HTPC: H.256, 4K, and 10bit

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by WatchGintama, Apr 9, 2013.

Apr 9, 2013
  1. WatchGintama
    OP

    Member WatchGintama GBAtemp Maniac

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    1,034
    Country:
    United States
    I'm building an HTPC for media playback (Hulu, netflix, and local content) and as a regular desktop computer. NO GAMING. Right now I'm deciding on the processor.

    I'm stuck between the i3-3300 and or one of the Trinity APUs. I've read that the Trinity APUs can't hardware decode 10-bit H.246, but I watch a lot of 10-bit anime. Does this mean it can't play my anime hi10p files? It would be nice if it were "future proof" enough to handle H.256 and 4k, but that's not exactly necessary (unless sub groups release in the new format)

    Any experts on this?
     


  2. trumpet-205

    Member trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,363
    Country:
    United States
    10-bit H.264 and 10-bit H.265 need to be processed by CPU directly. There is no hardware decoder or GPU acceleration available to decode them (lack of industry support since Blu-ray does not use 10-bit). So yes, CPU processing power becomes important for Hi10p.

    It takes 1.5x more power to decode 10-bit H.264 vs 8-bit H.264. It takes 2x more power to decode H.265 vs H.264.

    For future proof perspective (this isn't just HTPC, but also other areas like gaming), go with Intel. It costs more to replace CPU + Motherboard than GPU, so it is wise to get better CPU so it can last longer.

    Though you shouldn't worry about H.265 just yet. Until there is a viable H.265 encoder like x264 H.264 will still be dominant. It took several years for H.264 to replace Xvid in market share.
     
    Rydian likes this.
  3. WatchGintama
    OP

    Member WatchGintama GBAtemp Maniac

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    1,034
    Country:
    United States
    Thanks for info. I guess I can go with the i3 if the trinity/llano can't handle 10bit.
    I'm looking for other parts right now so I'll edit this later.

    Also, any suggestions for parts? I'm looking to spend $200-300 max.
     
  4. trumpet-205

    Member trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,363
    Country:
    United States
    Do you have any parts that you can reuse? Case, power supply, etc? $200 to $300 is going to be tough for modern setup.
     
    Rydian likes this.
  5. WatchGintama
    OP

    Member WatchGintama GBAtemp Maniac

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    1,034
    Country:
    United States
  6. trumpet-205

    Member trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,363
    Country:
    United States
    Okay, so SSD takes care of storage option. Sell that GTS-250 if you are not using it to get some dollars out of it.

    While I personally don't recommend it, low budget calls for sacrifice on power supply unit. Find a case that has power supply bundled in as well. If you want to go with dedicated power supply unit make sure you pick reputable one, not craps like Diablotek.

    Do you need CD drive, OS, mouse, keyboard, etc?

    This Intel bundle starts at $200 ($180 AMIR), and takes care of the need for HDMI motherboard, RAM, and the CPU
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.1269123
     
  7. LockeCole_101629

    Member LockeCole_101629 GBAtemp Regular

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Messages:
    276
    Country:
    New Zealand
    Since you are going to build from scratch. AMD/Intel didn't really matter at this point for HTPC (Both line up have enough Raw Power to do what it needs)
    Go with the cheapest option you can get, and that's including Dual Sempron/Pentium/Celeron, or even OnBoard E-350, and let's not forget the option that you can get about almost all of it on 2nd hand . However the main idea of making of HTPC is to make a cheap, silent, small, low power usage system. Most people also use their HTPC as a NAS to make it more useful when it's idle.

    as for future proof, my old dual core celeron (E1200) is still doing just fine for playing any formats available out there.
     
  8. WatchGintama
    OP

    Member WatchGintama GBAtemp Maniac

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    1,034
    Country:
    United States
    My main purpose of this HTPC is for pure media playback, which includes 1080p mkv, 10-bit anime, netflix/hulu and connected to a 55" tv (SONY NX720). And use it as a regular desktop for internet browsing. Maybe also if I can bring it around when I travel.

    @trumpet-205:
    Should I get windows or linux? I know that XBMC doesn't support 10-bit yet. So I might need windows to play my anime.

    I do need a keyboard/mouse. CD/Bluray if it can fit in my budget...

    EDIT2: Wait wait, so should I stick with intel? Or is a llano/trinity/celeron enough for my needs?
     
  9. LockeCole_101629

    Member LockeCole_101629 GBAtemp Regular

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Messages:
    276
    Country:
    New Zealand
  10. trumpet-205

    Member trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,363
    Country:
    United States
    Unlike LockeCole, I do not recommend older system such as Sempron or E-350 (E-350 is okay for 8-bit H.264 1080p, but not 10-bit 1080p). You can downgrade to Sandy/Ivy Bridge Pentium if you want. Llano/Trinity should be fine for Hi10p @ 1080p (I do have a Trinity system, but never tried it), although for the purpose of future proof I still prefer Intel Sandy/Ivy Bridge.

    I'm really doubtful that E1200 can do Hi10 1080p. Either you confused it with 8-bit or you are watching it at 720p.

    Anyway, it is going to be tough fitting all of your requirement in $300 budget in max. Mini-PC like LockeCole have posted at max can do 10-bit 720p H.264. It will choke on 1080p.

    XBMC now supports Hi10p starting at v12.
     
  11. WatchGintama
    OP

    Member WatchGintama GBAtemp Maniac

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    1,034
    Country:
    United States
    I can bump it to around $480 (that's all I have for now.) But do I really need to spend that much?
     
  12. trumpet-205

    Member trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,363
    Country:
    United States
    I'll test my Trinity system later on to see how well it does against 10-bit 1080p.

    Let me ask you this,

    * DVD or Bluray? (Cost difference is about $25 for Blu-ray combo, $75 for Blu-ray burner)
    * Linux or Windows (cost difference is about $99 minimum)

    Keyboard and mouse can be simple, I think $30 is enough to take care of it. You don't need $480 for a HTPC, personally even $350 alone gives a lot of headroom (unless you throw in Windows).
     
  13. WatchGintama
    OP

    Member WatchGintama GBAtemp Maniac

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    1,034
    Country:
    United States
    Thanks, let me know how it goes.

    I wanted to boot up into XBMC on linux. I don't want to spend $99 on windows.
    No bluray needed. I don't have bluray discs.
     
  14. marcus134

    Member marcus134 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Messages:
    584
    Location:
    Québec
    Country:
    Canada
    You're trying to get next gen feature with a budget that is barely adequate to secure last gen performance.
    Hardware encoding/decoding of 4k will be implemented in the upcoming years, technically you could just add a 70$ gpu when it'll come out.

    I should probably tell you to forget about 4k all together, 4k won't be mainstream before a while.
    1. yes the first 4k TVs are coming to the market but they're expensive (5K$+), almost nobody will buy them, we'll have to wait at least 4-5 years before affordable models make their way in the market and give enough market penetration for content producer to start making content.
    2. considering that 1080p became mainstream a bit less than 10 years ago and the average lifespan of a tv is about 10-15 years, most people ain't ready to switch yet.
    3. content producer and cablo-distributor have to upgrade all of their equipment (again) and that means a hell lot of money.
    in short, don't expect 4k before 5-7+ years and by that time most computers ( especially in the 300$ range) will be completely out of date

    back to 2013: for multimedia content consumption, I'd believe amd's fusion platform is probably the best solution, especially for very low budget.
     
  15. trumpet-205

    Member trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,363
    Country:
    United States
    Okay, I drafted preliminary system specifications,

    * Rosewill RS-MI-01 BK (Case + 250 W PSU) --> $45
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147131
    * Samsung DVD Burner --> $18
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151256
    * G.Skill 4 (2x2 GB) DDR3 -- $35
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231438
    Sub total - $98

    AMD APU route ($160):
    * ASRock A75 FM2 Mini-ITX (there is no affordable A55 ITX motherboard) ---> $85
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157363
    * AMD A6-5400K 3.6 GHz Dual Core --> $75
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113282

    Intel APU route ($156):
    * ASUS P8H61-I R2.0 Mini-ITX --> $86
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131878
    * Intel Pentium G860 3.0 GHz Dual Core --> $70
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116405

    Reserving $30 for keyboard & mouse. You are looking around $300

    I picked Mini-ITX because you want portablility. I picked a case with PSU bundled in because you are on low budget (although better PSU should be desired). Green colored items are where you can improve, but not necessary. According to one reviewer, A4 APU chokes on 10-bit H.264 @ 1080p. Although I picked A6, you really should consider moving up to A8 or A10 where it is quad core. Pentium G860 has sufficient RAW power, but you can move into i3 for extra boost.

    Keep in mind since you are using Linux, GPU acceleration will not be taking places. Everything will be decoded in CPU only.
     
  16. WatchGintama
    OP

    Member WatchGintama GBAtemp Maniac

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    1,034
    Country:
    United States
    I guess I can just build a HTPC for now. I don't think I'll have 4k or H.265 soon.

    Thanks for the help! I'll go with the A6-5400k if it will work fine for me. I don't think I need quad core, but how would it benefit my build?
    Since it's an AMD APU, should I go with faster RAM (1833?)

    edit: I just read that faster ram only benefits the GPU, but I'm using Linux. I might eventually upgrade to windows though, but my main intent is video playback so linux would be enough
     
  17. trumpet-205

    Member trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,363
    Country:
    United States
    Here is 4 GB dual channel set @ 1866, costs about $3 extra. Definitely go for it, AMD memory controller needs faster speed to compensate its performance.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231474
     
  18. WatchGintama
    OP

    Member WatchGintama GBAtemp Maniac

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    1,034
    Country:
    United States
  19. trumpet-205

    Member trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,363
    Country:
    United States
  20. Joe88

    Member Joe88 [λ]

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    Messages:
    11,185
    Location:
    NYC
    Country:
    United States
    you just keep an eye out on trash day, thats where I got my htpc :P
     
  21. WatchGintama
    OP

    Member WatchGintama GBAtemp Maniac

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    1,034
    Country:
    United States
  22. raulpica

    Supervisor raulpica With your drill, thrust to the sky!

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Messages:
    10,657
    Location:
    _____________ PowerLevel: 9001
    Country:
    Italy
    Don't get costly RAM (like G.Skill), there's no huge benefit in it anyway. Just get a normal branded RAM (1333MHz should be fine) and you can spare quite some bucks.
     

Share This Page