Is my HTPC good enough?

Good morning all.

In the past couple years, I've been using an old homebuilt PC as a cheap HTPC as it was just lying around. I did some surfing of the internet, played some videos shared over my home network, and watched Netflix and Hulu through the web. The system works great, but is confusing for anyone but me to figure out.

Yesterday I came across a HTPC remote and receiver for it and found out that they still work. I've always heard of people having dedicated HTPC's, so I thought I'd give it a shot myself. It would be nice to have all the files in one place and make it easy for anyone wanting to watch something without a 2 hour class on how to operate my TV. I did some research and saw that XBMC seemed to be a favorite choice among the web pages I came across, so I downloaded it and am giving it a shot. If I can get the bugs worked out of it, I think it's going to work great - but if you guys have some better suggestions I'm still very open to them.

I'm not a video junkie and have no problems turning down the video quality of videos so they play smoothly. I've been ripping all my DVDs with Handbrake on the normal settings to watch on my TV and they look great to me. I'm not saying more isn't nicer, but it's not worth spending extra money on it just yet.

My concern is the age of my HTPC. The guts of it are 6 years old. I have upgraded the video card since then, and have installed a fresh version of XP a year or so ago when I decided to dedicate it to HTPC only. The specs are listed below:

- Windows XP Pro
- ASUS EN8400GS Silent/P/512M GeForce 8400 GS 512MB 64-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16
- SOLTEK SL-K890Pro-939 939 VIA K8T890 ATX AMD Motherboard
- AMD Athlon 64 3700+ San Diego 2.2GHz Socket 939 Single-Core Processor ADA3700BNBOX
- 2GB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200)

Am I going to be severely limited by my PC or will it be fine for what I need?

Sorry for the long message. Just wanted to make sure I got my point across. Thank you all for your help in advance.

3 answers Last reply
More about htpc good enough
  1. If used strictly as a media player, it should be fine. About the only thing that would concern me is the CPU. Yeah, I know, it's next to impossible to find a reasonably priced, dual-core S939 CPU anymore, but you might want to keep an eye out for one.

    -Wolf sends
  2. Your CPU should not be an issue.

    Your 8400 GS may be holding you back with some aspects of DXVA hardware acceleration, though. More modern GPUs off-load from the CPU all kinds of video formats/codecs - from DivX to Xvid.

    Surprisingly, Silverlight has had some issues in the past (my understanding is it is much improved though, but DXVA is still not fully functional).

    This would suggest increased CPU utilization when using Netflix -- compare that CPU utilization to a DVD replay and see what is going on in your rig.

    XBMC does make a nice front end.
  3. That makes me feel better at least as I won't have to spend any more cash. I'll go home tonight and play around with it some more to get it really going.

    Thanks so much to the both of you.
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