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HTPC on the (super) cheap

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a b B Homebuilt system
October 12, 2010 4:48:15 PM

I have a bunch of old parts lying around, including 1 GB of DDR2-800, an Biostar MCP6P Motherboard, and an AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+, and a Geforce 7600, a 120GB HD, an 8x DVD player, and a 500W PSU, and cheap atx case. I can throw a copy of fedora or ubuntu on the HDD.

I know the 7600 is not going to connect to the HDTV with HDMI to carry sound and video Is this, combined with something cheap (A 5450, 5550, GT220/240 or GTS 430) enough to run Netflix/Hulu/youtube at 1080p as a cheap Home theater PC?

right now the fact all the parts (except a HDPC-ready vid card) are free is the main consideration to setting this up as a HTPC of sorts (mostly for just internet streaming on the big tv). I'm mostly concerned the older CPU can't handle it.

Is the 3800+ enough for this kind of use (1080p output with the help of an HD-capable card) or will this just stutter?

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a b B Homebuilt system
October 12, 2010 6:04:39 PM

Should be alright with the cards you've mentioned as long as DXVA is working properly. For pure CPU decoding it would probably depend on the codec being used. VC-1 and h.264 are more difficult and it may struggle if DXVA is not kicking in.

Here's a post from someone with a 3800+ that had some stutter issues and said CoreAVC cleared it all up, so there's also that route.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 12, 2010 7:24:46 PM

perfect. :)  I'm not going to be pullin Over-The-Air or cable signals into this, just internet streaming.

I'm going to load Linux on this, so do I still need to worry about DXVA?
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 12, 2010 7:30:46 PM

Linux uses some kind of GPU hardware acceleration... though I haven't dabbled in the penguin world in quite a while so I haven't explored it myself. I do remember that Nvidia had much better support than ATI video and the "DXVA" of the linux world is "XVMC"
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 12, 2010 8:14:09 PM

Best answer selected by ScrewySqrl.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 12, 2010 8:35:22 PM

I work with Linux a lot, though I haven't really messed around on the HTPC side of things.

ATI support is much better than it used to be, most everything is plug & play now. Not that it looks like that will matter much for the current build, just mentioning it for future reference.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 12, 2010 9:26:22 PM

just out of curiousity: How low shoudl I go for a video card for this? (remember, I want smooth 1080p video, no games)
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