Low wattage, low cost HiDef DVD build?

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Joined: 30 Sep 2006
Low wattage, low cost HiDef DVD build?

Just wondering how low of the CPU (low price, low wattage) you can go with if you're also using an ATI 2600Pro (with it's nifty UVD)?

CPUs:
Athlon 64 LE 1620 (2.4Ghz) 45w single core - $53.99
Intel Celeron 430 (1.8Ghz) 35w single core - $51.99

Video Card:
Gigabyte GV-RX26P512H Radeon HD 2600 Pro - $85.32

Mobo:
Gigabyte GA-M68SM-S2 7025 -$76.32
Asus P5KPL-VM Intel G31 - $81.32

Rest of the Hardware:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129034
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16827136133
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102006
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16822136098
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820161172
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835185046
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116202

Under a grand but a few things could be dropped (if you've got a case/PSU/HDDs or other parts sitting around) but how would these CPUs fare?

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Joined: 30 Nov 1999

I think the CPU choices are going to hurt you.  I believe you need a minimum of a Dual core 2.6GHz or better CPU (in either Intel or AMD flavors).

HTPC: SageTV HD-300

Server:WHS on a Gigabyte GA-MA69G-S3H, AMD AM2 5000+ Black edition 2GB Adata DDR2-800 RAM,  HVR-2250, HD Homerun Tuner, Maxtor 25GB OS drive, 1-WD 1TB data drive, 2-Samsung 1TB HDD's, 1-500GB backup drive; SageTV for WHS.

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Joined: 15 Mar 2007

Crim,

I have a similar setup (2600pro and Athlon 3200+) and I can run VC-1 and h.264 HDM all day long with 5-10% CPU.  The UVD is awesome for that.  However, you hit a wall with very high bitrate mpeg2 HDM because the ATI UVD cannot decode mpeg2 in the same decoder as VC-1 and h.264.  The 2600pro decodes mpeg2 in the shaders of the GPU, which for some reason also results in high CPU usage.

The dual core CPUs are not much more expensive and if you use CrystalCPUID to dynamically undervolt them, you can get very low power out of them.  This would be my recomeneded route.

Nice build BTW.

captain_video's picture
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Joined: 6 Jul 2007

I don't understand why you would even consider a single core CPU for use in a HTPC.  The cost of a dual core CPU that will do the job is almost negligible by comparison and will keep you current with the latest technology considerably longer.  Every hardware guide I've seen to date for building HTPCs don't even mention single core CPUs.  An AMD AM2 Athlon 64 X2 CPU is a bargain by any standard.  Intel dual core CPUs are much more expensive but are also more powerful so you'll have to be the judge of which features mean more to you.

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Joined: 15 Mar 2007

For all HD video except for HD and BluRay, a single core CPU is sufficient.  Some people feel that doing more with less is fun.  I would still be running a S754 Sempron 2600+ (1.6ghz, only 128K cache) in my HD HTPC if it were not for a great deal I got on this 3200+ Venice core.  I got it because it would improve my folding@home score, not because my HD video was lagging.

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Joined: 12 Aug 2007

I thought I saw somewhere when first reading about the Radeon 2xxx series that it made HD playback on a Sempron possible with only minimal cpu usage.  However, I have an E6600 and I checked my usage during HD DVD playback and it's around 50% ~ 60%.  I guess it's better than 100% like it was before though.  I have the Gigabyte 2600xt.

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Joined: 15 Mar 2007

htpc_user wrote:

I thought I saw somewhere when first reading about the Radeon 2xxx series that it made HD playback on a Sempron possible with only minimal cpu usage.  However, I have an E6600 and I checked my usage during HD DVD playback and it's around 50% ~ 60%.  I guess it's better than 100% like it was before though.  I have the Gigabyte 2600xt.

You have to combine the 2600xt with the cyberlink decoder for HD playback.  It also only works with VC-1 and H.264 movies, not mpeg2.  Mpeg2 is decoded in the same way it always was.  What movie were you playing?  I get 5-10% cpu during h.264 movies.

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Joined: 2 Oct 2006

I could playback VC1 disc's with Mrs. Sheen's onboard x1250...  It was MPEG2 Blu-ray that gave it fits.  Even with the 8600GT MPEG2 disc's use 50-60% of the A64 X2 4200+ in her machine.  I guess the point here is:  you DO need enough CPU / GPU for "worst case" HD-DVD / Blu-ray playback...

Dude...  How old IS this FusionHDTV3 ???

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Joined: 30 Nov 1999

I just built a replacement HTPC for pretty cheap (minus PSU, Case, and HDD).

AMD 5000+ Black - $129
Gigabyte GA-MA69GM-S2H mobo - $85
2GB PC2-6400 RAM - $40
LG - HD/Bluray drive - $275

I overclocked the 5000+ to 3.0Ghz. Supposedly this setup will play HD and BluRay very nicely and the CPU will not choke on anything.  I'm going to be testing it out in the next few days. 

If it wasn't for the LG drive it would be a very cheap setup. It was just as expensive as the rest of the parts combined.

HTPC: SageTV HD-300

Server:WHS on a Gigabyte GA-MA69G-S3H, AMD AM2 5000+ Black edition 2GB Adata DDR2-800 RAM,  HVR-2250, HD Homerun Tuner, Maxtor 25GB OS drive, 1-WD 1TB data drive, 2-Samsung 1TB HDD's, 1-500GB backup drive; SageTV for WHS.

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Joined: 2 Oct 2006

Cool!  I'm interested to hear how the x1250 handles HD-DVD and Blu-ray with your faster CPU!  Be sure to tell us how the disc is encoded and how well it plays back at 1080i/p if you can.

Dude...  How old IS this FusionHDTV3 ???

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Joined: 30 Nov 1999

This thread on the AVSForums pretty much shows that the Gigabyte board with a 2.4Ghz+ CPU and 2GB RAM is a solid combo.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=924348

HTPC: SageTV HD-300

Server:WHS on a Gigabyte GA-MA69G-S3H, AMD AM2 5000+ Black edition 2GB Adata DDR2-800 RAM,  HVR-2250, HD Homerun Tuner, Maxtor 25GB OS drive, 1-WD 1TB data drive, 2-Samsung 1TB HDD's, 1-500GB backup drive; SageTV for WHS.

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