I3 dual core vs i5 quad core for htpc that can handle 4k video

alcoholbob

Diamond Member
May 24, 2005
6,271
323
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As the thread title says i'm looking to build a silent pc thats going to be on or near the equipment rack and I'm looking for it to be silent. My uses will be 1080p blu ray video, maybe some anime movies, youtube, Netflix, and in the future 4k video (whenever that shows up). Possibly some light gaming on emulators or arcade pc games. My question is, is a dual core cpu like the i3 4130 good enough for this or am I better off with a quad core like the i5-4430?

Also I'm looking for a good htpc case thats preferably horizontally oriented that has the general noise reduction ability of a corasair 550d or antec p183. I intend to replace the stock fans with a single noctua 120mm fan--going to be the only source of noise in my pc (hopefully!)

Currently looking at:

Intel i3-4130 dual core cpu
NoFan CR-95C passive cooler
Asus H81M-E motherboard
Seasonic 400W fanless PSU
4x2 GB DDR1333 RAM
Noctua NF-F12 to replace stock case fans.

Maybe a Asus 7750 passive GPU in the future.

I currently have an intel atom dual core with nvidia ion (asus eee box) but it sounds like a tiny tornado and lags with 1080p video and youtube.
 
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escrow4

Diamond Member
Feb 4, 2013
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Decoding 4K assuming hardware decode support (depending on codec) and nothing supports H.265 hardware wise yet. So 4K will likely be in software. Not sure if the i3 has the balls for that. If you are a fan of Dolphin, I'd also get an i5. Otherwise an i3 might suffice.
 

Tristor

Senior member
Jul 25, 2007
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I'd definitely recommend going for a low-power locked i5 for an HTPC build if you're considering 4k video. Software decoders will be what you'll have to work with for quite awhile for h265, although eventually someone will write a CUDA decoder, which should work on any of the nVidia cards. There's already excellent free CUDA accelerated h264 decoders out there. The IGP on the Intel chips is good enough for 1080p today, but you should consider throwing a 750Ti in the build or similar so you have CUDA cores available.

As an example, when 1080p was hard to do, CoreAVC was one of the first decoders (commerical, $12) to do highly-efficient software decoding, be fully multi-threaded, and later to support hardware acceleration via CUDA or DXVA (no OpenCL support, so AMD cards were DXVA only). Then, about 3-4 years after, when most systems could handle 1080p in software with the MT patchset to ffmpeg/ffdshow, LAV CUVID came out which had CUDA support and significant multi-threaded efficiency improvements. To this date, there are no decoders to my knowledge which use OpenCL to accelerate decode of h264, so AMD cards are typically relegated to DXVA and if lucky a few AMD-specific features that aren't present in base DXVA2.

I think this same situation will play out as we see more software support for 4k playback coming down the pipeline. In fact, now that the project is in full-swing, there's no reason to suspect that LAV CUVID and MadVR will not support h265 soon anyway. Both of these projects are heavily optimized for multi-threading, and both only support significant hardware acceleration through CUDA. I would not be shocked to find an i5-4670S/T+750Ti combo to be capable of 4k playback of h264 content right now using LAV+MadVR. 4k playback is already supported fully in ffmpeg (and thus in mpv/mplayer/vlc), although it is obviously very hard on hardware.

Obviously, if you have a more powerful CPU, there may be advantages to using the CPU vs the GPU for some of the tasks. http://www.anandtech.com/show/5969/zotac-geforce-gt-640-review-/4 is not a bad baseline, but that's old hardware, old software, and before any real 4k content or displays became available.

Just some food for thought. Personally, I think that if you have GCN+ AMD hardware there will be good video decode support for it as well, but you can get solid hardware acceleration today with full multi-threading without a hitch going for Intel+nVidia, and at low power (which is perfect for a compact HTPC). There's some pretty solid Mini-ITX stuff out today, so your goal should be within reach. The hardware/software landscape may change rapidly over the coming couple of years though as H265 replaces H264, especially for 4k content. I would not be surprised to see a similar progression follow though, and planning for that progression just makes good sense.
 
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Yuriman

Diamond Member
Jun 25, 2004
5,530
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Dolphin will run much better on a higher clocked i3 than a low-clocked i5. You're going to want 3GHz+ for most games to run smoothly. An equally clocked i5 will, of course, be best.

Can't speak for decoding.
 
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crashtech

Lifer
Jan 4, 2013
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I would likely have specced an I3-4130 with an Nvidia dGPU because they claim that PureVideo HD5 supports 4K, but it really sounds like Tristor has done his homework, so maybe software decode is going to be the route for some content until things settle down.
 

ShintaiDK

Lifer
Apr 22, 2012
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Remember for 4K and 60hz you need DP. Since no cards/IGP comes with HDMI 2.0 support yet. I assume Broadwell will be the first.

And no need for a dGPU at all. And a dualcore should be more than plenty.
 

alcoholbob

Diamond Member
May 24, 2005
6,271
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Thanks for the replies guys, I think I'll go quad core just in case software decoding will be necessary. Originally i was looking at a 750 or 750ti but seeing as it neither can do hdmi 2.0 nor are there passive solutions available yet i'll hold off on the gpu as hd 4600 seems enough for 1080p in the meantime for simple games/emus.

Ill probably throw in a passive gpu in a years time or so that can drive 4k whether nvidia or amd.
 

ShintaiDK

Lifer
Apr 22, 2012
20,378
145
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Personally I will replace our HTPC at home with a Broadwell NUC. They will have HDMI 2.0 and everything needed for any 4K. Maybe thats an option if you can wait.
 

Tristor

Senior member
Jul 25, 2007
314
0
71
Personally I will replace our HTPC at home with a Broadwell NUC. They will have HDMI 2.0 and everything needed for any 4K. Maybe thats an option if you can wait.

That's basically what I'm planning on as well, either that or building a Broadwell Mini-ITX system in a Silverstone SG-05 (Mini-ITX micro-cube). My current HTPC is capable of playing back 4k, but obviously not outputting it, so it's not really the hardware, just the connectivity that's lacking currently I think. I may just replace the GPU with one which supports HDMI 2.0/DP 1.2 when the time comes though as the rest of the system is still plenty.
 

cytg111

Lifer
Mar 17, 2008
23,362
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i3 vs i5 vs i7 .. my take is this, IPC and Hz'es for absolute performance is stalling generation wise - and problary will be for the next decade, thus if there is ONE component I wouldnt skip out on its the CPU; get at least a haswell i5.
 

ShintaiDK

Lifer
Apr 22, 2012
20,378
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It is, but there may be new codecs in the future that may or may not be (partly) accelerated.
 

sm625

Diamond Member
May 6, 2011
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It's going to be a long long time before 4K takes off in any meaningful sense. I still prefer video files in the 800Kbps range just because they are so much easier to deal with. That's been the de facto standard for more than 10 years... it equates to roughly 700MB for 90 minutes of video. I can easily see that being a viable standard 10 years from now. Chances are you will upgrade your HTPC again well before you actually consume any measurable amount of 4k content.