What CPU do I need?

Sep 3, 2008
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#1
So I need to put together a new HTPC as my current solution no longer supports my new setup.... for fun I wanted to see how my desktop Core 2 duo CPU would do when trying to play some 4K content online @ https://youtu.be/GOAEIMx39-w

It pegs the CPU to 100%. So I then tried my current HTPC (the one I need to replace) which is an HP laptop with an i5. Samething, playing that video pegs the CPU to 100%.

So what is needed to play these online 4K videos. I was hoping to grab an Intel NUC. Would one of their gen6 i7's do the job?

I guess when the specs say they support resolutions up to 4K they don't actually mean they can play a 4K video. Kind of misleading to a noob such as myself. :)

Thanks,

Maiyr
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
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#2
Depends on how the 4K video is encoded and what capabilites your GPU has. Most stuff out there is encoded with the AVC/h264 codec and will probably be a lot more than a Core 2 Duo can handle at 1080p, let alone 4K.

Insert a GPU/video card that supports hardware decoding of h264 (most of them now) and the CPU will hardly be used for playback. The more recent breeds of CPUs have on-die APUs that replace GPUs and support the same kind of offloading. The latest Intel CPUs will be able to handle it.

However, h265 is coming along and will eventually replace h264. It is a lot more CPU intensive and GPUs don't currently decode it. So if any of your 4K content is encoded with h265, you'll need a pretty beefy CPU to watch it.
 
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Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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#3
However, h265 is coming along and will eventually replace h264. It is a lot more CPU intensive and GPUs don't currently decode it. So if any of your 4K content is encoded with h265, you'll need a pretty beefy CPU to watch it.
Just FYI, the only GPUs that currently support h.265 is the GTX950 and 960. ...just got my GTX950 yesterday, for the HTPC. :D

I wasn't aware that H.265 shifted more load to the CPU... I'll be curious to see how my HTPC (with a Sandy i3) will handle it.
 
Sep 3, 2008
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#4
Thank you for the feedback guys. Time to go shopping soon. :)

Maiyr
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
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#5
Just FYI, the only GPUs that currently support h.265 is the GTX950 and 960. ...just got my GTX950 yesterday, for the HTPC. :D

I wasn't aware that H.265 shifted more load to the CPU... I'll be curious to see how my HTPC (with a Sandy i3) will handle it.
They don't shift the load. Most just don't decode h265 yet so the CPU is forced to do all of the decoding and CPUs aren't very efficient at video decoding.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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They don't shift the load. Most just don't decode h265 yet so the CPU is forced to do all of the decoding and CPUs aren't very efficient at video decoding.
Ah, I see what you are saying! Doh...
 

AssassinHTPC

Junior Member
Sep 25, 2013
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If you go with a NUC, keep in mind i3 vs. i5 vs. i7 won't necessarily give you better graphic quality. They both have same GPU in them.

Might be able to save you some money on more ram etc.

Personally for me I believe an i7 in an HTPC build purely for media is overkill and your money could be better spent on RAM or a better SSD.
 
Apr 6, 2002
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#8
I recently built a dedicated HTPC. I was repurposing my old i7 920 that had no on board GPU. Put a GTX 950 in it so everything plays smoothly.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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#9
Personally for me I believe an i7 in an HTPC build purely for media is overkill and your money could be better spent on RAM or a better SSD.
Either go for the i7 that can decode future 4K HEVC, or go Celeron and expect to replace it in four years or so.
 

Kartajan

Golden Member
Feb 26, 2001
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Either go for the i7 that can decode future 4K HEVC, or go Celeron and expect to replace it in four years or so.
Go cheap on the CPU. in 4 years you would need to do a refresh/ upgrade/ replace due to other stuff that changed anyway.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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#11
Go cheap on the CPU. in 4 years you would need to do a refresh/ upgrade/ replace due to other stuff that changed anyway.
I 100% agree. I wouldn't put more than $200 in a NUC without native HDMI 2.0.
 

idiotbox37

Junior Member
Feb 27, 2016
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#12
I've got a question along the same lines.

I'm looking for, basically, a mobile htpc. I'm looking at a laptop option w/ an i3-5020U. This has the Intel hd 5500 gpu which is supposed to include h.265 decoding. With this, i'm sure all 1080p encodes will work but not sure about hi10p or 4k (both of which aren't current requirements, but desired for possible future content).
 

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