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Pentium G2020 vs AMD A4-5300 for HTPC use

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April 20, 2013 1:18:09 AM

I'm looking to upgrade my E-350 based mini itx HTPC.

What my HTPC does:
Windows Media Center 7
Streams/Records live TV from HD HomeRun prime
Netflix HD (this kills the E-350)
Youtube HD
SMB file server w/ USB external HD (this kills the E-350 sometimes)
Media center extender for an xbox (this kills the E-350 as well)
Plays 1080p H.264 DD/DTS 5.1 movies

I've noticed that using an Xbox extender slows things on both the HTPC and the xbox.

If I upgrade to the G2020 or A4, would they be able to handle decoding 3 or more streams of 1080p video at once?
April 20, 2013 1:30:53 AM

The A4 has a much better GPU that can offload the Netflix HD feeds. The Pentium has a faster pure cpu processing power. I would consider getting a 65watt A8 if you can afford it but if not get the A4 cause intel's gpus/gpu drivers are not know for being very good at all.
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April 20, 2013 1:52:11 AM

Since you most likely have a soldered on E350 mini ITX board, you will likely need to pickup a new board along with the GPUs. What is your budget?
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April 20, 2013 3:43:02 AM

I would have to say the A4 in this instance (and it comes with an integrated gpu). In the long run, you're definitely gonna look back and comment about the few dollars you saved as well.
Though it would be wise to upgrade your motherboard while you're at it and see if any changes are apparent.
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April 20, 2013 9:14:07 AM

A few things:
1. The E-350 is soldered on, I have to get a new board. All the AMD mini itx boards are $90+. They all have sata 6 and usb 3.0. The intel USB 2.0 mini itx boards start at $50, USB 3.0 start around 75, and usb 3.0/sata 6 start at 90. I want USB 3.0. Not sure about SATA 3 vs SATA 6. I do already have a kingston hyperX 3k 120 GB SSD.

2. Hardware acceleration doesn't work for ATI/netflix HD. I think it's because microsoft silverlight & ATI don't get along. Hardware accelerations works fine for 1080p MKVs, flash 1080p, and my hd homerun streams, though there is moderate CPU usage on the E-350. Without hardware acceleration, it's unwatchable.

3. I'd like to keep my budget around $150. But on the other hand, if spending a bit more will get me an exponentially better system, I'll very strongly consider it.

4. I do no gaming, so performance of the video card other than ability to accelerate video decoding isn't important to me.

5. I would consider the A8, but it's nearly double the price of the A4. And at that price point, I can throw in the i3-3220 into the mix. Again, if either of these chips are worth it, I'll definitely consider it.
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April 20, 2013 9:11:47 PM

The A8's have 2x the cpu cores of the A4 or A6 and alot more gpu power as well. The i3-3220 would be fine if it was in a full sized case because you could put a separate gpu in the system because intel graphics are not known for working very well. For $150 bucks you really can not get much for a motherboard + cpu + gpu... For $50 more you can get a 100 watt A8-5600k ($110 at newegg.com) and underclock it or go with a 65watt A8-5500 ($105 at newegg.com) the extra money will double the cpu cores and have much stronger graphics. Best case wait a month or 2 and Richland will be out with the amd A series 6000's which have faster core and gpu speeds at the same power level and at the same price as what you are looking into now and Intel's haswell cpu will be out as well which has a better gpu and has a new cpu core.. Newegg has microATX boards for FM2 from $85 to $100 so for around $205 to $210 you could have 3-5X more processing power.. Here is a link to the motherboards http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

The cpu's are easy to find on newegg so have fun. Do you already have DDR3 ram that you can use for this system?? if not you are going to need 2 sticks to get the most out of both an AMD or an Intel system..
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April 21, 2013 9:46:28 AM

I already have two sticks of 4 GB DDR3-1033 memory. The case i have is antec ISK300-65, which is limited with a 65W external power brick. The internal PSU, however, is rated 135W. I can easily find a 120 watt power brick, but haven't had much luck finding a 135 watt power brick that would fit. Anyway, either way, I think I'm limited to a 65W CPU.

A8-5500 vs the i3.. which has more processing power? I know the i3 is only a dual core, but has HT. The A8 has 4 cores but no HT. As long as the graphics card can play 1080p via HDMI, I'm happy with it.

I just tried running Netflix HD on my desktop PC (AMD FX-6100 6 core) and it uses about 5-10% CPU without any hardware acceleration. I know my personal laptop (Intel Core Duo) & my work laptop (Intel Core 2 Duo) cannot play Netflix HD without dropping frames left and right. If any CPUs we've mentioned (A4, A6, A8, G2020, i3), could do Netflix HD with under 30% cpu usage, I'd be very happy. Would mean it could handle 3 simultaneous extenders
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April 21, 2013 11:16:41 AM

jamesm113 said:
I already have two sticks of 4 GB DDR3-1033 memory. The case i have is antec ISK300-65, which is limited with a 65W external power brick. The internal PSU, however, is rated 135W. I can easily find a 120 watt power brick, but haven't had much luck finding a 135 watt power brick that would fit. Anyway, either way, I think I'm limited to a 65W CPU.

A8-5500 vs the i3.. which has more processing power? I know the i3 is only a dual core, but has HT. The A8 has 4 cores but no HT. As long as the graphics card can play 1080p via HDMI, I'm happy with it.

I just tried running Netflix HD on my desktop PC (AMD FX-6100 6 core) and it uses about 5-10% CPU without any hardware acceleration. I know my personal laptop (Intel Core Duo) & my work laptop (Intel Core 2 Duo) cannot play Netflix HD without dropping frames left and right. If any CPUs we've mentioned (A4, A6, A8, G2020, i3), could do Netflix HD with under 30% cpu usage, I'd be very happy. Would mean it could handle 3 simultaneous extenders


The i3 has better processing, but a crappy IGP.
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April 21, 2013 1:21:49 PM

Thanatos Telos said:


The i3 has better processing, but a crappy IGP.


Op can always elect to wait around for haswell.
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April 21, 2013 3:26:05 PM

I have an amd athlon2 x3 240 (or 245 I forget which) and an i3-3220 http. Both have the same 60gb ssd (no hdd), 4gb ram, running win8. The i3 is hands down the better performer and the integrated GPU is perfectly fine for all your video needs. Sure its lackluster for gaming but neither of us game on our htpc so its a mute point.

I suspect the x3 240 is on par with the a4 so personally I would say get the i3.

I'm also going to suggest turning the current e350 build into a dedicated file server. It should handle doing just that.
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April 21, 2013 4:01:21 PM

popatim said:
I have an amd athlon2 x3 240 (or 245 I forget which) and an i3-3220 http. Both have the same 60gb ssd (no hdd), 4gb ram, running win8. The i3 is hands down the better performer and the integrated GPU is perfectly fine for all your video needs. Sure its lackluster for gaming but neither of us game on our htpc so its a mute point.

I suspect the x3 240 is on par with the a4 so personally I would say get the i3.

I'm also going to suggest turning the current e350 build into a dedicated file server. It should handle doing just that.

I'd be very curious to see how much CPU usage you get while watching netflix HD on both the i3 and the athlon2.

I'm considering waiting a few months for haswell or richland to come out. I guess I could get an A4 now and upgrade to a richland. But if I got an i3 now, I'd have to get a new motherboard
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April 21, 2013 4:25:32 PM

jamesm113 said:

I'd be very curious to see how much CPU usage you get while watching netflix HD on both the i3 and the athlon2.

I'm considering waiting a few months for haswell or richland to come out. I guess I could get an A4 now and upgrade to a richland. But if I got an i3 now, I'd have to get a new motherboard


Here is hoping that there are more FM2 ITX boards on the horizon. Something with dual band wifi would be amazing :) 
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April 21, 2013 5:56:33 PM

jamesm113 said:
popatim said:
I have an amd athlon2 x3 240 (or 245 I forget which) and an i3-3220 http. Both have the same 60gb ssd (no hdd), 4gb ram, running win8. The i3 is hands down the better performer and the integrated GPU is perfectly fine for all your video needs. Sure its lackluster for gaming but neither of us game on our htpc so its a mute point.

I suspect the x3 240 is on par with the a4 so personally I would say get the i3.

I'm also going to suggest turning the current e350 build into a dedicated file server. It should handle doing just that.

I'd be very curious to see how much CPU usage you get while watching netflix HD on both the i3 and the athlon2.

I'm considering waiting a few months for haswell or richland to come out. I guess I could get an A4 now and upgrade to a richland. But if I got an i3 now, I'd have to get a new motherboard

+1 Sounds like a good plan to me.
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April 29, 2013 2:49:03 PM

Got the A4-5300. Works great with netflix HD & the media center extenders. Very happy with my decision so far, and might not even consider the richland when it comes out. Thanks everyone for your help!!
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April 29, 2013 6:03:37 PM

slomo4sho said:
Thanatos Telos said:


The i3 has better processing, but a crappy IGP.


Op can always elect to wait around for haswell.


TH's Haswell preview proves that AMD's APU graphics still outperform the HD 4600
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April 30, 2013 7:19:16 PM

Sorry I didnt see your request till now and I see its too late. Grats on your purchase and its good to know that its working well for you.
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May 3, 2013 5:59:27 PM

Glad to hear things workout well for you...
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