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Need a cheap Linux friendly 1080p video playback and streaming livingroom HTPC media machine.

NeoFuturist
  • 55 months ago

All I want to do with this thing is smoothly play 1080p video files and stream Netflix and Hulu. I'd also like to run Linux Mint on it as its my OS of choice and I don't have a legit windows key nor do I intend to buy one. I'd like to go as cheap as possible while staying intel/nvidia or intel with the integrated GPU like you find on the i3's etc because Linux has never played nicely with ATI/AMD GPU's.

Would the integrated GPUs on the i3's like say the 4400 play 1080p video at 30fps smoothly?

Comments

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

For HTPC you don't even need an i3. You can go with something like this since you want Intel.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Pentium G4400 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor $64.99 @ Amazon
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-H110M-A Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard $51.99 @ SuperBiiz
Memory Crucial 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR4-2133 Memory $23.89 @ SuperBiiz
Storage Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $42.50 @ Amazon
Case Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case $59.99 @ NCIX US
Power Supply Antec 450W ATX Power Supply $32.99 @ SuperBiiz
Optical Drive LG UH12NS30 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer $39.89 @ OutletPC
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $316.24
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-11-10 09:45 EST-0500
  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

This build is only supported by bleeding edge unstable kernels at this time. Linux Mint would not install on this build.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=intel-hd-530&num=1

Unless there is a difference in the Pentium Skylakes, or Mint people have and are running Linux destros on Skaylake CPUs.

So if you have something specific please post it.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

So if you have something specific please post it.

Linux Mint 17.2 comes with kernel 3.16.

Booting the install image will require at minimum kernel 4.2 with custom boot parameters or kernel 4.3. Both of which are very bleeding edge. In otherwords, you'd have to build a custom install image to get this to work, and even then, there are still plenty of users having other issues. A brand new platform is going to have other potential conflicts depending on the motherboard, like unrecognized SuperIO chips, etc.

In my experience with Mint and other DebiUntu based distros, running bleeding edge kernels OFTEN cause's software conflicts, requiring that lots of software packages are updated to unsupported versions, which can then create further cascades of conflicts. It's a disaster.

In 6 months from now, Skylake Pentiums will be the ideal cheap linux-box CPU's. Right now, I would ONLY advise such a build to advanced, experienced linux users who are well versed in dealing with software configuration hurdles to get hardware working.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

because Linux has never played nicely with ATI/AMD GPU's.

I've setup and used dozens of flavors of linux on MANY different hardware configurations, including both Intel platforms, AMD platforms, AMD GPU's, Nvidia GPU's, AMD APU's.

In my experience, any configuration can wind up needing some "work" to get proper functionality from. Whether it be an oddball wifi card in an Intel laptop that needs non-free kernel modules, or an adjustment to boot parameters to get an AM3+ machines IOMMU working properly, or a "fix" of a configuration file to get HDMI audio going to the proper channels.


The good rule of thumb with linux, is that the newer it is, the less support there is for it. For Debian Testing/Ubuntu based distros like Linux Mint, anything newer than 6-12+ months may not be supported yet. For rolling release distros, like Arch based Manjaro (my preference), hardware will be supported sooner, sometimes within weeks or months. I don't expect to see a ready made install image for a mainstream linux distro skylake ready for at least a few more months.


The AM1 platform will do what you want.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU AMD 5350 2.05Ghz Quad-Core Processor $49.99 @ Directron
Motherboard Asus AM1I-A Mini ITX AM1 Motherboard $40.99 @ Newegg
Memory Crucial 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $33.99 @ Amazon
Storage A-Data Premier SP550 240GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $69.99 @ Amazon
Case Antec ISK 110 VESA Mini ITX Desktop Case w/90W Power Supply $75.49 @ Amazon
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $270.45
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-11-10 10:40 EST-0500

Would the integrated GPUs on the i3's like say the 4400 play 1080p video at 30fps smoothly?

Actually the HD4400/4600 found on i3's, and even the "HD video" found on Haswell Pentiums will provide accelerated decode of H.264 up to 4K resolution.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

If an i3 with just its integrated GPU can smoothly run 1080p video I may go with that option in a micro ATX case. I already have HD's and RAM.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Yea an i3 is actually massively overkill for 1080P playback. It has enough CPU grunt to do software decoding at 1080P of basically any codec out there, and the GPU provides fixed function decoding for H.264 and prior common codecs.

I would advise an i3-4170 at this time if you want an i3.

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