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post #1 of (permalink) Old 2014-06-06, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
adamadamant
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 17
HTPC upgrade. Need advice.

Hi everyone,

I'm looking at upgrading my HTPC as my Asus Eeebox (based on an AMD E450/ HD 6320 APU) continues to struggle with the smooth play back of some web based video sources. The Eeebox is used to listen to music and watch video streamed from TV catch up sites in the UK, Canada and the US, and from Netflix, Google and You Tube. Gaming does not come into the mix.

The Asus can't play Netflix HD because of a known issue with Microsoft silverlight and APUs (although I didn't know that at the time I bought it, and have since got round it using Chromecast), and it struggles to play smoothly flash based video on catch-up TV sites like CBC, Hulu etc, when CPU usage exceeds the 80 to 90% mark. By contrast and strangely, to me at least, it handles BBC HD and YouTube 1080p streams well, with CPU utilisation hovering around the 30% level (I don't know enough to know exactly how relevant this is).
All drivers are up to date.

I've considered replacing the Asus with something with more processing grunt like an Intel NUC, Brix, or a current core i5 Zotac, but all the reviews I've read have mentioned (but not quantified in a meaningful way) audible fan noise the absence of which is important to me. The Mac mini is also a consideration, as it is, I believe, very quiet but I would wait to see whether there is a Haswell upgrade this autumn before plumping for that option.
Lastly, this week in Tapei, Zotac announced the launch of a range of fanless (hooray!) mini pc's which will be available in North America from August. The model which piqued my interest is based on a core i5 4210Y with integrated HD 4200 graphics.
Would a leap to an i5 processor such as that found in the new Zotac or Mac mini solve my flash video/ Netflix HD issues? Or am I just barking up the wrong tree as I'm quite confused on the merits of CPUs/APUs/integrated graphics in relation to my fairly modest requirements for an HTPC.

Apologies for this lengthy post, if you've made it to here. Any help or insight would be very gratefully received.

Andy.
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