C2D still a viable and worthwhile purchase as an HTPC?

I really don't need this, but I find good deals hard to pass up and find myself trying to justify buying or not. I have found a local auction site that sells off old PCs that often go quite cheap. Small form factor HP DC7800/7900/8000 and Dell Optiplex 780/960 are the common ones I see containing C2D 3Ghz (I assume E8400) and 4gb ram (not sure which are DDR2 or DDR3). No hard drive and no windows. Sometimes they sell for $20-30.

Think it would be worth getting one, buying an SSD and putting linux on to make an HTPC? How is the integrated graphics for streaming 1080p? Would I need to buy a budget GPU as well to make it decent in that role? I never had much core 2 exposure, since I was with AMD that whole era.

I'm running a old Q9400 with 4gb DDR2, 500 gb hard drive, with integrated NVidia video for a HTPC. Works perfect with 1080p streaming from my server. It runs windows 10 and its fine. I'm pretty sure if I switched it to a E8400 it would be about the same.

If it has integrated video give it a shot, if it stutters to much guess add a cheap GPU in. The NVidia graphics is probably helping me out quite a bit. I believe a old 775 setup I had used a lot of CPU for video. I still have the board and could test this pretty easy. Think it was a Q33? chipset

Oh yeah, I believe most integrated video on those computers just have VGA out so you might have to get a cheap GPU anyway to get HDMI.

You 'could' go that route, but for a lower cost investment and much lower power consumption you could a flavour of Kodi on Raspberry Pi2 or 3. I currently have the Pi2 to and it has taken over as my HTPC (over my server doubling as an HTPC). With Emby installed on my media sever, it makes keeping a library very easy and lightweight for the Pi.

@Arinoth:

You 'could' go that route, but for a lower cost investment and much lower power consumption you could a flavour of Kodi on Raspberry Pi2 or 3. I currently have the Pi2 to and it has taken over as my HTPC (over my server doubling as an HTPC). With Emby installed on my media sever, it makes keeping a library very easy and lightweight for the Pi.

That is actually a really good idea that I haven't looked into. I don't honestly know too much about Pi and its limitations. Would it have any issues doing movie streaming from a website (I pretty much stream everything via netflix, or other online sources)? I assume things like keyboard with touchpad support would be a limitation of Kodi (I have a logitech k830 that I will be using for it), any chance you would have any experience with keyboardtrackpad use on it?

@Bond007:

That is actually a really good idea that I haven't looked into. I don't honestly know too much about Pi and its limitations. Would it have any issues doing movie streaming from a website (I pretty much stream everything via netflix, or other online sources)? I assume things like keyboard with touchpad support would be a limitation of Kodi (I have a logitech k830 that I will be using for it), any chance you would have any experience with keyboardtrackpad use on it?

The pi is not a bad way to go but why I stick with a pc on the TV box is for gaming. It's sometimes fun to use steam in home streaming. If your not running a Nvidia card then the pi won't work for it.

Also having full windows gives you the ability to mess around with more.

The pi is still a great option but it is not the be all end all media machine but it is a great option

@Bond007:

That is actually a really good idea that I haven't looked into. I don't honestly know too much about Pi and its limitations. Would it have any issues doing movie streaming from a website (I pretty much stream everything via netflix, or other online sources)? I assume things like keyboard with touchpad support would be a limitation of Kodi (I have a logitech k830 that I will be using for it), any chance you would have any experience with keyboardtrackpad use on it?

It shouldn't have any issues really, I know of people who use a Netflix plugin or other less than legal streaming addons that work right within Kodi itself. There is also Android in the works for Pi3, though I'm not sure how progressed it is. Personally I use my phone to control my OSMC running Kodi, but I doubt you should have any issues with a standard USB or wireless USB device.

One of the benefits of the Pi3 or over the Pi2 is that the Pi3 is a 64 bit processor and also natively includes Integrated 802.11n wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.1

Just tried Kodi on my pi2 and its pretty good actually. I might ditch the old socket 775 for this. Ill have to make sure wife will like it. It streams large video files off a windows share very well.

Thanks for the input guys. I think that I may try and grab a pi 3 at some point. You have pretty much convinced me a 775 setup would be a power/space user for no real gain with my intended uses. It just seems so cheap…man I love a deal.

@Soullessone21:

The pi is not a bad way to go but why I stick with a pc on the TV box is for gaming. It's sometimes fun to use steam in home streaming. If your not running a Nvidia card then the pi won't work for it.

Also having full windows gives you the ability to mess around with more.

The pi is still a great option but it is not the be all end all media machine but it is a great option

I gave it a bit of thought, and this really won't see any use other than streaming shows, and potentially occasional usb movie playing or basic web browsing. My desktop is connected to my main TV, so anything more intense than the above would be done on that TV.

Whelp… just to complicate things a tad bit for you.... instead of HTPC why not make your own NAS with it (and use your existing setup as the HTPC and a Pi for playing around with)? Downclock the CPU (as it would be overkill) and drop FreeNAS or Nass4Free (a branch of FreeNAS that came about as FreeNAS got bloated)... or even Windows HS on it.

If you say its a great deal...it would be hard to pass up and  Im sure that finding cheap 1TB or even 500GB hdds wouldnt be a prob. 😉

@GaK_45:

Whelp… just to complicate things a tad bit for you.... instead of HTPC why not make your own NAS with it (and use your existing setup as the HTPC and a Pi for playing around with)? Downclock the CPU (as it would be overkill) and drop FreeNAS or Nass4Free (a branch of FreeNAS that came about as FreeNAS got bloated)... or even Windows HS on it.

If you say its a great deal...it would be hard to pass up and  Im sure that finding cheap 1TB or even 500GB hdds wouldnt be a prob. 😉

haha. Definitely some interesting points in there, but that setup wouldn't work for my gaming…lol. Current PC has to stay in the room it's in (has a monitor for gaming, and connected to my nice TV for when it's needed). It's kind of a gaming/exercise/movie/entertainment room. My possible HTPC/Pi purchase would be for our other TV that is in the main living room area. It gets more day to day use, but is mostly used for the kids or when we are just hanging around.

The NAS idea is another good one that I never contemplated. You guys are trying to make me buy it all.

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