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Cheap(er) CPU for HTPC

jardows

Member
Oct 17, 2011
42
1
71
Looking at the similarly priced (same price for now on the egg) CPU's for building an HTPC: AMD A8-7600 and Intel Pentium G3450. I wanted to get opinions on which one would be better for my particular HTPC use, and why.

Here's what I'll primarily be doing:
Streaming Netflix/Youtube
Streaming video from my media server
OTA TV Tuner/DVR
Dolphin Wii Emulation

What I know in general terms to be the advantages of both:
AMD A8-7600:
Quad Core for applications that could use it
Better graphics
Higher natively supported memory speeds

Intel Pentium G3450:
Faster performance per thread/single thread performance
Lower TDP by about 10 watts

Some additional information:
"Slight" fan noise to cool the processor won't be a problem, I live on a busy street that would drown out those noises - "jet engine" fans obviously would be a problem, but I have no issue using aftermarket cooler if necessary
Due to space constraints in my setup, discreet video cards are not an option.

Are there any specific advantages HTPC-wise from one processor to the other?
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,214
38
91
Pentium all the way. I ran my HTPC with a low-end Pentium G620 for some time, never had a problem. The Intel CPU fan works fine in this application, the CPU barely breaks 35C in normal use, so fan noise is not an issue.

The other things you outlined are not really applicable in HTPC use... memory speed is a non-issue, I don't know any programs that would use a quad core... I know my current HTPC i3 doesn't breath hard and is completely underutilized... and the Pentium HD graphics are adequate for streaming.

What case are you using that a single-slot GPU couldn't be used? I'm not saying it's necessary, just curious.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Dolphin Wii Emulation
Wii emulation is VERY demanding most of the time. Neither of your options will work. At that budget level the ONLY option is a Pentium G3258 overclocked as far as it will go. Anything else simply won't do the job.
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,046
4
81
Nvidia Shield for everything but the Wii emulation. I have no idea about that, but it may also be possible on the Shield.

Poofy's gonna buy one soon. He knows it. He's probably trying to figure out how to 'splain it to the wife.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Poofy's gonna buy one soon. He knows it. He's probably trying to figure out how to 'splain it to the wife.
It was very tempting when it was on sale Black Friday I will admit. Just need to find a way to max out the WAF. :)
 

jardows

Member
Oct 17, 2011
42
1
71
In looking at the Dolphin benchmarks, I assumed that anything that performed better than the Wii itself does, would be fine. Am I wrong in that?

Also, As I am really new to HTPC, there may be functions particular to it that I haven't considered, so if there are, which would could effect my choices, I would like to be educated!

As for no dGPU, I am looking at the Silverstone ML05B case, due to the dimensions of my space. Not much room for anything worth buying over iGPU.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Am I wrong in that?
Completely. The Wii is a totally different uarch than x86 computers, and sometimes depending on the game it can take a lot of brute force to properly emulate the proprietary Wii hardware. My overclocked 2600K can't play some major Wii games without slowdowns because it's an older chip but it would eat the CPUS you are looking at alive. Anything below a current i5 at stock speeds doesn't stand a chance, what you need is new and over 4.1GHz to get a good Dolphin experience. That Pentium G3258 is a rare cheap overclockable chip that Intel only gave us for an anniversary. It is the only cheap option for a Dolphin use, and its lucky we have it.

And that is just playing the game smoothly as on a Wii, the main reason people get Dolphin is to make the game play better- ie upscale it to 1080p or more and use GPU power to clean up the graphics. I was pretty much able to max an older 280x running Wii games at the most beautiful settings possible. If you don't mind Wii games how they naturally look (I don't know how anyone can when 1080p looks so much better) than almost any GPU can work.

Also look into getting a Dolphin Bar, a must-have accessory.

As far as other stuff- what TV tuner are you gonna use? Where are you gonna save any recorded shows? Oh and what HTPC keyboard are you looking at?
 

jardows

Member
Oct 17, 2011
42
1
71
Not really sure about the tv tuner yet. I've looked at the Hauppauge dual tuners, but have also seen some mini PCIe tuners that would save space. I plan on recording directly to the network drive over gigabit ethernet.

For a keyboard, I already have a Logitech K400, which works well for my purposes.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Not really sure about the tv tuner yet. I've looked at the Hauppauge dual tuners, but have also seen some mini PCIe tuners that would save space. I plan on recording directly to the network drive over gigabit ethernet.
For your situation I can't recommend anything more highly than a HDHomerun. One of of the best pieces of technology out there, especially if you want to save space.

For a keyboard, I already have a Logitech K400, which works well for my purposes.
Awesome, that is what I was going to recommend.
 

WildW

Senior member
Oct 3, 2008
986
19
81
evilpicard.com
Recent builds of Dolphin seem to be more forgiving on the CPU. I've been running it on my Ivy Bridge i3 media centre recently (at 4x native resolution 1080p) and was surprised not to be bothered by stutters on the Mario Kart games.

That said, if I was choosing new hardware for Dolphin I'd be doing unlocked Pentium G3258 as others have suggested.
 

UaVaj

Golden Member
Nov 16, 2012
1,546
0
76
Dolphin really likes to have a modern upclocked CPU:




But it uses the first two cores the most so that Pentium at 4.1+GHz does the trick.
poofy forgot to mention that wii is score is 17.53.

so a 2600k and a dedicated gpu is necessary just to play wii games with dolphin. and for 1080p eye candy - need a stout gpu.

much cheaper and less headache to just get a wii console running homebrew.
 

xxxkaliboyxxx

Member
Apr 12, 2012
43
0
0
That's what I do. You can buy a used Wii with a broken optical drive for 30-40 bucks. Thing is, you don't need the optical drive to run homebrew and get your emu up and running. Save the headachs.
 

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