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Best HTPC processor?

By T_C_
Mar 23, 2008
  1. Hello there! I've got a research grant that I plan on using towards building a decent HTPC to show focus groups stuff (oh, and to have a little fun myself :)). This won't be my first PC build, but my first HTPC/Media Center build. I was wondering if there is anyone on TS (there's gotta be) who would recommend a processor for Media Center/HTPC. I'm thinking LGA775 Conroe E6750 Dual-Core right now. I am planning on having a decent HT projector hooked up to this, probably have Counter Strike: Source and COD4 installed on it too (I'm a huge geek I know) and will be doing photo, video, and music editing for my focus groups. Therefore I can't skimp out too much for the editing, and since I will probably be playing movies stored on the hard disk on the big screen.

    Already have 580W PSU

    thinking of:
    8800GTS (possibly sticking it in my PC and my 7600GT in HTPC)
    8 GB Corsair XMS platinum ram

    Thanks in advance! :wave: -- TC
     
  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Well, I think the question should be more of what CPU is best for those things, since a HTPC doesn't require as much horsepower as gaming or content creation/editing.

    If you plan on HD such as 720p and (especially) 1080i make sure the card you choose has 1080i hardware acceleration. If your choice is between the 7600GT and the 8800GTS, you should be OK in this respect. I think the 7600GS doesn't fully support HD video.
     
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    Anything in the 8000 series except the 8800GTX has big onboard HD decoding if you use specific programs, so that would ease the load on the CPU tremendously. But then again, any C2D is going to be able to software decode HD by itself.

    CSS graphics requirements are pretty weak, and CoD4 isn't terrible unless you were planning on playing at 1920x1080. If I were you I'd consider how much I need to game, and then possibly drop the processor to something weaker and pick up an 8000 series card, even the 8400 has the hardware hd decoding.

    Edit: I can't find exactly what I was referring to about the HD Decoding, maybe because I saw it back when the 8000 series was first released and it has since changed, anyway I was slightly wrong, it appears 1 8400 doesn't have the decoding, but its a mobile G version. pdf on supported cards here: http://www.nvidia.com/docs/CP/11036/PureVideo_Product_Comparison.pdf
     
  4. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    The 8800 Ultra and the old GTS also belong in that category.
    As for HD, ATI's HD 2400, 2600 and 38xx series also have onboard HD-decoding and decode VC-1 better than NVIDIA's 8600 and 8500 series. The 2400XT is an excellent HTPC choice since it runs cool, is very quiet and offers full HD decoding off the CPU, which would allow you to get a cheaper CPU like one from the E21xx series without getting any noticeable difference in performance. For gaming though, I'd get the 8600GT, but be warned that it isn't as cool or as quiet as the 2400XT, so if that's an issue, get a passive-cooled one.
     
  5. T_C_

    T_C_ TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks

    Thanks for the advice. I'll probably still mostly game on my existing PC with the 7600GT. Personally I'm not a big fan of the ATI chipsets, I prefer to stick to nVidia. Unfortunately, for the money I think the best options are the ATI cards. As far as processors, I know that my AMD 4200+ could handle the video and music editing, I just wasn't sure if there was a preference for HTPCs.

    Also, this won't be a TRUE HTPC since I'm running a rather large PSU and big video card--won't be whisper quiet for sure. But then again when you crank a nice surround system you're not going to notice a fan running.

    Thanks for your opinions! :) --TC
     
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