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htpc minimum processor

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by rab4169, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. rab4169

    rab4169
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    looking at building a media centre pc. what is the minimum processor i should look for.,divx playback dvd all the usual stuff, are mini itx via any good.want to be quiet operator
    cheers
     
  2. inzaman

    inzaman
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    If you are going to be post processing, i,e ffdshow, then i would say something along the lines of an XP3200 or similar. If you are not using post processing then you should get away with less power, what do others think?

    As regards to mini itx i have not used one.
     
  3. rab4169

    rab4169
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    will just be connecting to tv to watch divx films on media portal, nothing fancy, no hi def
     
  4. Skunkpipe

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    I've built a mini ITX board around the VIA EPIA MEII 6000 ( http://www.mini-itx.com/store/?c=2#p1606 ) which is a fanless 600MHz system - and probably teh most powerful suitable fanless system for a media centre.
    This runs MCE2005 ok albeit a little sluggish compared to my other systems.
    It had hardware MP2 decoder which helps with DVD playback.
    DVDplayback using an old copy of WinDVD (V4 I *think* works well with the hardware decode turned on. (this isn't compatible with MCE2005 though...)
    With the nVidia decoders and PowerDVD6 the unit struggles, but the minimum requirements for these packages is quite high.
    I've not had time to try any other DVD or HTPC software; but intend to at some point soon when I have a free minute.
     
  5. rab4169

    rab4169
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    will the requirements be higher for divx playback as most films are divx
     
  6. Skunkpipe

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    I've not tried it with DIVX TBH - all my films are MP2 (DVD) - I'll add it to the list of things to try
     
  7. Rambles

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    Divx is lower bitrate than DVD so would have thought that any system that plays dvd's ok should definitely handle divx too.
     
  8. Maff et1

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    The latest Mini ITX feature mpeg4 hardware decoding (in addition to the mpeg2 on previous generations). They also run 1Ghz for fanless units and 1.3Ghz for fan cooled.

    However, I don't think I'd risk an Mini ITX for divx as the format is less stable, you can't be sure that different drivers will make use of the acceleration.

    The first rule is quiet = low power, so if you really want quiet (and are prepared to pay for it) - go for a Pentium M, plenty of speed and only about 21watts (compared to about 100 for Pentium). Also, there are some funky HTPC motherboards for this: http://club.aopen.com.tw/awards/Awards_Display.aspx?RecNo=7348 - DVI, VGA, component output, 7.1 sound.

    Next rule - it's virtually impossible to build a PC without active cooling, you'll atleast need the fan on your power supply, and maybe a seperate case fan. Bigger fans spin slower so make less noise, if you get a big case that can take a 120mm fan then slow it to only a few hundred rpm you'll get plenty of cooling with very little noise.
     
  9. Skunkpipe

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    ahhh but the mini-itx has hardware MP2 decoding, so all divx will be done in s/w
     
  10. chedmaster

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    im using a 2.53ghz P4 and successfully running MCE and the like, although the only upconverting/processing happening is de-interlacing and upconverting 480p to 576p (CRT). Runs very smoothly. Sometimes it slows down when you first play a video, but i thinks thats down to a slow OEM hard disk im using for films.
     
  11. rab4169

    rab4169
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    ok looking st celeron2.2 ,would this be ok for divx, also i think i`ll go mini itx root ,had a look at some boards and cases but some say Low profile slots, will a geforce 5200 fit this and could anyone recommend a board with onboard sound and graphics in the mini itx form ,preferably with s video out
    cheers
     
  12. rab4169

    rab4169
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  13. andrew1810

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    I use a Via Epia M1000 which runs SageTV

    Recording and playing back of TV is absolutely fine, but I am going to put in an ATI Radeon 9250 PCI graphics card to improve playback slightly and free up some system memory.

    The computer is almost silent and runs everything I need it to without problems. I tried Media Portal, but that was far too sluggish and had a tendency to crash, but Sage TV seems to need less processing power.
     
  14. Big Adam

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    That is a very very sensible choice. The Asus P4P800VM is a cracking little board. Extremely stable with excellent driver provision.

    One thing to note: If you are planning on hooking up your HTPC to a cinema amp (receiver) via SPDIF, you'll need to buy the additional daughter adapter as Asus do not bundle it with the motherboard:
    Asus SPDIF Bracket

    However, I would have serious reservations with that choice of case. It uses a proprietary PSU (i.e. not ATX or mATX) which means that if it is noisy (and most cheap cases are) you won't be able to swap it out for a quiet version. You'll be forced to either put up with it or modify it.....something you may be unhappy to do.

    In addition, if the PSU goes 'pop', you'll be hard pushed finding a replacement meaning the entire case will be redundant. Worse case scenario is that, being a non-branded PSU, it is more likely to fail and fry a number of you PC components at the same time.

    I would highly recommend that you spend a little extra on a case with a branded mATX or ATX PSU.......or at least one where you can quickly fit a nice quiet replacement.
     
  15. rab4169

    rab4169
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    thanks , i think this board and case are now top of the list with 2.4 processor, unless anyone has anymore thoughts
     
  16. rab4169

    rab4169
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    sorry ,but will i be able to fit a normal pci geforce 5200 card in that case and any other normal size pci cards
     
  17. rab4169

    rab4169
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    anyone then recommend a case for this ,one to fit in with my hi fi seperates which are all black and 410- 420 mm long
    saw one ages ago which was aluminium with a middle cd drawer no display but looked good , just looked like a top of the range cd player
     
  18. Big Adam

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    Expensive but HIGHLY recommended.

    If £100 is closer to your budget, the Silverstone SST-LC-13 is a superb case although you'll need to shell out for a PSU.

    Closer to £60 is the Thermaltake Tenor but again you'll need a PSU
     
  19. paulhulatt

    paulhulatt
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    Just my 2p. I know it's not black but I have a Shuttle SN45G2 running Meedio as my HCPC and it is great, virtually silent, Optical output on the rear for sound and you can buy a DVI card for the onboard gfx for connection to a HD Ready TV.

    Check Here
     
  20. rab4169

    rab4169
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    ok will go with Thermaltake Tenor case now .
    now i have changed case i can buy a full size board , what one do you recommend . processor socket does not matter as i have still processor to buy but i need a digital out to connect to my amp and preferably onboard video with s video out
    cheers
     
  21. rab4169

    rab4169
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  22. Skunkpipe

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  23. rab4169

    rab4169
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    thanks , i think i`ll go with this one, can i use a sempron cpu in this board and what one would you go with, 2500?
     
  24. Skunkpipe

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    You need the socket 754 version of the board if you want to use a Sempron (Socket 754 Sempron - the S754 2600+ is about £50). There is no EQS/optronix socket A board with the ATI chipset, tv-out firewire etc.
     
  25. rab4169

    rab4169
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    thanks, what chip would you use with this ,don`t need hi def or games , would like a low power chip , would this board use cool n quiet
    thanks
     
  26. Skunkpipe

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    the socket 939 board supports cool'n'quiet. The Socket 754 board doesn't
    If going for the AMD Sempron 2600+ S754 will be sufficient for the use you describe.
    If going for the Socket 939 then the AMD Athlon 64 3000 S939 is the lowest power availabel IIRC
     
  27. rab4169

    rab4169
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    thanks will go for the venice chip , will board take this ,don`t see anything on their site
     
  28. Skunkpipe

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    Yes, the M56K9 will take the Venice chip
     
  29. rab4169

    rab4169
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    thanks for all the help
     
  30. rab4169

    rab4169
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    sorry does the sempron come with cool n quiet and what board and processor recommended
    was going for venice but only because cool n quiet , is sempron has it will go with it
     

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