Which AMD processor for HTPC?

Bossworld

Active Member
Going to ditch my P4 as the motherboard only has one SATA port and the VIA PCI cards are too unreliable.

So I'll need a cheap motherboard (AM3 I suppose?) and I'm on the lookout for the right AMD processor.

From what I can tell once you get to the £80 range, the Core i3 530 is a better bet?

I've seen several between £40 and £70 but not really sure what's best.

Don't need a powerhouse, and my PSU is only rated for 250W, plus my GT220 graphics card is 59W TDP peak. So ideally it needs to be the same TDP as my current P4 (90W i believe).

So £ for power/heat, what's the best to go for? Phenom or Athlon?

Seen these so far:

Athlon II X2 240e 2.8GHZ 45W - £48
Athlon II X4 630 2.8GHZ 95w - £67
Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition 3.2GHZ 80W - £70
Athlon II X3 445 3.1GHZ 95W - £55

Don't want to game, want to be able to watch/record 3 or 4 TV tuners, and download through sabnzbd without issues.

Thanks :clap:
 
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ninja 12

Active Member
Don't need a powerhouse, and my PSU is only rated for 250W, plus my GT220 graphics card is 59W TDP peak. So ideally it needs to be the same TDP as my current P4 (90W i believe).

So £ for power/heat, what's the best to go for? Phenom or Athlon?

Seen these so far:

Athlon II X2 240e 2.8GHZ 45W - £48
Athlon II X4 630 2.8GHZ 95w - £67
Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition 3.2GHZ 80W - £70
Athlon II X3 445 3.1GHZ 95W - £55

Don't want to game, want to be able to watch/record 3 or 4 TV tuners, and download through sabnzbd without issues.

Thanks :clap:
If you never intend to game , from the four you have listed the Athlon II X2 240e 2.8GHZ 45W is more than enough for a HTPC .
Being a 45W cpu , it'll run cooler than the others listed , and use a little less electricity in the long run .

My cpu is an older Athlon xII 5050e @2.6Ghz and I can record from BBC HD while watching a 35GB .MKV BluRay rip without any issues .

If you think you'll want to play games in the future , one of the faster cpu's ( eg. Athlon II X3 445 3.1GHZ 95W - is only a couple of pounds more ) with more cores would suit better .

I'll probably upgrade my cpu to a quad or tri core @ 3Ghz+ at some stage as I have recently started playing games on my HTPC , although Dirt 2 and Crysis are still perfectly playable using my 5050e and a HD5770 , and I'm not in any rush to upgrade my CPU .

If I wasn't playing games on my HTPC , I wouldn't even be considering an upgrade of my CPU .

Hope this helps .
 
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flashp

Active Member
If you ever turn off hardware acceleration you'll need more CPU horsepower to take the load. I had to do this with an Nvidia card once to improve picture playback in TMT3 (picture was better when I left TMT3 to auto enhance). Unique problem to my system probably, but I was glad for 4 cores all the same. I can record 2 HD Sat. channels, two DTB channels and rip a blue ray and run all overheads without issues while streming to an Xbox extender.

The power consumption of the 8400 Quad may be double or a little more of some, but over a year the cost of running it isn't worth worrying about when weighed against the capability of the machine. With a decent HSF heat is controlled well also.

We all need different solutions for different needs I guess...
 
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Bossworld

Active Member
I've got ****** off with my system and just splashed the cash lol, oh well suppose it's payday

1 x MSI 880GM-E41 880G Socket AM3 onboard graphics 8 channel HD audio mATX Motherboard 244433 Not Allocated £41.45 £41.45
1 x Corsair 2GB DDR3 1333MHz Memory Module Unbuffered 178942 Not Allocated £25.52 £25.52
1 x AMD Athlon II X3 405e 2.3GHz Socket AM3 1.5MB Cache Energy Efficient Retail Box Processor 177046 Not Allocated £59.04 £59.04
1 x Startech Power Extension Cable For 24Pin ATX 2.01 Motherboards 20cm (8inches) 141082 Not Allocated £2.26 £2.26

There's a chance the 405e can have an extra core unlocked, if not I would think that it's probably a decent candidate for being overclocked slightly given that it's running at a slower speed to begin with.

Slightly worried about a decrease in any single core tasks (if any exist within a media centre setup?), but I guess quicker FSB/memory should make up for that too.

That's being coupled up to a GT220, the two hard drives, one of the DVB-S tuners (only have one PCI slot now), and the bluray drive. Should hopefuly keep me going for a few years.
 

flashp

Active Member
what do you think its the minimum cpu needed if you wanted to try software coding?
It'll be 4 or 6 core's, but I'd set your budget first and work to that. There'll be CPU's from both Intel and AMD that can do it easily at several price points. L2 & L3 cache memory is also a variable that can make a difference.

Also depends on what mobo you currently have and if you want ditch it all and start again with new memory, or just a simple CPU upgrade. :confused:
 

ma9mwah

Novice Member
the plan is to build a new machine (HTPC only), i was thinking of getting the X2 240e (2x2.8Ghz) but would a X3/4 with 3 or 4 x2.3Ghz be better. I will have a 5570 card for 99% of the the decoding/HD audio, but having the option to software decode would be reassuring.
 

Stephen Neal

Distinguished Member
Be very aware of how annoying fan noise can be in HTPCs. If your main requirement of an HTPC is to be able to watch TV and Movies, then you don't need powerful CPUs and video cards to accomplish these tasks (with the cooling requirements that they have), and should look at stuff with low cooling requirements, and low power consumption, particularly if you are likely to be running the PC for long periods.

Of course if you want to game, or do lots of HD video encoding, then a powerful PC is a better option, but if you're not careful it becomes a bit of a compromise, and you end up getting annoyed by the noise it makes when watching content (or worse when it is recording TV but you're not watching anything and you just have a noisy hairdryer in the corner interrupting the silence...)

You obviously have to balance the two. I use my HTPC for watching content (and have put quiet fans in it) far more than encoding - and accepted that encoding may take longer when I do it but that was a small price to pay for annoyance-free viewing.
 

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