would this work for HTPC? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 2015-04-04, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
 
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would this work for HTPC?

Asus VivoPC? Really just looking for something to replace my WDTV (use to stream from NAS) and put on Steam so the kid can link to his gamerPC? Older amp so need the optical SPDIF.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 2015-04-04, 11:42 PM
 
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You might want to consider the VM62, which is a later version of the VivoPC, that supports 4K/2k video and uses the 4th Gen Intel i5 processor. The model you linked to, employs a celeron processor and is a bit under-powered.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 2015-04-05, 12:43 AM
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I agree. A more recent Core i3 would work a lot better. I would use one of the lower power versions (35w or lower.) For HTPC, the video is quite important. Look for a later model dual core (4 virtual cores) CPU clocked at least 2GHz with a 4000 series GPU or higher. I'd also recommend 4GB of RAM and a 120GB SSD drive.

Quote:
gamerPC?
That PC would not be good for games. What makes for a good HTPC or a good gaming PC are contradictory. Games need lots of CPU and GPU power. That tends to make for a bad HTPC and would not work well in a mini-PC. It is possible to build a PC that will do both but it will be expensive and will not fit into a typical mini-PC case.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 2015-04-05, 09:12 AM
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Well, the Celeron might be still a little under powered.. an i3 or better would be a better choice.

But a mini PC COULD be a gaming PC by proxy.
Using steam streaming
If you are doing this setup, there needs to be a powerful gaming PC somewhere in the network. It actually runs, renders, etc the game there, and locally is only really doing a high speed RDP type connection to the local one.

I have done it fairly successfully from my higher powered desktop, to my laptop.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 2015-04-05, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, I'll look into the others. Don't see moving to 4k anything soon but might as well think ahead.

For gaming as gdkitty says. With Steam, kid hooks up a laptop to the downstairs TV but game runs on his gaming PC. Ties up the laptop so thinking something dedicated for the basement.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 2015-04-05, 05:17 PM
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AMD systems are another option for HTPC. That's what I use. Advantages or AMD are better integrated GPUs and significantly lower cost. Advantages of Intel are better CPU and lower power consumption. AMD is addressing this. Some of the newer AMD APUs have configurable power saving modes. I recently used an AMD A7400 APU that can be configured to 45w in the BIOS with only a small loss in performance.

Another option is to get a mini-PC that uses a mobile chip. Some of these use low power mobile i3/i5 CPUs or the AMD equivalent. Cost and processing power typically falls between lightweight chips such as Celeron, Atom or ARM and a desktop PC. There are lots of mini-PCs available from lots of makers. Some of the better configurations suitable for HTPC that I've seen have been from Gigabyte and Zotac.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 2015-04-05, 11:02 PM
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The biggest issue with the Celeron system linked in the first post is that it doesn't support Quick Sync Video, and I'd probably want to have 4GB of memory in any HTPC, just so it never needs to swap.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 2015-04-06, 06:44 AM
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Isn't Quick Sync just for converting one video format to another? I don't think it has any effect on playback.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 2015-06-29, 02:41 PM
 
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I was looking at the same PC to replace an Android Box in my living room running Kodi in Android.

Do you guys think this would be a better option?
https://www.asus.com/ASUS_VivoPC/VivoPC_VM60/
edit: Link doesn't explain that well, the one I'm looking at is an I3-3217U 4GB 500GB Win8.1

Only issue is it's almost $600, for another $100 I can get an i3 Alienware Alpha.
Both options would need an SSD upgrade, which I'd rather not do. I currently have more 500gb and 1tb HDD's kicking around than I know what to do with. Plus I could build something comparable for that price.

Do you guys think the PC originally posted has enough power if I run Openelec and Kodi as my OS, vs Kodi in windows?

Sony 75" X940D, 7.1 Klipsch, Onkyo TX-NR656, Xbox One/360, Nvidia Shield Alienware Alpha, Arris Gateway, 42" Samsung
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 2015-06-29, 03:27 PM
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I would say that any of these PCs have the horsepower to run Kodi or Openelec - even a Raspberry Pi v1 can do that.

As far as an SSD upgrade - I would always put my OS and apps on a SSD and then use any physical hard drives for media content. Or better yet, use a NAS or other server type device to hold all of your media and then you can go with much lighter weight clients.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 2015-06-29, 06:06 PM
 
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I run Kodi on a Pi, it's sluggish, gets hot and has trouble streaming full quality blu-ray rips.

I run a main desktop PC with about 10TB of storage on it then stream to various devices throughout my house running Kodi.
Android boxes, Laptops, a Pi and an Alpha.
Android boxes and the Pi work for the most part, but my Alpha and other PC's are seamless. That's why I'm looking to upgrade in the livingroom.
I'd prefer to run Windows because my wife likes to use apps like Songza etc. on the Android box. Hard sell to tell her I'm changing it and it won't have apps anymore.
I like using Kodi because it keeps a consistent feel from room to room. Also granted the hardware can handle it, it'll play anything you throw at it. Not many devices can say that, especially when it comes to true HD audio.

Sony 75" X940D, 7.1 Klipsch, Onkyo TX-NR656, Xbox One/360, Nvidia Shield Alienware Alpha, Arris Gateway, 42" Samsung
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 2015-06-29, 09:57 PM
 
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I am running the Asus Chomebox with Kodi/Openelec to stream from my server. It does great on my BluRay to MKV rips, plays music, etc. Just cannot surf the net.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 2015-06-29, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
the one I'm looking at is an I3-3217U 4GB 500GB Win8.1
The main caveat is that the CPU is Ivy Bridge based. I would go with Haswell or later, the main reason being significant upgrades in the video (GPU) component. There is no reason why this type of PC cannot make a good HTPC but beware of very dated CPUs. For an HTPC, the GPU is more important that the CPU so AMD is a good option.

Quote:
Only issue is it's almost $600
You should be able to find a bare bones version for about $350 (less for AMD.) They are supplied without RAM and disc so they must be added. 4GB of RAM and a 120GB SSD (more than adequate for a Win8.1 HTPC with networked media) should cost about $100. Note that RAM and SSD prices are dropping so there are deals to be found.

Quote:
I currently have more 500gb and 1tb HDD's kicking around
Mini-PCs usually take a 2.5" drive. An internal SSD with and external 3.5" USB drive would be an option.
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