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Hardware requirement question for an HTPC


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#1 of 4 tucansam

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Posted December 10 2010 - 01:06 PM

Hello all,


I would like to build a small HTPC that will service as a media server for several computers in the house, a small file server, and use a TV tuner card or two plus Media Center (or some equivalent freeware) on either XP or Win7.


I have an old Pentium Dual-Core laying around; I don't suppose this CPU possesses enough horsepower for my needs?  My understanding is that, with a proper video card and proper TV tuner card to offload some of the decoding from the main CPU, I don't need the latest and greatest for a simple HTPC.


Suggestions?


Thanks!



#2 of 4 mattCR

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Posted December 10 2010 - 01:13 PM

What kind of pentium dual core, and what is your goal?   Those are going to be big issues.   XBMC maybe.. but if you want to run any real HD, especially acting as a DVR, you may find you're on a fools journey.  A cheap board and processor that would handle this easy could be found for less then $150, and you'd have HDMI onboard, etc.    So it's hard to justify the expense of trying to come up with a graphics card, etc. that you would need to offload from an older processor. And since most HTPCs are on near 24/7, your energy usage will also be much less with a newer processor.


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#3 of 4 tucansam

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Posted December 10 2010 - 01:18 PM

Understood.  What would be your suggestion?  At some point I could see using it as a DVR for sure.  I'm also setting up an IP-camera-based security network using Blue Iris and would love to use one system for both tasks.



#4 of 4 mattCR

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Posted December 11 2010 - 02:21 AM

Good cheap combos that are HD ready:



Any Phenom Class AMD CPU ( a dual 555 or so) works perfect if combined with a 880G motherboard.  You won't get HD-Audio output (just DD and DTS High rate, and no LPCM)... but you get the basics, HDMI, and a good look at 1080P.  Add in a 5450 Video card if you want that.   You can normally get a combo like this for about $120 or so.  You can get 24hz/1080P basically perfect, a plus for those who notice visible judder (I do not, but some say it drives them nuts)


On the other end, you can go with an Intel I3-530 and a H55 motherboard.   You will get DD-HD and DTS-MA out, LPCM if you need conversion before hand.

Both of these are reliable, pretty much install and done, and you get everything right out the gate.

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