Need advice on HTPC/Server

  Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Post Reply
cwide Offline
Fan
Posts: 355
Joined: Jan 2012
Reputation: 7
Post: #1
Didn't get much traction with my last thread so I will try again.

My current setup is:
  • Celeron G530
  • ASUS Mobo with 2-SATA3 and 4-SATA2 ports (no hdmi)
  • Assortment of 2.5" HDDs (2-250GB, 500GB, 620 GB)
  • Zotac 8400GS video card
  • 5 GB DDR3-1333 RAM
  • Crappy case

I use CP, SB, SAB, Plex with a few myplex clients as the main things other than XBMC.

This setup is fine for my current situation where it is the HTPC and only serves the occasional laptop and remote plex client.

My situation will soon be changing to where it will be the HTPC (this will probably include some light gaming) and serving potentially 5+ streams at once.

I am trying to decide whether I should just upgrade my CPU and GPU or just make another machine to be the server and leave my current one as HTPC only.

Money is also tight, but I'm pretty certain that my current setup will not be able to adequately perform in my new situation, so I am looking for the cheapest alternative.

Here are my options:

HTPC/Server upgrade:
- Upgrade CPU to Core i5 3450 - $150
- Upgrade video card to GT 210 - $20
- Add 2GB more RAM - $15
- WANT: to upgrade to Fractal Design case - $100
COST: $185 (285 with case)

Make a separate server:
- AMD Phenom II X3 B73 - $40
- Biostar A880GZ - $50
- 4 GB DDR3 RAM - $20
- New HTPC case - $70ish
- PSU - $20
- Upgrade HTPC video card to GT 210 (games?) - $20
COST: $220

What do you guys think?

I like the idea of having just one machine running but I sometimes experience problems when multiple processes are trying to do too much. I also don't like how much Windows likes to interfere with XBMC when other programs give notifications (probably away around this, but I think I am going to try Ubuntu anyway). All of those problems would go away with a separate server, but if I went with the first option I would have a much more powerful system.
(This post was last modified: 2012-05-09 17:28 by cwide.)
find quote
Dougie Fresh Offline
Donor
Posts: 3,562
Joined: Feb 2009
Reputation: 85
Location: New Hampshire
Post: #2
You current setup with crappy case (depending on # of bays) would make a good standalone server. For the client HTPC, the rest depends on the games you want to play. If it's "light" gaming then a G620 / HD6670 would make a nice HTPC/light gaming setup. If you don't already have those old AMD parts I would not buy them (not because they are AMD but because they are old).

If you stay combined, upgrading the GPU will make a bigger difference since you already have a very good CPU in the G530. Go to 8GB RAM too. Then try it and see how it performs. Also, for everyday use (not always games) an SSD makes a huge performance difference when used for the O/S and programs.
find quote
cwide Offline
Fan
Posts: 355
Joined: Jan 2012
Reputation: 7
Post: #3
(2012-05-09 18:50)Dougie Fresh Wrote:  You current setup with crappy case (depending on # of bays) would make a good standalone server. For the client HTPC, the rest depends on the games you want to play. If it's "light" gaming then a G620 / HD6670 would make a nice HTPC/light gaming setup. If you don't already have those old AMD parts I would not buy them (not because they are AMD but because they are old).

If you stay combined, upgrading the GPU will make a bigger difference since you already have a very good CPU in the G530. Go to 8GB RAM too. Then try it and see how it performs. Also, for everyday use (not always games) an SSD makes a huge performance difference when used for the O/S and programs.

I do have an SSD on the way. I would not use it in a standalone server since I have multiple 250 GB HDDs sitting around and O/S and program speed would not be a big deal.

The biggest problem with my current setup is when running sabtosickbeard and also when decoding videos in Plex for remote clients. If the sickbeard file is much over 1 GB my system really slows down. It's all probably overkill but I do like my experience to be somewhat seamless. If I am running some emulators and serving multiple local XBMC clients and remote plex clients I don't want to slow to a crawl.

So.... what upgrade would do me the most good in this scenario (combined HTPC/server running on linux)?

Also... I don't have the AMD parts yet. I just picked them because they are cheap. The CPU passmark isn't bad (better than G530).
find quote