HTPC CPU Processors Options - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Considering upgrading my HTPC that will be used for Netflix, Hulu, H.264 playback, and playing DVD's. Want something that stays cool in order to keep the case quiet.

Which CPU processor would be at the top of the list?

I'm reading about Intel's i3: 2100, 2100T, 2120. Also reading about AMD's new AMD 6550D/A8-3850.

Besides playback performance/quality, my next concern is keeping the case quiet, next priority would be a weekly DVD rip that can be performed while I'm sleeping.

Since I already have an HTPC, I'm not in a rush, and don't mind waiting for AMD's offer if it is a better option than Intel's.

Thanks,
Jake
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post #2 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 12:33 PM
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I would go with AMD's new CPU's with built in GPU myself. Intel CPU's are way powerful CPU wise, but the GPU is limiting. AMD CPU's are plenty powerful but the 100's of stream processors you get on chip just can't be beat. I'd say AMD offers a little more flexibility/wiggle room without a discrete cart yet affords you the discrete card option that works in parallel with your existing GPU.
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post #3 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 12:45 PM
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Why do you think Intel's GPU is "limiting"?

Depending on what he is doing it is more than enough.
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post #4 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byronmhome View Post

I would go with AMD's new CPU's with built in GPU myself. Intel CPU's are way powerful CPU wise, but the GPU is limiting. AMD CPU's are plenty powerful but the 100's of stream processors you get on chip just can't be beat. I'd say AMD offers a little more flexibility/wiggle room without a discrete cart yet affords you the discrete card option that works in parallel with your existing GPU.

Unless you're gaming, are those "limits" meaningful?

A Radeon 5450 works fine too, notwithstanding that you can get more powerful GPUs.

If the Intel does everything you want and does it well, while providing a lot more processing capability, then what is the advantage of more on-chip stream processors?

Saying either the CPU or GPU is more powerful isn't meaningful unless that extra power delivers a discernable benefit. It's the same reason that there's no reason to get a i3-2105 rather than a 2100, or a Radeon 6970; or that there's no need to get an i7.

In what way is the Sandy Bridge on-chip GPU "limiting" for an HTPC, expecially for the uses the OP identified?
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post #5 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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How would your choices change if I also wanted to record over-the-air digital TV?

I don't do that now since I use Hulu, but I might decide to record OTA TV and strip out the commercials. And I don't want a powerful HTPC that heat/noise becomes a problem, as I rather build a new desktop system to handle those types of loads and not have heat/noise problems.
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post #6 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post

How would your choices change if I also wanted to record over-the-air digital TV?

I don't do that now since I use Hulu, but I might decide to record OTA TV and strip out the commercials. And I don't want a powerful HTPC that heat/noise becomes a problem, as I rather build a new desktop system to handle those types of loads and not have heat/noise problems.

I use DirecTV so I don't record OTA, but I do use a Hauppauge Colossus to capture HD from my DirecTV DVR. My i3-2100 based HTPC runs cool and quiet even when the Colossus is recording a show.
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post #7 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Why do you think Intel's GPU is "limiting"?

Depending on what he is doing it is more than enough.

Intel GPU works for playing media, No problem. If you want to rip & re-encode DVD's or BluRays then AMD GPU will smoke it and gives you the flexibility for GPU accleerated re-encode if you so wish.

Not to mention price wise the AMD and Intel are comparible. When the CPU on both are more than powerful enough, what other feature is there to compare? The GPU on the AMD is infinitely more powerful and can be expanded through discrete cards.

With all the rage of post processing, re-encoding, muxing/mixing, MadVR so no and so forth, Why WOULD you buy a gimped GPU if you're upgrading today?
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post #8 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Unless you're gaming, are those "limits" meaningful?

A Radeon 5450 works fine too, notwithstanding that you can get more powerful GPUs.

....
In what way is the Sandy Bridge on-chip GPU "limiting" for an HTPC, expecially for the uses the OP identified?

In what way is it NOT limiting?

The CPU in both are just as capable for everything an HTPC needs. So why upgrade to a GPU that isn't just as capable? Sure the Intel GPU "gets the job done" but if all you're concerned about is getting the job done i could get an 880g+amd X2 + 4gbDDR3 ram for less than the cost of the Intel CPU alone and still have money left over for popcorn and a bluray
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post #9 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byronmhome View Post

If you want to rip & re-encode DVD's or BluRays then

. . .

the Sandy Bridge will work just fine.

I assume you haven't actually used one.
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post #10 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byronmhome View Post

Intel GPU works for playing media, No problem. If you want to rip & re-encode DVD's or BluRays then AMD GPU will smoke it and gives you the flexibility for GPU accleerated re-encode if you so wish.

Not to mention price wise the AMD and Intel are comparible. When the CPU on both are more than powerful enough, what other feature is there to compare? The GPU on the AMD is infinitely more powerful and can be expanded through discrete cards.

With all the rage of post processing, re-encoding, muxing/mixing, MadVR so no and so forth, Why WOULD you buy a gimped GPU if you're upgrading today?

Isn't reencoding largely dependent on cpu power and not gpu power?

I don't think the i3 is at all "gimped" for typical htpc use.
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post #11 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Why do you think Intel's GPU is "limiting"?

Depending on what he is doing it is more than enough.

Agreed,

I just built an i3 HTPC on mATX. No issues yet running Blu-ray, multiple HD tuner cards, and the on-board audio 8Ch..

I was pleasantly surprised by the Intel iGPU advanced video timing panel. Gives me almost all the custom timing control PowerStrip used to.

The nosiest thing in the case is the 14db PSU. Can't hear the CPU stock fan (another pleasant surprise).

AJF

No such thing as a stupid question! Well have you got a minute ?
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post #12 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 05:30 PM
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Use whatever you want to use

I like the stream processors.. some people like quicksync.. your choice, your money.
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post #13 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 06:22 PM
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Just out of curiosity, just what do you have now? For what you want to do it really doesn't take that much cpu and/or gpu
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post #14 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lsilvest View Post

Just out of curiosity, just what do you have now? For what you want to do it really doesn't take that much cpu and/or gpu

I have a 2003 3GHz desktop PC that cranks out lots of heat and lots of noise. Like to have something I won't hear, and not work too hard decoding H.264 (since I don't know of a better format). Probably record OTA eventually. Rip a DVD once in a while, though I'm not sure how well this would work. If it I rip a DVD while watching Hulu, I wouldn't want it to cause visual or noise issues...I don't want anything distractive. Might just rip at night when no one is using the HTPC.
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post #15 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Is the 2100T more suited for smaller cases? If it is between the 2100 and 2100T, what is preferred for a Silverstone GD04 size case?
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post #16 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by byronmhome View Post

I like the stream processors.. some people like quicksync.. your choice, your money.

Not sure what the pros/cons of more streams vs. quicksync?
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post #17 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post

I have a 2003 3GHz desktop PC that cranks out lots of heat and lots of noise. Like to have something I won't hear, and not work too hard decoding H.264 (since I don't know of a better format). Probably record OTA eventually. Rip a DVD once in a while, though I'm not sure how well this would work. If it I rip a DVD while watching Hulu, I wouldn't want it to cause visual or noise issues...I don't want anything distractive. Might just rip at night when no one is using the HTPC.

I can see why you want to upgrade. Just as a guideline (and I will confess to being partial to AMD), I have been doing just what you want to do. I stream Hulu and other sites as well as MLB.TV while the system is recording and creating the commercial skip. I usually do transcoding (like Mpeg-2 to WMV HD) at night. Specs are AMD Regor 250, ATI 5450 silent. Low cost, cool and quiet. Was doing the same with much less when I started OTA recording over 5 yrs ago. When you record OTA, you will be recording Mpeg-2 streams.
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post #18 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
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What's the real difference between 2100 vs. 2120 vs 2100T?

I always thought that if the HTPC doesn't utilize 100% of the CPU, it would operate cooler and efficiently. Therefore the 2120 would have reserve capacity while still operating efficiently. This assumes the processor speed is the only difference.

So why not go with the 2120 and have the spare capacity? Or is there more than a CPU clock difference when it comes to TDP?

And between the 2100 and 2100T?
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post #19 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 09:15 PM
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I would take have look on Intel i3 2105 CPU, that what you need for HTPC....

HTPC - Was is das ???
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post #20 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 09:32 PM
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I would take have look on Intel i3 2105 CPU, that what you need for HTPC....

Not unless you are looking for slightly better gaming performance. Otherwise just get the 2100 and save the money. Both will function identically for htpc purposes.
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post #21 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 10:29 PM
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Difference in price is minimal between 2100 and 2105, but instead HD2000 you will have HD 3000...
But of course all depend what you expecting from the CPU

HTPC - Was is das ???
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post #22 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 10:32 PM
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Difference in price is minimal between 2100 and 2105, but instead HD2000 you will have HD 3000...
But of course all depend what you expecting from the CPU

Yes, but, by all accounts, the difference between the HD2000 and HD3000 is irrelevant to HTPC uses. You get no advantage for the extra money.

I started out believing I wanted a 2105 also. I eventually concluded there was no purpose served and am happily using a 2100.
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post #23 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 10:43 PM
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Probably I just doing same mistake, because I almost ordered 2105, can you explain little more about that, I never have HTPC before, but build quite some gaming rigs, just because of that my knowledge can be completely wrong what I need and what I have to expect form HTPC.

HTPC - Was is das ???
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post #24 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 10:44 PM - Thread Starter
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It gets pretty confusing trying to figure this out...

2100 vs 2100T
I don't need ultra low wattage because I'm not running on a battery. But I don't want to generate a lot of heat that will cause the fans to be more noisy. If the 2100 doesn't offer a benefit, I don't mind spending an extra $10 for lower power and heat. On the other hand, if the heat difference is negligible, rather save $10 and have 500 MHz more with the 2100. At this point I'm guessing the 2100T is designed for those running on battery, not heat issues.

HD3000 seems to have the benefit of being a HTCP+ (meaning games or something more with graphics that doesn't have anything to do with a theater or ripping).
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post #25 of 48 Old 07-05-2011, 11:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doomas View Post

Probably I just doing same mistake, because I almost ordered 2105, can you explain little more about that, I never have HTPC before, but build quite some gaming rigs, just because of that my knowledge can be completely wrong what I need and what I have to expect form HTPC.


I consider the 2105 to be HTPC+. It can do better gaming than the 2100. I don't think the 2105 is a mistake for HTPC+. But there's zero benefits, zero advantage for a HTPC person.

For me, I'll never do gaming on a HTPC in the near future. The 2105 doesn't look like it offers anything for me. Not even for video encoding/decoding.
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post #26 of 48 Old 07-06-2011, 07:28 AM
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I typically recycle older components into PCs for my kids or family. I would recommend spending a little extra now, to have a more flexible processor in the future. We're talking $10, right?

YMMV...
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post #27 of 48 Old 07-06-2011, 08:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post
Not sure what the pros/cons of more streams vs. quicksync?
Quick Sync Vs. APP Vs. CUDA
Video Transcoding Examined: AMD, Intel, And Nvidia In-Depth
Accelerated Video Encoding: APP Vs. Quick Sync

Having used Stream-accelerated encoding before with the Catalyst-provided application, I'm inclined to go with QuickSync. The PQ was just awful (lots of macroblocking, etc) on the Stream-accelerated encode.
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post #28 of 48 Old 07-06-2011, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post
It gets pretty confusing trying to figure this out...

2100 vs 2100T
I don't need ultra low wattage because I'm not running on a battery. But I don't want to generate a lot of heat that will cause the fans to be more noisy. If the 2100 doesn't offer a benefit, I don't mind spending an extra $10 for lower power and heat. On the other hand, if the heat difference is negligible, rather save $10 and have 500 MHz more with the 2100. At this point I'm guessing the 2100T is designed for those running on battery, not heat issues.

HD3000 seems to have the benefit of being a HTCP+ (meaning games or something more with graphics that doesn't have anything to do with a theater or ripping).
Rene did an excellent job comparing the two here. You have correctly concluded that your best option is the 2100, see the table near the bottom of this post, you also might look close at the G620
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1#post20523711
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post #29 of 48 Old 07-06-2011, 08:44 AM
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a $50 athlon x2 250 and a mobo with decent onboard graphics w Hdmi will get the job done for cheap.
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post #30 of 48 Old 07-06-2011, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by xxturbowesxx View Post
a $50 athlon x2 250 and a mobo with decent onboard graphics w Hdmi will get the job done for cheap.
Most of my computers, including my HTPC are AMD based. I think the price advantage has evaporated recently. Price a x2 250 + a 880G HDMI MB VS a Intel G620 + MSI H61 HDMI MB

soooo... we are talking $8 now...
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