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Recycle E8500 for HTPC?

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October 12, 2011 10:34:13 AM

Greetings. I'm facing the following decision on lifespan and value, and hope that perhaps some of you have some insightful comments to help me make the right choice.

My desktop computer is currently powered by a Core 2 Duo E8500 on a P-45 based motherboard with 4 GB DDR2 and a Radeon HD 4650. I'm about to build my first HTPC. This leaves me with two choices:
  • 1. I can recycle my desktop's CPU, GPU, HDD and PSU for HTPC duty. I would still need a case, motherboard (mATX instead of ATX) and RAM for the HTPC. I would need to rebuild my desktop computer, in which case I'd get something like a Core i5-2500K, a ~$100 GPU, about 8 GB of RAM, an SSD and of course a motherboard and PSU -- a pretty nice upgrade I guess.
  • 2. I can get all new stuff for the HTPC. I'm thinking a Core i3-2100T. Otherwise roughtly the same components as in 1 (different motherboard chipset, of course, but price-wise comparable). (Sidenote: No discrete GPU in this case... am I correct in thinking I won't be affected by the Sandy Bridge 23.976 f/s problem if I don't have a fancy TV capable of that framerate anyway?).

    Option 1 costs pretty much precisely twice as much as option 2.

    So here's my dilemma: I'm only a casual gamer (some Bad Company 2, some Civilization V), and so gaming performance is only a little bit relevant. Considering that, my current desktop rig is doing just fine, and it feels like an overkill to upgrade. But then again, it probably will see an upgrade in about two years' time, and then the Core 2 Duo E8500 and GPU will end up doing absolutely nothing. That stuff is perfectly capable of satisfying my HTPC needs for years and years to come. Feels like a waste.

    Any thoughts?

    My own summary is pretty much:
  • 1. Advantages: Old equipment stays in HTPC service indefinitely. Desktop PC gets a significant overhaul (well, it's completely replaced, essently a new PC). 23.967 f/s problem definitely avoided due to discrete graphics card in HTPC. Disadvantages: It's twice the cost of option 2, and while cool, not something I really need.
  • 2. Advantages: It's half the price of option 1. The Core i3-2100T has awesome TDP. Disadvantages: The stuff that I have is more than sufficient for HTPC duty for the foreseeable future (I'm not at all interested in 3D video, and the HTPC will only play video and music... in that sense it could live for a decade :p )

    All in all: An HTPC for $x, or a just as good (except heat-wise) HTPC and a brand new desktop computer for $2x? I don't really need the brand new desktop, but it feels like a compelling "offer".
  • More about : recycle e8500 htpc

    October 12, 2011 10:38:31 AM

    Apparently, I'm not allowed to edit, so here's a clarification: When I in option 2 say "otherwise roughtly the same components as in 1" I mean that the case, RAM etc. are of a comparable price as those in 1.
    October 12, 2011 11:12:11 AM

    Definitely option one in my opinion- a fast dual core like that will pretty much last forever in a home server and you're gonna have a ball with your new sandy bridge system.
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    October 12, 2011 12:02:08 PM

    I would definitely go with option 1. The HTPC will run without problem on the E8500. In fact I have a similar Windows 7 Media Center HTPC setup using a E7500, with a G45 motherboard (so I don't need a separate graphics card). This handles both SD and HD without problem. It uses a Ceton 4 tuner card, so I can watch one channel while recording 3 other ones.
    October 12, 2011 12:08:09 PM

    Thanks to both of you.

    jtennison: I'm not at all worried about the performance of a recycled HTPC.
    a b à CPUs
    October 12, 2011 4:15:00 PM

    You could save some money on option 1 if you just get an HTPC case that takes your current ATX P45 motherboard. Won't need to get new RAM then, either.
    a c 319 à CPUs
    October 12, 2011 5:22:58 PM

    I think I would opt for option 2.

    For a HTPC, you want a quiet, small unobtrusive system.

    You could use an even cheaper sandy bridge cpu to good effect. I think a $57 G530 would do the job well.
    No need for a T low power cpu either.
    Put it in a ITX motherboard and get a small itx case and you will have a nice HTPC

    So long as your main pc is doing the job, defer that upgrade to a time when you want more.
    In April, we will see 22nm ivy bridge cpu's , so that might be an added reason to defer.
    October 12, 2011 9:07:48 PM

    I had to make almost the exact same decision, and I decided to sell my e8500 and put the money towards a Sandy Bridge processor.

    The Sandy Bridge i3's have a lot of features that are perfect for an HTPC. They have good integrated graphics which are more than capable of full 1080p video decoding. They can bitstream surround sound audio to your receiver so you get great audio quality. They use very little power even if you don't get the "T" model. They are cheap, and since you can use integrated graphics you save yourself the cost, noise, and power draw of a dedicated video card.

    If you need some ideas or want to know what I used in my HTPC send me a message and I'll be happy to give some advice.
    a c 474 à CPUs
    October 12, 2011 10:50:08 PM

    Back in the day when I upgraded from an E6600 to a Q9450, I simply took out my ATX motherboard (with the E6600) and inserted it into a somewhat large (and expensive) HTPC case. I wanted large 'cause wanted to be able to install 6 hard drives and I want it to look like a large audio/video component than a PC case.
    October 13, 2011 11:45:35 AM

    Thanks a bunch to all of you.
    !