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Windows 7: thoughts on a MB for a HTPC?


18 Dec 2013   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 
thoughts on a MB for a HTPC?

I have a Fractal Design Node 605 case. Need a micro ATX (so I can use a Blu-ray drive) motherboard. I'm thinking about an Intel i3 CPU LGA 1150.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Dec 2013   #2

 
 

Honestly pretty much any mATX board will do.

However what are you going to use for sound? Onboard or dedicated?

How many Sata/USB do you need?

Are you planning on using a TV tuner card and if so, will it be a PCI, PCIe x1 or PCIe x4+?


Those are probably the three main questions you need to ask yourself which will help narrow the field a bit. Choose one which will suit your requirements.

ie No point in buying a mATX board with a single PCIe x1 slot if you end up wanting two PCIe devices
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Dec 2013   #3

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

I was going to use onboard sound (maybe a board with optical out).
Need 4 SATA, any number of USB (need internal USB3 header for front panel).
I want to use a cable card tuner from Ceton Corp: Ceton InfiniTV 4 Quad-tuner Card for Watching Digital Cable TV on the PC, PCI-Express x1 Interface - Newegg.com
It's PCIe x1 but I also need PCIe x16 for the possibility of installing a separate graphics card.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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20 Dec 2013   #4

 
 

All the boards will have PCIe x16 for a separate Video card. Most, if not all should have at least two USB 3.0 headers. That basically just leaves eliminating boards without a PCIe x1 slot.

Also, since you'll be using onboard sound, another choice is which chip you want. Most are either Realtek ALC892,ALC887 or ALC662. (The higher the number, the newer the chip)

For the sata ports, all have a minimum of 4 - it depends on whether you need most to be Sata II or III. (For an OS drive+SSD, Sata III is the way to go. For storage HDD disks, Sata II is fine)

Here's a few that meet your criteria of min 4 Sata ports, PCIe x16, PCIe x1 and at least 2 USB 3.0 headers for your front panel: (I've left out those with only USB 2.0 headers and no PCIe x1)

In no particular order:

Has Optical

Newegg.com - ASRock Z87M Extreme4 LGA 1150 Intel Z87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Newegg.com - ASRock Z87M PRO4 LGA 1150 Intel Z87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-Z87MX-D3H LGA 1150 Intel Z87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-H81M-HD3 LGA 1150 Intel H81 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Newegg.com - MSI B85M-G43 LGA 1150 Intel B85 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX High Performance CF Intel Motherboard


NON-Optical

Newegg.com - ASUS B85M-G LGA 1150 Intel B85 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Newegg.com - ASRock B85M-GL LGA 1150 Intel B85 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2013   #5

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

I ordered the MB and CPU.
The motherboard is a MSI CSM-H87M-G43 (Realtek ALC892)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813130710
The processor is an Intel i3-4130T 2.9GHz Dual core (35W)

Still deciding on the other parts and not sure if I should use WD "Black" or "Green" drives (I already have the Black drives, they might be used in an upcoming build).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 thoughts on a MB for a HTPC?




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