I'm HTPC-ifying the home entertainment setups, and looking for options on lightweight systems. At the moment, I'm exploring options for a system just powerful enough to ensure I won't have problems with any 1080p streaming, and potentially support some very light gaming. (E.g. indies or older games in my Steam backlog)
It's been a long time since I've done anything but an Intel build, but the AMD APUs seemed pretty tempting. I was initially thinking something like a Zotac ZBOX AD06, but I've heard enough problems with E2-1800 (specifically media apps which don't support accelerated decoding) that I think I need to step it up performance-wise to be safe. I'm still trying to go SFF, though, so IGP/APU only.
That leaves two realistic options: Intel Haswell IGP or AMD Richland APU. Intel
: I know you can't actually buy a GT3 Haswell, let alone GT3e, so that leaves the 4400 and 4600 GT2s. Sticking with 54W parts, that probably leaves the $130 i3-4130 (4400) or $150 i3-4330 (4600), both dual-core.AMD
: Sticking with 65W parts. As far as I can tell, A8-6500 should meet or exceed the performance of the Haswells, and the the A10-6700 should beat them, for similar prices ($120, $150). But if I have the option of going much cheaper here, too. The A4-4000 and A6-6400K are only $45 and $80, respectively. Either one should do streaming with no hiccups I believe, but I think we're starting to look at clearly lower graphics performance which will even further limit gaming.
Given that media is my first priority here: First, any holes or errors in my assessment? Any specific recommendations, or what I should avoid? Does driver support (Windows 7) and media acceleration support push you one way or another?
Also, I'm stumped on cases. NUCs and thin mini-ITX are too underpowered or expensive, and I don't need something I can stick in my shirt pocket. The Antec ISK-110
and IN WIN BQS
are pretty small (about 8"x8"x3"), and currently at the top of the list, but not particularly attractive. If I'm going bigger than that, I'd consider something like the SilverStone ML05
where I could add a low-profile 7750 and make this a much more capable system (for a price). But I feel like there have to be small cases designed to fit a CPU/one disk/no GPU that I'm overlooking, right?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions!