Personal computing discussed

Moderators: Flying Fox, morphine

Graphmaster Gerbil
Topic Author
Posts: 1491
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:42 pm
Location: Guelph, ON, Canada.

Understanding CPU use in HTPC

Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:21 pm

So I'm building an HTPC for myself, it's going to be outputting at 1080p to my television, running local media but also maybe streaming over the network. It'll also have a ton of storage as I'm going to use it as a network backup solution for my desktop PC.

How CPU intensive is this? I was just going to buy a cheap 3 core athlon to keep costs down but if I should be stepping up to a quad core / chip with more cache to get this done I will. I figure the biggest "load" would be decoding HD video, but I'm still not sure if that's actually intensive.

Hey girl you want a bad boy? I overclock my backup servers.
i5-6600K@4.2ghz | R9 380X | 16 GB RAM | BX100 500 GB
Sempron 2650@1.45GHZ | 2 GB RAM | 6 TB | FreeBSD 10
Gold subscriber
Gerbil God
Posts: 17776
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: The Heart of Dixie

Re: Understanding CPU use in HTPC

Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:19 pm

Those things aren't CPU intensive. A Core i3-2120 or Core i3-3225 or A8-5600K or A10-5800K might be a good choice.
i7-8700K, H100i v2, RoG Strix Z370-G Gaming, 16 GiB, RX Vega64, 960Pro SSD, 5TB HDD, Define Mini-C, SS-660XP2, C32HG70, RK-9000BR, MX518
Grand Gerbil Poohbah
Posts: 3209
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:50 pm
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Re: Understanding CPU use in HTPC

Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:21 pm

AFAIK, a decent dual core is all you really need. Have a read through Anandtech's aritcles on Ivy Bridge IGP for HTPC and AMD Trinity for HTPC. Something like an AMD A6-5400K for $75 and a 65W TDP might be just what the doctor ordered. Takes care of your CPU and GPU. I plan on upgrading my HTPC with one of those over the holidays.
Main: i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, MSI RX480 8G, 500GB Crucial BX100, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 16GB 1600MHz G.Skill @1.25V, EVGA 550-G2, Silverstone PS07B
HTPC: A8-5600K, MSI FM2-A75IA-E53, 4TB Seagate SSHD, 8GB 1866MHz G.Skill, Crosley D-25 Case Mod
Gold subscriber
Gerbil Jedi
Posts: 1605
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:18 pm
Location: Probably where I don't belong.

Re: Understanding CPU use in HTPC

Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:38 pm

Note: I am *not* recommending the solution below, I'm just putting it out there for context.

I have a 2008 Core 2 Duo notebook with crappy x4500 chipset graphics. However, the notebook does have HDMI output. I'm a big Linux guy, so I have gotten 1080P video output from the notebook to my HD-TV on a KDE 4 desktop including audio channeled over the HDMI, and the video plays just fine (I recommend VLC or a fancy media-centric Linux distro like XBMC).

Now obviously video playback is not the only thing that people do with HTPCs, but you really don't need to have a huge CPU or GPU to do the basics. If you want to really use this HTPC for games, then you need to look into better GPU solutions, but practically any modern system can do the basic stuff just fine. The fancier points come into price/performance ratios and having a quiet system.
4770K @ 4.7 GHz; 32GB DDR3-2133; GTX-1080; 512GB 840 Pro (2x); Fractal Define XL-R2; NZXT Kraken-X60
--Many thanks to the TR Forum for advice in getting it built.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests