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P4 Set Up for HTPC

harpreetz

Junior Member
Jan 31, 2014
13
0
0
My current set up is the following... P4 2.6ghz,Msi motherboard:MSI actualy, Model# .P4MAM2-VRam 2gbHardDisk 60 gb. Can a htpc be made out of above parts.My requirements is for media, no gamiing.
 

pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
6,983
2,104
136
While you may be able to play low resolution videos, you will be very limited. You'll also be limited on OS and the effort may not be worth it.
 

blotto

Senior member
Feb 11, 2006
219
4
81
I wouldn't think you'd have anywhere near an enjoyable experience. I recall back when BD/HDDVD were coming out I had an Athlon x2 4600 and it could not handle disks without hardware acceleration and could not handle 1080p MKVs at all due to no HA for MKV at the time. That CPU was roughly twice as powerful as a P4 2.6ghz.

That's just on the playback side of things, there is many other considerations to take into account. Win Vista/7/8/8.1 chug on a single core, I would not install a modern OS on that, WinXP doesn't have much support these days and will be officially dropped on April 9th, I would not use XP too much of a risk.

That leaves a linux based setup like XBMC running on openelec. I have no idea how it performs compared to the Windows versions but I found XBMC's interface was a little chuggy on my recently replaced Athlon II 250 with 4gb of ram and a Radeon HD6570, I would think the interface would not be smooth on older hardware.

In your position I would scrap that system and start fresh, either with a new PC build or one of the cheap media streamer devices. Both would give you a better experience than a P4 system.
 

Matt1970

Lifer
Mar 19, 2007
12,321
2
0
I had a Pentium D 3.0 and you could tell it was struggling to do 1080i and that was with a decent video card. Do yourself a favor and get a cheap Core2 Duo.
 

harpreetz

Junior Member
Jan 31, 2014
13
0
0
Hi All,

Thanks for your iputs, It doest makes sense.So time to scrap the P4 and go for the c2d for htpc :)
Thanks again everyone.
 

bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
4,690
293
126
www.bradlygsmith.org
My HTPC is a P4 3.06 HT. It runs Media Center fine except it won't run Netflix well from within WMC, but it runs fine in a browser window, but I lose remote control. So I think it depends on what you're going to be doing.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,209
38
91
Hi All,

Thanks for your iputs, It doest makes sense.So time to scrap the P4 and go for the c2d for htpc :)
Thanks again everyone.
It also depends on what your budget is. You can build a capable HTPC for around $400 (more or less, depending on what your storage requirements are going to be.) A Haswell Pentium with it's integrated graphics are plenty for HTPC duty, add 4GB RAM, find a copy of Windows 7 on sale, throw it in your existing case (or get a $20 case on sale) and you are just about there.
 

Doomer

Diamond Member
Dec 5, 1999
3,722
0
0
While you may be able to play low resolution videos, you will be very limited. You'll also be limited on OS and the effort may not be worth it.
Me thinks you need to do a little research. People are using Raspberry Pi's at full 1080p as HTPCs.
 

piasabird

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
17,183
60
91
I think at this late date P4 is so old and so slow that the cheap Pentium processors will run faster than that. Might be time to bin anything that is that old. I think the Haswell i3 with integrated video is a lot better than an old P4, even if it has a video card. Can a P4 even do HD Video and HD Audio? Heaven forbid trying to run 4K?

Time to start over.
 

pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
6,983
2,104
136
Me thinks you need to do a little research. People are using Raspberry Pi's at full 1080p as HTPCs.
Research?
You mean like comparing the capabilities of 2 different architectures from different eras? Like H264 decode capability?
Have you run a P4 lately and tested HTPC performance?

Not worth the effort.
This comment is partially based on experience with a Pentium Northwood 4 2.8 HT owned from 2003 to 2012. It spent a few years of service as an HTPC running Windows 7, WMC and XBMC paired with an older crt TV. In my case it was paired with an agp based 7600GT. PCIe based P4's, while offering more potential for card based decode still suck.
Its an old architecture and even the "extreme" models seem like casio calculator watches compared to my smart phone.

Don't take my word for it though.
I don't have charts
 

pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
6,983
2,104
136
I think at this late date P4 is so old and so slow that the cheap Pentium processors will run faster than that. Might be time to bin anything that is that old. I think the Haswell i3 with integrated video is a lot better than an old P4, even if it has a video card. Can a P4 even do HD Video and HD Audio? Heaven forbid trying to run 4K?

Time to start over.
This answer from newbie4121762 is pretty good

http://askville.amazon.com/minimum-PC-specs-needed-play-HDTV-stream-1920x1080@20Mbps/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=42178921

Blu-ray and HD DVD CPU Requirements.
CPU Family Recommended
(H.264 Blu-ray / HD DVD) Minimum
(General HD)
Pentium 4 (Prescott) Not Recommended 541 (3.2GHz)
Pentium D 8xx Series (Smithfield) Not Recommended 840 (3.2GHz)
Pentium D 9xx Series (Presler) 945 (3.4GHz) and above 930 (3.0GHz)
Pentium M (Dothan) Not Recommended 755 (2.0GHz)
Core Duo (Yonah) T2500 (2.0GHz) and above T2400 (1.83GHz)
Core 2 Duo (Allendale/Conroe) E6300 (1.8GHz) and above Any
Turion 64 X2 TL-60 (2.0GHz) and above TL-50 (1.6GHz)
Athlon 46 X2 4200+ (2.2GHz) and above 3800+ (2.0GHz)
Athlon 64 FX FX-60 (2.0GHz) and above Any
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,209
38
91
I think at this late date P4 is so old and so slow that the cheap Pentium processors will run faster than that.
Not worth the effort.

I don't have charts
I agree... in fact, I just took my old Dell P4 (Prescott) and PentD (Smithfield) systems out of service, they weren't all that hot for web browsing... correction... they were 'hot'... and loud. I wouldn't want to use them for HTPC duty.

My little Sandy G620 will run circles around my old Pent D...
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
I forgot to mention that I have one of the rare socket 478 boards with PCIe.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813170143
In that case you can throw in a low-end GPU and at the very least be able to play local 1080p content without a problem.

Pentium 4 + GT210 + XBMCbuntu + the Bello skin = nice little cheap HTPC

I just put one together for a family member with those specs and it can play everything in my library. It won't do DVR functionality or be great for web streaming, but for just playing local high def content it works great.

The bigger issue then is power use and heat. Honestly I gave away that P4 HTPC for a reason- I didn't want its power bill and it was noisy. Heck I just decommissioned my last Core 2 HTPC for heat and noise.

10 year old hardware simply can't compete with modern stuff for efficiency, so maybe maybe don't waste money on upgrades if power is expensive or you live in a hot region where your summer AC bills are high.
 

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