HTPC upgrade help please

pstones578

Active Member
my htpc which is now 8 years old is creaking at the seems so I could do with some recommendations for an upgrade.

Currently I have a matx mobo
nf-m2 nview - Universal abit > Motherboard, Digital Speakers, iDome, AirPace, Multimedia

2GB RAM
AMD Athlon 64 6000+
SATA HDD's x 4

I just want a mobo / CPU / RAM upgrade. Which means I will keep the power and case and also the HDDs's

Can anyone please help? I would like to get it onto a more modern CPU and 8GB RAM.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
You haven't given us any details on what your priorities are or the specific use your HTPC gets put to so it's a bit difficult to suggest anything to evaluate any candidates.

The A10-5800K is a older chip (the 7000 models feature the latest revision of CPU and GPU designs) combining a hefty integrated GPU with a low-mid range CPU. It's fairly high power consumption and not very power efficient.
 

pstones578

Active Member
Basically downloading media and playing it with VLC and that is it literally. So I'm literally after a speed / RAM boost.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
I'm not that up to date with hardware as haven't done an upgrade in 2 years, so can't really give you up to date advice. But have you thought about keeping your current set up as a file server and buying one of those NUC's that everyone has been raving about..?
 

skyline65

Active Member
I was very dubious about using a NUC, but mine is outputting 4k with no problem. In fact the cpu hardly goes above 10% for anything except when it is performing backups etc.
 

cjed

Well-known Member
CPUs nowadays are a lot faster and more efficient than that Athlon 64 X2 6000+ (TDP 125W, Passmark 1602). You might consider a latest generation Intel i3 processor, say the Intel Core i3 4360T (TDP 35W, Passmark 4095, Intel HD graphics 4600), add to something like an H97 based Micro-ATX motherboard and you get loads of USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, DVI and up to 32GB DDR3 RAM. CPU and board together should come in at < £150.
 
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EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
CPUs nowadays are a lot faster and more efficient than that Athlon 64 X2 6000+ (TDP 125W, Passmark 1602). You might consider a latest generation Intel i3 processor, say the Intel Core i3 4360T (TDP 35W, Passmark 4095, Intel HD graphics 4600), add to something like an H97 based Micro-ATX motherboard and you get loads of USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, DVI and up to 32GB DDR3 RAM. CPU and board together should come in at < £150.

Passmark is rather dubious. Just look at the results at the bottom of the page for the 6000+ (there were actually two different chips sold under that branding but passmark are mashing their results together):
PassMark - AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 6000+ - Price performance comparison

As of writing there's a 30% variance in the scores of the last five submissions. This is not from the two different chips (which can be identified here by one being ~3.1Ghz and the other being ~3.0Ghz) and CPUs (of that age) don't vary in performance. It must be down to the rest of the system, and if that can have an impact in their benchmark then no doubt some of the increased scores of newer chips are down to faster components generally.

And of course, using a synthetic benchmark to compare different chip designs has the inherent problem that different chips are good at different things.

In short, it doesn't tell you much more than that a current mid-range processor is faster than an high end eight year old processor - which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

Also, I'm not sure why you're recommending the T variant of an i3 for someone who's keeping a case that's handled a 6000+ for eight years. It's no more power efficient and there's clearly no need to keep the maximum heat output down so you're just paying more for less.

Basically downloading media and playing it with VLC and that is it literally. So I'm literally after a speed / RAM boost.

As far as I'm aware VLC isn't particularly big on either post-processing or GPGPU support so it sounds like you won't be using the general purpose graphics much so going for a chip with a powerful CPU rather than powerful graphics is a good idea.

Additionally none of the current chips support next generation encodings (VP9/HEVC/Daala) or have robust 3840x2160(4k/UHD) output support so you may want a graphics card a few years down the line which is another argument for going for a chip that gives you the most CPU power for your money.

At the moment Intel have the lead on the CPU side. If you're not bothered about a low power system then a Haswell chip is the way to go. They're the Socket 1150 models.

I would generally avoid any of the models with S or T suffixes, as mentioned above they make no sense in your case.

Recommending a specific one is a little difficult as they'll all handle anything around now and it's hard to know how much brute force will be needed to handle upcoming video technologies until they start to get used for more than demos. Did you have any sort of budget in mind?
 

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