Low powered computer thread

Santilli

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#42
Personally, I use my HTPC for video playback, not for running passmark. What's the connection between passmark (which is largely integer math) and video plaback?
If you have a better benchmark for video playback feel free to post it.
 

Mercutio

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#43
It's not really something that needs to be benchmarked. Either your computer can handle modern compressions and resolutions or it can't. Video decoding in most cases is a matter of having hardware support in the GPU; the only edge cases are when you're dealing with something that doesn't support modern codecs or something so low-end that support isn't available.
 

Santilli

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#44
I'm trying to establish a baseline of what components are likely to function quickly enough to fulfill office functions and video playback.
Blu-ray does tax some low end systems.
Define the floor of Blu-ray playback for CPUs and GPUs.
At least 27" screen, 1080P.

The point of a benchmark is so you don't have to BUY a computer to find this out:

"Either your computer can handle modern compressions and resolutions or it can't."
 

Mercutio

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#46
Blu-ray does tax some low end systems.
Decoding VP8 or x.264 is something that's supported by every modern GPU from Intel and AMD. If you've got something that has a Radeon HD 3x00 or its equivalent (that's a ~4 year old chipset), it's baked in. Intel is in a little different boat, since the older and still common GMA3x00 series integrated graphics is missing some hardware decode support, but anything that's branded Intel HD graphics should be fine.

If you're looking at workstation or server hardware, you'll run into some oddball stuff. SuperMicro is shipping motherboards right now with decade old Matrox chips and I've seen ATI Rage and S3 stuff on reasonably modern motherboards as well. That's not low end but video decoding isn't exactly a normal usage in that case.

Yes, it's completely possible to put together a new machine that can't do hardware high definition video decoding. You'd probably have to start with something that still needs LGA775 and pair it with something that uses old integrated graphics from Intel.

Even for a machine like that, as long as it's a desktop it should be possible to add some kind of proper dedicated graphics if you saw that it was an issue. Buy the least expensive revision of a modern-ish ATI card and the problem should go away.
 

Stereodude

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#48
Decoding VP8 or x.264 is something that's supported by every modern GPU from Intel and AMD. If you've got something that has a Radeon HD 3x00 or its equivalent (that's a ~4 year old chipset), it's baked in. Intel is in a little different boat, since the older and still common GMA3x00 series integrated graphics is missing some hardware decode support, but anything that's branded Intel HD graphics should be fine.
I'm not knowledgeable about VP8, but x264 video can be encoded in such a way that they can't be DXVA hardware decoded. Likewise hardware DXVA decoding only works if the encode uses the proper settings. Blu-Ray's however support hardware decoding.
 

Santilli

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#49
Thank you all for the suggestions. It's time to move forward on replacing components.
I can't seem to find a full sized motherboard for a decent price from Gigabyte for this socket. Looks like I'm going with the mini:

GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128495
119.00
Intel Core i3-2120T
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115094
135.00
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115078
The 2100 or 2120 seems to be a better value, speed/money wise, but, it's a 65W vs 35W chip.
At the levels I would be running I wonder if I'd see much difference?

Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600Mhz 1.35v CT2KIT51264BD160B
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148477
38.00

The better of the two Seasonic's in the two dead machines: 500W
Use the Vertex Turbos, 30 gigs, one for XP SP3 one for 7.
Hot Swap Antec drive bay.

External Bluray player by Plextor.

Jury is out on this:
Antec KUHLER Shelf 120 mm
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...9030&Tpk=Antec KUHLER Shelf 120 mm
52.00

I do have Vantec 80 MM Stealths in the back of the case.

Total cost around 300 dollars.

Fast enough, and thank you all for your suggestions.
 

CougTek

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#50
A 52$ cooler to sit on top of a 35W processor :thumbright: Go Greg. I found Newegg to be quite an expensive place to buy heatsinks. If that's your only choice and you absolutely don't want to stick with the retail heatsink (which is good enough for a dual-core i3) and you also want a top-down cooler, then opting for something like the Cooler Master Gemini S524 would at least have the merit to save you some cash. I personally prefer Scythe or Thermalright heatsinks because the fans they ship with those are generally quieter than average, but Newegg doesn't seem to sell Thermalright's stuff and they are too expensive on Scythe's coolers.

Replacing your old Vantec Stealth by Nexus 80mm fans should also bring the noise of your system down. Thinking about it, omiting the case fans entirely would also bring the noise down. For such a low power build, they are almost certainly optional rather than mandatory.
 

Santilli

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#51
I think David explained the idea behind that cooler. He uses it to move air in the case and turns off the case fans to bring down noise. Thank you for the suggestions. I'll have a look at those as an alternative. Unlike DD, sometimes I do NOT want
to spend a lot of money when maybe the stock cooler would work, or just turning on one of the 80mm fans, and using the stock cooler.

This is SO weird. Yesterday we had a power black out. It put the UPS on Battery. The computer*HTPC) wouldn't boot. I rebooted the UPS, let it charge back up, and the computer just started up.

Yesterday GF came over and was in my room, since her computer wouldn't start up, while she waited for me. She needed the computer so she could take notes for her class.

I can't figure out what would cause it to be so flaky. Do the switches on Antec 160's go bad? Most of you probably don't have spoiled rich brats for girlfriends. My GF expects, and has had before, my tech support, along with everyone's here,
and enjoyed the benefits with little understanding of the problems. Due to this, that is one of the reasons I would like to still hang on to the stupid Xerox printer/copier. She's used to it, and works well with it. I can't tell you how priceless that is.


I know I just replaced the power supply in the server before it went south.

Cougtek I want to clear a bit of air. You, and everyone here has been very helpful. I'm sorry I take stuff off topic, like I'm doing right now, but, I sort of thought that was one of the really neat features of this forum, that most didn't care, or accepted that that happens.

Also I get money in splurges, with problems in splurges. Right now my car can't make up it's mind if it wants to start, needs a control arm, and has some oil leaks.
On the otherhand, it ran fine after I push started it this morning.

At the same time I have the IRS sitting on the right with the hand out saying if you don't spend money on your home office system, we are going to take it anyway.
 

Santilli

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#52
I'm currently owed over 2000 dollars. 1325 just came in yesterday, and that isn't part of the 2000. California school districts are incredibly slow to pay, and that lack of cash flow makes me very reluctant to pull the trigger on certain options, and computer stuff.
When I do, I want to make sure I'm getting the best value for my dollars. There is one constant: what you pay 100 dollars for today in tech, will be worth 50 in two weeks(Except my AGP 4670 card, which, like the dodo, brings a lot of money since nothing is close).
 

Santilli

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#53
Now the HTPC, which didn't start for awhile, is starting up everytime. :scratchinghead: icon needed.

So, until I'm sure it's dead I'll let the parts prices go down and the bios fixes come out. In other words let the rest of the market
do the beta work for the companies.
 

Santilli

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#55
Thank you!
:scratch: Today, when I wanted to use the HTPC it wouldn't start. Tonight, when I didn't care and was just checking it booted right up. :scratch:

Wonder if the memory controller is going on the chip like it did on the 3200.
 

Santilli

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#57
I'll have a look. This was the same board that the other processor died in, exhibiting the same symptoms. Eventually the memory controller on the chip went. Something on the board is causing this or it's the chips time to die.

No more trying to fix it. I am about ready to go for a new setup.
 

LiamC

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#58
In every case I've experienced that symptom - PC may, or may not turn on when the power button is pushed - the culprit has been the power supply.
 

Santilli

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#59
Thanks. I have a relatively new one in the dead server. I can swap it in no problem. Later this afternoon. That's the only component, other then a video card that I have to test this system with.
 

Santilli

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#60
Seems to have fixed itself. Hasn't been bad in weeks. Famous last words. Bought a couple APC voltage regulators. Figure I'll plug the APC's into them?
 
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#65
Just finishing a significantly low-voltage build:

Intel i3-2120T
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H
OCZ NOC-MSATA120G
2x Crucial 4GB 1.35v
PicoPSU 65W

Still getting Win7 installed on it, but next chance I have I'll get it on a Kill-a-watt.
 
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#67
I've gone through 2 kill-a-watts and the numbers can't be right. <7W idle and ~10W max load. I'll try to find something more accurate for these small loads.
 

MaxBurn

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#69
I find it worth having a quality meter around like about any fluke that has seen calibration. Adding an amp clamp isn't a stretch to add from there. I am still very sad my 8060A died, thinking about getting it repaired but my work requires me to have a couple of the newer series 87 meters so I am not lacking. Also the batter on my 123 is dead, but works enough to turn on when plugged in for five minutes or so.
 

LunarMist

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#70
I have one of those old Flukes from about 20 years ago when I was designing power supplies, etc. It was about $400 IIRC. Im not sure if it is still accurate. Are they still calibratable?
 

time

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#71
AFAIK, clamps are useless for low loads. You'd also need your multimeter to be able to properly integrate voltage and current to get true RMS under inductive loads, as opposed to just an average.
 
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#72

time

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#73
:eek:

Okay, I'm impressed - VERY impressed. I assume the only fan is the stock Intel CPU fan? Do you have a link to the Pico PSU?
 

time

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#78
Doesn't that adapter just pass the 12V line straight through? I suspect the super numbers are more due to whichever brick that you're using.

Any chance you can plug in a conventional PSU to see what difference it makes to the numbers? I'm starting to think that the 400W PSUs I'm using are running below 50% efficiency most of the time.
 

BingBangBop

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#80
The efficiency of a 1200W PS at 13W-40W is supposed to suck. Most PS seem to be at their highest efficiency at 50% max and drop off on both sides. A high efficiency PS will drop off less but nothing will do well at this extreme. You need a low power PS to operate efficiently at 13W-40W.
 
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