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Ive got 2 old rigs sitting here that I can use for an HTPC/Server, The goal would be to keep these on the majority of the time.

Rig 1: is an HP Compaq desktop workstation, with proprietary motherboard and PSU:

3.0ghz P4 531 HT (socket 775)
Up to 2gb of DDR400 across several slots
onboard graphics
2 Onboard Sata Ports
1 IDE port
open pci express port (8x or 4x i think)
240W PSU

Could put 2 HDDs and a CD Rom, or 3 hdds into the case, but the drives/computer get very toasty

OR:

Sempron 2400+ @ 1.67ghz (socket A)
Asrock KT7v mobo of some sort
2 memory slots for 1.5gb of ram
2 NON bootable SATA ports (cant seem to get them to be recognized as a bootable device
2 IDE controllers
Radeo 9550 AGP 8x GPU
600qw coolmax PSU or Cheapo 340w generic

neither are feasible cases to sit on my tv console, game plan is to put the PC in a large closet next to my TV stand, and use a USB IR receiver, and eventually a wireless kb and mouse or sorts for control.

Will be running Windows 7 HP 32 or 64 bit, plan is to rip dvds and store them on there, stream Hulu, Netflix, etc... and be on the majority of the time.

Right now I do not want to spend ANY money on this venture, as I am not sure how much use it will get. So this is an experiment...

Which one of these 2 rigs will be more efficient in the power consumption department?

Which will play the video I need well, while running a resolution of 1920x1080?

I also have a PS3 and an XBOX 360 hooked up to the net, would these be more suitable streaming devices? has the video format support improved on these yet?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Hulu doesn't like single core processors. I tried it on my Pentium M 2.4 Ghz laptop and it stuttered something fierce. Hulu runs fine on my 1.8 Ghz dual core lappy, my 2.4 dual core lappy,my AMD x2 3800+, my FX 60 @ 3Ghz, and my i7 of course.

The xbox plays divix, avi, mpeg, and wmv. I use Vader's transcoder to stream vob files to it in WMC as it functions transparently. But it converts the vobs to mpegs on the fly so slower processors will have to buffer for a bit before playback. Also orb works to transcode on the fly and I've heard good things about PS3 media server. You should check out these programs and see how well your computers do.
 

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First of all - the resolution you are running the display at and the resolution of the video are two completely different things. Any video card with at least 64MB of RAM can handle a 1920x1080x32 display - and you can pick one of those up for just a few bucks these days. What you should be worried about is the resolution of the source video.

The Pentium 4 will play any 720p video you want, but it won't be able to even attempt 1080p unless you can OC it to 4.2GHz - for which you'd need a new motherboard. Or you could add a GPU to it that can do decoding and then it'll do 1080p that way too, but then it'll be limited to MPCHC and a few other players that support it (and 720p everywhere else).

And don't even bother with the sempron.
 

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Quote:


Originally Posted by WarlordOne
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Hulu doesn't like single core processors. I tried it on my Pentium M 2.4 Ghz laptop and it stuttered something fierce. Hulu runs fine on my 1.8 Ghz dual core lappy, my 2.4 dual core lappy,my AMD x2 3800+, my FX 60 @ 3Ghz, and my i7 of course.

The xbox plays divix, avi, mpeg, and wmv. I use Vader's transcoder to stream vob files to it in WMC as it functions transparently. But it converts the vobs to mpegs on the fly so slower processors will have to buffer for a bit before playback. Also orb works to transcode on the fly and I've heard good things about PS3 media server. You should check out these programs and see how well your computers do.

Hulu may even stutter on an Anthlon X2 2.7GHz or Q6600. Flash sucks with GPU acceleration: http://anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3678
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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Originally Posted by Manyak
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First of all - the resolution you are running the display at and the resolution of the video are two completely different things. Any video card with at least 64MB of RAM can handle a 1920x1080x32 display - and you can pick one of those up for just a few bucks these days. What you should be worried about is the resolution of the source video.

The Pentium 4 will play any 720p video you want, but it won't be able to even attempt 1080p unless you can OC it to 4.2GHz - for which you'd need a new motherboard. Or you could add a GPU to it that can do decoding and then it'll do 1080p that way too, but then it'll be limited to MPCHC and a few other players that support it (and 720p everywhere else).

And don't even bother with the sempron.


I realize that it can handle the res, I'm talking about video playback more than anything, I am going to start by trying some ripped DVDs, and netflix, its more of a test to see if it will get used before I drop money on a real setup

I guess, neither of these rigs are going to be friendly in the power consumption department, I was leaning more towards the sempron rig because I can actually put it in a real case, without modification. The crappy P4 SFF case cooks my drives (this one has been used as extra storage/ print server for like a year) they get super hot so I was hoping to be able to use an older antec case that will allow it to breath.

maybe ill just hold off, neither of these are good candidates, if these CPUs cant handle flash streaming then that's a big drawback.

Thanks for the input guys!
 

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NetFlix uses MS Silverlight which performs better than Adobe Flash in my experience.
 

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Well if you just want to test the setup out then either one will work fine. Ripped DVDs can even be played back on a Pentium III. You'll just have to steer away from HD stuff.
 

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Originally Posted by Manyak
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Well if you just want to test the setup out then either one will work fine. Ripped DVDs can even be played back on a Pentium III. You'll just have to steer away from HD stuff.

Well that's not going to happen, lol...

Guess ill need to fiddle with it, hopefully the win7 family upgrade retail pack will activate on a new machine when I upgrade...

how much HD content is available to stream off of those sites? I poked around netflix and found nothing but crap, and low def, my buddy tells me there is some HD on there, but its sort of obscure stuff.

Haven't paid much attention to Hulu Yet, but I need to catch up on The Office, and would rather do it while sitting on the couch rather than on the computer screen.

i guess it cant hurt to play around with it a bit.

thanks for the input again!
 

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Originally Posted by identitycrisis
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Well that's not going to happen, lol...

Guess ill need to fiddle with it, hopefully the win7 family upgrade retail pack will activate on a new machine when I upgrade...

how much HD content is available to stream off of those sites? I poked around netflix and found nothing but crap, and low def, my buddy tells me there is some HD on there, but its sort of obscure stuff.

Haven't paid much attention to Hulu Yet, but I need to catch up on The Office, and would rather do it while sitting on the couch rather than on the computer screen.

i guess it cant hurt to play around with it a bit.

thanks for the input again!

I'm not sure about the Netflix content, but Hulu will usually have the last 5 episodes of shows from networks like NBC and Fox. At times they are allowed to have more episodes available. Currently all episodes of NBC's Life are available, for example. The series with the most episodes available tend to be older, more obscure, or animated (most of the anime subtitled, not dubbed). It doesn't necessarily work the best for catching up on shows, depending on how quickly you are planning on catching up, because of the limited number of episodes that are available at any one time. I did watch all of season 2 of Chuck on Hulu spread out over the course of a couple months. There are other sites with some good content as well. I was able to watch all currently broadcast episodes of Lost on ABC's site.
 

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The only rig you could probably use for an HTPC would be that P4 rig. But it would require you to purchase a cheap video card for offloading the 1080p content.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
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Originally Posted by AMG
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The only rig you could probably use for an HTPC would be that P4 rig. But it would require you to purchase a cheap video card for offloading the 1080p content.

Thats the way it is looking, not thrilled because any time you slightly stress this thing, it starts to sound like a jet engine taking off. lol, maybe i can put the stock cooler from my e8400 on instead.

Couldn't find any options in the BIOS to subdue that yet.

Haven't had time to mess with anything yet too much, maybe tonight.

still need to figure out what to use to rip some DVDs etc...
 
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