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HTPC build, do I need an SSD?

Lil'John

Senior member
Dec 28, 2013
201
4
81
I'm building up an HTPC and the storage is baffling me a bit.

CPU is starting off as a 4570S(65W) and going toward a 4570T(35W).

I'm going with three Hitachi Travelstar 2.5-Inch 1TB drives that will be setup in Raid 5. The HD's are 7200rpm... I don't recall cache off top of my head.

Main use of the computer is video playback(local mpg, Netflix, and dvds), web browse, and occasional Facebook game for the wife. No BF4:colbert:

With the intended use and the Raid 5, is it worth spending any money on an SSD?
 

Batmeat

Senior member
Feb 1, 2011
772
35
91
Nope. An ssd for a htpc is for your os only. They're nice but not necessary.
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,046
4
81
Not necessary, but the cost is not very high anymore. With that setup, I would put the OS on a 64-128GB SSD. Even a 64GB SSD would leave you with about 50% free space.
 

Lil'John

Senior member
Dec 28, 2013
201
4
81
Thanks for the input.

It isn't so much the cost that is concerning but whether in my intended use I would see some huge gain and somewhat a space issue.

The space issue is my case only holds three 2.5" drives :( But if needed, I can fab up a bracket to hold an SSD.:whiste:

If it would be a huge gain, I would use a Intel 520 180G SSD I am getting ready to rotate out of my gaming machine. If there isn't a worthwhile gain, I have another purpose for the SSD.
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,046
4
81
Playback - zero performance gain
Navigating most menus - some performance gain
Navigating things like mediabrowser - good performance gain
Navigating large collections of music, videos, or pictures - potential large gain due to caching of these items being on the SSD

Larger collections of media are where you will see the greatest usability increases.
 

pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
7,319
2,598
136
You don't need it but for speed, noise and heat reasons I'd recommend an ssd for os.
 

vshah

Lifer
Sep 20, 2003
19,000
20
81
i want one in mine due to startup time. also XBMC is a dog on mechanical drives.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,220
39
91
I have my old desktop 64GB SSD in my HTPC and I'm glad I do. That leaves the HDDs for storage only... where they belong. I like the responsiveness of the SSD, even in an HTPC, and is worth the price of admission.

CPU is starting off as a 4570S(65W) and going toward a 4570T(35W).
Why are you looking at the 'T' processor? Get the straight up 4570 or just downgrade to a Pentium or i3.
 

LoveMachine

Senior member
May 8, 2012
491
3
81
Why are you looking at the 'T' processor? Get the straight up 4570 or just downgrade to a Pentium or i3.
Agreed. The TDP only refers to PEAK power usage. For your intended uses, a non-T/S chip will consume the same amount of power and generate the same heat. Unless you are going with a passive cooler and/or pico power supply, there isn't a good reason to go with the slower chip that costs the same.
 

Lil'John

Senior member
Dec 28, 2013
201
4
81
Thanks for all the input on the SDD... it makes sense and I'm going to look into it for programs and use the 3 drive raid 5 for storage of mpg only.
Why are you looking at the 'T' processor? Get the straight up 4570 or just downgrade to a Pentium or i3.
Agreed. there isn't a good reason to go with the slower chip that costs the same.
I'm looking at the T for lower heat. If I can run it with a passive sink, I'd love to go that route.

I realize that the T is 2 real/2 hyperthread cores while the S I have now is 4 real cores. And that the TDP is a max.

I get my CPUs at a large discount with my company and my source didn't have a straight 4570. They've got a 4570S and T. They've also got a nice 4770k and 4930k/4960x
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,046
4
81
The space issue is my case only holds three 2.5" drives :( But if needed, I can fab up a bracket to hold an SSD.
SSD's don't spin, vibrate, or make any meaningful heat, so a bracket isn't really needed. Tape, velcro, glue, or wedge it somewhere. ;)
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,220
39
91
and use the 3 drive raid 5 for storage of mpg only
Why the complexity of a RAID5 array for media storage? I use 3 drives as well... 2 for active storage (a 1TB and a 2TB) and one as a backup for all of the media (3TB.) If I had my druthers, I'd just have 2x 3TB drives and keep it simple. When I move ripped media to the HTPC, I just copy everything into two different folders... not very complicated.

SSD's don't spin, vibrate, or make any meaningful heat, so a bracket isn't really needed. Tape, velcro, glue, or wedge it somewhere.
This...^^^ Because I was trying to keep the upper HDD cage out of the build, I Velcro'd the SSD in the bottom 5.25" bay. Believe me... a 1" x 1" square of commercial grade Velcro... it's not going anywhere!
 

zCypher

Diamond Member
Aug 18, 2002
6,116
171
106
You don't really care about SSD in an HTPC unless you are rebooting frequently. All the large media content is going to be stored on your regular hard drives anyway, so the SSD is going to provide exactly zero benefit in manipulating that data. If the HTPC is running 24/7, and is being used primarily to access media located on regular hard drives -- the SSD isn't going to do anything magical for you.

If you're going to use the system for other stuff where the OS will spend time "loading" things (browser, other apps, etc) -- then you'll see a difference. If you frequently reboot or turn it on/off, then you'll see a difference in loading times.

I love SSDs and ain't never going back to regular drives for OS/apps, but -- you definitely don't NEED one in an HTPC.
 

Lil'John

Senior member
Dec 28, 2013
201
4
81
Why the complexity of a RAID5 array for media storage? I use 3 drives as well... 2 for active storage (a 1TB and a 2TB) and one as a backup for all of the media (3TB.) If I had my druthers, I'd just have 2x 3TB drives and keep it simple. When I move ripped media to the HTPC, I just copy everything into two different folders... not very complicated.
The reason I'm looking into something like RAID 5 for "storage" is because if a drive fails, I can fix the issue completely before I loose all the data/work.

I agree with other sentiments that a RAID doesn't take the place of a true backup especially for important stuff.

I'm not worried about doing a true backup of my movies. I already have the original DVDs handy. I'm more worried about spending hours upon hours recreating it.
 

-slash-

Senior member
Jan 21, 2014
361
0
41
You don't really care about SSD in an HTPC unless you are rebooting frequently. All the large media content is going to be stored on your regular hard drives anyway, so the SSD is going to provide exactly zero benefit in manipulating that data. If the HTPC is running 24/7, and is being used primarily to access media located on regular hard drives -- the SSD isn't going to do anything magical for you.

If you're going to use the system for other stuff where the OS will spend time "loading" things (browser, other apps, etc) -- then you'll see a difference. If you frequently reboot or turn it on/off, then you'll see a difference in loading times.

I love SSDs and ain't never going back to regular drives for OS/apps, but -- you definitely don't NEED one in an HTPC.
I use my HTPC for streaming video over my LAN via XBMC and for emulators. I plan on upgrading to a SSD for the OS and for my emulator applications. If you're just streaming videos from another source I cant see a reason to have a SSD unless again you reboot often or need the speed increase for running apps.
 

Lat

Member
Feb 18, 2012
50
0
66
My HTPC doesn't use an SSD, just an old 500GB HDD I had lying around.

It's on standby whenever I'm not using it, so the "boot" times are non-existent. XBMC streams the content off a NAS anyhow, so there's basically no benefit to me using an SSD on my HTPC.
 

sf101

Member
Nov 6, 2013
36
0
61
Its quite nice though powering on the HTPC and having it up and ready in under 10 seconds when company's over though.

Keep a larger drive for media obviously though really there is no difference when loading a movie if thats what your wondering as modern and even 5 year old HDD can read @ 80-120MBPS which is way more than enough considering you can stream on a 2MBPS wireless connection.
 

bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
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293
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www.bradlygsmith.org
i want one in mine due to startup time. also XBMC is a dog on mechanical drives.
I've been using Win 7 Media Center on an old P4 1c HT/478/4GB system for years with slow IDE drives and it's pretty snappy if I don't let the drives get too full, so I guess it depends on what he's using.

That being said when I upgrade my main PC (i7-920) to Broadwell-E (or whatever), it will supplant the P4 as my HTPC, and I plan on using one small SSD and a couple of WD Blues in RAID0 for storage. Even snappier would be nice. I need fast storage and cores because I stream to my phone while my sweetie watches his shows (and recordings are going on) on the same machine. The P4 barely manages that.
 
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