Help me decide: A6-PACK or i3-PACK

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Riskey Offline
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Post: #1
Hey Guys,

This is my first post, but I've been lurking for a while. I've been researching XBMC for the last 6 months and have cataloged my entire movie collection with EMM and am finally ready for the next step. I was dead set on one of the Zotac boxes, but I guess I've been hangin' out here too much cuz now I wanna build. I'm liking the builds based off the Antec 300-65 case, but I need some help deciding.

What's important to me:
  • Small, cool, and quiet
  • Has an "appliance" feel
  • Can run heavy skins
  • might, at some point, want to run emulators up to N64
  • might, at some point, want to run Hulu
  • might want to install a bd drive and be able to watch dvd/bluray discs
  • Must easily work with my Harmony


What's NOT important to me:
  • Full Web Browser
  • Stuff like sickbeard etc...

Here's what I have already purchased:

Case: Antec ISK 300-65
SSD: Patriot Torqx 2 32GB
Scythe SCSK-1100

Here are my questions:

1.) Between the A6-3500 and i3 2105, which runs cooler?
2.) Would the i3 need more than the provided 65w powerbrick?
3.) I hate the idea of buying and using Windows just for an HTPC - what are the advantages of Windows over OpenELEC?
- Does anyone have experience with the A6-3500 on OpenELEC? I heard the latest 2.0 beta added native XVBA support
4.) Between the A6-3500 and i3 2105, which would produce superior video quality?

If the A6 is gonna run cooler and quieter, but only works well with Windows then I'm willing to go that route (price-wise, the cost of Windows 7 and the extra cost of the intel hardware even out anyways). But otherwise, I love the idea of OpenELEC. But if the Intel graphics also have issues with OpenELEC then I mind as well go with the A6/Windows.

Mostly I'm just looking for all the pros and cons between the A6-3500 and i3 2105 (and windows vs Open ELEC)

Thanks,
Chris
(This post was last modified: 2012-05-04 00:55 by Riskey.)
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eskro Offline
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Post: #2
1) doesnt matter, you bought an awesome cooler anyways.

2) i3 will work with stock 65W brick.

3) full web browser and bitstream hd-audio

4) im a a6-3500 lover!
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Beer40oz Offline
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Post: #3
i3 PACK? there is no such thing....

its the A6-PACK get it? ?
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Riskey Offline
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Post: #4
Ha ha, Yeah...I get it. But there *could* be such thing as an i3 PACK if I built it!
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Mick1152 Offline
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Post: #5
Which is better? Well, I would submit to you... a 6 pack is always better than a 3 pack.... if you were going to make a catchy name for it here I'd refer to it as the "Half-Pack".... now.. which one sounds better? Tongue

In all honesty I don't know which is actually "better" but, since eskro and beer got me using the AMD APU's I'm a huge fan... don't really have anything to compare with though so the i3 may be as good or better. If it does what YOU want/need it to do, I don't think it really matters. Make it yours and post up your build!

HTPC 1 - AMD A8-3870K, ASRock A75M, Silverstone ML03B, Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR3 1866, Crucial M4 64GB SSD
HTPC 2 - AMD A6-3500, ASRock A75M-ITX, Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR3 1866, Patriot Torqx 2 32GB SSD
HTPC 3 - Intel Celeron 847, OpenELEC
RV HTPC - Intel i3-2120 Mini-ITX, 12TB Storage
3 Raspberry Pis
unRAID 5 Server - AMD Sempron 145, 4TB Parity, 16TB Storage

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bluray Offline
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Post: #6
If you want to compare the Intel i3-2105 performance with AMD APU performance, it is more appropriate to compare it to AMD A8-3870K. It is not fair to compare an A6-3500 to an i3-2105.......and here are the numbers- A8-3870K vs. Core i3-2105

>Alienware X51- do it all HTPC
>Simplify XBMC configurations
>HOW-TO Bitstreaming using XBMC
I refused to watch movie without bitstreaming HD audio!
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Riskey Offline
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Post: #7
Well, since this is purely an htpc, and from what I've seen; the A6 seems to meet my needs speed wise...the best chip will be the one that runs cooler and quieter, and which one runs on OpenELEC better (in that order of importance). I know that Nvidia graphics are the best on OpenELEC, but I want small and quiet - so discreet graphics don't seem like the best option. It's sounding more and more like I'll end up going the Windows route. Although maybe I'll just build the 6-pack and then see how it runs OpenELEC. If it sucks THEN I'll buy Windows.
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Dougie Fresh Offline
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Post: #8
Get the A6-3500 and spend the money saved over the i3-2105 on a bigger SSD and three beers Smile
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Beer40oz Offline
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Post: #9
(2012-05-04 07:28)Dougie Fresh Wrote:  Get the A6-3500 and spend the money saved over the i3-2105 on a bigger SSD and three beers Smile

+1

and maybe some beer for us too....
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bluray Offline
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Post: #10
(2012-05-04 03:56)Riskey Wrote:  Well, since this is purely an htpc, and from what I've seen; the A6 seems to meet my needs speed wise...the best chip will be the one that runs cooler and quieter, and which one runs on OpenELEC better (in that order of importance). I know that Nvidia graphics are the best on OpenELEC, but I want small and quiet - so discreet graphics don't seem like the best option. It's sounding more and more like I'll end up going the Windows route. Although maybe I'll just build the 6-pack and then see how it runs OpenELEC. If it sucks THEN I'll buy Windows.
As far as noise and power consumption, A6 and i3 should be very similar. The major different is i3 being more powerful and more expensive....as for OpenElec, i3 have the upper hand too, and here is a great thread for it- Simplified Guide for a perfect minimal HTPC on INTEL platforms

>Alienware X51- do it all HTPC
>Simplify XBMC configurations
>HOW-TO Bitstreaming using XBMC
I refused to watch movie without bitstreaming HD audio!
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Riskey Offline
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Post: #11
(2012-05-04 17:10)bluray Wrote:  
(2012-05-04 03:56)Riskey Wrote:  Well, since this is purely an htpc, and from what I've seen; the A6 seems to meet my needs speed wise...the best chip will be the one that runs cooler and quieter, and which one runs on OpenELEC better (in that order of importance). I know that Nvidia graphics are the best on OpenELEC, but I want small and quiet - so discreet graphics don't seem like the best option. It's sounding more and more like I'll end up going the Windows route. Although maybe I'll just build the 6-pack and then see how it runs OpenELEC. If it sucks THEN I'll buy Windows.
As far as noise and power consumption, A6 and i3 should be very similar. The major different is i3 being more powerful and more expensive....as for OpenElec, i3 have the upper hand too, and here is a great thread for it- Simplified Guide for a perfect minimal HTPC on INTEL platforms

That's exactly the type of guide that freaks me out about linux. Would all that stuff just "work" with OpenELEC? This actually steers me towards Windows.


(2012-05-04 07:28)Dougie Fresh Wrote:  Get the A6-3500 and spend the money saved over the i3-2105 on a bigger SSD and three beers Smile

Actually.... It looks like I'll be spending that money on a stinkin' copy of Windows. BTW, I saw someone post a link recently to a copy of Win 7 home 64bit for $68 dollars, but for the life of me can't find that post again. It was like "snagit.com" or something like that (but not that). Anyone know where to get windows for that price?
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GrEn Offline
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Post: #12
(2012-05-04 20:57)Riskey Wrote:  
(2012-05-04 17:10)bluray Wrote:  
(2012-05-04 03:56)Riskey Wrote:  Well, since this is purely an htpc, and from what I've seen; the A6 seems to meet my needs speed wise...the best chip will be the one that runs cooler and quieter, and which one runs on OpenELEC better (in that order of importance). I know that Nvidia graphics are the best on OpenELEC, but I want small and quiet - so discreet graphics don't seem like the best option. It's sounding more and more like I'll end up going the Windows route. Although maybe I'll just build the 6-pack and then see how it runs OpenELEC. If it sucks THEN I'll buy Windows.
As far as noise and power consumption, A6 and i3 should be very similar. The major different is i3 being more powerful and more expensive....as for OpenElec, i3 have the upper hand too, and here is a great thread for it- Simplified Guide for a perfect minimal HTPC on INTEL platforms

That's exactly the type of guide that freaks me out about linux. Would all that stuff just "work" with OpenELEC? This actually steers me towards Windows.


(2012-05-04 07:28)Dougie Fresh Wrote:  Get the A6-3500 and spend the money saved over the i3-2105 on a bigger SSD and three beers Smile

Actually.... It looks like I'll be spending that money on a stinkin' copy of Windows. BTW, I saw someone post a link recently to a copy of Win 7 home 64bit for $68 dollars, but for the life of me can't find that post again. It was like "snagit.com" or something like that (but not that). Anyone know where to get windows for that price?

With openelec it will just work for almost everything, maybe a little tweaking but just as much as windows would take. That guide was more for people wanting to do everything themselves. It was based around a fresh install of ubuntu.

On my old ion box installing openelec to a clean harddrive to having everything working is only about 30 minutes for me.
(This post was last modified: 2012-05-04 21:34 by GrEn.)
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bluray Offline
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Post: #13
(2012-05-04 20:57)Riskey Wrote:  
(2012-05-04 17:10)bluray Wrote:  
(2012-05-04 03:56)Riskey Wrote:  Well, since this is purely an htpc, and from what I've seen; the A6 seems to meet my needs speed wise...the best chip will be the one that runs cooler and quieter, and which one runs on OpenELEC better (in that order of importance). I know that Nvidia graphics are the best on OpenELEC, but I want small and quiet - so discreet graphics don't seem like the best option. It's sounding more and more like I'll end up going the Windows route. Although maybe I'll just build the 6-pack and then see how it runs OpenELEC. If it sucks THEN I'll buy Windows.
As far as noise and power consumption, A6 and i3 should be very similar. The major different is i3 being more powerful and more expensive....as for OpenElec, i3 have the upper hand too, and here is a great thread for it- Simplified Guide for a perfect minimal HTPC on INTEL platforms

That's exactly the type of guide that freaks me out about linux. Would all that stuff just "work" with OpenELEC? This actually steers me towards Windows.
If you are planning to use XBMC only, OpenElec might be your best free solution. Since it have less options than Windows, everything will be faster than Windows too.......

Since it is lack of bitstreaming HD audio support, streaming Netflix and surfing the net, it's not for me......

(2012-05-04 20:57)Riskey Wrote:  
(2012-05-04 07:28)Dougie Fresh Wrote:  Get the A6-3500 and spend the money saved over the i3-2105 on a bigger SSD and three beers Smile

Actually.... It looks like I'll be spending that money on a stinkin' copy of Windows. BTW, I saw someone post a link recently to a copy of Win 7 home 64bit for $68 dollars, but for the life of me can't find that post again. It was like "snagit.com" or something like that (but not that). Anyone know where to get windows for that price?
That would be me- post #10. It's not in original package. I bought one copy from them and it is Windows 7 for Dell, but it is Windows 7 64-bit with keys included......it work great for me!

>Alienware X51- do it all HTPC
>Simplify XBMC configurations
>HOW-TO Bitstreaming using XBMC
I refused to watch movie without bitstreaming HD audio!
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Riskey Offline
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Post: #14
Yeah, that was it...Snagstuff.com. Honesly, I think the only thing I would miss is the HD Audio. I prefer to watch netflix on my Apple TV. How is the netflix experience in Windows? Is it remote friendly? Do you use XBMC flicks or is there some sort of stand alone? (Other than just thru a web browser)

This is all I could find on using the A6 with OpenELEC...Doesn't sound good. But maybe the beta 3 is better.

http://openelec.tv/forum/117-xvba-amd/32...th-a6-3500
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Mick1152 Offline
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Posts: 258
Joined: Apr 2012
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Post: #15
That post says he's using the Generic Build of beta 2. I'm not sure why you'd use the Generic build when there is a specific AMD Fusion Build... I'm guessing that may be his issue with the smoothness?

HTPC 1 - AMD A8-3870K, ASRock A75M, Silverstone ML03B, Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR3 1866, Crucial M4 64GB SSD
HTPC 2 - AMD A6-3500, ASRock A75M-ITX, Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR3 1866, Patriot Torqx 2 32GB SSD
HTPC 3 - Intel Celeron 847, OpenELEC
RV HTPC - Intel i3-2120 Mini-ITX, 12TB Storage
3 Raspberry Pis
unRAID 5 Server - AMD Sempron 145, 4TB Parity, 16TB Storage

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