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Need help deciding on HTPC components

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April 4, 2012 11:44:24 PM

I want to build a cheap, capable HTPC but am having a difficult time separating myself from my past as a gamer. I keep talking myself into components that I know would be overkill. Specifically, I can't decide on what CPU I actually need. The system will be hooked up to a 42" plasma TV and all I want it to do is the following:

- Play Blu Ray movies
- Stream HD video via Netflix, etc.
- Music
- Web browse (the wife likes to load up dozens of YouTube tabs at a time)
- Maybe play an old game or two (Everquest, etc.)

I just want the system to perform these tasks without any hiccups. I don't plan on upgrading it in the future to do anything more than what I listed. I do want USB 3.0 and SATA 6 functionality (for front USB 3.0 ports on the case and a 64GB Crucial M4 SSD... I know the Hudson D3 AMD boards and Z68 Intel boards provide this).

So, will a Llano A4-3400 be more than plenty or should I go for the A6-3500, etc.? Does Llano just fail completely to Sandy Bridge (I only have experience with a Pentium G620, none with Llano) and it is worth putting out the money for the Z68 motherboard along with the CPU? Is 4GB of DDR3 1600 plenty or should I drop the extra for 8GB 1600?

What would you do? I just want the system to function smoothly without throwing away money for ability that won't be utilized.
a c 93 B Homebuilt system
April 5, 2012 12:12:09 AM

Quote:
So, will a Llano A4-3400 be more than plenty or should I go for the A6-3500, etc.? Does Llano just fail completely to Sandy Bridge (I only have experience with a Pentium G620, none with Llano) and it is worth putting out the money for the Z68 motherboard along with the CPU? Is 4GB of DDR3 1600 plenty or should I drop the extra for 8GB 1600?


That mainly depends - if you're going to be using your HTPC for BD-R, streaming, etc - then get the Llano. If you need it for anything else (games, etc) then get the Pentium G620 - but you'll also need a dedicated GPU.
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April 5, 2012 1:05:00 AM

g-unit1111 said:
Quote:
So, will a Llano A4-3400 be more than plenty or should I go for the A6-3500, etc.? Does Llano just fail completely to Sandy Bridge (I only have experience with a Pentium G620, none with Llano) and it is worth putting out the money for the Z68 motherboard along with the CPU? Is 4GB of DDR3 1600 plenty or should I drop the extra for 8GB 1600?


That mainly depends - if you're going to be using your HTPC for BD-R, streaming, etc - then get the Llano. If you need it for anything else (games, etc) then get the Pentium G620 - but you'll also need a dedicated GPU.


No gaming, so the dedicated GPU isn't needed. Which Llano would you suggest? The two core A4-3400 or three core A6-3500? The quad core A6-3560 is ~$30 more, so I'd rather avoid it unless the other two are too underwhelming. Also, would there be any lag/stutter on 4GB of RAM, or would the system benefit from 8GB?
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April 5, 2012 2:02:45 AM

The A4-3400 is plenty for Bluray/streaming. It should be able to handle older games even though you might have to lower settings. 4GB of RAM will provide no issues with stuttering for you unless you run like 50-100 tabs at the same time in the background. Then again 8 GB of RAM is dirt cheap. If you take gaming out of the equation then I would highly suggest you read assassin's sticky in AVSForum. It's the most in depth guide I've read for HTPC building and has more information than you could possibly need along with pro's and con's for hardware/software choices.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1302559
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a c 93 B Homebuilt system
April 5, 2012 4:47:52 AM

skaughtz said:
No gaming, so the dedicated GPU isn't needed. Which Llano would you suggest? The two core A4-3400 or three core A6-3500? The quad core A6-3560 is ~$30 more, so I'd rather avoid it unless the other two are too underwhelming. Also, would there be any lag/stutter on 4GB of RAM, or would the system benefit from 8GB?


I wouldn't go with anything less than 8GB - you could but then you'd be limiting your options. Also have you considered mini-ITX? I could put together a mini-ITX build based around the A4 or the A6 for not that much money.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 18, 2012 6:57:38 AM

A4 should be plenty even if your gaming (Mind you older games like counter strike or warcraft or starcraft broodwar or command&conquer tiberium sun)

this system should be cheap and go with 8gb ram it doesn't hurt having extra and they are cheap now compared to the old 500bucks for some small ram
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