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Which would be better for HTPC?

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March 26, 2011 4:33:21 PM

I have an Intel Celeron 420, two Adata 2gb DDR3 memory sticks, an Antec EA-380D, a 9600gt, an old HP case, and a 120gb HDD laying around that I want to put together and give to my parents. The only things I really need are a mother board and a Bluray drive. I was looking at my local Microcenter and they have good deals on AMD CPUs and Mobos, so I have two options: Get this, a cheap socket 775 mobo with DDR3 for $40 with tax and MIR, or get an AMD 555 with this for $100 with tax and MIR.
I know that the 555 will absolutely destroy it in every category, but I was wondering if it will really make a difference if all they really need it to do is watch high-def movies.

The only reason I care is because I plan on giving them the computer I currently use when I upgrade in the summer(SB or BD), but they would like one right now.

Thanks/sorry for the long post

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a c 81 à CPUs
March 26, 2011 4:47:20 PM

Unless your parents will be doing movie conversions on their PC, getting the 775 motherboard looks like the ideal way to proceed.. And anyway, it supports the entire S775 range of CPU's.. So if and when a CPU upgrade is required, a cheap one can be easily bought..
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a b à CPUs
March 26, 2011 8:05:16 PM

^I concur with emp. If all they want to do is watch high-def movies then just a 775 board is the sensible way to go. Being a single core CPU, you'll have to make sure no unnecessary services/programs are running in the background or you may drop frames, even with hardware acceleration help from the 9600GT. All media will have to be perfectly DXVA compliant.

The dual-core AMD setup may give you more piece of mind though since you have more CPU headroom. Is that worth $60 to you?
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a c 108 à CPUs
March 26, 2011 10:52:33 PM

Boy ... this is a tough one.

I don't think the Celly 420 even with your 9600gt will quite get the job done - it's really right at the margin. I believe Toms may have an article or two about this. IIRC, they got a Sempy at 1.8GHz (and 80-90% cpu utilization) doing HD with ATI DXVA/UVD acceleration - anything lower just wouldn't quite cut it. I'd feel a lot better about it if it were at least a Cedar Mill Celly (never thought I'd ever say anything like that - LOL).

Any reason you can't just buy them a separate blu ray player and just give them your computer? That may be the best way out of this ...

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a b à CPUs
March 26, 2011 11:25:05 PM

I had an old sempron 3200+ with 2 GB of ram a silent EVGA6200 with 256MB and it ran HD720p on my 32" no problem...divx,avi..
So it's quite posable to pull off..But you'ld want to be running xp....
Hope this helps...JQ
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March 26, 2011 11:41:02 PM

@ All-I wound up getting the 775 mobo, they were sold out of the AMD board I wanted. After looking up some setups that people said they ran HD with I felt okay getting it. If I buy a CHEAP heatsink and overclock it, it should work better, right?
Can someone recommend a CHEAP heatsink that will work with that board? Thanks for all of your help.
@JQ-thats good to know
@Wisecracker-my friend is going to sell me a bluray drive for $30(+$15ish(heatsink)+$50 for the mobo + $100 for a pc that can do otherthings that a bluray player can't vs a $150 bluray player.
@rwpritchett-they can make it work for the next three months.
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a c 471 à CPUs
March 27, 2011 8:07:18 AM

johnnyq1233 said:
I had an old sempron 3200+ with 2 GB of ram a silent EVGA6200 with 256MB and it ran HD720p on my 32" no problem...divx,avi..
So it's quite posable to pull off..But you'ld want to be running xp....
Hope this helps...JQ


Blu-Ray decoding requires much more processing power than merely playing back 720p content. My ThinkPad T40 with a Pentium M 1.5Ghz CPU can easily play back 720p content.

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a c 471 à CPUs
March 27, 2011 8:14:32 AM

I would err on the side of caution and state that the Intel Celeron 420 and 9600GT will probably not be total able to play back Blu-Ray movies without stuttering or dropped frames.
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a c 108 à CPUs
March 27, 2011 12:41:14 PM

What Jag said ... A GeForce 6200 at best will accelerate mpeg2 - not h264, vc-1, flv, Divx, Xvid, etc. 720p is simply a resolution and not reflective of the format.

It's really, really close --- and as rwpritchett noted, any time a background process hits the CPU I would anticipate a hiccup.

There's just all type of other 'stuff' to overcome, too. For your audio you will need to feed the 9600gt from an SPDIF header (if there is one) off the motherboard. Otherwise, I don't think it will pass via HDMI. If you have to revert to the MB sound chip your audio may be down-graded (as it is doubtful it has content protection for the 'protected media pathway').

I would also suggest Win7 if possible. I run Vista on one of my HTPCs and even it goes bizzaro from time-to-time. Good luck with XP -- at a minimum you will need some third party software to make it work (and it may well screw with your hardware acceleration with some funky codec action).
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a b à CPUs
March 27, 2011 4:01:26 PM

Since you went with the 775 motherboard, be sure to fully test it out (h.264 & VC-1 blu-rays) and post back how the 420 & 9600gt handle it. I'm very curious about whether it will work out and it would help others that may have the same question.

This is one of those things where people are split on the idea, and the only way to really know for sure if it will work is to actually attempt it.
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March 27, 2011 4:31:25 PM

@All-thanks for the help, I must have bad luck. First microcenter didn't have any of the AM3 boards I wanted, then the 775 board died earlier today when windows finished updating (before it shuts down,) it would not post afterwards.
@rwpritchett-I was curious to see if it would work too, but it might be sometime before I get a chance to return it and get a replacement board.
@wisecracker-whoops, sorry forgot to mention I had a sound card, a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE.

Edit: There really is no best answer, since I (we) never found out if it worked, so I am just going to give wisecracker the best answer because it has the most information for other people (if any?) who might try to do this.
Edit(2): I will keep you guys posted as to how well it does work, if at all, when I get that new board.
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March 27, 2011 4:41:53 PM

Best answer selected by Jedi Mind Trick.
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a c 108 à CPUs
March 29, 2011 11:25:08 AM

Jedi Mind Trick said:
@All-thanks for the help, I must have bad luck. First microcenter didn't have any of the AM3 boards I wanted, then the 775 board died earlier today when windows finished updating (before it shuts down,) it would not post afterwards.
@rwpritchett-I was curious to see if it would work too, but it might be sometime before I get a chance to return it and get a replacement board.
@wisecracker-whoops, sorry forgot to mention I had a sound card, a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE.

Edit: There really is no best answer, since I (we) never found out if it worked, so I am just going to give wisecracker the best answer because it has the most information for other people (if any?) who might try to do this.
Edit(2): I will keep you guys posted as to how well it does work, if at all, when I get that new board.


I hate to be the bearer of more bad news with all the stuff you have going on, but I think the Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE will not only have issues with BR, but Dolby Digital as well.


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