I built an HTPC last year. Was going to offload any future auto-commercial-cutting+transcoding to another box (TBD). A year later and still no transcoding yet, that "other box" looks to be a FreeBSD ZFS HA file server to be the mass storage of the household (being spec'd now). So I think I should build this new low-CPU-need server with the HTPC's CPU and get a better CPU to do the transcoding on the HTPC itself. I figure the file server can't do it since the most "supported"/accessible software out there is Windows-based. This also leaves the option open to change the file server Windows instead and trade the CPUs, if that seems to work better in practice.
Continue watching uninterrupted disc/ripped DVD/BluRays or live/recorded TV *while* other shows come in, get their commercials cut & format transcoded, then moved to the new storage box to be viewed from other SD or HD TVs in the house (future). BTW, I've heard QuickSync is fast; I've also heard it sacrifices quality. Since one target screen is another HDTV, I'd expect my HD transcoding to be performed via software and without QS.
Q: The i3 has been fine for my use without transcoding. What Sandy Bridge CPU can handle that + the rest of my Use Case?
Range? Assuming my i3-2100 can't already handle it (can it?) ...
... my research here only reaps "intel" (haha) that I should wait for Ivy Bridge (that won't work for me) or go with an i7-2600 for $300 (too much). Let's say that i7 is the ceiling for my purposes and I'm looking for the floor, or just above it. I'll go "ceiling" only if nothing cheaper will do it right (doing it "not quite good enough" is a waste). Those threads are from people with more freedom with their mobo choice or are doing crazier stuff or who have bigger budgets. I haven't yet found another thread that asks close enough to my Use Case for a lower budget (but if you know one, please direct me to it).
Please can someone knowledgeable in such things indicate today's "floor" CPU that fits this scenario? Thanks!