People Just Don't Understand HTPC - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 123 Old 05-31-2012, 02:35 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Addicted Member
 
assassin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked: 239
I am convinced. Engadget and many of the people who responded with comments should be embarrassed.

http://www.engadget.com/2012/05/31/h...#disqus_thread

Well, except for these people...



Article:
Quote:


How-to: Build a multi-talented HTPC for (roughly) $1,000
By Sharif Sakr posted May 31st 2012 2:00PM
How-To

This is an auspicious year for building an HTPC or indeed any type of sub-$1,000 rig. Intel's new Ivy Bridge processors are about to exert a nice downward pressure on last year's finest, despite the fact that Sandy Bridge still holds up well for many people's needs -- and much the same can be said of AMD's Llano APUs following the arrival of Trinity. In fact, thanks to the market's regular churn, the HTPC parts we look at after the break could easily fall below their $1,019 total bill before you even pick up your screwdriver. (Okay, so we went slightly over $1,000. It's a free country.)

On the other hand, you'd have to be mildly loopy to drop serious cash on a PC that's solely for media consumption. Times have changed since our last build in 2009, and they're unrecognizable compared to the time before that. These days, even ARM-powered smartphones can handle 1080p in and out, nettops with Blu-ray drives can be had for $500 and even totally silent fanless HTPCs are available for around $1,000 (albeit with very modest specs). From that perspective, this might actually be a terrible time to persuade people that spending a grand on a plain old home-built HTPC makes sense -- and that's why, after the break, we're not even going to try.

Components

So, our $1,019 HTPC suddenly seems obscenely expensive in the year 2012, which means it'll have to work twice as hard to prove its mettle. Just how will it do that? By returning to the fundamental idea of what a do-it-yourself rig is all about: spending money only on the stuff you want, ignoring the bits you can live without and -- most importantly -- future-proofing the whole thing so that it can keep pace with your most unexpected whims.

What if we later decide to add an ever-cheaper SSD to speed things up? Or shove 5TB of storage into the chassis and use it as a NAS? Or buy a graphics card and a Logitech wheel for some racing action in the living room? By rights, a DIY rig ought to cut off none of these options. So, with that mind, let's pick some components. (Big thanks to QuietPC.com for loaning us the products.)

Chassis -- This PC will need to be powered all day long to record TV shows, let us remote in from the beach, backup files, stream music and take care of a billion other chores. Fractal's Define R3 has been around for a while, but it has a solid reputation and comes with dampening foam and a fan controller. If you can't get hold of the R3, then the H2 from NZXT takes a very similar approach.

Power supply -- Our budget won't stretch to a totally fanless build that delivers everything we want, but we can still minimize noise with a fanless PSU. Seasonic's SS-400FL is expensive compared to regular power supplies, but it'll deliver stable wattage while contributing precisely zero extra decibels to your living room.

Processor -- Fair enough, AMD's Llano A8 chips are a great choice for an HTPC that will only ever be used as an HTPC, and indeed we list them as a good budget option further down this page. But for now we're aiming high: we want an Intel Core i5-2500K that delivers superior CPU power, overclockability and its own HD 3000 integrated graphics. We'll be bound to its stock cooler for now, but we're familiar with it and we know it's not too whiny. In the future, a $40 third-party cooler could allow us to push those overclocks further.

Motherboard -- Overclock an HTPC? Hell, yeah. Why pay the full price for a processor and then not push it to the max? The Z68 chipset allows for this, but unlike the P67 it also lets us use the Core i5's integrated graphics, which is essential since we're not yet investing in a graphics card. The Gigabyte GA-Z68-UD3H-BA is nice and tough (albeit not "military-grade"), which means it stands a greater chance of surviving drops, elbows, and elbow-drops during installation.

HDD -- We actually have a Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive that we'd love to use in this rig, but the $180 price tag is just too toppy. Instead, we put in a regular Samsung 1TB HDD for $110. And we still feel ripped off, but we'll get to that later.

RAM -- Back in 2009, we spent $26 on 4GB of DDR2 RAM. This time we're getting 8GB of Crucial's XMS DDR3 for $49, but if you check back at Newegg occasionally you may well spot a $20 rebate offer.

Tuner -- This depends on your geography. We built our rig in the UK where the tuner market is less healthy and uses different broadcast standards, but Engadget's US-based HD team will happily recommend the Hauppauge CableCARD USB tuner for pay TV, or the slightly pricier HDHomeRun for ATSC/ClearQAM. If you absolutely insist on keeping the price down, then a regular PCI Express tuner can be had for around $65.

Controllers -- We snatched the keyboard and mouse from an older PC to save costs. Once the PC was set up, we switched to mainly using Windows Live Mesh (free) for controlling the desktop from our main laptop, plus the Remote Kitten app (also free) for controlling Media Center using an iPhone. SplashtopHD is also very useful, but it's not free.

Product
Shopping Lowest Price

Fractal Define R3
Shop! $109.99

Intel Core i5-2500K
Shop! $219.99

Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3
Shop! $129.99 (after rebate)

Corsair XMS3 8GB
Shop! $48.99

Samsung F3 1TB
Shop! $109.99

Samsung SH-B123L Combo
Shop! $71.41

Hauppauge CableCARD tuner
Shop! $98.99

Seasonic SS-400FL PSU
Shop! $129.99

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
Shop! $99.99
Installation

If you've built a PC before, then there's nothing unusual here -- these are all regular parts that fit together in the normal way. If not, then it's probably best to get a friend to help out, but in the meantime here's a quick summary of the build:

The PSU went into the case with a couple of screws.
We put the motherboard on a desk and loaded it up with the CPU, a good dollop of thermal paste and the stock cooler. We also put in the RAM.
The Fractal case comes with everything you need. We put in the motherboard holders, then the mobo itself and finally the secondary screws to hold it in place.
We connected the intake and exhaust fans to the fan controller, which sits in one of the PCI slots. Fractal's bundled controller lets you dial the fan speed right down if CPU temperature is low, and lower RPM means less noise.
The optical drive and HDD went in next, each getting their power connections from the PSU and their SATA connections (3Gb/s for the Blu-ray, 6Gb/s for the HDD) from the motherboard.
The fiddliest connections are always the case controls -- connecting the power button, reset button, etc., to the motherboard. We deliberately left out the LED case light connection, because we want it to be as discreet as possible.
No point in putting the case sides on until you know everything's working okay. We plugged Ethernet, HDMI, optical audio, tuner, mouse and keyboard into the back of the case and then switched on to make sure we saw the boot-up screen on the TV. We also checked that the fans were running properly. Then the sides went on, significantly reducing the noise. If you're going to get electrocuted, make sure it happens now rather than after you've wasted time installing software, etc.
The Windows 7 boot DVD went in and once that was installed, we moved onto the motherboard and tuner card drivers. We then ran Windows Media Center and scanned for TV channels.
Daily operation
The HTPC ran nice and quietly, which was a relief seeing as how the case and fanless PSU forced us to make major sacrifices in other areas. Idle noise was 35.1dBa, which was only a couple of dBs above background noise in the living room. This noise consisted mainly of the high-pitched whirr of the CPU fan, but it was barely noticeable -- to the point where if you got distracted, you'd have to re-focus your concentration just to make out the sound.

A battered MiniDisc player functioned as our DAC
For comparison, an old Dell business desktop gave us 41dBa at idle, a PlayStation 3 gave us 42dBa and an original Xbox 360 (not Elite) gave us 47.8dbA. It's said that a 10dB gain is perceived by human ears as a doubling of volume, which seems about right -- the Xbox sounded far louder than our HTPC. When listening to music, the sound of the PC was obliterated by a battered old Sony amp and speakers plugged into the motherboard's optical port via an equally battered MiniDisc player with optical-in that functioned as our DAC.

So far so good, but what about when the drives are utilized? Heavy HDD use gave us 40dB, while accessing HDD and spinning up a Blu-ray took this to a deafening 50dBA. Luckily, once a disc was loaded and running, sounds from the drive ceased almost completely and overall system noise remained close to the idle level while actually playing a movie -- the Samsung SH-123L was impressive in that respect. Nevertheless, the Samsung HDD was a disappointment considering how much it cost us: it was too clacky and louder than a 5,400RPM drive ought to be.

A couple more stats before we move on: idle system power hovered around 44W, rose to 55W for live TV and 80W when playing Supreme Commander 2. CPU temperature stayed around 30 degrees Celsius and only rose to 40 degrees after an hour-long bout of Medieval II: Total War (played with a mouse on a cushion -- not ideal, but still fun.) That leaves plenty of headroom for overclocking later via the BIOS, or using Gigabyte's EasyTune6 utility if you can get it to load up (we couldn't). The Windows Experience Index came out at 5.9 -- hampered by the HDD.

In terms of real-world tasks, we weren't left wanting
In terms of real-world tasks, we weren't left wanting. Windows Media Center handled recording and watching 1080i TV channels (using the terrestrial Freeview HD service in the UK) with no issues. Dropbox, Windows Live Mesh, Splashtop HD, Spotify, Logitech Media Server and other apps ran simultaneously behind Media Center and other apps without stressing the system. We didn't really test PC gaming (beyond Medieval II and a bit of Supreme Commander 2) because this set-up has no couch-friendly controller to make that a sensible option. Nevertheless, we did run a few Wii and N64 games quite happily using the Dolphin emulator running with a WiiMote, a third-party IR bar and a Bluetooth adapter for the PC.

Remote Kitten was a mixed blessing as a Windows Media Center controller. The app worked 90 percent of the time but had to be restarted occasionally when it failed to connect -- no fun when you're missing your favorite show. We tried a couple of Android alternatives but found that they were deeply unfriendly in comparison and not worth the hassle -- ready money awaits anyone who can improve the current dearth of easy-to-use WMC controllers in Google Play. In contrast, Windows Live Mesh and SplashTop HD ran like a dream and made it easy to access and control the computer from a Windows laptop, Macbook Pro, HTC Flyer and various Android smartphones. The only downside was the fact that SplashTop still isn't compatible with full-screen apps, which made it useless for controlling Media Center. Surely they can fix that?

Budget options
We can't skimp on the case, PSU, tuner, storage or optical drive without dooming the project, but other areas are open to cost-cutting.

The biggest savings can be made by switching to AMD and its successful Llano APU -- seeing as Trinity components won't be available for a while yet. An A8-3870K costs just $130, and an Asus F1A75-V Pro FM1-socket motherboard adds another $110. That's a $170 saving compared to our Intel options, with significant CPU sacrifice but little graphical sacrifice, and still plenty of guts to handle many simple HTPC tasks.

The biggest savings can be made by switching to AMD
Likewise, if PVR functionality is your main concern, you may as well save another $99 by giving up on Windows and switching to Linux and XBMC -- there's a full how-to right here, and also check out the More Coverage link below.

Bling
The smart choice is to add a 120GB SanDisk Extreme SSD to complement your HDD, reduce platter clatter and speed up overall performance. Alternatively, skip the main HDD and go for a 750GB Momentus XT hybrid as your primary drive -- although you will run out of space and need to buy more at some stage.

Next, we'd pawn the kid's stroller to pick up a decent low-power graphics card -- at least a Radeon HD 7770 at $170 in order to play F1 2011 with a wheel off eBay (if anyone is actually selling a Fanatec).

We'd also be in the market for a better HTPC controller, but other than the ancient Logitech DiNovo Edge or Veho's interesting take on the subject, this segment of the market looks pretty sparse.

Wrap-up
After a couple of months using this setup as a primary PC, PVR, Blu-ray player, music hub and network storage, it's been hard not to become totally enamored with it. By virtue of its flexibility and central position in the house, it had emergent benefits that we never expected but quickly became reliant on: like the ability to store TV programs as regular video files that can be immediately copied across to a mobile deivce, or load up the odd game of Legend of Zelda: Windwaker when no one is looking, or editing a document on the big screen so that others in the room could agree or disagree with each change.

No doubt there's room for improvement. The HDD choice wasn't great, the case may be too large for some, and there will definitely be folks out there who'd prefer to sacrifice power and expandability for the sake of a fanless system. If you'd like to recommend different choices, or ask us to try out a different component (a fanless cooler perhaps?), or even if you think our whole philosophy on this build is out of whack, feel free to let us know.

assassin is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 123 Old 05-31-2012, 02:51 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Zon2020's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 2,716
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 28
Wow, has this fool never heard of an HTPC case or of Silverstone? Really? A Fractal R3 for an HTPC? Why in the world would anyone want that? And an i5-2500K? Overclocked moreover? And only a 1TB hard disk?

No wonder they (unnecessarily) spent $1000. But what a ridiculous setup.
Zon2020 is offline  
post #3 of 123 Old 05-31-2012, 02:52 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Sammy2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Right next to Wineville, CA
Posts: 9,806
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Liked: 187
Overclock an HTPC?

Sammy2 is offline  
post #4 of 123 Old 05-31-2012, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Addicted Member
 
assassin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked: 239
Some of the comments are even more amazing.

I am more and more convinced that misinformation is more rampant in HTPC than many other areas of the tech world.
assassin is online now  
post #5 of 123 Old 05-31-2012, 03:02 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Zon2020's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 2,716
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Some of the comments are even more amazing.

I am more and more convinced that misinformation is more rampant in HTPC than many other areas of the tech world.

Actually, after reading more comments, I have more faith. Most of them completely trash the author for not knowing anything about building an HTPC.

But there are a few of the predictable "HD3000 is not reliable for movies playback. Better go with discrete GPU."

Of course the person writing that posts that he is using an E8400 so obviously he has absolutely no idea what HD3000 graphics can do, but that didn't stop him.
Zon2020 is offline  
post #6 of 123 Old 05-31-2012, 04:48 PM
Advanced Member
 
flocko's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 707
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
That's odd cause when I first caught the bug and did a query this forum came up like 3rd or so in the list .

Guess I was lucky

I really don't travel around for a lot of other info on other forums cause I get the best and most accurate info here .

The posted article is really funny but not in a " ha , ha" kind of way . Sad ... very sad.
flocko is offline  
post #7 of 123 Old 05-31-2012, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Addicted Member
 
assassin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked: 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Actually, after reading more comments, I have more faith. Most of them completely trash the author for not knowing anything about building an HTPC.

But there are a few of the predictable "HD3000 is not reliable for movies playback. Better go with discrete GPU."

Of course the person writing that posts that he is using an E8400 so obviously he has absolutely no idea what HD3000 graphics can do, but that didn't stop him.

Agreed.

Some are good and some are out there. Like getting rid of the SSD to upgrade the CPU further from the i5.
assassin is online now  
post #8 of 123 Old 05-31-2012, 05:43 PM
Member
 
wsume99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 82
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
I like how they say that you need to spend $1000 just in case you want to add 5TB of storage and turn this into a NAS. For ~$1000 I could build a 6TB media server (HDDs included) AND a decent HTPC.
wsume99 is offline  
post #9 of 123 Old 05-31-2012, 05:50 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Favelle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 3,786
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 12
For $1000 I could build a GAMING PC, LOL. For that amount of dough, you could build 3 HTPC's. Nice ones.

In terms of LFE, size does matter!
Favelle is offline  
post #10 of 123 Old 05-31-2012, 06:07 PM
AVS Special Member
 
pittsoccer33's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Pittsburgh (East Liberty)
Posts: 1,856
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 76 Post(s)
Liked: 200
Making all your media files play is in my opinion all there is to understand about htpc.

I think htpc is more an idea people strive to than an actual product. If you asked every forum user to list the five things that are totally necessary to make their computer an "htpc" i think you would get wildly different answers. My opinion was always that it was a computer optimized for plugging into your tv to watch movies.

One of the users said in last weeks "build or buy" thread that without an a/v component style case and a ssd its not fit for their home theater. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't change how the video looks on their tv.

Some users think its a sin to ever leave the front end to access other programs. There should be no games or productivity software installed. It has to be as silent as possible. Media should be stored on a server. It needs special scripts to help it sleep.

There was nothing about that article that really stuck out to me as odd for an htpc, other than the relatively small hard drive. I can think of a number of good reasons to use a tower case - more room to work with, more space for hard drives if a server isn't appealing to you, you personally just think it looks cool. All the media being plugged into the motherboard would be a good thing if troubleshooting network issues isn't a strong suit.

Silence isn't a big deal, because I live in the heart of Pittsburgh's East End. I'm surrounded by hospitals (ambulances), bus route, and a fire station. I did notice my fan noise when I set up a new media rack, but that was only because I had accidently set it to run the systems fans full blast all the time. With the ac blowing behind me I'll never notice.

My personal bias is towards a quad core processor in my next computer. Why? I see a number of posters saying "thats overkill, you don't need it." Right now I have a 2.3ghz core 2 duo, and for recording tv and watching video on the pc I think it works great. But my extenders really tax it. If someone is watching ripped dvd folders on the linksys extender, the cpu is at 100%. Forget about watching Netflix on the htpc.

There are a number of programs I record (history and science stuff) that I'll rarely watch but I love to keep. For instance, this weekend I recorded 6 hours of Vietnam in HD. I would love to compress that down, but it will literally take at least 2 full days of my cpu being at 100% to do. Not going to make watching tv very enjoyable.

Also, I would really like to do real time transcoding for some other devices in my home and also my phone while away. I don't want to worry that by using Remote Potato or TVersity to transcode while I'm on my lunch break downtown that I am going to freeze the computer and prevent another person from watching it until I get home and kill the frozen up transcoding process.

I don't understand what overclocking hurts either. T thought that cpus are designed with it in mind, and that occasionally higher end/not well selling models were underclocked and sold as a lesser series. If you do it right you are not damaging the cpu or adding much heat, so why not get more performance out of your investment? It would sure help me accomplish my other needs.

But these are my personal goals and biases. They don't apply to everyone. I think i do a pretty good job recognizing that when I try to help people on the forums - I just speak from the areas i have the most experience.

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
pittsoccer33 is offline  
post #11 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 08:11 AM
Member
 
Apokrif's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 41
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by wsume99 View Post

I like how they say that you need to spend $1000 just in case you want to add 5TB of storage and turn this into a NAS. For ~$1000 I could build a 6TB media server (HDDs included) AND a decent HTPC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Favelle View Post

For $1000 I could build a GAMING PC, LOL. For that amount of dough, you could build 3 HTPC's. Nice ones.

Oh c'mon. It was a subtle joke. Just admit, you were not able to get it
Apokrif is offline  
post #12 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 08:24 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Sammy2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Right next to Wineville, CA
Posts: 9,806
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Liked: 187
@pittsoccer33

You could maybe fix the problem with more RAM rather than a quad core?

Sammy2 is offline  
post #13 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 10:45 AM
AVS Special Member
 
captain_video's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Posts: 3,541
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked: 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

I don't understand what overclocking hurts either.

The point isn't that overclocking hurts anything. The CPU chosen by the author is already overkill for an HTPC so overclocking buys you absolutely nothing except possibly more heat to dissipate.

After reading the article I'm wondering if the components chosen were just whatever the author could acquire by way of free samples to evaluate and then thought about doing anarticle on building an HTPC because he had a bunch of gear to play with. I can't believe anyone would create a laundry list of these items to build an actual HTPC.
captain_video is offline  
post #14 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 11:07 AM
Advanced Member
 
ljo000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 785
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 18
I've always found overclocking to be unnecessary. Adding extra heat and wear on your processor for marginal performance gains is not as efficient as just buying a powerful enough processor to meet your needs upfront. For HTPC, an i5 is overkill and even if you want to have HTPC + light gaming, a stock i5 + discrete gfx card is plenty good enough.
ljo000 is offline  
post #15 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 11:16 AM
AVS Special Member
 
pittsoccer33's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Pittsburgh (East Liberty)
Posts: 1,856
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 76 Post(s)
Liked: 200
ive had that e6550 2.3ghz core 2 duo overclocked to 2.59 for a few years now. with an all copper zalman heatsink temps stay around 30c unless the cpu is maxed out for a while. from what I understand about that CPU 70+ is the crash/eventual damage zone?

my gpu is actually the component I worry about cooling (another reason I'd like to try an integrated solution my next go around). the fan on it is prone to sticking after restarts, the air is somewhat restricted by other pci cards (tuner and sata port card), and without a pci slot exhaust fan it overheats on 1080i content.

If I were to build a simple box for a bedroom I wouldnt bother overclocking. I just thought that was a part of being a pc building enthusiast.

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
pittsoccer33 is offline  
post #16 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Addicted Member
 
assassin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked: 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

I just thought that was a part of being a pc building enthusiast.

I think this is the big distinction. Building a non-gaming HTPC is a heck of a lot different than a PC.

I continue to say that except for very specific instances (like gaming, mass re-encoding done a daily basis) overclocking using modern day HTPC CPUs is relatively contraindicated.

The risk outweighs the (very small) reward on this one.
assassin is online now  
post #17 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 11:59 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Sammy2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Right next to Wineville, CA
Posts: 9,806
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Liked: 187
I thought we were beyond (over)clock speed and on to core architecture now?

And dual core i3's or even pentiums get the job done, don't they?

Sammy2 is offline  
post #18 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Addicted Member
 
assassin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked: 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

I thought we were beyond (over)clock speed and on to core architecture now?

And dual core i3's or even pentiums get the job done, don't they?

There are still many people hung up that a 2009 based 2.9 GHz CPU must be better than a 2012 based 2.4 GHz CPU.
assassin is online now  
post #19 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 12:07 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Sammy2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Right next to Wineville, CA
Posts: 9,806
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Liked: 187
And then there's my son who insisted on quad core for my wife's email and youtube pc. Fortunately the egg had a good deal on a i5 SB last fall when we built it; otherwise I would have insisted that it be an i3.

Sammy2 is offline  
post #20 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 12:23 PM
AVS Addicted Member
 
Mfusick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Western MA
Posts: 22,408
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 146 Post(s)
Liked: 776
I laffed

-

"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
Mfusick is offline  
post #21 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 12:38 PM
Senior Member
 
mcantu1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 471
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I think this is the big distinction. Building a non-gaming HTPC is a heck of a lot different than a PC.

I continue to say that except for very specific instances (like gaming, mass re-encoding done a daily basis) overclocking using modern day HTPC CPUs is relatively contraindicated.

The risk outweighs the (very small) reward on this one.

i think the issue for many is that what is labeled an 'HTPC' is not always used 100% for that function. i use my PC as an HTPC, as well as for gaming, pic editing w/photoshop, browsing. not everyone can afford (or needs) multiple comps each for its own specific use.
mcantu1 is offline  
post #22 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Addicted Member
 
assassin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked: 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcantu1 View Post

i think the issue for many is that what is labeled an 'HTPC' is not always used 100% for that function. i use my PC as an HTPC, as well as for gaming, pic editing w/photoshop, browsing. not everyone can afford (or needs) multiple comps each for its own specific use.

Agreed. Which is essentially what I just said.

But this is a htpc forum (and not a pc forum) so if you are using it as a pc you just need to qualify that point when discussing your build, question, etc.
assassin is online now  
post #23 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 12:50 PM
AVS Addicted Member
 
Mfusick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Western MA
Posts: 22,408
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 146 Post(s)
Liked: 776
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Agreed. Which is essentially what I just said.

But this is a htpc forum (and not a pc forum) so if you are using it as a pc you just need to qualify that point when discussing your build, question, etc.

I tend to disagree with you often on this point.

I think a HTPC has "PC" in it. Right?

So then it's some type of personal computer. So factors that effect PC's in general should be included and apply for a HOME THEATER PERSONAL COMPUTER.

More,

It's just narrow minded to assume that a HTPC won't see at least some small level of general PC type use. Your the only one that believes this is not true I have seen. It's far more typical for HTPC to see some type of normal PC use than to see a totally HTPC only activity- even in this forum.

I mean web browse, download, Pictures, email, music, etc... Not heavy duty stuff but stuff almost all people do with PC's today.

Most basic PC stuff should be a factor in a home theater PC too.

Only the heavy duty stuff like encoding or heavy gaming should be discounted automatically- and be a unique requirement.

But - to think that normal smooth PC operations that come with a modern build and hardware- or general basic PC abilities- should be automatically disqualified on the basis it's a HTPC seems narrow minded and short sighted.

Only the most extreme budget builds I would expect any sacrifice at all in these basic PC areas of performance and capability.

Personally- I don't want a HTPC that can't function appropriately as an ordinary consumer level PC when called upon to do so- I have no room in my home or my life for such a limited item.

Not when fully capable PC/HTPC can be had for such a reasonable cost.

Making the excuse- "it's only a HTPC" should be reserved only for the most extreme and power user level tasks only. Not basic PC tasks.

And to think you should tolerate any level of lower performance just because it is a HTPC and not a PC is silly too. By this I mean using anything lower than a Sandy CPU, or not using an SSD... etc...

The performance trade off is not worth the cost saved.

-

"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
Mfusick is offline  
post #24 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 12:50 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Zon2020's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 2,716
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

My personal bias is towards a quad core processor in my next computer. Why? I see a number of posters saying "thats overkill, you don't need it." Right now I have a 2.3ghz core 2 duo, and for recording tv and watching video on the pc I think it works great. But my extenders really tax it. If someone is watching ripped dvd folders on the linksys extender, the cpu is at 100%. Forget about watching Netflix on the htpc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

@pittsoccer33

You could maybe fix the problem with more RAM rather than a quad core?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

ive had that e6550 2.3ghz core 2 duo overclocked to 2.59 for a few years now.

I suspect the desire for a quad core springs from your frame of reference, but you really need to toss your experience with your C2D out the window when assessing current generation cpus. Intel's advancements in architecture and power have been truly enormous, and concepts of what used to be required no longer apply. And all the while power requirements have dropped dramatically. (which is why AMD is struggling to keep up)

For example, using Passmark scores as a rough measure, a lowly i3-2100 is over two and a half times more powerful than your E6550 stock (3856 to 1454). And overclocking it didn't really help. The fastest C2D released - the E8600 is 3.33mhz, which is still much faster than your overclocked one and lands between a current Pentium G620 and G630. The i3-2100 is still 50% faster that that.

If your "I need a quad core" is premised on quads that are contemporaries of your C2D, like the Q6700, or even the newer Q9400, well the i3-2100 is stronger. And if you move up to an i3-2125, well it's about the equivalent of an much more recent and highly popular i5-750 quad core.

The new architecture really requires a change in thinking about what part of Intels range is required. The old "buy the fastest available or fastest I can afford" just doesn't apply any more. You can pay less and get more than you need.

As for overclocking, it used to be worthwhile because getting a boost in performance required spending many hundreds of dollars more on a high end CPU, so it was worth pushing a cheaper one. But now you can buy an even bigger jump in performance for a fairly small increase in price. I just recently paid $189.99 for an i5-3570K (and even got $50 off a motherboard as part of the deal), and that chip for that price will blow away 6-core Phenoms and recent i7s like the 880, 950 or 975. You'll probably pay more for a bigger cpu cooler and extra fans to overclock a cheaper CPU than you would to simply pay a little more for a incredibly high performance chip. With the way performance has increased and prices have plummetted, the only reason to overclock is just for the fun of it. There's certainly no advantage to it.

By the way, I don't have any problem with anyone paying a little more for an i5 for an HTPC, and with the low power draw of these SB and IB cpus, there's probably no significant downside other than cost. But it isn't necessary. Todays i3s will do anything required in an HTPC.
Zon2020 is offline  
post #25 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Addicted Member
 
assassin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked: 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

It's just narrow minded to assume that a HTPC won't see at least some small level of general PC type use. Your the only one that believes this is not true I have seen. It's far more typical for HTPC to see some type of normal PC use than to see a totally HTPC only activity- even in this forum

My opinion is that almost all PCs can be HTPCs.

But not all HTPCs can be PCs.

Like it or not the atom, zacate, etc are HTPCs and do not make capable PCs. They are 2 different machines and you cannot always use the term PC and HTPC synonymously.

Your comments I have quoted above are WAAAAAAAAAAY off base.

First, I do not believe that at all which is why I recommend a SSD, Intel CPU, etc. The ONLY thing I don't recommend is to overclock because, again, for 90%+ of the people in this forum its not only not needed but actually not wanted. Again, the HTPCs I recommend would make an excellent PC as well as HTPC. But, again, there is really just no need for overclocking.

And I am far from alone on this viewpoint.

Edit: Have you seen my guides? Many of the things I do with my HTPC requires a bit of muscle which further emphasizes this point.

What is it with people and accusations about me lately?
assassin is online now  
post #26 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 01:11 PM
Senior Member
 
Joeforsale's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 366
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
^+1 I will say that all HTPC can do light tasking (office, Internet, email, etc.) due to all having to have some OS installed. And even for a gaming HTPC you can build a mid level for probably around $500. Also, i3 for simple email and YouTube? Seems a bit overkill.
Joeforsale is offline  
post #27 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 01:12 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Sammy2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Right next to Wineville, CA
Posts: 9,806
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Liked: 187
When the memory failed and took my Win7 OS with it on my i5, my i3 HTPC was my PC for about two weeks while I got that all sorted out last fall. It did everything I needed it to do during that time.

Sammy2 is offline  
post #28 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Addicted Member
 
assassin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked: 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

When the memory failed and took my Win7 OS with it on my i5, my i3 HTPC was my PC for about two weeks while I got that all sorted out last fall. It did everything I needed it to do during that time.

Exactly. The i3 SNB/IVB is a beast.

I say this constantly. (Anyone seen my V8 Supercharged Sportscar reference in my hardware guide???)
assassin is online now  
post #29 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 01:20 PM
AVS Addicted Member
 
Mfusick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Western MA
Posts: 22,408
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 146 Post(s)
Liked: 776
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

My opinion is that almost all PCs can be HTPCs.

But not all HTPCs can be PCs.

Like it or not the atom, zacate, etc are HTPCs and do not make capable PCs. They are 2 different machines and you cannot always use the term PC and HTPC synonymously.

Your comments I have quoted above are WAAAAAAAAAAY off base.

First, I do not believe that at all which is why I recommend a SSD, Intel CPU, etc. The ONLY thing I don't recommend is to overclock because, again, for 90%+ of the people in this forum its not only not needed but actually not wanted. Again, the HTPCs I recommend would make an excellent PC as well as HTPC. But, again, there is really just no need for overclocking.

And I am far from alone on this viewpoint.

Edit: Have you seen my guides? Many of the things I do with my HTPC requires a bit of muscle which further emphasizes this point.

What is it with people and accusations about me lately?

You must be sensitive today.

I agree with all your suggestions and guides and thinking on hardware selection and capabilities.

My point was if your HTPC can't do basic PC things then what is the point ?

-

"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
Mfusick is offline  
post #30 of 123 Old 06-01-2012, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Addicted Member
 
assassin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked: 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

You must be sensitive today.

I agree with all your suggestions and guides and thinking on hardware selection and capabilities.

My point was if your HTPC can't do basic PC things then what is the point ?

To label me as "close minded" because I don't think overclocking is needed is just ridiculous Mfusick.

That's the only area where we differ. And overclocking is NOT needed on a PC either in all instances. And even less so for HTPC --- even if it is being used as a PC.
assassin is online now  
Reply Home Theater Computers

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off