HTPC upgrade. Need advice. - Page 2 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 2014-06-16, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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"I'm not sure how you can draw that conclusion."

I probably wasn't being totally clear but by Intel, I meant specifically their NUC (along with the Gigabyte Brix, current Zotacs etc). In the absence of empirical data, I can only go by comments in a very small number of reviews about audible fan noise (in one YouTube review, one Brix model's fan noise was described as "howling", but then it was being stress tested). However the noise levels are never quantified (despite there being an industry standard), and it's left to individuals to speculate how relevant these comments are to their own circumstances. The fact that all of the latest mid to-high range small form factor PC reviews have drawn comments about the fan noise to varying degrees, suggests that (small) size matters most and preventing noise "pollution" through better fan/case design, is not a high priority for the manufacturers when considering the "Next Unit of Computin


"I'm not disputing your assertion that the E450-based PC is noisy, but I'm just not sure how you put that on Intel's doorstep.

I'd blame the E450's fan/case if I were you."


Again, aplogies if I haven't been clear: The Eeebox's AMD E450 is is gloriously quiet normally, but the APU will not play video smoothly from certain websites (I quoted the CBC as one). It runs the CPU consistently above 80%. It will however play other high quality streams without effort.
By upgrading to something with a beefier CPU, I want to keep the E450's quietness but have no issues with streaming video.
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 2014-06-16, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by j0dest3r View Post
Are you sure the EeeBox isn't overheating or something? My wife uses an older Dell and it will heat up and start to stutter on certain sites at certain times. When she complains I take apart the CPU fan, blow it out with air and then its good again for a while. I keep saying I'm going to replace the CPU fan but haven't yet.
No, I clean out the Eeebox semi-regularly and the problem is clearly site specific. The AMD series of APUs is known to have issues with streaming Microsoft Silverlight based video from Netflix (but only in HD). I'm not an expert, but I'm guessing that something (although there is nothing out there on the web that I can find) that something similar is in play with the problem websites I encounter.
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 2014-06-16, 05:04 PM
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I see this thread regarding the issue. Most unfortunate. I would be curious to see how well the Windows 8 modern app for Netflix would perform since it isn't Silverlight based. Why does there always seem to be some sort of issue when an AMD proc is involved? Although this issue is probably more MS than AMD.
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 2014-06-16, 05:05 PM
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I think you'll find that with a HTPC workload, any Haswell based processor will be idle most of the time. With those conditions, I suspect that the fans probably won't ever spin up to the "noisy" or "very noisy" levels.

That said, I think there is much value to be had in an enclosure that is larger so that it can fit in a "big-ass HSF", which is usually quiet.

Have you checked out silentpcreview.com?
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 2014-06-17, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
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Have you checked out silentpcreview.com?
I wasn't aware of this site. It seems mainly aimed at the self-build enthusiast, but thanks for the tip as by a stroke of good fortune it tests and reviews a Haswell i5 Intel NUC whose innards were to be transplanted into a self build but that didn't happen so the NUC itself was reviewed.
The audio performance numbers (measured in an anechoic chamber at 0.6m) are very impressive when the system is run as an HTPC and indeed it gets an editors choice award as a "near-perfect" media pc. The only other review of this machine I've seen, focused on its gaming capability (which I'm not particularly interested in) and clearly didn't impress the reviewer.
I'm now having serious thoughts about getting the NUC. Will ponder more at the weekend.
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post #21 of 22 (permalink) Old 2014-06-17, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by j0dest3r View Post
I see this thread regarding the issue. Most unfortunate. I would be curious to see how well the Windows 8 modern app for Netflix would perform since it isn't Silverlight based. Why does there always seem to be some sort of issue when an AMD proc is involved? Although this issue is probably more MS than AMD.
Interesting thread. The technical side of it is way beyond my pay grade though!
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post #22 of 22 (permalink) Old 2014-06-18, 01:39 PM
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AMD's more recent CPU designs, especially the AM3+ line, have typically understated TDP (actual TDP is higher than stated) and have been supplied with undersized heat sinks. That results in excessive noise. Replacing the heat sink can result in a quieter PC. AMD made some good low power HTPC CPUs a few years ago but they no longer seem to be available.

In contrast, Intel has made impressive gains in reducing TDP and improving the quality of the supplied heat sinks.
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