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Best cpu for a media centre

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January 10, 2010 4:30:46 PM

I'm thinking about building a new media centre. I cant decide between the atom 330 or one of the new core i3's. would the atom be ok for 720p video. also does anyone know what temperatures these processors reach. would be grateful for any information or advice.

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January 10, 2010 5:01:20 PM

epz0703 said:
I'm thinking about building a new media centre. I cant decide between the atom 330 or one of the new core i3's. would the atom be ok for 720p video.


The Atom will only play 720p reliably if paired with a GPU that does most of the work (e.g. Ion or a plug-in Nvidia card).

Edit: Actually a 330 will probably handle it under Windows (Linux codecs still seem to be single-threaded), but I wouldn't be surprised if you could find files it would still struggle with.
a b à CPUs
January 10, 2010 9:09:59 PM


Dual core Atoms with Nvidia Ion plays blu-ray disks.

I would seriously consider a tri core AMD with a 780g series motherboard..


this will eat blu ray and play some games too.
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January 11, 2010 1:01:24 AM

I'm going to agree with Hellboy and say it'd be worth investigating the AMD option. You'll be able to snag a 785/780G chipset and an Athlon X3/X4 for a decent price and that'll provide excellent Blu-Ray and High Def performance.
a c 104 à CPUs
January 11, 2010 11:27:11 AM

+1 with Hellboy and DokkRokken
a c 113 à CPUs
January 11, 2010 11:55:26 AM

A Sempy 140 and 785g ---

I'm currently lusting after the AM3 MSI 785GM-E65 for its low power consumption, but I'm running a Gigabyte 785 AM2+ and just can't see buying DDR3 at this time ....
January 11, 2010 1:46:09 PM

I wouldn't go Atom for a HTPC. People forget that watching videos isn't the only thing you do with an HTPC. It might be able to do 1080p in an ION configuration but I've read a lot of complaints about the UI being slow, antivirus slow, etc. If watching videos is all you want to do you might as well get one of those media boxes to stream stuff from a NAS. I just put together a HTPC with a Phenom II X3 705e and Gigabyte AM3 DDR3 785G mobo and it flies with Windows 7. Beyond my first hand experience I've read lots of good things about the Athlon II Regor chips for an HTPC and that Sempron 140 too.

Just think about what else you want to do besides watch videos.

Those i3/i5 Clarkdale CPUs are very interesting. I just ordered an i5-650 and over the next few months will piece together an HTPC with one of those. I am particularly interested in the encoding aspects of that CPU and the support for 7.1 bitstreaming (which the AMD 785G solution doesn't do w/o an add-in card). It'll be fun to compare the two side-by-side.
a c 113 à CPUs
January 11, 2010 6:40:33 PM

7.1 for the most part is a marketing gimmick.

There are only a handful of 7.1 BR discs, and not a single major title I can think of ... what 7.1 content which is out there is simply 5.1 're-coded' with 2 side channels.

The issue most likely is related to the BR disc it self --- producers/directors/distributors don't want to sacrifice the additional space requirements for 7.1 PCM as opposed to 5.1.

There are more TrueHDs than 7.1 PCM titles --- and it looks like only a handful of the TrueHD titles are currently 7.1s.
January 12, 2010 7:51:50 AM

Thanks everyone for your comments.
!