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Help! Need Suggestions for New HTPC

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
I'd like to build my dad a htpc for xmas. He has a 65" Panasonic plasma tv. I've done a lot of research but I have some hanging questions. Basically, I'd like to build an htpc that plays 1080p content flawlessly, no matter what the codec. I've read reports that llano chips has the 29/59 bug, but that intel i3's have problems with certain codecs,so I'm very confused as to which one to pick. Or maybe the answer is to get an intel chip with an external gpu. Also I'd like to keep costs as minimal as possible (while still providing flawless playback). Basically what would you recommend for the cpu (maybe additional gpu?), mobo and case? I have all the other parts and I just need to figure those out.
post #2 of 50
Definitely get a separate video card. I run an older Intel 3ghz quad core with a BFG GTX 295 video card and it easily plays everything I throw at it. The only thing I haven't tried is 3D because I don't have a 3D tv. You'll find that the case and motherboard may be limited by the video card you get. My video card is over 11 inches long so I spent hours looking for a case that would fit it. Cooler master had a really nice one that left me with less than a mm after the video card was installed. I use ASUS motherboards in all the computers I build. Find the parts that you want and then find a case that will fit everything with good air flow.
Edited by Zophael - 12/10/12 at 1:04am
post #3 of 50
Check out Assassin's guides - http://assassinhtpcblog.com/ - well worth the money as they will allow you to get a HTPC running everything seamlessly within a few hours otherwise it will take you weeks to get things right. Unless you intend to go for really high end video playback an i3 with onboard GPU will play pretty much everything. Just make sure you buy the biggest case you can accommodate to allow you to upgrade to a discrete video card if you ever have the need. Big cases mean quieter and cooler running. MadVR is the best video renderer out there and will happily run on its average settings without a separate video card. I have a 65" Panasonic Viera and added a Nvidia GTX 650Ti video card to my i3 HTPC only because I wanted to play around with madVR at its extreme settings.
post #4 of 50
+1 on assassin guides.

Best value HTPC today is intel without video card.

Check out guides.

I'm not sure your getting good information. Your oddly wrong or misinformed on a few things.
post #5 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zophael View Post

Definitely get a separate video card. I run an older Intel 3ghz quad core with a BFG GTX 295 video card and it easily plays everything I throw at it. The only thing I haven't tried is 3D because I don't have a 3D tv. You'll find that the case and motherboard may be limited by the video card you get. My video card is over 11 inches long so I spent hours looking for a case that would fit it. Cooler master had a really nice one that left me with less than a mm after the video card was installed. I use ASUS motherboards in all the computers I build. Find the parts that you want and then find a case that will fit everything with good air flow.


Do not listen to this advice. You don't need a video card in HTPC.

Save the cost. Save the hassle. Save the heat. Save the energy.
post #6 of 50
All these "bugs" your reading about is pure BS.

How come good information doesn't travel as well as terrible or biased information ????

For your dad non of that stuff is going to be an issue. Go intel socket 1155 without a video card. You'll be fine. It's a more powerful CPU line and more energy efficient too.

On the basic HTPC its a good choice.
post #7 of 50
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all your advice, so you would suggest an intel i3 over a AMD A6-5400K? On another forum someone said that the trinity line is the best for htpc, but is there a big difference between them or is it very similar and I should just go for the cheaper one? Thanks
post #8 of 50
Thread Starter 
And if you think i3, which one would be sufficient? I see the intel HD graphics range from 2000 to 4000, is there a big difference between them or should I get the cheapest?
post #9 of 50
Hi Warscout-

No I don't think there is any difference in HD2000 or HD3000 or HD 4000. For HTPC and movie playback there is no difference. There is no difference playing back 1080p with HD audio.

Only in playing video games would you notice a difference.


I went from a G630 PENTIUM CPU ($50) to a i5 3570k with HD4000 graphics- and there was basically no difference at all between the two. Not for HTPC and playing movies. Only on CPU intensive tasks can you tell a difference.

Why?

Well a G630 might use 15%CPU to play a 1080p movie and a 3570k might only use 10% CPU. Does it matter if you have 85% or 90% left over???


I think the INTEL is the way to go...
post #10 of 50
The 29/59 bug is specific to watching live TV on Windows Media Center. Is your Dad going to be watching live TV? If not, it's nothing to worry about. It's also not Llano issue. Most reports are around Nvidia and Intel, though some say ATI Radeon as well but it depends highly on driver, specific GPU, etc.

Questions to help us help you:

1 What is your budget for this build?
2 Where are you located (US, Europe, etc?)
3 Do you want something small or something that looks like a piece of AVR equipment?
4 What storage do you need -- local (on the HTPC) or will your Dad be streaming 1080p from Netflix, etc. not stored movies?
5 Will the movies be played from disc or are you going to rip them for him?
post #11 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Hi Warscout-
No I don't think there is any difference in HD2000 or HD3000 or HD 4000. For HTPC and movie playback there is no difference. There is no difference playing back 1080p with HD audio.
Only in playing video games would you notice a difference.
I went from a G630 PENTIUM CPU ($50) to a i5 3570k with HD4000 graphics- and there was basically no difference at all between the two. Not for HTPC and playing movies. Only on CPU intensive tasks can you tell a difference.
Why?
Well a G630 might use 15%CPU to play a 1080p movie and a 3570k might only use 10% CPU. Does it matter if you have 85% or 90% left over???
I think the INTEL is the way to go...

HD 4000 can run MadVR, 2000/2500 needs to be adjusted, that is of course if you use MadVR.
post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiddles88 View Post

HD 4000 can run MadVR, 2000/2500 needs to be adjusted, that is of course if you use MadVR.

He is building for his dad. If he is asking these questions he is not going to run MADVR.

He just wants a simple afforable HTPC.

I think in this case- smart spending and ease of use and set up top the list of priorities.

I'm an enthusiast and I can not tell much difference with MADRV so I am sure his dad won't know a thing.
post #13 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

The 29/59 bug is specific to watching live TV on Windows Media Center. Is your Dad going to be watching live TV? If not, it's nothing to worry about. It's also not Llano issue. Most reports are around Nvidia and Intel, though some say ATI Radeon as well but it depends highly on driver, specific GPU, etc.
Questions to help us help you:
1 What is your budget for this build?
2 Where are you located (US, Europe, etc?)
3 Do you want something small or something that looks like a piece of AVR equipment?
4 What storage do you need -- local (on the HTPC) or will your Dad be streaming 1080p from Netflix, etc. not stored movies?
5 Will the movies be played from disc or are you going to rip them for him?

This is good advice.

Answer these questions and we can suggest a good build for you
post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by warscout11 View Post

Thanks for all your advice, so you would suggest an intel i3 over a AMD A6-5400K? On another forum someone said that the trinity line is the best for htpc, but is there a big difference between them or is it very similar and I should just go for the cheaper one? Thanks

Well, I would recommend you to check A10-5800K. It is generally cheaper than i3, its GPU is a lot better (i3 CPU is better, but CPU is far less important in video playback).

As for madVR it supports the highest quality among the mid-range settings (i.e. Lanczos4+AR luma) while i3 struggles for some contents.
post #15 of 50
Thread Starter 
1 What is your budget for this build?

I'd like to keep it at most to around $400 total, I already have windows 7 that I can use, and an optical drive, but I'd need to buy everything else. I'd also need a controller for him to use, I was thinking this maybe, what are your thoughts?
http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Wireless-Keyboard-Multi-Touch-920-003070/dp/B005DKZTMG/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1355153342&sr=1-1&keywords=htpc+remote

2 Where are you located (US, Europe, etc?)

I'm in the USA

3 Do you want something small or something that looks like a piece of AVR equipment?

Ya I'd like it to look like a piece of AVR equipment instead of a computer tower, but it doesnt have to be super small or anything like that.

4 What storage do you need -- local (on the HTPC) or will your Dad be streaming 1080p from Netflix, etc. not stored movies?

I'd like some local storage, but also the ability to stream from another hard drive on the network. He doesnt use netflix or anything like that though.

5 Will the movies be played from disc or are you going to rip them for him?

I have an optical drive I will include so he can play some dvds.
post #16 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Well, I would recommend you to check A10-5800K. It is generally cheaper than i3, its GPU is a lot better (i3 CPU is better, but CPU is far less important in video playback).
As for madVR it supports the highest quality among the mid-range settings (i.e. Lanczos4+AR luma) while i3 struggles for some contents.

The i3 smashes any APU. You lose too much CPU to gain a better GPU.
post #17 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Well, I would recommend you to check A10-5800K. It is generally cheaper than i3, its GPU is a lot better (i3 CPU is better, but CPU is far less important in video playback).
As for madVR it supports the highest quality among the mid-range settings (i.e. Lanczos4+AR luma) while i3 struggles for some contents.

In another thread someone suggested AMD A6-5400K 3.6GHz Dual-Core Processor , will I see a difference in windows 7 "snappiness" in an a10 vs an a6? Also I was of the understanding that the a10 had a graphics apu that was overkill for htpc. Is that true? And what about the a6 vs an i3? The intel cpu is faster, but if I'm just playing movies and web browsing, will I notice a difference?
post #18 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiddles88 View Post

The i3 smashes any APU. You lose too much CPU to gain a better GPU.

True only in some areas irrelevant to video playback. In all video playback tasks, even including SVP (except for ultra high quality settings for which i7 4 core/8 thread is minimum), A10 is fast enough.

AMD Tirnity is the best-balanced between CPU and GPU for HTPC.
Edited by renethx - 12/10/12 at 9:27pm
post #19 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by warscout11 View Post

In another thread someone suggested AMD A6-5400K 3.6GHz Dual-Core Processor , will I see a difference in windows 7 "snappiness" in an a10 vs an a6?

Nope. IMO A6 is somewhat pointless. Just go with A4 if you are interested only in DXVA/EVR video playback, or go with A10 if you want some nice video post processing with madVR.
Quote:
Originally Posted by warscout11 View Post

Also I was of the understanding that the a10 had a graphics apu that was overkill for htpc. Is that true?

No GPU will ever overkill if you want the best vpp. I mean, madVR's complex algorithms. For example, you will want Radeon HD 7870 / GTX 660 ~$200 for madVR's Jinc4+AR.
Quote:
Originally Posted by warscout11 View Post

And what about the a6 vs an i3? The intel cpu is faster, but if I'm just playing movies and web browsing, will I notice a difference?

i3 is better in both CPU and GPU. Again there won't be any difference in normal HTPC tasks with video playback under DXVA2 / EVR.
Edited by renethx - 12/10/12 at 9:29pm
post #20 of 50
Thread Starter 
If there's no difference in i3's, should I just get the cheapest one (sandy bridge)? or is it worth getting an ivy bridge i3? Also, do you have a recommended i3 build that is around $400? Thanks!
post #21 of 50
Warscout I think your getting great information but its not all relevant to your $400 budget build for your dad.

I know I built one for my dad.

Much of the stuff being discussed wont be applicable to your build for your dad.

You don't need more CPU or more GPU. You won't run madvr. You just want a nice HTPC for you dad to play and stream some movies.

Any basic pentium CPU like a G630 for $52 is fine. Get an AsRock 75 or 77 mobo for under $90. 8gb ddr3 for $35.

Look for a good $30 PSU like Antec neo or mkIII.

try grab a good SSD 128GB under $99 like Samsung or vertex 4.

That's what I would recommend.
post #22 of 50
Hey - I'm a "Dad" so please don't assume anyone over the age of 13 can't understand this stuff!
post #23 of 50
Here's are two basic HTPC builds, one Intel and one AMD, both capable of basic HTPC duties as you describe

Intel Pentium G860 $75
GIGABYTE GA-B75M-D3H $75
Silverstone ML03 $84
FSP300-60GHS-R 300W SFX PSU (with ATX adapter plate) $45
4GB DDR3-1333 $20
Crucial m4 64GB SSD $66 (for OS)
Whatever size data HDD you think you'll need for your Dad

$365 + whatever you spend on a hard drive.

AMD A4-5300 $51
Gigabyte GA-F2A55M-HD2 motherboard $70
Silverstone ML03 $84
FSP300-60GHS-R 300W SFX PSU (with ATX adapter plate) $45
4GB DDR3-1600 $20
Crucial m4 64GB SSD $66 (for OS)
Whatever size data HDD you think you'll need for your Dad

$336 + whatever you spend on a hard drive.
post #24 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

Here's are two basic HTPC builds, one Intel and one AMD, both capable of basic HTPC duties as you describe
Intel Pentium G860 $75
GIGABYTE GA-B75M-D3H $75
Silverstone ML03 $84
FSP300-60GHS-R 300W SFX PSU (with ATX adapter plate) $45
4GB DDR3-1333 $20
Crucial m4 64GB SSD $66 (for OS)
Whatever size data HDD you think you'll need for your Dad
$365 + whatever you spend on a hard drive.
AMD A4-5300 $51
Gigabyte GA-F2A55M-HD2 motherboard $70
Silverstone ML03 $84
FSP300-60GHS-R 300W SFX PSU (with ATX adapter plate) $45
4GB DDR3-1600 $20
Crucial m4 64GB SSD $66 (for OS)
Whatever size data HDD you think you'll need for your Dad
$336 + whatever you spend on a hard drive.

Thanks so much for your builds! After reading this:

http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=146023

I'm gonna go with the amd build, do you have a recommendation for a controller? I was thinking maybe this:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=avsforum00-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FLogitech-Wireless-Keyboard-Multi-Touch-920-003070%2Fdp%2FB005DKZTMG%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fs%3Delectronics%26ie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1355153342%26sr%3D1-1%26keywords%3Dhtpc%2Bremote

But I'm really interested to hear what you use to control your htpc from the couch smile.gif
post #25 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heuer View Post

Hey - I'm a "Dad" so please don't assume anyone over the age of 13 can't understand this stuff!

lol.. I am no spring chicken. My dad is 65 and not that HTPC smart.... (he can use a PC fine) so for me it was about making it work simple and reliable. He doesn't know the difference of MADVR or not.
He just wants to watch a movie or TV show with little fuss about it.

That was my only point. Arguing over which CPU and GPU is better for MADVR or CPU calculations makes little sense when his budget is $400 and he is building it for his non enthusiast level father.
post #26 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by warscout11 View Post

Thanks so much for your builds! After reading this:
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=146023
I'm gonna go with the amd build, do you have a recommendation for a controller? I was thinking maybe this:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=avsforum00-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FLogitech-Wireless-Keyboard-Multi-Touch-920-003070%2Fdp%2FB005DKZTMG%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fs%3Delectronics%26ie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1355153342%26sr%3D1-1%26keywords%3Dhtpc%2Bremote
But I'm really interested to hear what you use to control your htpc from the couch smile.gif

I would not put too much credit in that link thread.

There is a very high amount of happy HTPC owners with Intel CPU's. Most users here are Intel. XBMC forums is a bit slanted towards AMD historically- but AVS HTPC-er's are significantly more intelligent as a community.

For me the extra CPU power for normal PC stuff makes the difference. It's also cooler/quieter/use less energy often times.

But AMD is a fine choice. They offer better GPU in some cases. Neither has a cost advantage that is significant as both AMD and Intel are highly affordable.

I just think Intel graphics are more than capable and in a case they are not- adding a video card to an Intel 1155 platform makes sense over integrated AMD graphics.

Example: any HD graphics Pentium CPU is more than enough for basic HTPC and movie playback. If you needed gaming performance or higher level power for SVP or MadVR your better off adding a video card in this platform IMO. You either do or do not need the horspower
Edited by Mfusick - 12/11/12 at 10:02am
post #27 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

Here's are two basic HTPC builds, one Intel and one AMD, both capable of basic HTPC duties as you describe
Intel Pentium G860 $75 SUPERBIZ HAS THIS CPU FOR $56
GIGABYTE GA-B75M-D3H $75 (ASROCK IS BETTER FOR $69)
Silverstone ML03 $84 (NICE CASE. SHIPPING KILLS THOUGH)
FSP300-60GHS-R 300W SFX PSU (with ATX adapter plate) $45
4GB DDR3-1333 $20 (1600MHZ AND 8GB FOR $10 MORE IS SMART)
Crucial m4 64GB SSD $66 (for OS) ($79 SAMSUNG 128GB IS BETER CHOICE)
Whatever size data HDD you think you'll need for your Dad (3TB GREEN @ NEWEGG $129)

MY .02 CENTS
post #28 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

MY .02 CENTS
Ok

Ok thanks for your input I'll take another look at an intel chip, I looked at superbiz it looks like they have that chip for $64, I can get Pentium G645 for $50, is there a noticeable difference between the two chips? Also, what kind of controller would you recommend for the htpc? Thanks!
post #29 of 50
I'd take Intel. Cooler and faster. This reviews shows the i3 murdering the 5800K (other do too), even in a HTPC you don't want to sacrifice CPU grunt:

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/A10-5800K-vs-Core-i3-3220-CPU-Review/1646/19

For the Pentium the G645 is just an updated model of the G620 (as far as I can tell). Even the Pentium's CPU performance is better than an equivalent APU.
post #30 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by warscout11 View Post

Ok
Ok thanks for your input I'll take another look at an intel chip, I looked at superbiz it looks like they have that chip for $64, I can get Pentium G645 for $50, is there a noticeable difference between the two chips? Also, what kind of controller would you recommend for the htpc? Thanks!

No the chips are both good.

The G630 was about $51 last I looked. I paid that for mine. It would do nice.
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