Another month has passed and recommendations are getting a little more complex again. Interesting to see that as the dollar has been crashing, PC prices have been stable as has technology. The machines I bought a year ago are about 10-20% slower not 50%. Main move has been with graphics cards. Still the best news is that there are some viable home-brew HTPCs and silent PCs you can build now.
h3. HTPC or SFF PC
I haven’t been recommend small form factor machines for a while now. They don’t usually have the fastest motherboards and so forth. But with the new HTPCs coming out you can build a very small machine again with the right specs. They are much more expensive, but since these use the Dothan Pentium M chipset, they are very fast.
| Part | Price | Comment |
| Pentium M 745 | $300 | 735 saves $250 and gives up just a little |
| “Crucial Ballistix 3200XL”:http://anandtech.com/memory/showdoc.aspx?i=2312&p=15 | “$280”:http://www.crucial.com/ballistix/store/MPartspecs.Asp?mtbpoid=57B47034A5CA7304&WSMD=855GME%2DMGF&WSPN=BL6464Z402 | Expensive but fast, $250 for Corsair 4400CL25 is 2% slower |
| “DFI 855GME-MGF”:http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_content.asp?id=dfipm&page=1 | “$270”:http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=13-136-150&depa=0 | “LostCircuits”:http://www.lostcircuits.com/motherboard/dfi_855gme/ also liked it |
| nMediaPC HTPC 100 B | “$128”:http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=11-204-002&depa=0 | MicroATX great SFF or HTPC |
| NEC 3500A | “$68”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=3648375/blsrt=1 | Cheap and fast DVD |
| Samsung 193P | “$500”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=2429593/blsrt=1 | An incredible buy from J&R right now |
| “Hitachi 60GB 7200rpm”:http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=22-146-020&depa=0 | $141 | “SilentPCReview”:http://www.silentpcreview.com/article207-page2.html has a noise list |
| “eVGA 6800GT | “$388”:http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=14-130-203&depa=1 | “6600GT”:http://anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2295&p=1 is $220 for 2/3 the performance |
This thing is expensive at $1800, but it is a screamer. Faster than most 3.6 GHz Pentiums when overclocked and it is in a tiny chassis. The only thing I need to figure out is how to get a pair of 2.5″ hard drives into it so it will be fast.
Also the Viewsonic and its brother from Nu Tech appear to be impossible to get, but the thing to try is that “J&R”:http://jr.com have the incomparable Samsung 193P right now on sale with a double rebate, so it is just $500 after a $100 rebate. That is almost the cost of the budget Viewsonic q190mb.
h3. High End PC
Like the Media It’s very tough to do a recommendation right now because most of the tasty motherboards are in very short supply or not reviewed or very unstable as they are so new.
| Athlon 3200+ | $207 | 11x multiplier, should over clock to 2.6GHz easily |
| “Corsair 4400C25”:http://anandtech.com/memory/showdoc.aspx?i=2312&p=3 | “$275”:http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=20-145-550&depa=0 | Very fast at DDR466 |
| MSI Neo4 SLI | $185 | Neo2 $142 for PCIe, Neo if right now |
| Ever Case 4252 | $80 | easy to cool |
| Seasonic Silent Tornado 400 | $99 | newegg.com has |
| NEC 3500A | $67 | newegg or zipzoomfly |
| WD740GD | $185 | 10000 rpm system drive |
| Maxtor DiamondMax 10 300GB | $205 | Big and fast data drive |
| 6800GT | $400 | 2/3 less is 6600GT ($180) |