HTPC Upgrade: Intel or AMD-Which way to go?

Discussion in 'Mainboards / CPU / RAM' started by 1gkar, August 13, 2013.

  1. 1gkar
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    Hi,

    I know there are numerous threads on the site, & the web about this. I can't locate specific information relative to my dilemma.

    I would much prefer the AMD route, as in New Zealand, there are minimal 1155 motherboards at a reasonable price. Not to mention the CPU is also a better cost.

    I cannot find any specific inormation on power consumption of the AMD A8-6500 CPU. Have looked at over twenty sites from Google searching. I understand the i3-3225 processor is very lean on power useage. But to justify the cost difference of over $70-$80 plus (CPU+mobo), it would have to be substantial.
    The closest I have found so far is:
    http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/283/AMD_A8-Series_A8-6500_vs_Intel_Core_i3_i3-3225.html
    But does not state accurate figures, only generalised statements.

    My intentions for HTPC usage are:

    -watch 3D blu-rays & mkvs
    -upscale 2D .mkvs to 3D
    -watch recorded NZ FreewviewHD TV -I rarely watch liveTV, but require this function to operate fully
    -transcode any recorded 1080i TV programmes & BDs I procure
    -browse the web
    -stream online flash video
    -all the other basic Mediaportal functions like:
    -listen to music
    -watch DVD TV series & movies -upscaled to 3D, if I want

    I have narrowed my list to one CPU of each type:



    Intel:
    CPU: i3-3225 -55wTDP
    mobo: Gigabyte GA-H77-D3H-would prefer Realtek audio, but this mobo is VIA. Just a personal preference, given issues I have had with VIA. Is the VT2021 chip & drivers stable?
    ASRock Z77 Extreme4
    Asus P8Z77-V LK

    I would much prefer H77 chipset as I don't require all the bells & whistles that go with the added cost, but they are very limited in NZ. Am not interested in the micro variant unless they can supply:

    -more than 1x PCI-e slot
    -at least 2x 6GB/s SATA ports
    -SPDif out on the back panel


    AMD:
    CPU: A8-6500 -65wTDP
    Mobo: Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-D3H

    Does this APU, utilising HD 8750D GPU fully support H.264 FreeviewHD without drop-off or stuttering?

    Will also be using SSD for OS: Samsung 840 120GB
    RAM: Dependent on which way I go with CPU. Kingston HyperX -either 1600/1866- looks good

    Don't think I have missed anything crucial to this discussion. I would would greatly appreciate those with IT knowledge to comment, specifically on the CPU aspect; as this is what the topic is really about.
    Thanks for taking the time to look at this thread.
     
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  3. Scythe42
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    Scythe42 Retired Team Member

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    For power consumption and save of energy costs Intel is the better choice. AMD is very poor when it comes to performance per watt. The TCO for AMD is too high give the rise in power prices in the last couple of years.

    Don't take an i3, take an i5. Better price/performance ratio. Going i3 is saving on the wrong end.

    H77 chipset should be ok, but Z77 is also fine. I highly recommend ASUS mainboards compared to Gigabytes in the last couple of years. Take the one that suits your general connection needs the most and don't worry much about the chipsets. For your usage H77, Z77 or Z75 make no difference at all.

    The main difference are in PCIe here: H77 = 1x16, Z75 = 1x16 or 2x8, Z77 = 1x16 or 2x8 or 1x8 and 2x4. So comes down to the numer ob PCIe Slots you need/want to have.

    In general the CPU is not very important, the GPU is way more important. Integrated GPUs will only take you to a certain level, but all enough for your requirements. For starters integrated is OK, but you probably want to upgrade to something dedicated. So no need to buy it directly, but keep this in mind when planning your budget in the future.

    For HTPC GPUs always use ATI at the moment. They are more HTPC friendly. Also the latest series has some great new features for HTPC usage but are very pricey. But hey, wait a year and buy them cheap.

    The integrated sound chip of the mainboard does not matter. You will no use it anyway as you are using a HMDI connection of a dedicated GPU anyway, which is usually a RealTek chip. So don't care what's on he mainboard. Does not make a difference for your usage anyway. And they suck all, but you probably won't hear the difference anyway unless you connect headphones directly to the HTPC and not using an AVR.

    RAM: don't worry about the timinigs, just take the cheapest Kingstons you MB can handle and put as much in as possible and your budget allows. Buy them in Kits, so they match. RAM timinigs are not critical for a HTPC here. But you want as much RAM as possible for general usage. You can never have enough.
     
    Last edited: August 13, 2013
  4. kiwijunglist
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    They are both good.

    Personally I'd go with the AMD because it is cheaper (Also I've always liked AMD video cards). I'd only get the Intel if I was going with mITX with weak or passive cooling. I think AMD are better HTPC video cards.

    Buy the cheapest Ram you can find as long as it is 1600+ and dual channel (dual channel is important for onboard GPU)

    Since your getting an SSD I'd get enough ram to cover a timeshifting ram drive. eg. 2x4GB (min)

    There may be a difference in 3D capabilities between the 2 chip-sets, that is something I know nothing about, but if there was a difference then that could be the decider.
     
    Last edited: August 13, 2013
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  5. 1gkar
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    Thanks for the ultra fast reply.[DOUBLEPOST=1376383297][/DOUBLEPOST]
    Thanks for the really fast response.
     
  6. kiwijunglist
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    I think AMD are better HTPC video cards. Do you know if the integrated GPU works fully with FreeviewHD NZ?
    -> It should work fine. I'd prefer it to the intel onboard GPU. I always recommend the AMD A6-5400K and I am guessing the onboard GPU you are looking at would out perform that, you should confirm that yourself :)

    Since your getting an SSD I'd get enough ram to cover a timeshifting ram drive. eg. 2x4GB (min) I bought a copy of W7 Home Edition 32bit previously, would it pay to buy a 64bit edition, as the 32bit version won't show any more than 3.5-4BG RAM?
    --> Because you have 32bit the 4GB limit is divided between the onboard GPU+ OS Memory, so 512mb GPU & 3.5GB or less memory for windows + drivers etc. I believe there are ram drive drivers that can get around this limit and use the unallocated memory. You'll have to google this, as I have W7 x64. You should never of bought Win7 32bit :)
     
    Last edited: August 13, 2013
  7. mm1352000
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    Total cost of ownership.



    But S/PDIF is digital too. Unless you're using the HTPC as D->A I think it doesn't matter too much.
     
  8. kiwijunglist
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    They are both fine, can't go wrong (unless u buy 1333 ram or single stick ram)

    Budget user = AMD
    Best Value = AMD
    Best iGPU = AMD
    Poweruser w. discrete video card = Intel CPU + AMD Video card
    Lowest Powerbill = Intel
    Quietest CPU = Intel
    Coolest CPU (not hot) = Intel
    SFF uITX = Intel

    ^ PS. Above may change in 3 months as both intel + amd are bringing out a new range with lower wattage.
     
    Last edited: August 13, 2013
  9. Scythe42
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    Why i5 and not i3 for a desktop CPU? Why i5 has a better price/performance ratio compared to last generation i3?

    Simplest explanation:
    - i3 is a two core processor that can provide 4 "hardware threads". i5 is true quad core.
    - i5 has an HD4000 integrated GPU which is pretty decent - you can even run post processing shaders. i3 has HD2500, which is not shining performance wise and supports D3D10.1 hardware level only.

    Core i3-3240 = about 115 EUR
    Core i5-3330 = about 165 EUR

    So for 50 EUR difference you get a D3D 11 capabable GPU and two more cores. This is a good investment. And these are just the two main things for you.

    Price per core = 57,50 EUR for i3 and 41,25 EUR for i5. And now put a way better integrated GPU on top of it (if you not want to go dedicated...).

    i5 is just the better deal regardless how you look at it. Yes it costs more, but going i3 is saving on the wrong end.

    Why not AMD: too much power consumption and also runs too hot (power consumption is part of it) and whill be more noisy as you require more cooling. Not an option if the HTPC is in your living room. The higher costs for intel are amortized in 8-12 months on the power bill alone.

    Dedicated GPU: go AMD. The drivers and hardware is way more HTPC friendly from my experience in the last few years.
     
    Last edited: August 13, 2013
  10. azzuro
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    For me. Always AMD / ATI . Best for multimedia use. What i think. And more easy for me with drivers
     
  11. Kui

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    Hellou,

    If you're going to get iGPU, my thought is that AMD is allmost must. AMD 'whoops' intels arse on iGPU perspective. ;);)

    And if you wanna be sure that there is enough GPU power, you could think of using AMD A10-6700K or 6800K (note that 6800K supports 2133Mhz ram speeds), which is the "flagship" of AMD APU's.

    You can see many different test's here: http://uk.hardware.info/reviews/4461/amd-a10-6800k--a10-6700-cpu-review-richland-tested ,hope they help.


    Ps. Just a side note that if you're going to get intel's CPU, (i think) you would most likely have to buy separate GPU for it, which would cost more + heat up case more + consume more power.


    These are just my thoughts and feelings, I do not have yet alot experience on AMD APU's (nor Intel's), but will order someday soon that 6700K or 6800K. :)

    Cheers,
    Kui
     
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