I have a surplus of DDR3, so I'd like to upgrade my HTPC to use it. Currently, HTPC has an MSI Speedster A4R with Core Solo T1350 1.86GHz CPU and 2GB DDR2. The onboard GMA950 video is plenty adequate to play DVDs, downloaded 720p MKVs, and broadcast HDTV at 720p resolution to my old ED projector (InFocus SP4805). The HTPC is built into a butchered-up case from an old Zapstation internet appliance and using a proprietary power supply of unknown wattage. It originally had a flex-ATX Pentium III board in it, if that gives an idea of what its power output might be.
I will probably be upgrading to an MSI Socket 1155 board, but I'm not sure if a Celeron G440 will be good enough or if I should go for the G530. Here are my thoughts and concerns:
- Status quo performs quite well using Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit, and I know a Celeron G440 will exceed status quo. However, I would like to be able to play Blu-Ray discs in the near future and am also considering to upgrade to a full 1080p projector. Will a Celeron G440 be good enough to handle Blu-Ray discs, output at 1080p?
- Celeron G440 consumes 17W less power under load than a G540 according to Xbitlabs, that might be preferable so as not to stress a PSU that originally powered a P-III. It's the primary reason I'm considering the G440 at all.
- This machine is ONLY an HTPC. It has no other function. I don't multitask or run anything other than Windows Media Center on it, which makes me think dual core may not be of any benefit (I don't notice the lack of dual core right now). I fire it up to play a movie, shut it down when finished. It does not sit idle for long periods of time. Idle power consumption is no concern, load consumption is my only concern because I don't want to blow up the proprietary PSU.
- G530 is only $9-10 more than a G440, which isn't a lot more for a much better CPU - which will completely go to waste if I never take advantage of the additional performance (doubtful that I would need the 2nd core and additional speed, unless the additional performance affects Blu-ray playback). However, it's not a whole lot of money to waste either.
I also plan to build another cheap little PC using an ECS motherboard I bought on a Black Friday deal. This PC's only purpose is to be a sequencer and tone generator for a MIDI keyboard controller. It will do absolutely nothing else. I'm thinking this won't require a very powerful machine, because I remember people used to do this with Amigas and 8MHz compact Macs. It'll be going into a small Coolermaster Elite 100 case with 150W PSU. So similar question to above, should I go G440 or G530 on this?