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Intel or AMD for a HTPC, which is better

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October 16, 2006 6:10:47 PM

Would like to put together a HTPC capable of playing HD content without any hiccups. Ive been doing a little research here and there and acording to nvidia you need a Core 2 6300 and up or X2 4200 and up to sufficiently play some hd content. With the difference is MB prices I could probably go to a X2 4600 for close to the same as a 6300 Core. So my question is which would be better in terms of performance, power draw, and so on. I would also like to experiment with a minor OC with either one of the CPU's so maybe some of you with some experience regarding that can chime in as well, I dont want to set any records but boost performance while keeping my system realativly silent.

Also, I see AMD aslo makes a 4800 X2 for the same price as the 4600, the only difference is the cache size goes up to 1mb on the 4800, would the 4800 be a better choice yet? Any help is greatly appreciated, Thanks.

More about : intel amd htpc

October 16, 2006 6:32:10 PM

http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html?modelx=33&model1...

Compare the x2 4600+ with ddr2-800 to the
Core2 e6400 with ddr2-800

As you can see, for HDTV encoding (perhaps one of the things you'll be doing on your HTPC), the performance is very similar.

The e6400 does have the advantage of lower TDP (produces less heat, so less fans needed to get rid of it = quieter HTPC), as well as a huge overclocking potential. Core2 is also the "new big thing" that everyone is talking about, just ask anyone in these forums :) 

So basically, if you're NOT planning on overclocking, the decision comes down to price, which seems to be similar for these 2 CPUS. I did manage to find the e6400 at lower prices than the 4600 at some e-tailers, but I'm not about to suggest which CPU is better value and start an intel vs amd war again :) 

Overall, you'll have to take a look at other benchmarks that compare these CPUS, and then compare the total cost of the system for each case (cpu, mb, ram, etc), if you want to make the best decision.

Good luck :) 

p.s. I missed the part where you mentionned that you'll want to experiment with OC. In this case, I'll have to say go for the Core2. It seems to be more overclocker friendly ... these forums are filled with reports of these guys achieving overclocks of up to 50% on air cooling, and even higher with water.
a c 471 à CPUs
October 16, 2006 6:35:51 PM

In terms of power consumption, AMD's Athlon 64 X2 does consume less power, but the performance crown still belongs in Intel's Core 2 Duo court. As you can see in the following link, at idle the Athlon 64 X2 does consume less at idle:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/amd-energy...

Note, the are two versions of the Athlon 64 X2; the regular version and the energy efficient version. You'll need to buy the energy efficient version for lower power consumption. But the power savings is not that much. The E6300 is more comparable to the X2 4600+, and only consumes about 6 watts more.

I'm running out of time right now so I'll continue this later.
Related resources
October 16, 2006 6:55:15 PM

Im sure it wont be a challenge to drop the Vcore a bit
a c 471 à CPUs
October 16, 2006 9:33:36 PM

Anyway getting back to what I was saying, the difference between the energy efficient 4600+ and the E6300 is very small at only 6w, but that's for the entire system in the test setup over at xbitlabs.com. If you only take a look at the CPU usage while at idle it's 14w for the Athlon 64 X2 4600+ vs. 26w for the Intel Core 2 Duo E6300. That's only a difference of 12w.

So how much will 12w cost you over the year? Well if you live in NYC, you'll be paying $0.19 per KWH. Being on over the course of 1 year under 24/7 conditions that comes out to about 105KWH, and translates to $20 for the entire year. If you live in an area where electricity is only $0.07 per KWH, then that works out to less than $7.50 per year.

In the grand schemes of things $7 or $20 over the course of 1 year doesn't amount to much for the typical person.

Alright, what about under load? The following is a continuation of the xbitlabs.com article I linked to before:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/amd-energy...

As you can see the Core 2 Duo E6300 CPU consumes only 44w underload, while the Athlon X2 4600+ consumes 75w. That a difference of 31w in favor of the C2D E6300. Looking at the test systems, the E6300 PC consumes 218w of power vs. 268w for the energy efficient X2 4600+ PC. That's a 50w difference. So much for AMD's energy efficient CPUs.

You best choice is the C2D E6300. Period.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

If you really want an energy efficient HTPC, then you should really start with the power supply. The PSU's efficiency determines how much power is being wasted by the PC. As a very simple example, suppose your PC draws 200w total for all it's components. PSU #1 is 65% efficient. PSU #2 is 80% efficient. That translates to the following:

PSU #1 Total Power Draw = 200w / 65% = 307.7w

PSU #2 Total Power Draw = 200 / 80% = 250w

This means PSU #1 will waste 107.7w of power which gets converted to heat. PSU #2 only waste 50w of power.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

The next place to look at is the GPU value cards tend to draw less power than high performance cards. Below is a link to another xbitlabs.com article, but this one is for the GPU:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/power-no...

Looking at the various cards it should become obvious that ATI Radeon GPUs draws more power than the nVidia GeForce series. If I were to buy a GPU right now for an HTPC and I wanted to do some gaming, then I would get the GeForce 7600GT:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/power-no...

This is a "performance-mainstream card" which only draws 35.8w; more if overclocked. Compare that to the "mainstream cards":

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/power-no...

Note that the Radeons are less powerfull, but draws more power. Also note that the 7600GT draws less power than the less powerful GeForce 6600GT.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Hope that helps. But it should be clear that you want a C2D E6300 or maybe the E6400. And you want to pair that up with the GeForce 7600GT, or maybe the 7300GS if gaming is low on your list of things to do. The 7300GS only consumes 16.1w of power.
October 17, 2006 12:27:34 AM

Quote:
Would like to put together a HTPC capable of playing HD content without any hiccups. Ive been doing a little research here and there and acording to nvidia you need a Core 2 6300 and up or X2 4200 and up to sufficiently play some hd content. With the difference is MB prices I could probably go to a X2 4600 for close to the same as a 6300 Core. So my question is which would be better in terms of performance, power draw, and so on. I would also like to experiment with a minor OC with either one of the CPU's so maybe some of you with some experience regarding that can chime in as well, I dont want to set any records but boost performance while keeping my system realativly silent.

Also, I see AMD aslo makes a 4800 X2 for the same price as the 4600, the only difference is the cache size goes up to 1mb on the 4800, would the 4800 be a better choice yet? Any help is greatly appreciated, Thanks.


The key to HTPCs is to have a chip that runs cool. Most people don't want a CPU fan blazing while a movie is playing. The best HTPC chip right now is the 3800+ or 3800+ EE. These will run with just a heatsink.

I have heard that Core 2 will run without a fan also so the second choice (or first) would be the 6300.

The 4800+ will need a fan. Quieter fans are larger and don't fit well in HTPC cases.
October 17, 2006 12:30:30 AM

Quote:
I have heard that Core 2 will run without a heatsink also so the second choice (or first) would be the 6300.

Not flaming you by any means but, you actually believed this? Yeah it can run without a heatsink... for all of 30 seconds. Doing such would be a huge mistake. Don't attempt this unless Intel or AMD is paying you to do this foolishness.
October 17, 2006 12:56:19 AM

I changed it to fan.

:oops: 

Sensitive are we?
October 17, 2006 12:58:55 AM

Nope. Just very observant and fact minded.
October 17, 2006 2:03:23 AM

Quote:
Nope. Just very observant and fact minded.


Perhaps the prior written "just a heatsink" in terms of 3800+\EE would have given an open mind a clear path to the typo.

It actually should have read is said to run with "just a heatsink" not without.

Much to learn you still have.
October 17, 2006 2:19:09 AM

Trying to play it off I see. Ah well if it floats your boat.
a b à CPUs
October 17, 2006 2:19:30 AM

Quote:
Nope. Just very observant and fact minded.


Perhaps the prior written "just a heatsink" in terms of 3800+\EE would have given an open mind a clear path to the typo.

It actually should have read is said to run with "just a heatsink" not without.

Much to learn you still have.

Umm he doesn't have to learn anything... lol

You typed what you typed and although you meant it or not you were wrong and he corrected you on it.

Seems you have much to learn.
October 17, 2006 5:10:30 AM

Whether you can run the CPU without a fan also depends on how large the heatsink is. I have this 1-kilogram Tower120 heatsink which to my surprise cools a stock x6800 just fine with the fan completely off at a case ambient of up to 35C (with CoreTemp consistently reporting under 60C). I have also heard that the Scythe Ninja was designed for passive cooling. But if you overclock, and especially if you overvolt, you're going to want at least a medium speed fan, if not a manually adjustable one. There are quite a few fans which spin at ~1500rpm in near silence.
October 17, 2006 5:54:10 AM

BTW are there any Micro ATX core2duo MBs out there?
October 17, 2006 5:59:32 AM

The Intel Box board don't count
October 17, 2006 6:19:44 AM

Quote:
BTW are there any Micro ATX core2duo MBs out there?


The ASUS P5B-VM is my choice for the HTPC machine (E6700). Now I'm just looking for a combination between a good uATX case and a heatsink or quiet fan + heatsink that fit together well. The Thermalright XP-90 + 80mm or 120mm fan is apparently quiet enough, but looks too tall for most uATX boxes, so I may have to go with a normal height ATX box like the SilverStone LC-13 or LC-17.

Also in the cards is undervolting the proc and then dropping the frequency to improve the power profile. What I'd like to see is a Merom MoDT mobo using the G965 chipset, but I haven't been able to find one yet, and I have a Conroe instead of a Merom, so it's probably a moot point right now. Maybe next year, when Robson's in place, I'll swap out the proc/mobo for a Santa Rosa platform.
October 17, 2006 7:02:44 AM

Quote:


----------------------------------------------------------------------

If you really want an energy efficient HTPC, then you should really start with the power supply. The PSU's efficiency determines how much power is being wasted by the PC. As a very simple example, suppose your PC draws 200w total for all it's components. PSU #1 is 65% efficient. PSU #2 is 80% efficient. That translates to the following:

PSU #1 Total Power Draw = 200w / 65% = 307.7w

PSU #2 Total Power Draw = 200 / 80% = 250w

This means PSU #1 will waste 107.7w of power which gets converted to heat. PSU #2 only waste 50w of power.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------



So what brand of PS would you reccomend, been looking at several reviews and have kind of leaned on getting a FSP Fortron power supply based on all of the good reviews and good price. I see however that it only has a rating of 70 percent. Any reccomendations?
October 17, 2006 11:57:30 AM

Quote:
Nope. Just very observant and fact minded.


Perhaps the prior written "just a heatsink" in terms of 3800+\EE would have given an open mind a clear path to the typo.

It actually should have read is said to run with "just a heatsink" not without.

Much to learn you still have.

Umm he doesn't have to learn anything... lol

You typed what you typed and although you meant it or not you were wrong and he corrected you on it.

Seems you have much to learn.


You guys are SH&*. You talk all this crap about not flaming and not intimidating and you read "with no heatsink."

F - OFF. No more truce you fecal idiots.
October 17, 2006 12:03:05 PM

Dude chill. It was a simple correction. That's all. If you are so determined to break the truce, then don't use this small thing as an excuse.
October 17, 2006 12:45:04 PM

Quote:
In terms of power consumption, AMD's Athlon 64 X2 does consume less power
This is false information. Intel Core2 conmsumes less power than A64 X2.

The article is about Energy Efficient A64 X2, not about A64 X2. The 4600+ 65W and the 4600+(@1.35v) are EE also, the "normal" have TDP of 89W and 110W and are working at 1.4V. The C2D platform with the Asus i975BX mainboard wastes more energy, so you have to take that in account when comparing the ovreall system power consumation. On the next pages, when comparing on full load the C2D E6300 consumes less power than all listed X2 64 EE models. Also, take in mind the price of the X2 64 EE chips. The C2D has much more higher performance/price value.
October 17, 2006 1:19:32 PM

Quote:
Dude chill. It was a simple correction. That's all. If you are so determined to break the truce, then don't use this small thing as an excuse.



The polite correction would have been:

Did you notice you said without a heatsink? Or:

That must be a typo cause I guess you kno wyou have to have a heatsink. What did you say?

Quote:
Not flaming you by any means but, you actually believed this? Yeah it can run without a heatsink... for all of 30 seconds. Doing such would be a huge mistake. Don't attempt this unless Intel or AMD is paying you to do this foolishness.



a-hole.
October 17, 2006 1:21:55 PM

If that's the way you want to be, fine. Go ahead. You only make yourself look like a jackass for dropping to insults and such over a minuscule matter.
October 17, 2006 1:29:04 PM

BaronBS:


Quote:
If that's the way you want to be, fine. Go ahead. You only make yourself look like a jackass for dropping to insults and such over a minuscule matter.

Oh.....don't start with the flames FFS!
he is our beloved matematition Baron, a relative of Nostradamus also.
a c 471 à CPUs
October 17, 2006 1:55:14 PM

Quote:
In terms of power consumption, AMD's Athlon 64 X2 does consume less power
This is false information. Intel Core2 conmsumes less power than A64 X2.

The article is about Energy Efficient A64 X2, not about A64 X2. The 4600+ 65W and the 4600+(@1.35v) are EE also, the "normal" have TDP of 89W and 110W and are working at 1.4V. The C2D platform with the Asus i975BX mainboard wastes more energy, so you have to take that in account when comparing the ovreall system power consumation. On the next pages, when comparing on full load the C2D E6300 consumes less power than all listed X2 64 EE models. Also, take in mind the price of the X2 64 EE chips. The C2D has much more higher performance/price value.

Apparently you did not read my entire post. Here it is again with the information you left out in bold:

Quote:
In terms of power consumption, AMD's Athlon 64 X2 does consume less power, but the performance crown still belongs in Intel's Core 2 Duo court. As you can see in the following link, at idle the Athlon 64 X2 does consume less at idle:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/amd-energy...

Note, the are two versions of the Athlon 64 X2; the regular version and the energy efficient version. You'll need to buy the energy efficient version for lower power consumption. But the power savings is not that much. The E6300 is more comparable to the X2 4600+, and only consumes about 6 watts more.

I'm running out of time right now so I'll continue this later.
October 17, 2006 2:02:45 PM

Quote:
Apparently you did not read my entire post. Here it is again with the information you left out in bold:

:lol:  I did.
just the first sentence was leading to missinformations, since the A64/A64-X2 EE/SE variatnsthan are not marked as regular A64/A64-X2. Also less than 5% of the K8 CPUs are EE/SE.
a c 471 à CPUs
October 17, 2006 2:11:09 PM

Quote:

So what brand of PS would you reccomend, been looking at several reviews and have kind of leaned on getting a FSP Fortron power supply based on all of the good reviews and good price. I see however that it only has a rating of 70 percent. Any reccomendations?


Well, I personally recommend a Seasonic S12 series PSU. Here's a list from Newegg.com:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?DEPA=0&ty...

I'm pretty sure you can get by with the Seasonic S12 380 since you are building a low power system. In fact I'm sure you can get by on the S12 330 version. But I'll need a list of components just to verify. However, as you can see from the prices, the Seasonics are a bit expensive compared other non-premium brands. But they are rated at 80%+ efficiency, and most importantly they are very, very quiet.

Antec makes efficient power supplies too, and they are a very good namebrand. But for some reason they recently are having spotty reviews for their NeoHE series which are very efficient and quiet:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?DEPA=0&ty...

The Enermax Liberty 400w PSU is also a good choice that is quiet too:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Unfortuantely these PSUs are probably more expensive than the FSP PSU are, but they are well worth it especially the Seasonic S12 since I own one and can confidently say they are worth the extra $$$.
a c 471 à CPUs
October 17, 2006 2:13:54 PM

Quote:
Apparently you did not read my entire post. Here it is again with the information you left out in bold:

:lol:  I did.
just the first sentence was leading to missinformations, since the A64/A64-X2 EE/SE variatnsthan are not marked as regular A64/A64-X2. Also less than 5% of the K8 CPUs are EE/SE.

Sorry, but I can't pack in loads of information into the first sentence. It would be gammatically incorrect since it would turn out to be a run on sentence. It's a bit ambiguous, but how much info do you expect from one short sentence?
a b à CPUs
October 17, 2006 2:15:31 PM

These forums are on the fastrack to he[[...another post gone to $hit and totally off topic by petty bickering between the same 4 jacka$$es...shall I name names? Good job you putzes!

+1 post for me
October 17, 2006 6:26:31 PM

Look man if you are so angry about the correction, then I apologize. No conditions, I'm sorry about harping on you. Now can we get back to the discussion instead of the mistakes?
!