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Cheapest PC for 1080p videos

It's Not Lupus

Senior member
Aug 19, 2012
839
3
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I'm looking for the cheapest PC with HDMI that can smoothly play 1080p x264 videos.

It's for Plex Media Center. I want something that can direct play anything.
 

jpiniero

Diamond Member
Oct 1, 2010
8,502
1,487
126
I would look and see if Roku or even Apple TV would fit your needs as opposed to a PC. It'd be cheaper if only because of the power draw.
 

needtobuildhtpc

Junior Member
May 17, 2014
20
0
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i have an old optiplex gx620 that can play 1080p. just get an old pc with decent power supply(my shitty 310watts can work fine) and cpu(mine has P4 2.8ghz) and put a cheap graphics card in it. I have a HD 5450(1gb; fully overclocked) in mine and it works great. I can play 1080p videos in all file formats and on youtube as well.
 

It's Not Lupus

Senior member
Aug 19, 2012
839
3
76
I would look and see if Roku or even Apple TV would fit your needs as opposed to a PC. It'd be cheaper if only because of the power draw.
Well, Plex transcodes for files that are over the Roku 3's limits (> 4.1 format profile, > 8 reframes).
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Chromebox is better than a Celeron based Intel NUC for $140 + $20 for a couple Gigs of memory?
I think so for many.

First of all the Chromebox is using the most modern core, Haswell, while many of the NUCs are based on Ivy Celerons. Secondly the 16GB SSD is perfect size for Openelec and gives superior performance than running everything off a pen drive or SD card. Finally, I got one recently and I have to say that the design of the Chromebox beats every NUC I have seen- I guess that is what Google's R&D money buys you.

With that said, with a NUC you can get a bigger SSD (would be nice for emulators) or other customizations. Plus it is easier to put Windows on a real NUC. I also think there is a place for outright Mini ITX builds if you want to game a little.
 
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smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
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I think so for many.

First of all the Chromebox is using the most modern core, Haswell, while many of the NUCs are based on Ivy Celerons. Secondly the 16GB SSD is perfect size for Openelec and gives superior performance than running everything off a pen drive or SD card. Finally, I got one recently and I have to say that the design of the Chromebox beats every NUC I have seen- I guess that is what Google's R&D money buys you.

With that said, with a NUC you can get a bigger SSD (would be nice for emulators) or other customizations. Plus it is easier to put Windows on a real NUC. I also think there is a place for outright Mini ITX builds if you want to game a little.
So, for an HTPC that will be running nothing more than XBMC, I will get the smoothest experience (including 1080p playback at 23.976fps) with the Chromebox vs. the Celeron NUC?

We don't game and will probably just be booting straight into OpenELEC no desire for another OS to be installed.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
So, for an HTPC that will be running nothing more than XBMC, I will get the smoothest experience (including 1080p playback at 23.976fps) with the Chromebox vs. the Celeron NUC?

We don't game and will probably just be booting straight into OpenELEC no desire for another OS to be installed.
For what you want a Chromebox is easily the best choice and will give the best experience.

Here is a guide even:

http://geekfreely.blogspot.com/2014/04/openelec-on-asus-chromebox.html
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
I was cruising through the AVS Forums and came across a guy that was looking for a WDTV Live Hub but didn't want to feel like he was getting gouged by the outrageous prices he was seeing on the Internet. So, I just sold him mine.

Chromebox and FLIRC will be here tomorrow. <fist pump>
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
For what you want a Chromebox is easily the best choice and will give the best experience.

Here is a guide even:

http://geekfreely.blogspot.com/2014/04/openelec-on-asus-chromebox.html
Uuuugh! Pulling my hair out. I followed the guide for installing OpenELEC all the way through installation on the HDD, but when I restarted the Chromebox, it just went to the recovery screen and said there was no OS I installed. Tried some different combos of CTRL-L, CTRL-D, etc. with no luck. Ended up doing the recovery and trying the install again from Step 1.5 Set Firmware Boot Flags and never even got to the point where I could install the OS. Now, when I restart the Chromebox I get a couple of BIOS announcements that quickly scroll through and ask me to press ESC to select the boot device, but it never actually responds when I do. Just goes to a second screen that adds the following:

Booting from Hard Disk
Early console in decompress_kernel
KASLR using RDRAND

Decompressing Linux....Parsing ELF...Performing Relocations..done
Booting the kernel

And then it just sits there with the black screen with that message. If I stick the USB drive in with the Recovery Image then it gives me about a page of gibberish that would probably make sense to a programmer.

If turn it on with a paper clip in the reset hole then I get the normal Chrome OS could not be found screen and asks me to do a recovery. In the upper LH corner is three lines on a background thatched identifies the current firmware.
I can run a recovery at this point, or it always looks like it works and the recovery completes but always boots up to this same crap.

I know the keyboard is being identified and works because I can scroll through the language choices on the OS recovery screen.

How in the world do I get back in to where I can reset the BIOS or just get a working recovery?
 
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mindbomb

Senior member
May 30, 2013
364
0
0
these are 8 bit videos? then you can use pretty much any old computer you have with pci express, and just add in any modern low end gpu, or perhaps an old gpu you are no longer using.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
After you removed the ChromiumOS USB drive?
Yeah, I created a USB image drive according to the the directions and when I get to the Recovery Process, it acts like everything is great. It finishes and tells me to pull out the USB drive and it will reboot. When it does, we end up right back where we started.

I'm beginning to think the SSD is faulty on this. I pulled it out and booted without the SSD and it just went to no bootable media could be found.

Wish there was a way to format with a standard PC and just install an image to it.
 

javier_machuk

Member
Jul 28, 2011
60
0
66
i don't know if you followed his guide, but in this forum http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=194362&page=25 there is a guy named Matt Devo, he created one of the firmwares to install openelec on the chromebox, he seems to be really helpful with the questions so far.. i think you should ask him.
Pd: i received my chromebox today, but i won't have time until monday to do the standalone openelec install.. i'll update when i have news on how it goes!
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Yeah, I created a USB image drive according to the the directions and when I get to the Recovery Process, it acts like everything is great. It finishes and tells me to pull out the USB drive and it will reboot. When it does, we end up right back where we started.

I'm beginning to think the SSD is faulty on this. I pulled it out and booted without the SSD and it just went to no bootable media could be found.
Hmmmmm....did you update the bios before you started?
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
Well, took Matt Devo's advice from the XBMC forum linked above. My TV wasn't synching up fast enough and when I hit CTRL-D from the moment I turned on the Chromebox, instead of waiting for the display, it got me into the OS far enough that I could CTRL-SHFT-F2. Anyway, followed his guide from there and got stuck again, even worse this time.

Anyway, after messing with 4 different flash drives, I finally stuck the bootable OpenELEC on a MicroSD card with adapter. I discovered that if I stuck that MicroSD card in along with the Chrome OS recovery image on Flash Drive and then booted with the paper clip in the reset hole then I had about 2 seconds to hit the ESC button and get the list of 3 bootable choices. I was able to then install from the SD card. This time it took.

Boots right into XBMC from the HDD and is running really smooth. For some reason the box just wouldn't recognize any of the flash drives as bootable. I must have not set up the boot configuration very well. I don't know. I could have sworn that I checked and double checked along the way.

Anyway, pretty pleased so far. I have a FLIRC as the IR receiver paired with my Logitech Harmony and I still need to get the delay settings correct, there's some pretty bad lag, but I should be able to get ironed out.

Thanks for the help.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Well, took Matt Devo's advice from the XBMC forum linked above. My TV wasn't synching up fast enough and when I hit CTRL-D from the moment I turned on the Chromebox, instead of waiting for the display, it got me into the OS far enough that I could CTRL-SHFT-F2. Anyway, followed his guide from there and got stuck again, even worse this time.

Anyway, after messing with 4 different flash drives, I finally stuck the bootable OpenELEC on a MicroSD card with adapter. I discovered that if I stuck that MicroSD card in along with the Chrome OS recovery image on Flash Drive and then booted with the paper clip in the reset hole then I had about 2 seconds to hit the ESC button and get the list of 3 bootable choices. I was able to then install from the SD card. This time it took.

Boots right into XBMC from the HDD and is running really smooth. For some reason the box just wouldn't recognize any of the flash drives as bootable. I must have not set up the boot configuration very well. I don't know. I could have sworn that I checked and double checked along the way.

Anyway, pretty pleased so far. I have a FLIRC as the IR receiver paired with my Logitech Harmony and I still need to get the delay settings correct, there's some pretty bad lag, but I should be able to get ironed out.

Thanks for the help.
Congratulations on getting it working. I am exciting to hear more of your thoughts when you have it running like you like.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
Might be a bit late here, but a raspberry pi might work for you. It even has a Plex Media Center port: http://www.rasplex.com/
I've been using a RaspPi as my intro device to XBMC since about March. I still use it as my streamer in the bedroom. It just wasn't quite smooth enough to replace my WDTV Live Hub on the main TV. Plus, the RaspPi can't play rips over 30Mbps from a Samba share. It works fine for part time duty as a UPnP front end for my Media software that will tranacode the files down to a lower bit rate.
 
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Sheep221

Golden Member
Oct 28, 2012
1,844
26
81
any hardware sold today can play 1080P, even my 3 year old android phone plays it smoothly
 
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