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Which AMD CPU is enough for HTPC

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November 24, 2009 12:19:08 AM

I don't want to waste money honestly and no matter what i do get it's sure to be an upgrade. Going from a Athlon 3200+ 939 to one of the low cost new Athlon 2's.

Been eying the 140 Sempron to be honest, possibly unlockable and absolutely dirt cheap but not sure if it'll be enough if i can't unlock it.

My htpc runs just the basics; win 7, bluray and divx movies, dscaler, and an occasional tv stream to a laptop. I have a seperate gaming PC that i can hook to my projector if i really want to game big screen, and I don't 'backup dvd's' so the HTPC really never sees a heavy load.

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November 24, 2009 12:23:30 AM

My suggwstion is at least a Athlon 2 X4 if not a Phenom II X3.

Mainly for the blu-ray. And make sure to get at least a 780G IGP or better discrete GPU for the HDCP support.
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November 24, 2009 3:31:40 AM

Sempron 140 + 785G/ 790G mobo as these only have the ACC BIOS option, that can unlock the 2nd core...
And even if you are out of luck and are not able to unlock the 2nd core, still that Sempron has enough power for Blueray playback combined with that 785/ 790G chipset...
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November 24, 2009 4:06:36 AM

If your graphics card has hardware HD decoding for blue ray, then you might get by fine with single core. I use a Sempron le-1100 @ 2.0 GHz in my HTPC, but it is only a standard def design with a dual tuner hauppauge 250 card and WMC 2005. Old by today's standards, but working great until analog cable is dead and/or Blue Ray ubiquitous.
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November 24, 2009 5:37:18 AM

I'm using an Athlon II X4 620 and an ATI HD4670 in my HTPC. The onboard 780G (ATI HD3200) didn't always keep up with Blu Ray / HD-DVD content when paired with an AMD X2 5600+. The Tom's review also indicates that the 780G is not totally capable with Blu Ray.
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November 24, 2009 8:07:47 AM

You could always buy a cheap 9400GT or 4650 if you really wanted to play blu-ray.
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November 24, 2009 11:31:05 AM

Any phenom/athlon II X2 would be sufficient for htpc duties if paired with a GPU that does all the decoding.
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November 24, 2009 1:42:08 PM

macadami said:
I don't want to waste money honestly and no matter what i do get it's sure to be an upgrade. Going from a Athlon 3200+ 939 to one of the low cost new Athlon 2's.

Been eying the 140 Sempron to be honest, possibly unlockable and absolutely dirt cheap but not sure if it'll be enough if i can't unlock it.

My htpc runs just the basics; win 7, bluray and divx movies, dscaler, and an occasional tv stream to a laptop. I have a seperate gaming PC that i can hook to my projector if i really want to game big screen, and I don't 'backup dvd's' so the HTPC really never sees a heavy load.


To tell the honest truth, your Athlon 64 3200+ with a low-end modern GPU that can decode the codecs used for Blu-Ray should be more than enough CPU as the GPU does almost all of the work. A Radeon HD 4350 would work well, as would a GeForce G210. If you are on the AGP bus, the Radeon HD 4650 would be your card of choice.
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November 24, 2009 2:12:50 PM

To be honest I think the Sempron will work but I would invest 20$ more and get an AthlonII X2 2.8Ghz

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This CPU performs really well.


My old TV PC was an AM2 Asus M2N-E with an AthlonX2-5200 @ 2.7Ghz with a Geforce8400GS and it ran everything 1080P
Tho I gave that to brother and now run a 939Pin Athlon3500, same video but lost my 1080P movie capabilities...

Some can correct me if I am wrong but I think to read 1080P movies you simply need an AM2 board minimum. But to be safe the AthlonII 2.8Ghz X2 is a great cost effective CPU... the 2x1MB l2 Cash makes a good difference against the other Athlons with 512KB per core.


MU_Engineer said:
To tell the honest truth, your Athlon 64 3200+ with a low-end modern GPU that can decode the codecs used for Blu-Ray should be more than enough CPU as the GPU does almost all of the work. A Radeon HD 4350 would work well, as would a GeForce G210. If you are on the AGP bus, the Radeon HD 4650 would be your card of choice.


I have to disagree as I have done multiple tests and ran multiple different hardware. To my experience, the following is what makes the most difference to least for playing movies.

Motherboard
CPU
Videocard

I have seen 1080P perfect only with AM2 Motherboards, using even a sempron le1250
I have seen 1080P video lag and audio not following on 2 different 939Pin motherboard 2 different cpus from Athlon3500 to X2-3800
I have not seen a difference between a Radeon4670 and an 8400GS... Granted not aware of performance on older then 8400GS.

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November 25, 2009 2:09:07 AM

I would look at either Regor 240 or Rana 425 with undervolting in BIOS :p 
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