awesomerobot

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So, I'm looking to build a pretty low-end HTPC. I don't have a HDTV yet, so I'm likely to use the box with either my 30" LCD or via S-VIDEO on a big old rear-projection TV.

I've got just about everything figured out - but my main concern is Hulu. I know Flash doesn't yet seem to support hardware acceleration - so the processor is pretty important. My gaming rig has a Core2Duo @ 2.6GHZ - which obviously runs Hulu fine - but I'm not about to run a 800watt system as an HTPC all day.

So does anyone have experience with say, a 2.0-.2.4GHZ Dual Core Intel Celeron with Hulu? (or comparable AMD chip - I just have zero experience with AMD processor specs). Ideally I'd like to avoid bumping up to the C2D just because it's nearly twice the cost, but I'm not sure if it's possible.

Thanks!
 

loneninja

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My Athlon X2 7750 downclocked to 1.25Ghz is able to run hulu full screen with their hi def option lag free. My old single core Athlon 3500 is able to do the same. You'll be fine with a celeron.
 

awesomerobot

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Thanks guys - I've tried Hulu on an Atom processor in the past and it's complete failure, just shows how weak those things are. I was just mainly concerned because Hulu lists having a Core2Duo as recommended specs, which seemed oddly high to me.
 
Really, you couldn't run it on an Atom? I can run it on my Atom N270 just fine (though I have to stay with the lower res versions - if you try 480p or 720p, it fails miserably).
 

awesomerobot

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Hm really? I tried running it on my Dell Mini 9 which has a N270 and 2GB of RAM and even on the lowest quality it was unwatchable. I have heard a faster SSD can improve it, and I'm running it on OSX - so I may have to take another shot at that at some point.
 

joefriday

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That Celeron chip will work great. TBH, even single core Celerons work fine, especially when overclocked. The 2.0GHz Celeron e1400 will be a good buy to do what you want. You could also go with AMD. For around the same amount of money you can get an older athlon X2 K8 core which will also be sufficient. I myself use a Celeron 420 pin modded to 333fsb/2.66GHz. Works very well, although HD can still be a challenge.
 

joefriday

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It could be that OSX is the problem. I haven't used OSX, so I can't say that for certain, but I do know that flash video takes a massive amount of CPU power under ubuntu, way more than windows, even with adobe's own plugin.
 

shabaa

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If you really want to know the true system requirements needed on this for veiwing video from HULU then you need to look at the system requirements of Adobe Flash player 10. That is the software used for veiwing the streamed data. It is a plug-in on your browser. Your duo core is fine... I have viewed videos with an E2180 (and it worked fine. Good luck!
 

awesomerobot

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The specs for Flash 10 are pretty varied, and I wouldn't call them incredibly accurate - especially for Hulu; you're right though, it's good place to start

For example, the minimum are:
Intel® Pentium® II 450MHz, AMD Athlon™ 600MHz or faster processor
128MB of RAM

But for video at 720p you need:
Intel Pentium 4 3GHz, AMD Athlon™ 64 3400+ processor (or equivalent)
128MB of RAM
64MB of VRAM
 

dna708

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How about you just use an AMD 45 watt CPU? Unless you already have an Intel mobo, it'll take quite a bit less power if you leave it on all day with one of AMD's older 45 watt CPU's.
 
Not really - I think Intel's lower end 45nm duos are among the lowest power full desktop chips on the market right now. They don't use anything remotely close to their 65w TDP.
 

awesomerobot

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Thanks, I ended up going with
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116092

which seems like it should work out pretty well.
 

arthughes

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i have a 2.13ghz intel centrino cpu/1ghz ram in my laptop and it seriously struggles with hulu, even in its lowest quality (380p). Its totally unwatchable fullscreen, and glitches even in its default embedded size. My CPU shows pinned at 100% the entire time.

I cant believe it requires that much cpu power just to watch a low-res hulu video. Obviously the quad-core desktop i have breezes through it, but the cpu shows almost idle during fullscreen playback of 480p vids so i am a little confused why a single core cpu seems incapable of playing it smoothly.

The computer has a fresh reformat and is running Windows 7. Any suggestions to improve the playback?
 

donpacific2k

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arthuges... I've tried hulu on a single core 2.4ghz P4 which works OK, but even at the low quality there are some tearing issues with fullscreen (@1280x1024 in firefox). I've found that if you reduce the resolution to 800x600, this greatly smooths out the video. I suspect you will just barely be able to play fullscreen at reduced resolution with your processor since I am regularly in the 80-100% proc usage range on that PC. I have also observed the same phenomena of a dual core using disproportionately less cpu... perhaps this is due to the newer architecture?