Best Micro-ATX MB

Discussion in 'Asus' started by Jorgen [2400], May 20, 2004.

  1. Hey,

    I'm thinking about building small PC, preferably Intel CPU, since I then can
    use a smaller PSU. (Not sure how small a PSU I can do with for building an
    power AMD machine?!)

    Which ASUS is the best ? Considering I need Lan, Sound and GFX etc build
    into the MB

    Jorgen [2400], May 20, 2004
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  2. As ingo, I now have my eye on the ASUS P4R800-V Dlx - but unfortunately this
    is not a micro atx . So are there any simular with TV-out functionality in
    the ASUS series ?
    Jorgen [2400], May 20, 2004
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  3. Jorgen [2400]

    Paul Guest

    P4P800-VM is the only one that has nothing but positive
    comments. Many others have issues of one sort and another.
    Stay away from P4Rxxx with ATI chipset!

    A7N8X-VM/400 has issues with PC3200 memory. The onboard
    video only works with PC2700 memory, and no one wants to
    invest in memory like that now, as it would have little
    resale value.

    Paul, May 20, 2004
  4. But again, this model is missing the vital tv-out for creating a perfect
    multimedia-living-room machine.

    It's seems like it's only the atx - boards which can support this (like the
    P4R800- v dlx)

    - jorgen

    Jorgen [2400], May 21, 2004
  5. Jorgen [2400]

    Paul Guest

    The A7N8X-VM/400 has a five pin header for TV-out. The P4R800-VM
    also has a five pin header, but the pin pattern is different than
    the A7N8X-VM/400. You should do some Google searches on these
    two products, to see what their limitations are. It would be
    best if the TV adapter ships with the product, as they can be
    hard to find otherwise.

    I realize you are trying to get a small size for the PC and a
    small power consumption, but given the issues with the microATX
    boards, I would buy a separate video card, like an FX5200 (either
    PCI or AGP, which ever you need), and get a card that has
    TV output. On the ATI side, perhaps a 9000 or 9200 offers
    fanless operation. I recommend viewing the results of the TV output
    at a computer store, because I've been less than impressed with
    the TV output of the video cards I've got. The colors are all
    wrong. A $50 DVD player will make your computer output look like

    There is also the ITX approach to building a small system.
    The processing end is barely strong enough to do DVD decoding
    (on the Via boards), so you have to read the reviews, to see
    whether the latest products finally have a decent %CPU usage
    for that function.

    The front page of that site also has some interesting
    product offerings -

    This looks like fun, assuming the BIOS works properly.
    Only room for one DIMM.

    Paul, May 22, 2004
  6. Paul,

    very nice observasions.

    The TV-out addon card is fairly simple to buy in shops, so no sweat there.

    Though my concern now is the powerconsumption. I'm not sure how powerfull an
    PSU I need in order to support a simple system with either AMD/INTEL,
    DVD-burner and Harddisc and perhaps a case cooler running on top of it.

    - jorgen

    Jorgen [2400], May 22, 2004
  7. for example, im looking at these cases

    AOpen H 340H = 200 watts
    Antec LifeStyle Minuet = 220 Watts
    AOpen H 360A = 250 Watts

    but I've had one bad experience with a PSU burning out on my previous

    - jorgen

    Jorgen [2400], May 22, 2004
  8. Jorgen [2400]

    Paul Guest

    It takes a lot of work to engineer a small system. The smaller the case,
    the harder it is to balance power dissipation, noise, and performance.

    In terms of raw power, 250 watts of power is enough to power a pretty
    impressive system. The trick is, the power has to be in the right place,
    to prevent overloading any one output. A P4 system powers the processor
    from +12V, as do some of the current Athlon64 class systems. Boards
    with AthlonXP (socket 462) tend to draw power from +5V, rather than +12V.
    One hint of this, is the presence of the 2x2 ATX12V power connector.
    Since the ATX 20pin power connector has only one +12V pin, and a pin
    is limited to 6 amps of current, 72W at 80% efficiency, or 57.2W isn't
    enough power for a lot of processors. That is why, either a 2x2 connector
    is used, with two more +12V pins, or the designers use +5V and its multiple
    pins, to draw the power.

    What this means, is you should be shopping for a different 250W supply,
    depending on whether the motherboard seeks its power from +5 or +12.
    Also, if you insist on using a high end video card, ATI9800/FX5900 class
    cards draw [email protected] and [email protected] while doing 3D gaming. So, that is also a
    major consumer of power, and has to be accounted for.

    Power numbers are hard to get, as I discovered when I visited the
    Shuttle web site. Shuttle makes small systems that are suited for
    what you want to do, but I couldn't find specs for the power supply
    used in the AMD and P4 systems. Both of the example systems below have
    250W power supplies, but it is possible they have different limits on
    their 3.3, 5.0, and +12V outputs. Here are the example systems: (P4/865 graphics) (AthlonXP/Nforce2 IGP)

    I don't see a video output on those machines, so a cheap low end video
    card would be a minimum extra purchase.

    The systems intended for multimedia use, generally have power
    specs, and make it easier to engineer. That Ibase system based
    on the ATI RS300 chipset, has numbers like:

    Power Consumption
    Pentium 4 2.4GHz (512KB) with 256MB DDR memory
    +5V: 3.29A; +12V: 4.83A

    Pentium 4 3.06GHz (512KB) with 512MB DDR memory
    +5V: 3.17A; +12V: 7.14A

    If you use a decent size case, like a mid sized ATX, you can stick a
    bigger power supply in it, or add case fans, and you have room to work.
    The smaller the case, the harder it is to work in there, there are
    fewer powering options (like the 250W limit), power budgeting must
    be done more precisely, and so on. Even then, a small case solution
    may be noisier than you expected. There are limits as to how much power
    should be dissipated in a small volume, and many users complain about
    overheating or noise on their small systems.

    You could shop for Mobile processors, as the Athlon comes in a mobile
    version, as do some Pentiums. The problem here is, certain ingredients
    may be missing from a desktop chipset/motherboard that would make it
    easier to work with them. For example, "LarsJ" just finished modding
    an A7V8X, so the voltage regulator VID pins could be programmed for
    the lower voltage of a Mobile Athlon. This was needed, because Asus
    has a policy of not allowing undervolting in their products (why,
    escapes me, because if a board didn't start with a low setting, you
    could always clear CMOS and try again). Many Athlon boards are adjustable
    from 1.65 to 1.85, and to get the cool benefits of a Mobile processor,
    requires lower voltages than that. LarsJ used the relatively safe
    mod, of programming the five VID pins on the regulator with wires, to
    get what he wanted.

    Similarly, there can be multiplier issues with certain chipsets
    or motherboard implementations, that would require bridge painting
    or socket modding for a Mobile Athlon (only if you want to adjust
    the multiplier). So, to get the range of features you want, can
    sometimes mean doing some modding.

    I spent about a month of spare time, trying to plan for such a
    small system, and in the end, I gave up, simply because the project
    was becoming too expensive. (The vendors of such small systems tend
    to charge a premium for them, all sorts of hidden costs, like the
    fee they tried to charge me for shipping.) I think it is easier to
    go with a standard sized PC and hide it in the room somewhere. If things
    go wrong, it is easier to buy replacement parts to fix it up. On a
    small system, one mistake might mean buying another case/motherboard

    Paul, May 23, 2004
  9. Paul,

    thanks for all your insight and thoughts. I guess it all boils down to my
    vision of a neat living room multimedia machine VS the cost/problems of this

    Perhaps the idea of simply "hiding" it is okay, though hardly a professional
    solution ! ;-).. But any ways, in the end the most important thing is simply
    that it is noiseless.

    Jorgen, Copenhagen

    Jorgen [2400], May 23, 2004
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