Looking to upgrade my HTPC (HP a1120n Pentium 4 3.4 GHz)

The HTPC I have hooked up to the family room TV is an old HP a1120n multimedia PC. It originally had the 3.06 GHz Pentium 4 519k CPU in it, but my dad and I are computer part hoarders, so we naturally had a 3.4 GHz P4 600 (Prescott 2M, with HT) CPU laying around in our garage and I swapped it in. The PC also has 2 GB DDR2 PC2-3200 (200 MHz) RAM and an Asus "Goldfish3" LGA 775 motherboard, but it is missing the PCI slot (thanks HP). The GPU is listed as an Intel 82915G/GV/910GL and the BIOS has the VRAM set at 128 MB. I installed a TV tuner on it and we are using it mainly as a DVR/PVR to record TV shows. I also needed to use a VGA + sound to HDMI converter (powered by USB) to connect it to the TV. Currently, it is doing a decent job recording TV shows in 1080p and playing them back crisp, with no stutters which is actually surprising considering the GPU isn't even DX10 compatible.

My questions are:

1. Is this motherboard compatible with any dual core CPUs?

Even at idle, this CPU produces a lot of heat which sucks since I need to keep it running constantly for the DVR.

2.Can I set the PC to sleep and only wake up when it needs to record?

Playing video off of Win. Media Player is fine and smooth. Playing video off a stream such as HULU or Youtube or anything on a web-based Flash Player is not smooth at all. There is nothing I can change in the settings that will fix it.

3. Is this due to my CPU (which has a WEI score of 4.4 on Win 7 32 bit) or the pathetic GPU (a 1.0 on WEI).

The DVR program has a "time-shift" feature which allows you to fast-forward, pause or rewind a show live. Any time I try to use this feature, I immediately get a BSOD.

4. If there is no better CPU that will fix any of these issues, what is the cheapest motherboard and CPU combo that will work. Preferably something used that I can find for dirt cheap on ebay. Preferably with DDR2 RAM support. No need for HDMI, but a plus. And a decent built-in GPU. No preference between AMD or Intel. Just want to spend the least amount but still have enough power to play web flash video and do time-shift on the DVR. I'm guessing I need at least a dual core CPU, a 512 MB, DX11 GPU and 2-4 GB RAM. Needs to be a cheap motherboard/CPU that will fit in the HP case and use the existing PSU, have low heat, low power consumption and quiet. Any suggestions?
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  1. If you want to get a better CPU, the best one for LGA775 is a Core 2 Quad Q9705, but really Core 2 Quads are harder to find.

    If you want to upgrade the mobo, there's kind of no point in staying on the same socket if performance is your problem. I'd recommend getting a LGA 1155 board and getting a 2000 or maybe 3000 series i5. Maybe even an i3, but i5s are better price to performance compared to i3s.

    Also, you NEED to upgrade ram. Get 4GB minimum.

    Also about the HDMI, if your just going to connect it to the TV, get a lower end GTX, or GT series with at least one HDMI slot.

    Lastly, your budget?
  2. GOM3RPLY3R said:
    If you want to get a better CPU, the best one for LGA775 is a Core 2 Quad Q9705, but really Core 2 Quads are harder to find.

    If you want to upgrade the mobo, there's kind of no point in staying on the same socket if performance is your problem. I'd recommend getting a LGA 1155 board and getting a 2000 or maybe 3000 series i5. Maybe even an i3, but i5s are better price to performance compared to i3s.

    Also, you NEED to upgrade ram. Get 4GB minimum.

    Also about the HDMI, if your just going to connect it to the TV, get a lower end GTX, or GT series with at least one HDMI slot.

    Lastly, your budget?


    If I were to upgrade to an 1155 or 1156 board, wouldn't a Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge Celeron with an HD 2xxx be good enough to simply play video? I will not be playing any games on it. This is strictly a video only PC. I really want to know what is the oldest and cheapest motherboard and CPU with built in GPU that I can get to play flash video and to time shift. I really don't think I need even an i3 for this and definitely not a discrete GPU. My budget is under $100.

    EDIT: According to Adobe, the min system requirements to use Flash Player are:

    2.33GHz or faster x86-compatible processor, or Intel® Atom™ 1.6GHz or faster processor for netbooks

    512MB of RAM (1GB of RAM recommended for netbooks); 128MB of graphics memory

    http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/tech-specs.html

    Which is B.S. since I have 3.4 GHz, 2GB RAM & 128 MB GPU.
  3. FAMDUCK said:
    GOM3RPLY3R said:
    If you want to get a better CPU, the best one for LGA775 is a Core 2 Quad Q9705, but really Core 2 Quads are harder to find.

    If you want to upgrade the mobo, there's kind of no point in staying on the same socket if performance is your problem. I'd recommend getting a LGA 1155 board and getting a 2000 or maybe 3000 series i5. Maybe even an i3, but i5s are better price to performance compared to i3s.

    Also, you NEED to upgrade ram. Get 4GB minimum.

    Also about the HDMI, if your just going to connect it to the TV, get a lower end GTX, or GT series with at least one HDMI slot.

    Lastly, your budget?


    If I were to upgrade to an 1155 or 1156 board, wouldn't a Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge Celeron with an HD 2xxx be good enough to simply play video? I will not be playing any games on it. This is strictly a video only PC. I really want to know what is the oldest and cheapest motherboard and CPU with built in GPU that I can get to play flash video and to time shift. I really don't think I need even an i3 for this and definitely not a discrete GPU. My budget is under $100.

    EDIT: According to Adobe, the min system requirements to use Flash Player are:

    2.33GHz or faster x86-compatible processor, or Intel® Atom™ 1.6GHz or faster processor for netbooks

    512MB of RAM (1GB of RAM recommended for netbooks); 128MB of graphics memory

    http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/tech-specs.html

    Which is B.S. since I have 3.4 GHz, 2GB RAM & 128 MB GPU.


    If that's the case, I think your main problem is your motherboard. It may have been worn out, or anything. Maybe even the processor. I would find a cheap Mobo that will do what you need, and go with a Celeron like you said. That's your best bet. ^_^
  4. Unfortunately, upgrading the motherboard, processor and RAM may (usually does) require a full re-installation of the operating system. That may or may not go over well with Microsoft (usually does, but it is a valid point). I'd probably just recommend getting a discrete graphics card for this system (it does have three PCI slots, but HP removed the AGP slot).

    This Zotac Geforce GT610 PCI should work with your system and give you the performance you're lacking.

    I understand adding a graphics card will worsen your system temps, but perhaps add in a slot cooler like this AzenX Blitztorm PCI Slot cooler to help evacuate heat from your system.

    -Wolf sends
  5. GOM3RPLY3R said:

    If that's the case, I think your main problem is your motherboard. It may have been worn out, or anything. Maybe even the processor. I would find a cheap Mobo that will do what you need, and go with a Celeron like you said. That's your best bet. ^_^


    Thanks, I'll add used SNB Celerons and a cheap very basic motherboard like the H67 to my list of options.

    Wolfshadw said:
    Unfortunately, upgrading the motherboard, processor and RAM may (usually does) require a full re-installation of the operating system. That may or may not go over well with Microsoft (usually does, but it is a valid point). I'd probably just recommend getting a discrete graphics card for this system (it does have three PCI slots, but HP removed the AGP slot).

    This Zotac Geforce GT610 PCI should work with your system and give you the performance you're lacking.

    I understand adding a graphics card will worsen your system temps, but perhaps add in a slot cooler like this AzenX Blitztorm PCI Slot cooler to help evacuate heat from your system.

    -Wolf sends


    Thanks for the GPU suggestion. I wasn't aware that they made GPUs for those PCI slots, but anything is better than the integrated Intel GPU. I guess with the limited PCI bandwidth, they could only do 64-bit DDR3, which is still an upgrade over the DDR2. If I can find a used one for under $50, that would be great. I'll also look out for 1 GB models. I looked up the passmark scores for my Intel iGPU and it gets a grand total of 1 (LOL).

    I was also considering an AMD E350 mini ITX which comes with the CPU, GPU and only uses 6 watts to power it. Compared to the Pentium 4, this is almost nothing. Also, this will produce close to zero heat compared to the P4. They are going for $75 brand new on ebay. There is also an AMD E-240, but it is a single core CPU which makes me wonder if it is capable of 1080p video and DVR time shift.
  6. I found this GPU on Amazon, they had a used one in very good condition for $25. HD 5450, 512 MB DDR3 64-bit, PCI, 80 stream processors & DX11 compatible. Will this GPU be enough to do what I need (DVR time shift and play flash videos smooth)?
  7. Should be more than enough.

    -Wolf sends
  8. Wolfshadw said:
    Should be more than enough.

    -Wolf sends


    Nice, I ordered it. Thanks for the help. I would pick you as the best answer, but there is no button. I must have started the thread as a forum instead of a question. FTR, Wolf was the best answer...
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