NVIDIA's GeForce GT 430: The Next HTPC King?by Ryan Smith & Ganesh T S on October 11, 2010 9:00 AM EST
For the purpose of HTPC reviews (in particular, HQV benchmarking for discrete GPUs), we have set up a dedicated testbed with the following configuration. Considering that we will soon be having Sandy Bridge HTPCs, we have specifically tagged this as the Fall 2010 HTPC testbed.
|Fall 2010 HTPC Benchmarking Testbed Setup|
|Processor||Intel i5-680 CPU - 3.60GHz, 4MB Cache|
|Motherboard||Asus P7H55D-M EVO|
|OS Hard Drive||Seagate Barracuda XT 2 TB|
|Secondary Drive||Kingston SSDNow 128GB|
|Memory||G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) F3-10666CL7D-4GBECO CAS 7-7-7-21|
|Optical Drives||ASUS 8X Blu-ray Drive Model BC-08B1ST|
|Case||Antec VERIS Fusion Remote Max|
|Power Supply||Antec TruePower New TP-550 550W|
|Operating System||Windows 7 Ultimate x64|
All the above components were chosen keeping extensibility in mind. The Clarkdale CPU allows us to test the Intel HD Graphics, and the PCI-E 2.0 x 16 slot can take in any HTPC oriented graphics card from ATI or nVidia. We got the fastest dual core Clarkdale processor and paired it with one of the well-reviewed LGA1156 motherboards from Asus. With USB 3.0 and eSATA support, transferring information to and from our SFF HTPCs such as the ASRock Vision 3D and Core 100 was a cinch. Keeping hard drive duties is the Seagate Barracuda XT, which strikes a fine balance between speed, power consumption and quietness. A SSD drive from Kingston was thrown in to enable us to use for some benchmarking programs we will cover in some future articles.
The G-Skill ECO series DDR3 modules fit in perfectly with the rest of the testbed. Low voltage requirements ensured that the DIMMs never heated up despite being fast and responsive. Asus was also kind enough to provide a Blu-Ray drive (internal module) which we used to play the HQV BR disc / test bitstreaming. A big chassis from Antec was chosen despite the testbed motherboard being micro-ATX. This was done in order to accommodate ATX motherboards in the future, if made necessary. The 550W Antec power supply also ensures that we can evaluate cards requiring external power connectors for HTPC purposes.
Each hardware configuration has an associated OS image which was created / restored as necessary using Clonezilla. This ensures that we do not end up with conflicting drivers while evaluating GPUs from different companies on the same base testbed. Our first evaluation using the above testbed setup was HQV benchmarking for the GT 430 and Radeon HD 5570. Read on for the results from our exercise.