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Downgrading my Q6600's

post #1 of 9
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Hello all, I currently have Q6600's in 4 of our HTPC's and would like to downgrade them to a E7200 thru E8500. These will be maily used to watch & stream 720 or 1080p movies troughout the house. The kids play LEGO PC games which dont really require alot anyway.

Im mainly looking to do this due to converting to something that uses less power and doesnt run as hot.

All of the computers have either an ATI 5450 or 5770 in them for the gpu and 4gb or more ddr2 memory in them.

Let me know your thoughts.
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post #2 of 9
I'd only do that if the cost of the old CPU's to replace them is low. Because otherwise if you could build new rigs using something that uses even less power, then I'd start looking to go that route. And outdated CPU's are a weird market, sometimes they're really cheap, and sometimes they cost a lot more, so it could really depend on the purchase price of the "new" processors.

And why are you wanting to do this? Save money/the world by reducing electricty usage, or are they getting to hot and loud? I know you said both, but usually one of those is more important than the other to the end user.

But as far as functionality goes, I see nothing wrong with watching videos on those GPU's and CPU's. The question then becomes if that is exactly the best way to achieve your goals, or if there is another way to make it work better for the same money.
post #3 of 9
Personally I'd not bother down/sidegrading... the max TDP of the Q6600 is 105W vs 65W of the E8500 so at most you're gong to save 40W when they're running flat out.

However this is a bit of a paradox... they're pretty similar if not the same architecture so I'd imagine that on idle the Q6600 and E8500 will use roughly the same power. Under load the Q6600 would draw more but then, you probably want it to as it's doing more work.

What motherboard do you have? Can you under volt and under clock the processor as this will save you a heap of power... power varies with the square of the voltage (P=V^2/R) so this can drastically reduce your power consumption

What might be worth while is getting a power meter and measuring what is actually being drawn from the plug as there could well be other things which would offer more benefits. For example a PSU only provides its rated efficiency AT the rated power, below this the efficiency drops off.

Alternatively, some of the dedicated single board computers or media centres would be the lowest power option if a full PC is really just a luxury and you're interested in is media playback. A Rapsberry Pi for example is only 10W and can playback 1080p @24Hz should you want
 
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post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by pharcycle View Post

Personally I'd not bother down/sidegrading... the max TDP of the Q6600 is 105W vs 65W of the E8500 so at most you're gong to save 40W when they're running flat out.

However this is a bit of a paradox... they're pretty similar if not the same architecture so I'd imagine that on idle the Q6600 and E8500 will use roughly the same power. Under load the Q6600 would draw more but then, you probably want it to as it's doing more work.

What motherboard do you have? Can you under volt and under clock the processor as this will save you a heap of power... power varies with the square of the voltage (P=V^2/R) so this can drastically reduce your power consumption

What might be worth while is getting a power meter and measuring what is actually being drawn from the plug as there could well be other things which would offer more benefits. For example a PSU only provides its rated efficiency AT the rated power, below this the efficiency drops off.

Alternatively, some of the dedicated single board computers or media centres would be the lowest power option if a full PC is really just a luxury and you're interested in is media playback. A Rapsberry Pi for example is only 10W and can playback 1080p @24Hz should you want

I agree with lots of this post, I just wanted to point one thing out that I think was missing.

The Q6600 is indeed not using that much more power than the e8400. And yes, both can be undervolted/underclocked to save on power. However, the stock Q6600 clock speeds are already pretty low, while the e8400 is actually 600MHz higher. Since many media players are only single threaded, I think it would be hard to lower the clock speed of the Q6600 very much and still leave it capable of stutter free HD playback. The e8400 would be easier, since you could easily lose 600MHz, and still be at stock Q6600 speeds. But like I said originally, I really don't think its worth the effort unless its really cheap (like, almost, or exactly free).

And good call on the other options if all that is required is video playback, the Pi is a good example, and even some smart TV's can do it themselves these days. So that is something worth looking into.

Either way though, good luck with whatever you do smile.gif.
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by logan View Post

while the e8400 is actually 600MHz higher. Since many media players are only single threaded, I think it would be hard to lower the clock speed of the Q6600 very much and still leave it capable of stutter free HD playback.

Good point, however I believe that the ATI 5000 series of GPUs can offload most the video decoding from the processor which makes the CPU performance largely irrelevant for playback but I could be wrong as I haven't actually tried a 5000 ATI GPU.

I know nVidia cards can offload the video processing - they've offered various functionality from as far back as the Geforce 6000 series. From the Geforce 200 series with 'VDPAU Feature Set C' they'll decode H264 also and can output lossless 7.1 LPCM over HDMI which is rather useful for media PC enthusiasts after high quality sound. They also handle 23.976 fps for judder free BD playback assuming your TV can handle the input.

One nice feature of the Pi with XMBC running is it's a doddle to AirPlay content from your iPhone and I presume (although never tried) there will be some kind of DLNA interface for non-apple devices.
 
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post #6 of 9
As far as I know, its been supported on video cards for a while now (including the HD5000 series). However, if the GPU actually does any of it, is completely up to the software. I do know a few players support hardware acceleration (media center classic for instance), but I'm not sure if the big ones like XBMC and WMC do actually, but I'd be really interested to find that out actually.

I could be wrong, but thats what I remember from my latest round of research (a few months ago, maybe even a year).
post #7 of 9
XBMC certainly makes use of nVidia cards and has done for at least 5 years (as long as I've been using it) but I can't say for any of the other though as I rarely use them and all my processors have been decent.

My first media PC used a C2D E6400 (2.13GHz) coupled with a 9800GT and later a 240GT which could play H264 @1080p in XBMC and VLC.
 
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post #8 of 9
Did a bit of digging, and its been available on XBMC since 10.0. It supports basically any video card too (ATI HD2000 series on up, and Nvidia 200 series and up, plus a few others like the 8800's and the like). However, it doesn't appear to be enabled by default. I haven't been able to tell if its enabled by default on Frodo (12.2) at least, but I"ll check it tonight when I get home from work.

Here is the link on how to turn it on.
http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=HOW-TO:Enable_Hardware_Accelerated_Decoding_via_DXVA2_in_XBMC_for_Windows

And WMC doesn't support it in any way that I could find. This makes decent (2Ghz at least dual core) more important for HD playback if you end up using WMC or another unsupported player.

Good luck smile.gif.
post #9 of 9
Oh well, If it's only been available since XBMC 10.0 which was released in 2010 I must have been mistaken about the support for the last 5 years! I use Linux for my media PCs though and they have had the VDPAU library for a while (came out around the Geforce 8000/9000 era) so it's possible it worked transparently in the background (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VDPAU) to offload video decoding. I can't actually remember when I built my fist media PC though... that C2D was old when I got it.

Anyway... we've gone somewhat off topic now, hope the OP gets his rigs sorted - for pure playback of local content I don't think you can beat the Pi for value for money although there are a couple of interesting products recently which may also fit the bill of capable media players - Googles Chromecast and the NOW TV! box from sky

Have fun
 
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Overclock.net › Forums › Specialty Builds › HTPC › Downgrading my Q6600's