HTPC vs PS3

leo2kp

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Oct 9, 2006
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Hello,

So my wife and I are going to replace our aging BluRay player and I originally wanted to build a HTPC, but now I'm tossing around the idea of buying a cheaper PS3 instead.

I do have a test HTPC using an old AMD Athlon x2 3800+ with 2GB RAM, 64bit Windows 7, and XBMC. Movies seem to stream just fine because they are not compressed and need no decoding. NetFlix, on the other hand, drops frames like crazy and the CPU will sit around 80% (I'm going to NetFlix on my wife's laptop tonight, which is lightyears ahead of my HTPC as far as hardware), and I am seeing some other anomolies like an odd bar at the top of the screen where the video seems to lag. I'm still investigating wheather or not this is an aging hardware issue, or something to expect on a HTPC, but hopefully some of you have experience with this!

I do have a $700 list of parts selected on Newegg for an HTPC including an i5-3570k (4000 graphics), 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, HTPC case, BluRay player, and Gigabyte microATX mobo. I do have a spare 1GB 8400GS graphics card but I won't use it unless I have to. I hear the 4000 works just fine on a HTPC, but again, maybe someone has experience with that too. While all of my movie rips are uncompressed MKV files, I may compress some of them in the future.

So besides cost, what do we have for pros/cons between an HTPC and PS3? Can a HTPC really have the same, or better video/audio quality than a dedicated BluRay player or PS3?
 

Wolfshadw

Splendid
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I'd say the only real advantage to an HTPC over a PS3 would be that you can add a TV tuner card to your HTPC. Of course, this is going to depend on your television source. A cable subscriber, like myself, could take advantage of a cablecard tuner and save the money over an actual set top box from your cable company. In my case, $2 for the cable card vs. $18 for just one set top box.

I think if you're more into playing games than watching TV, then the PS3 is probably the way to go. Of course, you could also add a gaming graphics card to an HTPC and game that way.

The I5-3570K is way overkill for just HTPC duties. To be honest, I'd expect the X2-3800+ to be just fine for your needs. Maybe add some memory and the 8400GS (not sure it's HDCP compliant, though).

-Wolf sends
 

leo2kp

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Thanks for the reply! While watching NetFlix I did notice the 3800+ hit 90% utilization and that scared me a bit, especially if I were to start streaming something encoded from my server at some point. However, my wife's laptop barely hit 15% and that is a quad-core i7 at 2.2GHz. If I do end up going HTPC, I might just opt for a modern dual-core. The 8400GS is HDCP compliant. Though in the last day or so, we thought about just using her laptop until the PS4 or Xbox 720 release and get one of those.

- TSoH 4 Life


 
if all you plan on using is netflix and dvd/blueray then you could just buy a new blueray player for cheaper then a ps3. quite a few support netflix and possibly other streaming apps. i think they call them smart blueray players.

unless you require a browser, want to play games or the ps3 supports other elements the above does not its not worthwhile in my opinion. this coming from someone who uses one daily for playing movies. it works great, loads up faster than a dvd player but may not be worth the extra expense (also consider you have to buy a controller for it which isnt cheap although it isnt IR and can be pointed in any direction and still work).

a htpc is likely the most expensive option. if you like to save movies to a hdd source and load them up, surf the web, stream without being limited in choices like a roku or smart dvd player and generally want a whole lot more options albiet at the cost of being less user friendly then perhaps this is a valid choice as well.

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for netflix/dvd/br only though a smart blueray player with netflix capability is most likely sufficient.
 

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