I just got married, and now I'm trying to consolidate several machines into one smaller, lower power, neatly-cabled [cat-friendly] machine. It will act as a MythTV frontend and backend crunching HDTV (720p, not full-on Bluray movies), web server, firewall, router, and slimserver. I'd like it to sit on a bookcase in the living room, so smaller & cooler is certainly better. And it's on 24/7 and usually just serving the occasional webpage and routing, so lower idle wattage is better.
Coming in I'd assumed that I'd be looking at C2D since it was the most efficient (power per watt) -- for instance, Anandtech's review of the 45w AMD chips showed the e4300 was still a lower-power system. But it's frequently quoted around here that the AMD x2 can idle lower, especially if undervolted. So, here's my options:
- A BE-2350 chip running in a NForce 6150 motherboard -- the ASUS M2NPV-VM has TV out, which would save me from needing a separate card. Lower idle wattage, undervoltable, but would it be fast enough for 720p with MythTV?
- A E4500 running in a low-power motherboard, with a separate graphics card. Anandtech seems to think they idle lower than the AMD, but most other reports around here seem to indicate that they'll idle higher, and won't undervolt significantly. So, I'm gathering that their higher performance-per-watt would be a waste in my case?
- A Merom chip running in a 945GT or 945GM motherboard -- there are a couple of compelling motherboards for this chip, including a Tyan that is FlexATX. But 945GT is an old chipset, and I've heard the occasional bad report of GMA950 graphics and MythTV (can't adjust the overscan or somesuch?) Graphics issues aside, does the Merom really buy anything over the AMD? Higher peak performance, I would assume, but the power numbers look similar (at least in terms of TDP). If the Merom board needed a discrete graphics card (FX5200 or 7300LE or whatever), would that negate the difference?