To upgrade or not to upgrade HTPC... i3 530 to APU?


Supreme [H]ardness
Jun 11, 2003
Current system is a Core i3 530, 4gb of ram, and an AMD 5670 video card. My media is stored on a NAS. I have the video card in the system because I wanted to use gpu assisted rendering with LAV filters / media player classic.

I like the idea of going with an AMD APU but at the same time I almost feel like any newer gen Intel processor would work fine for what I want to do also. 95% of the time I watch movies and TV shows from the NAS and other times my wife just streams in the web browser.

Would one of the Haswell based i3s or Pentiums do what I want as well as the APU? I think it would be interested to build the tiniest ITX computer possible and then mount it to the back of my TV.



Nov 29, 2004
Intel NUC? I have a BE2350 with a GF9600 in one HTPC that does just fine. I also have an Intel Pentium of Sandy Bridge era that does just fine with the HD graphics. My main HTPC is another Sandy bridge Pentium with an AMD 5450, again, no problems. Playback is perfect with only a few percent of CPU usage.


Dec 17, 2005
I guess the biggest question you have to ask yourself is if your current system is seeing any slow down. If it has, are there any programs that might be slowing it down?
I would think an i3 would be fine for an HTPC.
My AMD APU is using just proc and mobo, no added cards of any kind and it does all HD with no slow downs. Their APU's are quite nice for this function.
Full 1080p video with 5.1 AC3, DTS and Blu-ray HD audio through XBMC works beautifully.

The Lurker

[H]F Junkie
Jul 1, 2001
My HTPC is a Q6600 and has no issue playing anything. I personally think if you got the video card to do the decoding the CPU is going to be irrelevant.
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Jan 30, 2001
Any processor of the current generation, either AMD or Intel, with on-board video is going to have PLENTY of hardware horsepower for playback of files.

If you are going to use the hardware acceleration for encoding, I'd go Intel.

Even an old AMD E-350 has plenty of hardware acceleration for playback of 1080p content as long as the hardware acceleration of the on-board video is used by the player software.