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post #1 of 3 Old 12-25-2019, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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HT Bare Bones Computer Advice Needed. Easy Questions, I think...

Hi;


I'm completely unhappy with my HTPC, a Lenovo 300 Idea Centerstick. I've used it for a few years, always been unhappy with it. I have this plugged into my Yamaha HT receiver, and an internet signal is WiFi'd to it from 15 feet away. But the device uses a single antenna to also bluetooth the wireless Rii keyboard signal to the Centerstick, or so I've read. Bottom line, the WiFi reception is BRUTAL, and it constantly has to reset the WiFi adapter. Like 10 times in 5 minutes. I've tried every fix I can find.


Plan B, I tried feeding an internet signal from my desktop computer in the same room, by HDMI cable, to the HT Yamaha receiver. The computer takes its internet feed from the Bell router, by simple ethernet cable. Nothing wireless. All hard wired. Piece of cake.


This works extremely well. Surfing speed is waaaaay up, no circle of doom while buffering video, so I'm happy. Now I want to buy a separate refurbished, Win10 computer as a dedicated HT computer. All I need is ethernet input, and HDMI output.


So my question(s) ? Will 4 GB of RAM be something I regret ? It can be upgraded to 8 GB, but I'll only surf Youtube, or Prime Video, or other internet sites. I typically won't ask the computer to handle multiple tasks at once. Maybe multiple internet pages, but that's it. Usually I just surf 1 site at time, and project that through my Panasonic PT AE900U.


As a bonus, if I wanted to download tunes from Youtube, and edit them using Audacity (for example) and surf or stream videos at the same time, would I be more likely to want 8GB of RAM ? In other words, if I did want to handle more tasks simultaneously, more RAM needed ?


Thank you for any advice. Tired of that HORRID Lenovo Centerstick, Tom.







b

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post #2 of 3 Old 12-25-2019, 05:33 PM
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I don't think those PCs on a stick are any good for the most part (other than for portability). 2GB RAM for Win 10 is totally inadequate (might be o.k. for Win 7). The 32MB solid state RAM is also inadequate given caching requirements.



That said, with Win 10 4 GB RAM with an SSD is good, probably better than 8GB RAM with a HDD (was going to say Winchester). Of course, 8 GB RAM and SSD is even better than either. 4GB is probably adequate but 8GB is better. A Winchester will not have to use its cache as much (these can be really noisy - my Seagate Barracuda is loud), and saves wear on an SSD (they have a finite amount of write cycles and sudden death is not unheard of).



My previous Core2Duo HTPC (will be recycled to a music server) was limited to 4GB (supposedly new BIOS would let it run 8GB but 4GB DDR2 is too expensive an upgrade for >11 y.o. computer) ran tolerably but there were always lags.



A discrete video (vs. built-in) GPU a.k.a. video card is also better than built-in. VRAM is dedicated vs. shared with the system. If you plan on a card for video, go fanless so you eliminate noise. I've got an ATI 5000 series fanless that worked for 1080p (in an old Intel Core 2 Duo CPU computer). Recently UG'd to a NVidia 1030 fanless for 4K.


Bear in mind if you ever decide to go for 4K Netflix, you need a 1070 or higher card. Some 4K programming will not run w/o very recent Intel CPUs.



You also want a low-wattage CPU. It'll use less power which means less heat and lower fan speed which mean the system is quieter. I am using a computer I got real cheap and the AMD Phenom X3 8650 (3 core) is rated for 95W. It gets hot and the CPU fan is loud above 5,000 rpm. Replaced it with a AMD Athlon II X4 (4 core) 610e rated for 45W. Cores are individually pretty much the same speed but the extra core on the Athlon helps (runs more smoothly) and it also runs much cooler. CPU fan doesn't run above 4,000 rpm. The PSU and case also have fans so you want quiet fans.

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post #3 of 3 Old 01-06-2020, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terenz View Post
I don't think those PCs on a stick are any good for the most part (other than for portability). 2GB RAM for Win 10 is totally inadequate (might be o.k. for Win 7). The 32MB solid state RAM is also inadequate given caching requirements.



That said, with Win 10 4 GB RAM with an SSD is good, probably better than 8GB RAM with a HDD (was going to say Winchester). Of course, 8 GB RAM and SSD is even better than either. 4GB is probably adequate but 8GB is better. A Winchester will not have to use its cache as much (these can be really noisy - my Seagate Barracuda is loud), and saves wear on an SSD (they have a finite amount of write cycles and sudden death is not unheard of).



My previous Core2Duo HTPC (will be recycled to a music server) was limited to 4GB (supposedly new BIOS would let it run 8GB but 4GB DDR2 is too expensive an upgrade for >11 y.o. computer) ran tolerably but there were always lags.



A discrete video (vs. built-in) GPU a.k.a. video card is also better than built-in. VRAM is dedicated vs. shared with the system. If you plan on a card for video, go fanless so you eliminate noise. I've got an ATI 5000 series fanless that worked for 1080p (in an old Intel Core 2 Duo CPU computer). Recently UG'd to a NVidia 1030 fanless for 4K.


Bear in mind if you ever decide to go for 4K Netflix, you need a 1070 or higher card. Some 4K programming will not run w/o very recent Intel CPUs.



You also want a low-wattage CPU. It'll use less power which means less heat and lower fan speed which mean the system is quieter. I am using a computer I got real cheap and the AMD Phenom X3 8650 (3 core) is rated for 95W. It gets hot and the CPU fan is loud above 5,000 rpm. Replaced it with a AMD Athlon II X4 (4 core) 610e rated for 45W. Cores are individually pretty much the same speed but the extra core on the Athlon helps (runs more smoothly) and it also runs much cooler. CPU fan doesn't run above 4,000 rpm. The PSU and case also have fans so you want quiet fans.

Thanks Terenz. I went ahead and bought the refurbed Win10 computer, and love it. I also found a retired guy, who taught himself to be a computer whiz, so it's worth it for that too.


I do notice a slight fan noise, when the sound is literally off, but for normal viewing, when does that happen ?


Thrilled, and I wish I'd gassed that stupid Lenovo product eons ago. Now I just gotta find a more reliable remote, backlit keyboard, than my Rii. It winks in and out of contact with the system, so typing is annoying.



Cheers, Tom.

There's a proper time and place for spontaneity, dammit!
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