I need a new CPU for a media centre build to run HD media (eg blu ray and TV), no converting, editing etc. Would it be worth paying the extra $20-$50 for an Intel i3 in favour of an AMD athlon II (2 core)? How do they compare for durability and quality?
I'd be running the Intel on a AsRock P55Pro or the AMD on an Asus M4A87TD-USB3 motherboard.
I'll use my pre-existing nvidia geforce 8600GT (a few years old, but still works fine), samsung bluray player, superflower 600w psu, WD 250gb hard drive, two tv tuners (to allow recording and viewing simultaneously), 4gb ddr 2 RAM and antec sonata III case (quiet computing case).
Since your 8600GT will defeat the IGP of each motherboard (not that the P55 doesn't already do that) I would go with with the AMD. As for durability and/or quality I haven't heard of them differing in that regard.
There would make excellent HTPC CPUs if you are willing to pay the premium for the "e" series.
I reckon I'll go with the Athlon II x4 640, that way I can get a good few years out of it before it's underpowered. Plus it'll cost me a few bucks less than the i3-550 ($45). As metioned before, I'll run it on the ASUS M4A87TD/USB3. Any recommendations for good value ram (2 x 2gb)?
However, I still think I'll go with the Athlon II x4 640 as, according to this: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/118?vs=122
It generally out-performs the i3-530 in HD encoding, 3D and blu ray applications and HD benchmarks. Admittedly, the higher power consumption is a downer Thanks for all your contributions guys, now to convince the parents to fork out even more of their money