/8300 is older tech - 80nm vs 65nm, and 8 shader processors vs 16 in the 9300/9400. If you're not gaming on the machine this shouldn't make a significant difference.

Good article comparing various IGPs for Blu-Ray here at AnandTech.
 
Last edited:

tommo

Gawd
Joined
Dec 12, 2004
Messages
951
I bought this combo last week, and with 2GB of memory, it seemed to run Vista Media Center acceptably. If I were to do it again, I wouldn't skimp on the RAM.

I plugged the HDMI into my Toshiba 51H84 TV (51" projection), and it worked first boot, no configuration. I installed all the important drivers (display, and hdmi audio driver) on a LCD earlier, though.

PM if you have any questions.

edit:

might be important to know that motherboard was a Foxconn
oh and: I bought a cheapo Rosewill microATX case, ran the case fan at 5 Volts, and fan noise is virtually nil.
 
Top