Looking for the cheapest XBMC solution - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi, I am looking for something (htpc or other) that will allow me to run XBMC via HDMI to my tv. built in wifi is a plus, but 10/100 is fine. Preferably not really sluggish either.

I do not need HD audio, 1080p, big hard drive etc.

I just want something cheap to run xbmc and various addons, and maybe stream the odd <2gb mkv or avi.

I know about the apple tv, and am considering it, but i have heard it is very sluggish with XBMC


Thanks for your help.
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post #2 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djexacto View Post

Hi, I am looking for something (htpc or other) that will allow me to run XBMC via HDMI to my tv. built in wifi is a plus, but 10/100 is fine. Preferably not really sluggish either.

This is the best guide out there:

http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php...683#post843683
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post #3 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acesfullup View Post

This is the best guide out there:

http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php...683#post843683

Zotac? Foxconn? Jetway?

I can't take that guide seriously. Its for people that are looking for something cheap (noticed I used the word cheap and not inexpensive) and off the shelf.
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post #4 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 12:53 PM
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I don't find the ATV1 sluggish at all, and it's certainly the cheapest consumer product. That would also depend on what skins you use, the movies you play back, etc...

You can put together a new computer fairly cheap and it would be much more flexible.
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post #5 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Its for people that are looking for something cheap (noticed I used the word cheap and not inexpensive) and off the shelf.

Cheap is the most loaded term in regards to the discussion of any modern theory of didactic consumer electronics (aka AVSForum).

This is a solid list from the same:

http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php....php?tid=94199
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post #6 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for those lists, just wanted to clear a few things up. I should revise my post to say inexpensive instead of cheap. Preferably under $300 CAD.

Is the ATV1 the way to go? What about the BCM70015 how does that work?

Will the new xtreamer with built in xbmc be the way to go? Will off the shelf nettops do the trick?

Thanks.
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post #7 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 02:53 PM
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You want a big hard drive? What do you define as big? Want to build your own or get something off the shelf? Does size matter or do you want something uber small for some reason?
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post #8 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djexacto View Post

Thanks for those lists, just wanted to clear a few things up. I should revise my post to say inexpensive instead of cheap. Preferably under $300 CAD.

Is the ATV1 the way to go? What about the BCM70015 how does that work?

Will the new xtreamer with built in xbmc be the way to go? Will off the shelf nettops do the trick?

Thanks.

Motherboard:

($48.99) ASRock H61M/U3S3 LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
(+10% off = 44$) (Bought an extra.. lol )

Intel Pentium Dual-Core Processor G630 2.7GHz 3MB LGA1155 CPU, Retail G630BOX $61.99

1 x ($37.99) Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CT2KIT51264BD160B
$37.99 (+ extra 15% off = 32$)

1 x ($29.99) Broadway Com Corp 1243MA-BLACK Glossy black Steel ATX Mini Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply
$29.99 (Free shipping with Newegg business code)

1 x ($17.99) LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM (Free shipping)
$17.99

x ($159.99) OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$159.99- ($-30.00) DISCOUNT FOR PROMOTION CODE
$-30.00 - $20 mail in rebate = $109

Total cost $294 shipped.

This has to be the nicest and most capable sub $300 HTPC.


120GB SSD, 8GB DDR3 1600mhz are the standouts- Not usually had at this price.


That is inexpensive but good.


If you wanted cheap:

Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

This is going to be tough to beat.

G530 $38 shipped with code
https://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=G530BOX&c=CJ

H61 Board $30-$37 shipped AR (goes on sale all the time for $30 AR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813135288

4GB 1333 RAM $13 AR
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...srkey=P33-5310

So that's $81.


You could go this route

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post #9 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

You want a big hard drive? What do you define as big? Want to build your own or get something off the shelf? Does size matter or do you want something uber small for some reason?

I don't need a big hard drive, I'd rather get an off the shelf type, but building my own isn't totally out of the question. Smaller is better but not a requirement.
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post #10 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 07:06 PM
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Rasberry Pi - $35 not available just yet, shipping next week.

Used Apple TV - Maybe $50, jailbreak it.

Foxxconn AMD-E350 based basebones - $120-$130

If you opt for the PC, get Verbatim 32GB Flash Drive for $27. Download the Eden Live and launch it from the Drive. Eden has support for AMD hardware.

If you need more get a cheap 500GB drive for $70. You need only 2GB of Memory, one stick of 1033 is about $15.

You would still need a remote, the Roswell MCE remotes will work with XMBC, about $25.

For WiFi, get any cheap 802.11n dongle, check on slickdeals.com They usually aren't more than $20-$25 on sale.

Is that cheap enough?

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post #11 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 07:35 PM
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Nope .... but this should be
LL
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post #12 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post

Rasberry Pi - $35 not available just yet, shipping next week.

Used Apple TV - Maybe $50, jailbreak it.

Foxxconn AMD-E350 based basebones - $120-$130

Is that cheap enough?

Those choices just made my insides hurt a little bit.
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post #13 of 61 Old 04-14-2012, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Those choices just made my insides hurt a little bit.

There's nothing wrong with the E350. It makes a great, cheap htpc on one of those Foxconn Newegg deals.
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post #14 of 61 Old 04-14-2012, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by StinDaWg View Post

There's nothing wrong with the E350. It makes a great, cheap htpc on one of those Foxconn Newegg deals.

According to Rene Zacate is perfectly fine as long as you're not demanding 29/59, use MadVR or 3D playback. It might have a problem with some interlaced content, but really how much of that do you watch?

I thought about getting a Zacate to upgrade my HTPC, but the price difference between one of the few Micro-ATX Zacate boards (Asus, J&W and ECS) and a good A75 board + A6-3500 just made more sense to go with Ilano.

Antec ISK-110 is $80, comes with a brick. MSI E350 with USB 3.0 is $80 after rebate. If its not accelerated by the GPU then the CPU will struggle with it. I say don't play what it doesn't support, simple enough to me.

I don't find enough to watch on Netflix to justify paying for it. Between T* and Newsgroups, who needs Netflix???

What has Anthony watched in the last 24 hours? I shall tell you -

(Friday)

Democracy Now
DW-TV (News)
Dylan Ratigan (MSNBC)
Young Turks (Current)
RT America
France 24
Clippers Games
Pole Position on Hulu

(Saturday)

F1 Qualifying (Speed SD)
Indy Car Qualifying LBGP (NBC Sports Network-SD)
American Le Mans Series @ Long Beach (ESPN2-SD)
Pole Position on Hulu

To be honest an Atom based PC can handle this. But then I play ePSX games in OpenGL -





And there's NO WAY you could play that on an Atom with Pete's Open GL plug-in, it would be a stuttering mess.

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post #15 of 61 Old 04-14-2012, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StinDaWg View Post

There's nothing wrong with the E350. It makes a great, cheap htpc on one of those Foxconn Newegg deals.

But why? You can get a much better solution for not much more in cost.

Zacate already can't do some things like netflix hd. That doesn't bode well for the future. No reason to choose atom or zacate, imo.
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post #16 of 61 Old 04-15-2012, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post

According to Rene Zacate is perfectly fine as long as you're not demanding 29/59, use MadVR or 3D playback. It might have a problem with some interlaced content, but really how much of that do you watch?

Yikes. I told myself I wasn't going to do this again... but interlaced content is everywhere in broadcast HDTV. You have two standards... 720p, and more commonly 1080i.

But really, for the OP's question... XBMC runs pretty well on most any hardware. Your best bet is to get something used or old and then upgrade it as needed (2-4GB of memory, decent video card, etc.)

If you have to build new, I suggest not looking at something like an Atom, Zecate, or low-powered Pentiums, as you won't use them very long before you get the jones to get something better.
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post #17 of 61 Old 04-15-2012, 01:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puwaha View Post

If you have to build new, I suggest not looking at something like an Atom, Zecate, or low-powered Pentiums, as you won't use them very long before you get the jones to get something better.

I use a 5 year old system with a 1.9 dual core AMD Athlon. It is upgraded to 4GB ram and has an SSD. I have no itch to upgrade and will probably use this until it dies. Unless you are doing encoding I don't see how the cpu even matters as long as you have the gpu to do accelerated playback. It's always funny when I see people recommending i5 or i7 for htpc use. Pretty much a dual core anything will get the job done if you are looking to save money.
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post #18 of 61 Old 04-15-2012, 03:11 AM
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It's pretty rare to stop at just simple media playback.

It's always funny when I see people recommending under-powered parts to build new... they end up spending more in the end on upgrades, or convincing themselves that mediocre performance by modern standards is fine because they saved a few bucks today.
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post #19 of 61 Old 04-15-2012, 04:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puwaha View Post

It's pretty rare to stop at just simple media playback.

It's always funny when I see people recommending under-powered parts to build new... they end up spending more in the end on upgrades, or convincing themselves that mediocre performance by modern standards is fine because they saved a few bucks today.

+1

IOW an extra dollar well spent today will save a few hundred hundred dollars (and time) tomorrow...
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post #20 of 61 Old 04-15-2012, 04:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StinDaWg View Post

I use a 5 year old system with a 1.9 dual core AMD Athlon. It is upgraded to 4GB ram and has an SSD. I have no itch to upgrade and will probably use this until it dies. Unless you are doing encoding I don't see how the cpu even matters as long as you have the gpu to do accelerated playback. It's always funny when I see people recommending i5 or i7 for htpc use. Pretty much a dual core anything will get the job done if you are looking to save money.

Again I think you are somewhat missing the point. What I am saying is that the atom and zacate aren't that much less than the llano or snb pentium/celeron nowadays. So why go with a markedly weaker system?
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post #21 of 61 Old 04-15-2012, 07:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Those choices just made my insides hurt a little bit.

lol

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post #22 of 61 Old 04-15-2012, 07:16 AM
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Quote:


($48.99) ASRock H61M/U3S3 LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
(+10% off = 44$) (Bought an extra.. lol )

Intel Pentium Dual-Core Processor G630 2.7GHz 3MB LGA1155 CPU, Retail G630BOX $61.99

1 x ($37.99) Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CT2KIT51264BD160B
$37.99 (+ extra 15% off = 32$)

1 x ($29.99) Broadway Com Corp 1243MA-BLACK Glossy black Steel ATX Mini Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply
$29.99 (Free shipping with Newegg business code)

1 x ($17.99) LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM (Free shipping)
$17.99

x ($159.99) OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$159.99- ($-30.00) DISCOUNT FOR PROMOTION CODE
$-30.00 - $20 mail in rebate = $109

Total cost $294 shipped.

This has to be the nicest and most capable sub $300 HTPC.


120GB SSD, 8GB DDR3 1600mhz are the standouts- Not usually had at this price.


That is inexpensive but good.




If you wanted cheap:





You could go this route

Intel Celeron Dual-Core Processor G530 2.4GHz 2MB LGA1155 CPU, Retail - BX80623G530 37$ with code.
http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=G530BOX


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813135288
ECS H61H2-M2(1.0) LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
$34 AR

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811148046
1 x ($29.99) Broadway Com Corp 1243MA-BLACK Glossy black Steel ATX Mini Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply
$29.99 (Free shipping with Newegg business code)


http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...srkey=P33-5310
Patriot PG34G1333EL Gamer 2 Desktop Memory Module - 4GB, PC3-10666, DDR3-1333MHz, 9-9-9-24 CAS Latency, Intel XMP Ready $12.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827106289
1 x ($17.99) LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM (Free shipping)
$17.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822145517
HITACHI Deskstar 7K80 HDS728080PLA380 - 0A30356 80GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
With Free $19.99 Rosewill 3.5/2.5" HDD USB Dock - $34.99 Free Shipping


It would function just fine for almost any HTPC duties for $150.

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post #23 of 61 Old 04-15-2012, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

But why? You can get a much better solution for not much more in cost.

Zacate already can't do some things like netflix hd. That doesn't bode well for the future. No reason to choose atom or zacate, imo.

Care to share? I am interested in having a dedicated HTPC so I can use the media server I just built (with 14TB of HDDs) as a dedicated media server and not a HTPC + media server. I am looking for something small enough (not a full size ATX case) so it will fit nicely inside a media cabinet I am planning on building for my AVR and HTPC (I don't have any other peripherals).

I need the HTPC to support full 1080p video and allow for HD Audio (viz. DTS-HD and TrueHD). Honestly, I don't fully understand what bitstreaming audio means, but I assume that is the lighter load as the audio is sent to the AVR to be dealt with rather than letting the HTPC deal with the audio, so that would probably be ideal as 1) it would save money and 2) xbmc on Windows only works with bitstreaming if you use the audio engine branch (I think)... (please correct me if I'm wrong) I would use WMC but it doesn't allow for subtitles to be turned off for some reason on some of the bluray rips I have made with MakeMKV. I will also use the HPTC to listen to music.

I think I would prefer ethernet but I could install a wifi dongle first to see how it works. All the files will be on the media server, so a small HDD is fine...


I look forward to your recommendation so I can build my media cabinet!

Thanks
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post #24 of 61 Old 04-15-2012, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phie View Post

Care to share? I am interested in having a dedicated HTPC so I can use the media server I just built (with 14TB of HDDs) as a dedicated media server and not a HTPC + media server. I am looking for something small enough (not a full size ATX case) so it will fit nicely inside a media cabinet I am planning on building for my AVR and HTPC (I don't have any other peripherals).

I need the HTPC to support full 1080p video and allow for HD Audio (viz. DTS-HD and TrueHD). Honestly, I don't fully understand what bitstreaming audio means, but I assume that is the lighter load as the audio is sent to the AVR to be dealt with rather than letting the HTPC deal with the audio, so that would probably be ideal as 1) it would save money and 2) xbmc on Windows only works with bitstreaming if you use the audio engine branch (I think)... (please correct me if I'm wrong) I would use WMC but it doesn't allow for subtitles to be turned off for some reason on some of the bluray rips I have made with MakeMKV. I will also use the HPTC to listen to music.

I think I would prefer ethernet but I could install a wifi dongle first to see how it works. All the files will be on the media server, so a small HDD is fine...


I look forward to your recommendation so I can build my media cabinet!

Thanks

Take a look at my sticky thread. Plenty of recs there.
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post #25 of 61 Old 04-15-2012, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Take a look at my sticky thread. Plenty of recs there.

I have but am confused... Does Win7 support 1080p and HD Audio via HDMI on the G620 cpu? I think the reason I ended up buying a grafx card on my media server build was that HDMI via i3 didn't support HD Audio yet. Is this still the case?

What mobo would you recommend with the G620 for keeping costs low? Do you recommend ethernet always, or will a 10/100/1000 wifi dongle be able to stream 1080p with no problems?
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post #26 of 61 Old 04-15-2012, 01:11 PM
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BTW, can I use a USB flash drive as the HDD to save some money? Or do I need to get a regular ole 3.5"/2.5" HDD?
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post #27 of 61 Old 04-15-2012, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phie View Post

I have but am confused... Does Win7 support 1080p and HD Audio via HDMI on the G620 cpu? I think the reason I ended up buying a grafx card on my media server build was that HDMI via i3 didn't support HD Audio yet. Is this still the case?

What mobo would you recommend with the G620 for keeping costs low? Do you recommend ethernet always, or will a 10/100/1000 wifi dongle be able to stream 1080p with no problems?

Assassin's thread explains and has recommendations for all of this.

There is no such thing as a 10/100/1000 wifi. Those are wired notations.
If you have a decent wireless network, you can stream 1080p just fine. Wired will always be more stable.
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post #28 of 61 Old 04-15-2012, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
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BTW, can I use a USB flash drive as the HDD to save some money? Or do I need to get a regular ole 3.5"/2.5" HDD?

No. Not if you want to run Windows.
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post #29 of 61 Old 04-15-2012, 01:21 PM
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I see. Hrm, well, when I posted previously, I had to install a grafx card, but it may have been because I was planning on using Linux initially.

What constitutes a decent wifi network? I have a Netgear WNDR 3700 router. I would get the Rosewill RNX-N180PCe Wireless Adapter IEEE 802.11b/g/n PCI Express card per the guide. Is this sufficient? When you say it will be more stable, should I expect to see jittering at least once during a movie if I use wifi? Unfortunately, where I live, fishing wires would be very very difficult and time intensive.

How does the Intel Celeron G530 compare to the G620? What do I lose if I go with the G530?

Thanks!
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post #30 of 61 Old 04-15-2012, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phie View Post

I see. Hrm, well, when I posted previously, I had to install a grafx card, but it may have been because I was planning on using Linux initially.

What constitutes a decent wifi network? I have a Netgear WNDR 3700 router. I would get the Rosewill RNX-N180PCe Wireless Adapter IEEE 802.11b/g/n PCI Express card per the guide. Is this sufficient? When you say it will be more stable, should I expect to see jittering at least once during a movie if I use wifi? Unfortunately, where I live, fishing wires would be very very difficult and time intensive.

How does the Intel Celeron G530 compare to the G620? What do I lose if I go with the G530?

Thanks!

G530 and G620 are both excellent low cost options. The G620 will give you more CPU power. Other than that playback is virtually identical for 1080p.

Wireless network is more dependent on the quality of your network and not the speed. For instance on my network I can stream some 1080p movies but my highest bitrate movies have issues. This is most likely due to dropped packets due to interference (neighbor's wifi, other appliances, baby monitors, etc) and not the speed of my network.

So even the most robust networks have issues. That's why wired is preferred.
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