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Old 04-30-2012, 07:52 AM   #1
OILFIELDTRASH
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Default Lowest possible wattage htpc capable of flawless 1080p playback...

Exactly as title states. Help needed as I don't keep up with htpc setups. Would like to keep it in at least matx size as I have a cm haf 922 I want to reuse.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:52 AM   #2
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One question: Netflix?

(Which basically means: Do you plan to use any format or service that requires the CPU to decode HD video without GPU acceleration, as Netflix does?)
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken g6 View Post
One question: Netflix?

(Which basically means: Do you plan to use any format or service that requires the CPU to decode HD video without GPU acceleration, as Netflix does?)
Yes hd netflix.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:59 AM   #4
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undervolted sandy celeron (should be able to decode netflix but i really don't know for sure)
SSD

at that point the motherboard is going to be a bigger factor in power consumption than anything else. unfortunately there are very few reviews looking for low power boards.


edit: G530 works
http://forums.anandtech.com/showpost...3&postcount=10


edit2: you'll want a fairly low wattage power supply so you're as far up in the efficient part of the curve at your typical draw as possible. a picopsu with the jonnyguru recommended power brick is probably your best bet. http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php...tory8&reid=207
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Old 04-30-2012, 12:05 PM   #5
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Do you know if the onboard gpu can do 1080p blu ray? Thx for the netflix info. I really want a htpc that I can leave on and not worry about power consumption. Its bad enough my plasma sucks 400w down. Add a i7 nehalem that's using 180w its nuts.
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Old 04-30-2012, 12:41 PM   #6
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The onboard GPU can do Blu-Ray, but not 3D Blu-Ray.

That brick PSU won't work in his existing case. So either get a new case or look around for another highly efficient, low-power PSU. I'm debating between a cheap one and an expensive one from Seasonic. I'm really not sure which is better here.

In any case, for storage, get either a large SSD (least power) or a medium SSD and a large 5400RPM green storage drive.

Don't forget the ULV RAM. You probably only need one stick.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken g6 View Post
That brick PSU won't work in his existing case.
The brick plugs into a picopsu, which will fit in any case.

Although this will leave a big hole where your psu normally resides. These are awesome for itx cases or low power builds like the OP's.

If you think it's ugly, you can leave your old psu installed, but not hooked up.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:26 PM   #8
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Another option is a PS3 Slim, they have been on sale as low as $200 recently ($200 with game and $50 gift card).

Netflix HD 5.1 works great on the PS3, as does blu-ray and DVD playback. It also plays Amazon Prime, VUDU and Hulu Plus (not regular Hulu).

I don't use any myself, but I understand at least some Yarr Matey video works too. You'll need to do your own research on that if interested.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveSimmons View Post
Another option is a PS3 Slim, they have been on sale as low as $200 recently ($200 with game and $50 gift card).

Netflix HD 5.1 works great on the PS3, as does blu-ray and DVD playback. It also plays Amazon Prime, VUDU and Hulu Plus (not regular Hulu).

I don't use any myself, but I understand at least some Yarr Matey video works too. You'll need to do your own research on that if interested.
ding ding ding, this is what I use. If you have a regular PC hooked up to your home network and wanna set it up as a media center the PS3 can grab video/audio files from that too
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveSimmons View Post
Another option is a PS3 Slim
75W when idling?! I think you can do better than that.

@ElFenix, @LurchFrinky I stand corrected about the PicoPSU. Learn something new every day!
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken g6 View Post
75W when idling?! I think you can do better than that.

@ElFenix, @LurchFrinky I stand corrected about the PicoPSU. Learn something new every day!
you are talking about spending $100+ more for the htpc over the PS3 so you are gonna have to have MAJOR power savings to make up for that....
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:35 PM   #12
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I need to be able to record ota hdtv. So ps3 is a no go afaik.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OILFIELDTRASH View Post
I need to be able to record ota hdtv. So ps3 is a no go afaik.
New requirements, they keep coming out of the woodwork!

Do you already have a tuner? If so, is it PCI or PCIe?
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:08 AM   #14
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Try these websites also:

Audio Visual Science Forum
http://www.avsforum.com/

Assassins HTPC custom HTPC'S and BLOGS
http://www.assassinhtpc.com/
This site has a good blog but they want a small one-time fee to sign up for it.

How about some pictures showing a watt meter?
http://assassinhtpcblog.com/?page_id=2

Intel makes some processors including i-3 that are rated at 35 watt some of the processors are designed specifically for low-power operations.

Just because the processor families are rated at 35 watt or 65 watt or 75 watt, it does not mean they run at that precise wattage they may actually run at a little higher or lower wattage.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:19 AM   #15
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Just use a HDTV with an HD directional Antenna for OTA. Just change the source from the COMPUTER to the TV antena.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:26 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfenn View Post
New requirements, they keep coming out of the woodwork!

Do you already have a tuner? If so, is it PCI or PCIe?
pci
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:12 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piasabird View Post
Just use a HDTV with an HD directional Antenna for OTA. Just change the source from the COMPUTER to the TV antena.
I think he would want to RECORD the stream onto a hard drive.
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piasabird View Post
Intel makes some processors including i-3 that are rated at 35 watt some of the processors are designed specifically for low-power operations.

Just because the processor families are rated at 35 watt or 65 watt or 75 watt, it does not mean they run at that precise wattage they may actually run at a little higher or lower wattage.
keep in mind those TDPs are design guidelines for sustained high-utilization cooling requirements. a lower TDP processor is not necessarily going to run the same job with less energy used. for many jobs the energy used will be the same due to sandy bridge's power savings, and for 100% utilitzation jobs the higher TDP processor may actually use less overall power due to the fact it's done faster. hurry up and wait.
good read:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/intel-2100t-2400s
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:57 PM   #19
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PicoPSUs are for the final mile power savings.
You can get something down to sub 40w idle without too much effort, but getting from 40 to say 25 requires most effort, and is where a PicoPSU can get you 5~10w.

Only if you really want to save that final bit of power would you look at a PicoPSU.
If you are considering a power efficient setup, another area is the harddrives. Ideally you would have Windows set to spin down idle drives after a short time, and have an SSD as a boot drive, but again, that's more cost.

Do you actually NEED the computer to be on 24/7?
A lot of the time you can just use sleep mode, and it will restart in 2 seconds, back to its previous state.
When you consider scheduling programs as well that can automatically send the computer to sleep, there are more effective ways of saving power, by putting the computer to sleep, than optimising power consumption.
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:23 PM   #20
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FYI on low voltage processors. They are NOT worth it as you can undervolt your normal processor to the same voltage as a low voltage processor. The low voltage processors are typically for OEMs. Also, the power savings from a low voltage processor is only realized at load, and a HTPC is almost never at any significant load unless you transcode with it.

Get yourself any dual core sandy. They all idle extremely low. Then visit silentpcreview.com to find the lowest idling motherboard and pair all of it with a PICO PSU and you're idling around 25W at the wall.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:47 PM   #21
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My G530 with 4gb cheap ram, itx board, pico psu 80, 250gb 2.5" drive stuffed into an M350 case idles at 22w, 32w playing a blu-ray. After shipping it cost around 225$-ish.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:12 PM   #22
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Another vote for the G530. The little processor is a beast and packs a serious punch for the dollar.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:27 AM   #23
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I have a G530 with a biostar micro ATX MB and two hard disks using a 80 plus antec PSU at home. I think it idles 40watt from the wall.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:08 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OILFIELDTRASH View Post
pci
OK, that pretty much rules out mini-ITX, since all recent mini-ITX boards come with a PCIe x16 slot. I guess you wanted to use a HAF922 anyway, so that probably doesn't matter.

If you don't mind the ugly hole in the back of the case:

Celeron G530 $50
Biostar H61MLB $59
DDR3 1333 4GB $20
Crucial M4 64GB $82
Samsung 2TB 5400RPM $120
Reuse tuner: $0
PicoPSU 90W + AC adapter $66 - you'll also need a PCI bracket and a SATA to Molex adapter
Reuse case: $0
Total: $397

Not the cheapest possible solution, but is is a very capable machine for its power draw.
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:58 PM   #25
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Default Thanks lads

First off, THANK YOU FOR THIS THREAD!! I don't know if you guys know this, but when you goolge "lowest wattage HTPC", this thread's the first hit!

I really appreciate all you experts giving us lowly users some advice, because it's just too easy to go overkill on wattage when it's not necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmah View Post
My G530 with 4gb cheap ram, itx board, pico psu 80, 250gb 2.5" drive stuffed into an M350 case idles at 22w, 32w playing a blu-ray. After shipping it cost around 225$-ish.
Jimmah, your setup sounds fantastic, I looked up the M350 and it looks great. I would like to emulate your setup, so would you mind answering just a couple of questions?

(1) Did you buy fans? If so, how many? Obviously no-one wants fans, but I don't want it to burn out in a month. what are your temps like?

(2) I plan on running XBMCbuntu so I don't have to have another operating system to worry about. I plan on streaming HD video from my NAS (all wired). Do you recommend that OS or something different?

Thanks so much for your time, other peoples' thoughts are welcome too
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