Originally Posted by jakmal
Some of the HTPC tasks I expect units to be good with:
1. x264 encoding
2. WinRAR built-in benchmark
3. WinRAR split archive decompression (resultant file size > 4 GB).
Also, have you tried Netflix on your machine yet? Silverlight (used by Netflix) doesn't use GPU for accelerating the DRM portion, so the CPU usage is much more than Flash. This is where a powerful CPU would help.
then you and i differ GREATLY in what an HTPC is for.
1. re-encoding is not a standard function of an htpc, and even as such, x264 encoding is merely a time based assessment, so even the "slower" processor is fine for this as it will accomplish the task, albeit taking more time to do so.
2. WinRAR is again, a time based benchmark as any computer can unrar a file, lower level processors just take longer to do so.
3. see #2.
so all in all, i think your assessment is purely on the desire for things to be done faster
, not if they can be done at all.
an htpc is first and foremost a playback device. secondly it is a capture device, and thirdly it is a "computer" for all other uses.
as a playback device, this unit appears to have corrected the shortcomings of the previous unit in the ability to playback HD content of all types, and playback HD audio sources. so far it also appears to have corrected the temperature problems the first group of original zino's also seemed to have.
as a capture device, i've again, not found this to be a particularly stressful job and most modern processors can handle this easily. However, I am not currently planning on doing any capture using this machine, so i cannot give an accurate assessment of the latest generation of capture cards.
as a "computer" it appears to be mid level at best, and on par with most of the mid level quasi-gaming laptops available with discrete or onboard current generation or one generation old GPU's.
And yes, i've played back HD content from netflix through media center and had no issues, however the previous computer, a Dell Studio Hybrid with Intel GMA3100, was also able to do this easily as the streams are at best 720p and stereo audio at this time.