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Need help deciding on a HTPC Build Intergrated Graphics

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June 23, 2011 6:44:34 AM

Hi, I am having a hard time deciding which is the better route.

I am going to build a new HTPC, and I am shooting for a low power but capable system. But the real question is Intel HD Graphics 2000 vs Ati 4290 HD integrated graphics.

The only thing I will be doing on this HTPC is streaming, and playing ripped Blu-rays encoded in x264. I will rip my blu-ray movies and to all encoding on my desktop which is far more powerful and faster. I will not be playing any games.

I will not be doing any encoding, or playing games. Just watching movies. I also going to rip my 3D movies on my desktop so I can watch them in my smaller 3D display in my bedroom on this HTPC build it will also be ripped in the x264 codec, and put in the .mkv container (3DMKV?) but I am not sure if this is relevant, or if it will impact playback on any of these integrated systems.

It will be on a 1080p display, and it MUST playback 1080p without any problems (I know the 4290 can do this without a hitch as I have experience with this board).

Low power consumption. I live in Hawaii, and electricity costs a ridiculous amount compared to the rest of the nation. So low power consumption needs to be taken in to consideration.

I will post the 2 possible builds, please tell me which I should go with all things considered (power consumption and non-stuttering playback of HD rips)

On the Intel Side:

CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-H67MA-USB3-B3

AMD Side:
CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 255 Regor 3.1GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core
MOBO: MSI 890GXM-G65 AM3 AMD 890GX

So guys, which one?

More about : deciding htpc build intergrated graphics

June 23, 2011 7:13:47 AM

^
The HD 2000 is capable of 1080p playback without any issues,...
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/graphics/display/intel...

Also check this combo - It is a 35W TDP CPU with HD 2000 so power consumption is very much lower when compared to the 65W TDP Athlon X2 + the onboard video chip power consumption
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

If you want cheaper then go with Athlon which has more powerful graphics, but when just comparing 1080p playback, you wont notice significant difference between those 2,...
Mobo -
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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June 23, 2011 7:43:38 AM

gkay09 said:


Also check this combo - It is a 35W TDP CPU with HD 2000 so power consumption is very much lower when compared to the 65W TDP Athlon X2 + the onboard video chip power consumption
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...



This one is intriguing, but how does the HD 2000 fair in decoding of the new codec or decoding 3Dmkv - (I believe I can encode to x264 in this container)..If that is even relevant?
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June 23, 2011 12:01:34 PM

The Intel IGP is not so great. Can you wait for a couple of weeks or so for the new Llano products to hit the stores? Those are designed for HTPCs.
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June 23, 2011 12:06:11 PM

i'd go for the i3-2105 with an integrated HD3000 GPU.
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June 23, 2011 12:49:02 PM

I'm with mosox. Wait for Llano to see what that offers. The HD4290 shouldn't even be considered for your project because it doesn't support 3D blu-ray... you would need a discreet card which adds $$$, power, and heat. Intel SB works for 3D-BD, but has some flaws when it comes to running at 23.976 fps needed for butter-smooth playback (if that is important to you) though there are some work-arounds available.

Anyway, wait until Llano is available, and then decide SB vs. Llano at that time.
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June 23, 2011 11:59:25 PM

^Zacate doesn't support 3D blu-ray.
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June 26, 2011 12:18:52 PM

rwpritchett said:
I'm with mosox. Wait for Llano to see what that offers. The HD4290 shouldn't even be considered for your project because it doesn't support 3D blu-ray... you would need a discreet card which adds $$$, power, and heat. Intel SB works for 3D-BD, but has some flaws when it comes to running at 23.976 fps needed for butter-smooth playback (if that is important to you) though there are some work-arounds available.

Anyway, wait until Llano is available, and then decide SB vs. Llano at that time.


Seems like a prudent thing to do...Yes, 3D Blu-ray will be important to me, as i do not want to upgrade for another 5 years or so.

Will there be any low-power solution that can accommodate 3D-Blu-ray without adding in another discreet card? I want to keep it as clean and low power and low heat as possible.
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June 26, 2011 1:41:07 PM

If building today, the i3-2100T @ 35W TDP is the most low-power HTPC setup that can do 3d blu-ray. Llano power measurements haven't been covered yet in any of the reviews I've read.
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June 26, 2011 1:45:27 PM

in i3-2100T is basically an underclocked i3-2100 with no turbo boost.
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June 27, 2011 4:25:22 AM

rwpritchett said:
If building today, the i3-2100T @ 35W TDP is the most low-power HTPC setup that can do 3d blu-ray. Llano power measurements haven't been covered yet in any of the reviews I've read.


I am curious about your system rwpritchett, how is the performance in your HTPC regarding hi-def files?
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June 27, 2011 1:21:56 PM

Which one? I have 2 HTPC's. One is a very beefy system, the other is a lightweight E-350 setup.

Assuming you meant the E-350, it has played everything perfectly with the exception of HD Netflix streaming. Silverlight does not support hardware acceleration yet, so the E-350 CPU must do all of the work and it is too slow. It must use a lower bitrate to play smooth. I run SSD's in all of my systems, which helps keep a slower E-350 still feel snappy.

My media is a mix of blu-ray and DVD rips, MKV files with h.264, x263, VC-1, and MPEG-2 codecs, and a few XVID AVI's. I don't do 3D blu-ray and don't do YouTube.

That's it in a nutshell.
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June 29, 2011 3:02:19 AM

So making sure I have enough juice for 3D-blu-ray, what kind of power consumption kind I realistically expect from this kind of setup?
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Best solution

June 29, 2011 4:27:51 PM

Depending on the actual parts, an efficient Intel i3 setup would probably be around 60-80W. The PSU efficiency will also determine power consumption.

My Zacate HTPC is in the 40W range and always stays below 60W.

My beast AMD quad core HTPC with 6TB storage and 3x TV tuners runs about 130-150W under normal loads. It can shoot up over 200W if I really stress it.

I use a kill-a-watt meter to measure power consumption.
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June 29, 2011 4:45:24 PM

rwpritchett said:
Depending on the actual parts, an efficient Intel i3 setup would probably be around 60-80W. The PSU efficiency will also determine power consumption.

My Zacate HTPC is in the 40W range and always stays below 60W.

My beast AMD quad core HTPC with 6TB storage and 3x TV tuners runs about 130-150W under normal loads. It can shoot up over 200W if I really stress it.

I use a kill-a-watt meter to measure power consumption.


I guess the general consensus is that I wait for the Llano systems, from what I hear its should be everything I need from power consumption price and GPU power.

Is that correct?

If so, I will await the new Llano systems.
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June 29, 2011 5:55:44 PM

It will be a short wait. The desktop Llano stuff is being released next week I believe.
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June 29, 2011 6:03:27 PM

For a HTPC just get a $300-400 computer/laptop prebuilt. Such a waste of time and money building low-end systems especially if you want to install Windows.
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June 30, 2011 11:21:33 AM

Anand leaves out the much better image quality of the Llano.
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July 1, 2011 1:27:51 PM

Best answer selected by tokkie.
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