I’m doing an overhaul of my father’s HTPC and am struggling a bit with the right way to go. Here’s what he’s currently using to run WMC on Windows 7:
Athlon II X2 245
Geforce GT 440 1GB DDR5
On the other hand, here’s what I’m using to run XBMC/TVHeadend on Ubuntu:
Phenom II X4 955
Sapphire Radeon HD 6450 1GB DDR3
We both largely use our HTPCs to watch live TV (1080i/50).
Dad's machine has been running like crap recently, and I’m planning to replace the CPU, bump the memory up to 4GB and add a small SSD. Also central to my plan is nabbing the GT 440 for my own purposes, as AMD cards can’t do vector adaptive deinterlacing in Linux and I understand that the Geforce will manage a lot better. However I’m not sure what to replace it with in Dad’s box while ensuring that he doesn’t take a hit in image quality.
My first thought is to swap it with the 6450, as I understand that it’ll do vector adaptive deinterlacing in Windows. He certainly wouldn’t care about or even notice high quality upscaling so madVR etc isn’t necessary. Anandtech’s review of the 6450 says that it can do VA deinterlacing of 1080i/60 while enforcing smooth playback, so that should theoretically do the trick. However there are also lots of (admittedly pretty old) reports on AVS about problems with the 6450 with 1080i, like a lagging interface and dropped frames. I don’t want to take a few hundred bucks from my Dad and hand him back something that performs worse than the old one.
If I repurposed the 6450, I’d put a Pentium G3220 in there as a cheap, zippy upgrade to the old Athlon. However I’m not convinced that the GT1 HD Graphics in the G3220 is up to high-quality (VA equivalent) deinterlacing of 1080i. Another option is to just get an i3 with GT2 HD Graphics, which I understand can definitely manage VA of 1080i no problem. I don’t really mind spending the extra cash if it's worth it, but I’d rather avoid it unless I have to as I don't think I'd get any tangible CPU performance improvements for the near-doubling in price.
Finally, I could get an AMD APU. This would definitely have the graphics grunt, but would leave some CPU performance on the table compared to the G3220 and results in me having to chuck the 6450 in the bin, which seems wasteful. I'm also reluctant to get a Richland now when A6/A8 Kaveris are just around the corner (theoretically...) and really don't want to put an A10 in there.
So, what would you do?
- G3220 + onboard GT1 (cheap)
- G3220 + 6450 (cheap)
- G3220 + a new GPU (expensive)
- A6-6400 + onboard (cheap)
- i3 4130 + onboard GT2 (expensive)
- Wait for A6/A8 Kaveri