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Sandy Bridge low-end CPUs - tergo - 09-30-2011

I will be building a HTPC for a family member this XMAS so now I am starting to think about different platforms. It is going to be a fairly low-budget build (€200-250). It will be used to watch everything up to 14Mbps 1080p rips but NOT full BD, and lossless audio support is not necessary. Native 24p is not important either (I understand this is an issue with SB)

I don't really want to use low power solutions (Atom+Ion, or E-350). I have an Atom+Ion nettop myself and it is okay, but i'd prefer to build something with a little more oomph and future potential. Also I think the value for money is not so good any more.

The low-end Sandy Bridge processors (for example Pentium G620 or the new Celeron G530) look attractive because they are cheap (~€50) and low power consumption, and the performance is many times greater than an Atom.

I don't want to use a discrete GPU because the case I am looking at is too small. Also I don't want to add unecessary cost.

So my question is:
-does anyone use something similar with OpenElec? Is it powerful enough to decode 1080p on the CPU?

-Alternatively, does HW decoding work with these low-end Intel GPUs?

I have a Windows 7 desktop with i3-530 and I can play 1080p just fine in XBMC using software decoding. Actually I am encoding videos right now with my cores at 100% and when I opened up XBMC and played a 1080p rip in software it plays perfect! :laugh: But that is Windows so I am not sure about Linux/OpenElec.

Thanks for any advice.

Aw: Sandy Bridge low-end CPUs - tobias - 10-22-2011

I don't think you'll be lucky with those two cpus. They only have HD-Graphic / GMA-HD with now HD-acceleration. So you wil end up arround 40% load when playing HD-content.

Not 'low-budget' but more futureproof would be an I3-2100. This CPU is the slowest with a HD 2000 wich comes with HD-hardware acceleration. For energysavings you should look out for the T-series (I3-2100T etc).

Re: Aw: Sandy Bridge low-end CPUs - jonoff - 10-27-2011

I just bought a Celeron G530, and am running openelec on it. I plan on getting a discrete GPU, but it has been running XBMC fine so far, can stream 1080p perfectly haven't used it for too long though. Don't know if intel+linux has hardware decoding

Re: Aw: Sandy Bridge low-end CPUs - xe - 10-27-2011

By going this route you are making life more complicated and swapping off the shelf "just works" convenience now for a possible future speed boost.

What i reckon will happen is you will have a less clean experience now and by the time you need more power the kit will be old hat anyway.

I totally see why you are doing it and we need trailblazers to buy and test more rare kit but expect to hit a few quirks until we all iron them out.

This is why people buy IONs for this purpose. Buy, stick in a USB key, install, 180 seconds later it just works.

Re: Sandy Bridge low-end CPUs - jonoff - 10-27-2011

I figured if I ran into too many problems, I could just run XBMC from ubuntu, but so far the Generic Build has been fine. Though I'd like to run 64-bit to take advantage of all 4GB of RAM, but I'm not sure the box even needs that much.

I researched the lower end Sandy Bridge processors on XBMC forums and many people recommended them, the G530 has enough power for 1080p, the only setup/configuration I had to do was for audio on my motherboard and this thread solved it:

Aw: Re: Sandy Bridge low-end CPUs - tobias - 10-28-2011

wow - I'm surprised about the G350 - very interesting Wink

About the RAM - My XBMC is runing on 4Gig. If i had to rebuild it today, I would go for 2Gig as I have never seen more than 30% of RAM-usage so far.

Re: Aw: Re: Sandy Bridge low-end CPUs - gilphilbert - 10-28-2011

I've built bunches of PCs (HTPC and general boxes) and I thought I'd never get a pre-built PC. The I took the plunge and bought the FoxConn nT330i, which is great.

Because OpenELEC has such great support for ION, everything works out of the box and because it's such a popular platform, it's well tested and is unlikely to have problems going forward. It's so small and uses so little power, I don't really see how a custom build can really compete for a dedicated HTPC. With hardware graphics decoding, I don't really see hardware requirements going up that much (not enough to affect me anyway). If I was building an HTPC for someone who's not that technical - I'd choose a pre-built machine every time now.

My own PC is still a custom build though Smile

Sandy Bridge low-end CPUs - Timekeeper - 02-20-2013

Hello new to the forum, couldn't find a posting date so i hope im not reviving a dead thread XD

I wanted to say you should not think so low of the low end equipment. I have 3 media centers i have built, a Dell optiplex 760 with a Nvidia 9800GT Gpu, a Dell optiplex 755 with a ATI Radeon GPU,

And the recent one i built for my daughter. Shes 7 so Hi def movies were not a priority, But it should be noted when using XBMC it hardly touch's the systems resources. Her media center consists of a 1.3 Ghz Amd processor with a ATI 2400XT Gpu.. it plays all the movies she could ever watch fine, and even plays the HD vids i have on my server (1080p) with only 3 stick of half GB ram for a total of 1.5Gb of ram. very low end, Very cheap build. Now i admit there are a couple videos i have High action flicks like Die hard 4,, it some times skips, but catch's up. after a few seconds. kinda like watching a scratched cd. But i could probably fix it by adjusting codec's.

Currently i use the XBMC STP (set top Box) Style Os they have for download, Version 11.

Anyway if you want to toss together something useful that works. Dont beat your self up, besides a cheap media center gift now, can be replaced by a more expensive media center present at another time XD

Thanks for reading, just wanted to add my 2 cents XD

EDIT: i forgot to add, im looking forward to trying out open elect on my next media center build Big Grin a P4 GX260 im building for a brother of mine.

Edit: Edit: aww Sh**.. i see the posting date now.. Sorry about that Sad