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Need a CPU with great video (with HDMI out) AND 5.1 digital optical AUDIO OUT for home theater

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February 9, 2014 9:00:57 AM

Need a CPU with great video (with HDMI out) AND 5.1 digital optical AUDIO OUT for home theater
February 9, 2014 9:22:26 AM

If you are planning on using the integrated video (no discrete video card) I'd recommend an AMD APU.
Many APU's have higher graphics performance than Intel's HD graphics.
That being said, Intel HD graphics is more than adequate if you don't intend to play video games on this machine.

I could be more helpful in selecting the right processor for your application if you provided more details as to how the system will be used. (eg. Netflix and youtube? or gaming or what?) Also, if you have specific power/thermal/noise-level constraints, that information would be helpful too. No need to overspend on performance/features that you won't be using to their fullest.

Optical audio is more dependent on your motherboard than the processor. You would need to ensure that the motherboard you select has optical audio, and a good audio codec that supports multi-channel audio.


I have a HTPC as well, and I have had diffuculties getting 5.1 surround working correctly over HDMI or optical. I found that if you use Windows Media Player and are playing content that has the Dolby 5.1 audio encoded into the file it works just fine. But when Windows is configured to output to 5.1 in the audio configuration menu, the channels are all mixed up.
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February 9, 2014 9:55:05 AM

I agree that many of the AMD video processing portions are better, however in my home theater PC I not only play movies but I host and sometimes even use it to take home movies (not illegal duplication) and trans-code them and re-encode them to play on other machines. Due to the higher memory intensive applications, I find more RAM and an Intel CPU to be better than any of my AMD CPU's. I personally have gone from being an AMD "fan boy" to an Intel user. I no longer buy AMD CPU's except to do minor upgrades to older machines now. I am even about to replace one of my AMD systems motherboard, ram and CPU to be Intel based CPU/Motherboard (and it uses DDR3 instead of the older DDR2 in the AMD system I have).

I would go with whatever your budget allows, but I would recommend an Intel if you plan on doing more than watching movies. I have used even older Intel integrated graphics from before the HD integrated in the CPU and still been able to view movies in HD quality.
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February 9, 2014 10:36:51 AM

Silver Wolf said:
I agree that many of the AMD video processing portions are better, however in my home theater PC I not only play movies but I host and sometimes even use it to take home movies (not illegal duplication) and trans-code them and re-encode them to play on other machines. Due to the higher memory intensive applications, I find more RAM and an Intel CPU to be better than any of my AMD CPU's. I personally have gone from being an AMD "fan boy" to an Intel user. I no longer buy AMD CPU's except to do minor upgrades to older machines now. I am even about to replace one of my AMD systems motherboard, ram and CPU to be Intel based CPU/Motherboard (and it uses DDR3 instead of the older DDR2 in the AMD system I have).

I would go with whatever your budget allows, but I would recommend an Intel if you plan on doing more than watching movies. I have used even older Intel integrated graphics from before the HD integrated in the CPU and still been able to view movies in HD quality.


Without question, a good Intel processor will do wonders in terms of processing power, and their HD graphics aren't bad at all. However, buying the best comes at a price, and in most situations an AMD processor/APU can get the job done just fine for less $. For an HTPC, that will likely just sit and playback video, there's no need for top tier performance. And even for gaming, (lacking a discrete gpu) a good AMD APU will give better graphics performance than any similarly priced Intel processor.
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February 9, 2014 10:54:28 AM

chrisbphoenix said:
Silver Wolf said:
I agree that many of the AMD video processing portions are better, however in my home theater PC I not only play movies but I host and sometimes even use it to take home movies (not illegal duplication) and trans-code them and re-encode them to play on other machines. Due to the higher memory intensive applications, I find more RAM and an Intel CPU to be better than any of my AMD CPU's. I personally have gone from being an AMD "fan boy" to an Intel user. I no longer buy AMD CPU's except to do minor upgrades to older machines now. I am even about to replace one of my AMD systems motherboard, ram and CPU to be Intel based CPU/Motherboard (and it uses DDR3 instead of the older DDR2 in the AMD system I have).

I would go with whatever your budget allows, but I would recommend an Intel if you plan on doing more than watching movies. I have used even older Intel integrated graphics from before the HD integrated in the CPU and still been able to view movies in HD quality.


Without question, a good Intel processor will do wonders in terms of processing power, and their HD graphics aren't bad at all. However, buying the best comes at a price, and in most situations an AMD processor/APU can get the job done just fine for less $. For an HTPC, that will likely just sit and playback video, there's no need for top tier performance. And even for gaming, (lacking a discrete gpu) a good AMD APU will give better graphics performance than any similarly priced Intel processor.


True. I would still prefer an Intel over AMD for the slightly higher cost - they have similar budget priced versions. I have an i5 quad core that out performs several 8 core cpu's from AMD in all but video. I would prefer to spend that extra $20-50 (which is what I did). I also decided that $40-50 was worth it for going with this i5 instead of an i3-3200 series.

--EDIT--
Also if I remember right the i5 series uses less power than many AMD CPU's - which is very nice on a system that will be running as much as a home theater system.
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a c 747 à CPUs
February 11, 2014 8:09:42 AM

A pentium G would do worse than an APU in video. For an HTPC, for video playback, an AMD APU is definitely the way to go.
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a c 747 à CPUs
February 11, 2014 8:27:15 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A10-7700K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($159.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A88M EXTREME4+ Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard ($91.48 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-2133 Memory ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Hitachi Ultrastar 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($51.00 @ Amazon)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 430W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($47.99 @ Microcenter)
Optical Drive: Pioneer BDC-207DBK Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($49.98 @ OutletPC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($84.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $620.40
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-02-11 11:27 EST-0500)
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February 12, 2014 8:34:19 PM

logainofhades said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A10-7700K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($159.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A88M EXTREME4+ Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard ($91.48 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-2133 Memory ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Hitachi Ultrastar 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($51.00 @ Amazon)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 430W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($47.99 @ Microcenter)
Optical Drive: Pioneer BDC-207DBK Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($49.98 @ OutletPC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($84.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $620.40
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-02-11 11:27 EST-0500)


Looks good, but I'll point out that if you're not doing anything intensive with this machine, you'd be better off with a faster dual-core APU, 4GB of RAM, and a less expensive motherboard. It would save you some money, and the computer will feel quicker because of the higher clockspeed.
I also found this more efficient PSU for only a few bucks more.
See what you think of this:


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A6-6400K 3.9GHz Dual-Core Processor ($62.74 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus A88XM-A Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Hitachi Ultrastar 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($51.00 @ Amazon)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair CSM 450W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($52.00 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Pioneer BDC-207DBK Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($49.98 @ OutletPC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($84.98 @ OutletPC)
Total: $490.67
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-02-12 23:33 EST-0500)
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a c 747 à CPUs
February 13, 2014 11:07:11 AM

That motherboard doesn't have the audio capabilities that the OP is wanting. I agree that the 7700k might not be necessary. I chose it for its better GPU and for true audio. AMD needs to get their lower wattage parts out already.
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February 13, 2014 1:09:23 PM

logainofhades said:
That motherboard doesn't have the audio capabilities that the OP is wanting. I agree that the 7700k might not be necessary. I chose it for its better GPU and for true audio. AMD needs to get their lower wattage parts out already.


My mistake, I forgot that OP wanted optical audio too. The motherboard you suggested initially will do the job nicely.
I still say that a lower cost dual-core APU will do just fine. Even without AMD's new trueaudio.

Here's an updated list to clear up any confusion I've caused:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A6-6400K 3.9GHz Dual-Core Processor ($62.74 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A88M EXTREME4+ Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard ($91.48 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Hitachi Ultrastar 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($51.00 @ Amazon)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair CSM 450W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($52.00 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Pioneer BDC-207DBK Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($49.98 @ OutletPC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($84.98 @ OutletPC)
Total: $502.16
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-02-13 16:04 EST-0500)
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February 15, 2014 5:15:12 PM

The dell referenced I do not think would be a wise investment since it has a tiny power supply of only 220w which will severly hamper your ability to expand in the future or to upgrade.

--EDIT--
A prime example is that I just tried to upgrade a Compaq Presario SR5113WM which came with a 250w power supply. The new motherboard (an MSI B75 Intel chipset) and a Intel Pentium G2010 CPU literally caused the power supply to smoke.
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