I just put the finishing touch on my G620, Windows 7 HTPC. I ended up using an HD 6450 video card and two AVerMedia Duet dual tuner cards.
Using WMC7 I recorded 4 HD OTA programs & played back a 5th HD recording all at the same time. The CPU usage was typically 7-17% and I saw one peak at 20%. It does vary quite a bit but the CPU obviously didn't break a sweat. The Kill A Watt meter read between 55-56 watts. It uses 1 watt when off & 2 watts in sleep mode, which it usually is.
They would even be great for most people's general use PC too. This isnt like the old days where a better CPU gives you better faster across the board experience. a G620 can surf the net, check email, youtube, facebook, etc just as well as an i7.
Well that's great to hear. I assume that includes all the 1080p local and streaming content. I keep going back and forth on my own build. I think I got to caught up in worry about using things like MadVR.
Its obvious you can get away with a very low end cpu with a video card, but I wonder how much say a 620 can handle on its own media playback wise.
When I had a single dual tuner card & no video card I seem to recall that recording did not put a big load on the CPU. And that recording 2 programs at once was not much different than recording just 1 program. I'll check things again when just recording & what the CPU usage is.
I added the HD 6450 video card because I did have a video problem when watching some SD OTA programs, probably something not many on this forum might do. I would notice a stutter every so often. Researching it a bit it turns out WMC has what is known as the 29/59 bug.
I did not notice this when playing the same recordings using MPC-HC. But I want to use WMC so I bought a cheap video card ($15 from Newegg on sale) and used the latest driver & the problem was fixed.
I never noticed a problem with HD OTA content. That being said, when using MPC-HC and the ctrl+j function I noticed there was a frame rate issue with HD content. It would be one frame rate for about 16 seconds & another for about 5 seconds, and the Green video line in the graph would reflect this. After installing the video card the frame rate is a very steady 29.971 fps & the Green graph line is also nice & steady. This was kind of a side bonus.
Again, I never saw a problem with HD OTA, and if that's all I watched then I would have never added a video card.
IMO the $15 HD 6450 can't be beat. I have one too, and it works beautifully for HTPC purposes. Video is fast and smooth, power consumption is low, 5.1 surround and HDCP work great.. The card I had before would really struggle with overlays, like when the guide is up and there's video still playing behind it. It would stutter and skip frames badly. The HD 6450 handles it perfectly, smooth as silk.