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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at replacing my original XBOX/XBMC with an HTPC mainly to be able to play higher res content (HD) using newer codecs. Am I completely nuts in hoping to build something that will draw max 65W when playing back content like my XBOX does? I figure now that the XBOX is 7 years old, there should be something newer that draws the same power, but will decode and playback HD. Maybe an AMD 780G based system?
 

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Anandtech have a roundup here which compares amd and intel hipsets with various CPUs. A Phenum X4/780g draws 82 watts playing a bluray movie, so maybe if you drop in a low end X2 (and possibly undervolt/underclock it) you should get closer. They're also using a raptor 150GB and 2gb ddr2-800 with tight timings so a laptop hard drive and cheaper ram with looser timings (and lower voltages) would shave a few more watts off the total.


Note that playing back HD content isn't going to be the max current draw of the system, though. The gpu offloading on the latest motherboards mean that the cpu isn't working at 100% so other activities (like installing programs) might give a higher power draw.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruiserandmax /forum/post/14340576


I'm looking at replacing my original XBOX/XBMC with an HTPC mainly to be able to play higher res content (HD) using newer codecs. Am I completely nuts in hoping to build something that will draw max 65W when playing back content like my XBOX does? I figure now that the XBOX is 7 years old, there should be something newer that draws the same power, but will decode and playback HD. Maybe an AMD 780G based system?

Frank2003 at SPCR says his 780G system uses 45W at wall playing blu-ray although he uses undervolting.

Config:

- AM2 BE2350

- 2x1GB ram

- 1x1TB WD Greenpower 3.5" drive

- Enhance 120W PSU (comparable to picoPSU in efficiency) powered by 80W brick

Idles at 28-29W.


I would expect a minimal system based on the DG45FC+E7200 to consume about the same power playing blu ray. See info in the G45 thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1028943&page=5
 

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I am running a 4850e 45watt dual core AMD, with the AMD 780G mobo, one of the 12watt green 750gig samsung hdd's, and I am getting just under 70watts full load (measured from kill-a-watt) with my setup.


- Josh
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the replies and pointers, this is very encouraging.


Now that it seems I can get close to my old XBOX in terms of power, what about boot time? If I end up using some version of Vista (I assume I have to for the hardware decoding drivers), are there ways of optimizing so I can leave power off when not in use, and still get relatively fast startup (ala XBOX)? Sorry if this belongs in a new thread.
 

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You'll never get the boot up speeds of a CE device like Xbox with a full Windows install. They use a minimal, embedded O/S, which runs off firmware.


However, with Vista, why turn the box off? Set it to S3 sleep state in the BIOS, configure Vista to sleep after X minutes of inactivity, and your system will automatically go to sleep state, if not being used. In S3 state, everything is turned off except for power to RAM, NIC, USB etc. In S3 state, most systems will use about 4-7w.


Powering on from S3 to full desktop with all drivers active, literally takes 5 seconds or so. That should be a well enough compromise.
 

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Discussion Starter #8

Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone /forum/post/14342155


In S3 state, most systems will use about 4-7w. [] That should be a well enough compromise.

You're completely right! I don't know why I wasn't considering sleep- that should resume even faster than the XBOX boots too. I'm completely convinced it's time to leave XBOX for a new HTPC now
 

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yes I use S3 myself and works great.


- Josh
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by egarrard /forum/post/14343683


Explain how it works a little more please. Does it only work under Vista?

No Vista is not required, but for schedule recordings I've noticed that vista media center works better for waking up for scheduled recordings, better than MCE 2005 or other pvr apps.


but in the end your mobo must support it, its just another state of sleep mode, S3/4 is a state of sleep mode where all fans are off, so basically silent operating mode, bu the pc is still powered enough where it can wake up if MCE is running where it has a scheduled recording come up.


- Josh
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by senseidawg /forum/post/14346255


Have you considered something like this:
http://www.onsale.com/shop/detail.as...-Fic+HTPC+Case


Its real small and easy to build and you get a lot of spec out of it. Just a thought...

that's just a case, psu combo, we're talking about the system as a whole. the big issue is trying to keep the total/full load power usage to a minimum. which is where low power (ie 45watt cpu's) components come into play.


- Josh
 

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Well, around 65-70w is actually not that bad while playing a Blu Ray or HD DVD, when you consider that your typical "cable box", which is engineered to death, consumes about 30w just doing 1080i/720p, doesn't even have to do any 1080p processing/AACS/7.1/networking etc etc.
 

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would be interesting to see what a ps3 compared to a htpc would be and then also throw in a few STB blu ray players.


- Josh
 

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Discussion Starter #16
We plugged my friends PS3 through a watt meter an measured an average of about 190 watts during gaming & blue-ray playback.. So at least in one sense the PS3 completely "sucks"
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by umdivx /forum/post/14343840


No Vista is not required, but for schedule recordings I've noticed that vista media center works better for waking up for scheduled recordings, better than MCE 2005 or other pvr apps.


but in the end your mobo must support it, its just another state of sleep mode, S3/4 is a state of sleep mode where all fans are off, so basically silent operating mode, bu the pc is still powered enough where it can wake up if MCE is running where it has a scheduled recording come up.


- Josh

Thank you!
 

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As an extra thought - if you really want low power and don't care too much about adding a bunch of drives then a laptop would probably be the easiest option. You can add usb tuners and an external bluray drive if needed but the max draw for the system should be less than 65W. Finding a model with hdmi and decent audio out could be a challenge.
 
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