Originally Posted by edsegio
I'm all for going for a more powerful processor for less, but my understanding, which is based on Assassin's guide, is that only a T-series processor will fit properly in the Mini ITX case that I'm looking at. Perhaps I should look at another case? I do want to keep things relatively small. Thanks for the stats provided - they are quite revealing and you make your case well. As for quad-core, I simply don't need it, so I'll stick with duo-core.
Well my point was the i3 is generally a poor choice today IMO because you either want to do fancy upscaling and enhancements where a quad core is the proper choice, or you do not need that and a Pentium level CPU is the proper choice and more than enough. Any IVY bridge Pentium Chip under $99 is going to perform nearly identical to the $135 i3 CPU you picked out. In some cases better. There would be no difference at all between something like a $69 G2120 and a $135 i3 T series like you are looking at with regard to 1080p playback, or energy consumption. I was speaking only on the performance of the CPU and the price- not thinking about a cooler. Paying for T series for the cooler seems silly- You can buy a way better cooler with the money you save by choosing another CPU if that's the only concern.
Even the Passmark CPU scores are pretty close:
G2120 @ $69.99 : http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=G2120BOX
G2020 @ 59.99
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Pentium+G2130+%40+3.20GHz&id=1864Compare them to : I3 T series chipsSave your $$$$
The i3 is more and more becoming a pointless CPU for HTPC IMO because it's not a great value, and it's also not a great performer. The advancements with Haswell will increase this even more since Haswell offers better frame rates and even more power. Modern CPU's have become powerful enough that they are as powerful as an i3 from a couple years ago but now cost half as much. They are perfect 1080p simple HTPC CPU's IMO, and spending almost double on an i3 won't get you much at all. I'd be really hard pressed to even be able to tell the difference between an IVY pentium CPU and a T series i3 real world. The difference is nearly non existent in the real world- and certainly there is not difference in the picture quality.
Now an I5 offers a fairly significant difference:
3570k @ $169.99 and HD4000 graphics
4670k @ $199.99 with HD4600 graphics on Z87 (you can get $40 more off with mobo purchase at microcenter making it about $160)
There is a really big difference between the quad cores in CPU power - a difference that makes them a good value if you desire that performance. The extra cost over an i3 is often justified for an i5 and 4 cores if your intended use makes it appropriate. For HTPC that means you going to go with fancy image processing like MADVR, SVP and the like- which you will need an i5 to do, and the i3 just is not good enough- Or you don't need that and the Pentium chips are a much better choice for less cost and nearly the same real world performance. I can't tell you which you want- But I can tell you the i3 is left out in the cold most of the time these days. It's neither a noteworthy performer, or a noteworthy value IMO.
It used to be the go to CPU back in the day, but newest Pentium chips have reached the level where that is not true anymore.
I suspect that Haswell Level Pentium CPU's will be the new "go to" CPU for basic HTPC's starting in September. But today the same is true with IVY bridge already.
Just my .02cents. Save your cash if you can and skip the i3. You won't notice a thing. Buy a nice low profile cooler if you want that's silent and fits well with your build.