Upgrade my old HTPC or start from scratch?

mitchafi

Golden Member
Mar 25, 2004
1,594
0
76
Hi all, For more years than I can remember (since 2009, maybe?) I have been using a socket AM2+ AMD 64 x2 5050e on an Asus M3A78-EM mATX motherboard with integrated graphics (780g chipset) and 4gb of ram. In a Silverstone mATX HTP case. I've got a big SSD in it and It has been able to do absolutely everything I need it to do (mostly watching 720p videos and streaming netflix/HBOgo. The only thing it can't do -- and that I want it to do -- is play HD 1080p videos without stuttering.

I wanted to get your advice on the cheapest route I could take to get there (think <=$150 Could it be as simple as upgrading to a faster socket AM2+ processor? Not very sophisticated re: tech specs so not sure if that is my bottleneck or not. Or upgrading to an actual graphics card rather than the onboard graphics? These parts are so old that I imagine higher end parts from that era are still going to be pretty cheap?

Thanks in advance for any tips!
 

Iron Woode

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 10, 1999
26,108
3,328
126
I know this was posted a while ago but I built a pretty cheap HTPC using a mITX Kaby-lake system. It can even do 4K/30.

I did it with a used mITX Gigabyte z270 board I got for $100. A new Pentium G4600 for $92 shipped from Ebay and 8GB DDR4 2400. Stuck it in a Thermaltake Core V1 Extreme case that I bought from Newegg for $54.

This was back in 2018. Runs like a dream.
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
5,159
384
126
Look at your CPU utilization, if it is near pegged, you need a CPU upgrade.

As far as your streaming sources, depends on whether the (browser, etc) can use GPU acceleration. If so, a new mobo which supports faster (CPU based) IGP would be a benefit, or if your CPU is not struggling, just a newer video card instead.

Of course you could do both, or start from scratch. If the present components are 11 years old, it may not be the best long term strategy to spend any more money on upgrade rather than replacement.
 

JWade

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
3,117
54
91
www.heatware.com
i am still using an am1 5350 itx system for an htpc, i dont have a 4k TV though, everything is smooth on my 1080 tv. no need to upgrade to anything else for the last three years so far
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
48,150
5,007
126
I had a 780G-chipset AM2/AM2+ mobo in an HTPC once, with a WD 1TB Green HDD, and some AM2 lower-powered dual-core CPU.

Guess what? I started out with XP, and it was always problematic playing BR rips (1080P MKVs, fairly high bitrate).

That all changed, when I upgraded it to Windows 7, everything ran smooth as silk. Could even run the "bird scene" from Planet Earth (HD-DVD rip), without much if at any skipping frames.

It was basically like the actual hardware acceleration wasn't quite working under XP's architecture, but Windows 7 allowed using DXVA2 or DirectX 9/10 renderer in VLC or maybe I used MPC-HC back then.

Of course, I still couldn't watch browser-based 1080P video all that smoothly, using Flash Player, it had some overhead (plus online/browser overhead, besides just the pure video-decode). (Thinking HULU back in the day.)

Edit: That was in a mATX slim case, nowadays, I would use a DeskMini for a HTPC.
 

Torn Mind

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2012
3,413
86
91
Hi all, For more years than I can remember (since 2009, maybe?) I have been using a socket AM2+ AMD 64 x2 5050e on an Asus M3A78-EM mATX motherboard with integrated graphics (780g chipset) and 4gb of ram. In a Silverstone mATX HTP case. I've got a big SSD in it and It has been able to do absolutely everything I need it to do (mostly watching 720p videos and streaming netflix/HBOgo. The only thing it can't do -- and that I want it to do -- is play HD 1080p videos without stuttering.

I wanted to get your advice on the cheapest route I could take to get there (think <=$150 Could it be as simple as upgrading to a faster socket AM2+ processor? Not very sophisticated re: tech specs so not sure if that is my bottleneck or not. Or upgrading to an actual graphics card rather than the onboard graphics? These parts are so old that I imagine higher end parts from that era are still going to be pretty cheap?

Thanks in advance for any tips!
Could use a GPU made for video playback. Old ones like a 5450, GT 630, the like. If you use playback software that uses the GPU for acceleration, that's your solution. Drop in a Phenom, and you fix your issues in the least invasive manner.

Even Sandy Bridge Celerons can playback 1080p with little issue. Buying like a 60 dollars off-lease desktop with an i3-2100 can get you what you want.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,205
38
91
Even Sandy Bridge Celerons can playback 1080p with little issue. Buying like a 60 dollars off-lease desktop with an i3-2100 can get you what you want.
My HTPC is an i3-2100 based system... with a GTX950FTW to handle H.265. For that matter, that was an upgrade from the very capable G620 Pentium... so that's right on the money.
 

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