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Non-Obvious HTPC/ Integrated Graphics Question

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February 10, 2011 6:29:08 PM

I've been trying to puzzle out what's the lowliest Intel CPU with integrated graphics one could use for a HTPC by surfing around and Googling; And while it's been informative, I've never really gotten my answer.

Seems most reviews of CPUs are of the "top-of-teh-line" models (661, 2600K), which tent do have a better graphics subsystem, and thus do well in testing. That's fine, as far as it goes, but I'd like to know if I could use a cheaper part.

IFAICT, the HD 2000 in the Sandy Bridges are a hair better then the one on an old 661, and I think I saw someone report a 661 could stream 1080p rather well; This leads me to believe I could build a HTPC around a 2100 (maybe even a 2100T) and not spring for a video card . . .

(As an aside, I might as well ask "Do I even need as much graphics humph as a 661?")

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February 10, 2011 7:11:37 PM

The integrated graphics on any of the Clarkdale or Sandy Bridge CPU's are just fine for 1080 HTPC duties. The only one to avoid is the Pentium G9650 Clarkdale because Intel gimped the bitstreaming capabilities.

You do not need the extra humph of the 661, but if it is priced similarly to the 660, you might as well get the 661. If you need more graphics horsepower for gaming, then you'd be best served by purchasing a discreet video card and not use the integrated video.
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February 11, 2011 2:00:35 AM

Frankly, this is something I'd do a frankenputer of old or ebay/craigslist parts for. HTPC duties are not hard as long as you're only looking for media playback. Pretty much anything from the last 3-4 years would do it.

Personally I'd go for AM2 (regular, it's cheaper) AMD motherboard and a athlon 64 dual core. If the mobo has onboard graphics and that's what you want, make sure it's from AMD/ATI and you'll be good for that. Preferably 3000 series and up, shouldn't be hard to build the entire thing for $100-200 depending on how much stuff you have just lying around. Such as my HTPC has a 160 gig hard drive that I bought in 2005, and it's still running just fine.
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February 15, 2011 3:44:09 PM

Best answer selected by hmp_goose.
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February 15, 2011 3:53:55 PM

False_Dmitry_II said:
Frankly, this is something I'd do a frankenputer of old or ebay/craigslist parts for. HTPC duties are not hard as long as you're only looking for media playback. Pretty much anything from the last 3-4 years would do it.

Heh: At this point I should admit "I've recycled my old Northwood 3.2ghz/ 6800 Ultra combo to do just that." (Some unquantified combination of CacheManXP, FireTune, and a DataRam RAMDisk for the swapper.dat page file and temp directory was necessary to get playback of stream smoothed out.)

I'd asked 'cause I'd heard there was money to be saved on power consumption . . .

Thank you, Gentlemen! :hello: 
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