Description

I wanted to build a HTPC on a budget, so I set out with a $500 build in mind. It had to resemble a console and have Kodi (XBMC) and Steam installed. I exceeded the budget but that is OK.

Update 12/21/15: I replaced my old Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 OC Ghz Ed with a MSI Radeon R7 370 2GB Armor 2X that I got on JET.com for $119.00 shipped. I sold the 7870 for $75 on Amazon. Even though both cards are very close in specs, I wanted an updated card to take advantage of newer AMD technologies. Plus I like the black and white of the MSI Armor 2X card.

CPU + MoBo: Micro Center had a combo deal on some of the A series APU's from AMD. I chose the brand new A10-7870k quad core APU. It has a Radeon R7 gpu on the die and is capable of running casual games at high settings and more serious games at mid settings. With this combo, I chose the Asus A88XM-A mATX board. It's well made and the Asus BIOS is nice and clean but I wish the MoBo had heat sinks on the MOSFETs.

Case: My case is the Thermaltake Core V21. I really like this case as it has plenty of room for cable management and all the panels are movable with a window on one.

CPU Cooler: I love the look and quality of the Cryorig H7 and that it has zero RAM interference. It cools fairly well on a light OC (4.2Ghz). I added another Cryorig QF120 Balance fan for a push/pull configuration. I am curious if the extra fan makes much of a different though, I might try to test it with and without the pull fan. It could be causing a bottleneck.

RAM: Micro Center had a deal on the EVGA SSC RAM 2400, making a 2x4Gb set the same price as 2133 speed RAM. So for the price, it was a good deal.

PSU: I know the CX series PSU's from Corsair get a lot of hate on here, and they may be deserving in some higher end builds of the concern, but I think it will be a good PSU for this build.

GPU: I had my old Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 Ghz Ed sitting around from my previous gaming PC. I sold it online and picked up a MSI R7 370 for $119 on Jet.com. I love the white and black color of this card. Since I plan on playing light games on this system, it was a good addition.

SSD: This was a great deal that I found on BestBuy.com. The PNY XLR8 240Gb is for the OS and a few games.

HDD: Micro Center has the WD Caviar Blue 1Tb for $39.99 in store. This will be used for media and other files.

I added some UV Logysis 12" Cold Cathode Tubes. They were cheap and I will add some white cable extensions later. It may look a little tacky from these picks but it actually lights up the whole room in black light. It's 1980's fabulous!

Everything else is pretty basic.

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Comments

  • 55 months ago
  • 2 points

The M4 is a great cooler

but the Asus board lack VRM cooling since they omitted the heatsinks on the VRMs

if possible

you can buy classic RAM sinks with thermal double sided tape and stick to the VRMs and let the fan on the CPU cooler to blow over them

that way you can push the APU much better without worrying about VRM throttling

also for the best results of the APU+GPU dual graphics

try to bump both the APU iGPU part to 1GHz and the 250 to 1GHz and above and also clock the system RAM to 1866 and above.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

That sounds like great ideas, thanks! I'll try that.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Question, the small 'chips' to the right of the CPU socket are what need to be cooled, correct?

The red boxes in this photo? http://i.imgur.com/eJjn2sn.jpg?1

Can/should the yellow boxes be cooled too?

Thanks for your help.

  • 55 months ago
  • 2 points

yea its the chips in red

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you sir.

  • 55 months ago
  • 2 points

You should have installed a completely stock version of Ubuntu, the Kodi optimization might be screwing things up

  • 55 months ago
  • 2 points

I am installing Ubuntu 14.04 today. Kodi and Lubuntu are not working for me. It's a shame but you may have hit it on the head with the optimization issues.

  • 52 months ago
  • 2 points

glad to see that mobo supports the new chip. I might be upgrading from the a10-5800k in a month if I can justify the cost to the minister for war and finance.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

How does it perform in games?

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

I'll have to get back to you on that. I'll try to get some testing done this week when I can get rid of the Kodibuntu OS.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks Jipster69! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to push it with any gaming yet. However, Kodibuntu has been slow as xmas but looking at the CPU and RAM usage, the APU is just idling pretty much. A shame! I'm going to be moving to another OS and then I'll try gaming and testing. Stay tuned!

[comment deleted]
  • 55 months ago
  • 3 points

if youre going to get a dedicated graphics card, you would be better off getting the 860K which is basically an A10-7850k without integrated graphics and getting a better GPU. So if you change the cpu and gpu your build will be cheaper and Muuuuuuuuuch much better!

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU AMD Athlon X4 860K 3.7GHz Quad-Core Processor $69.49 @ Newegg
Video Card XFX Radeon R9 280 3GB Double Dissipation Video Card $149.99 @ Newegg
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total (before mail-in rebates) $244.48
Mail-in rebates -$25.00
Total $219.48
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-07-21 23:24 EDT-0400
  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, that would have been one way to go... and possibly a better way. However, I based this build on the overall form being an HTPC/Console clone. Most, if not all, HTPC cases only allow up to 160mm to 175mm dedicated GPU's and 'low profile' cards with, most of the time, single slot and shorter brackets.

So, as mentioned, for this case and for dual graphics to work, I would need to get a R7 240 or 250 low profile card. I first problem was building it around the overall form, so in that, raw performance in gaming will be neutered. Yet, I like having a discrete and fairly different APU/GPU set up in a slim case design.

Thank you again for your feedback and possibly down the line I'll get a case that is more suited for gaming (and airflow as my tests last night have shown!!).

BTW that is a darn good price on the R9 280... hmmmm

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, that would have been one way to go... and possibly a better way. However, I based this build on the overall form being an HTPC/Console clone. Most, if not all, HTPC cases only allow up to 160mm to 175mm dedicated GPU's and 'low profile' cards with, most of the time, single slot and shorter brackets.

yep I understand your case is slim and limited to dedicated graphics cards, this comment was to "BaccaFly " which has a cooler master N200 and a R7 250x in his part's list. An APU would only make sense if you are not buying a graphics cards.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Dude, sorry. I guess I wasn't fully awake lol. Didn't notice that it was a reply not directed at me.

[comment deleted]
  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome! I like having a slim HTPC now buuuut it would be nice to fit a full size/lenght GPU like your case will have. I'll do some APU and GPU testing, both individual and crossfired and see how it compares to a single R7 250X or 260. Maybe I'll OC the R7 250 to 250X specs.

Good luck with your build, I'm excited about the A10-7870k!

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

you cannot crossfire with an APU. Its called dual graphics and it will only work with the R7 250 and 240

BTW, nice build!! you would see a great improvement with high speed ram, 2133 or 2400, as kaveri and Godavari rely on speed of ram.

http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Memory/Ultra-Speed-DDR3-Revisited-AMD-APU-Memory-Scaling/Graphics-Benchmarks

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you. When I said crossfire, I meant dual graphics. Sorry for the confusion. I am going to look into higher speed RAM. I didn't realize that APU's rely on it... for obvious reasons to me now!

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