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Old 12-28-2013, 09:36 PM   #1
CuriousMike
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Default Ideas for lower power HTPC?

I have what I guess you'd call an HTPC setup by our front-room TV; it's on 24/7.

It's plugged into the TV (1366x768) via HDMI, and we use it to view Netflix on the TV or other movies thru the computer.

It also serves as a mini-server for the house, where everyone shares their music and photos.
OK, and it infrequently is tasked into light-gaming.

It's a C2D E5200 with a Radeon 5570 as GPU and a Samsung 1TB hdd.
It's housed in an old Antec tower, with a 300W Antec Basiq(?) P/S.

I got a Kill-a-Watt for Christmas, so I've been playing.

I was somewhat surprised that the E5200 described above idles at ~75w; that's 3-4w more idle power than my i2500k with Radeon 7950.

I have in the garage an Intel Atom D525 CPU/MB combo that I had used a year or so back, but it was god-awful slow.


My primary question is this:
Is there a ~ $100 CPU+Mobo(+integrated GPU to ~match the 5570) combo that would match the C2D E5200 in terms of speed, but significantly ( say, halve ) the power consumption?

My secondary question is how much is my "Basiq" 300W power supply contributing to the power suck? If I find a new efficient mobo+cpu, is the P/S going to negate some large portion of the power savings?
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Old 12-28-2013, 11:37 PM   #2
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If you go to "Home Theater PC's" on this forum you might find some better information.

Assasin has some information links that might help.

I doubt you are losing much from that power supply because you are only using about 1/3 of its rated power. If you dont use the CD/DVD you might try removing that or there may be a drive that uses less power. Also if the Motherboard is kind of stripped down and has less ports available maybe it will use less power, like an express chipset. There may also be the possibility of turning off ports or USB in the BIOS. Wireless might also affect the power usage. I see a lot of DVR type products that use a Mobile processor but I think that just costs more.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1302559/as...c-buying-guide
http://assassinhtpcblog.com/hardwareguide/

I was looking at that and he had some things like mods for the fans to run with less energy 4v/7v/12v. I wonder if that is diff from the antec tri-speed fans?
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:51 PM   #3
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Hmm, there isn't a recent Basiq that is rated for 300 watts, only the 350 watt version. What year did you get the PSU. PSUs are most efficient at 1/2 their rated power. I would guess the Basiq is about 72% efficient.

The 5570 is more powerful than any sub $100 CPU, so they will be worse gamers than the 5570. They are faster CPUs and use less power; this applies both to AMD APUs and Intel CPUs.
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Old 12-29-2013, 05:47 PM   #4
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Intel didn't do idle power gating until Nehalem, so its not surprising that your Core 2-era processor idles quite high. Newer Intel generations are even more power efficient at idle, with Sandy Bridge and Haswell being big leaps forward.

The Radeon 5000 series handled idle power consumption reasonably well, but not nearly as well as the 6000 series and later.

So, yes you could really reduce power consumption with newer parts. However, I'm with Torn, you're not going to beat the power consumption AND match GPU performance of your current setup for less than $100. The A8-5600K does what you need, but is $100 for the CPU itself.
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Old 12-29-2013, 10:40 PM   #5
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If you're not overclocking, and it sounds like you're not, you could try undervolting that Core 2. Undervolting is like overclocking, except you skip the step of changing the clock speed and go straight to finding the minimum stable voltage. It would probably only get you a few watts, and could cause instability, but it's free.

If you're really desperate to lower power, you can underclock as well as undervolt. Again, not much benefit, and this time you lose performance, but again it's free.
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