Building a HTPC from an old PC - the right GPU

  • Hello everyone,


    so I remembered that I have a old mobo with RAM and a CPU from my old PC. It's an Asus P5K-SE, with 4GB of DDR2 RAM and a Q8200 2.33GHz Quad Core CPU.

    I'm planning to build a HTPC out of it (a really big one when looking at the mobo's size) and I'm sure about this current hardware, a quad core cpu and 4 gigs of ram will hopefully be enough to run Kodi.


    My question is.: because I'm short on cash, I'm looking for a NVidia GT 6/7 series. I'm trying to decide between a GT730 (with a fan) and a GT630 (without a fan) for around the same price (±30€). Because it's a HTPC, I'm trying to keep the noise down, and then I want the GT630, but, being afraid of too low perfomance, I think of the GT730.


    Please, if somebody can try to help me decide which one I should get and why, also please recommend if there's a better gpu for this price range.

    Also, I'm not looking into something futureproof. NOTE: I'm not going to run anything higher than 1080p.


    Also, are those components supported by LibreELEC?


    Thanks in advance. :)

  • I now use a $40 ARM device which runs Kodi fine.

    No need for cooling and no noise.

    Tiny size so easy position.


    I had previously built a new HTPC and regretted how much I spent on it.

    I later used an old Dell dual core Pentium machine saved from the dump, as the backend, with the wee ARM device as the client at the TV.


    You might be better served using the old PC as a server/NAS/backend for holding media files and maybe tuners - no need for any good graphics for that either and it can generally be managed remotely so it could be put out of the way where its size and noise won't interfere.

  • For fully supported HDMI output (with 1920x1080 px = Full HD) you need at least AMD Radeon HD 5xxx (or above) or nVidia GT 2xx (or above).

    Ideal are (TDP < 20W - passive cooling) HD 5450, HD 6450, GT 210, GT 710, GT 720.

    Pentium Q8200 is more than sufficient.

    4 GB DDR2 too.


    My experience confirms, that for everything in full HD is enough Core 2 Duo 2,66+ GHz or Core Quad 2,33+ GHz (more powerful is of course not a fault :-).

    Those CPUs can suprisingly with Libreelec handle common H265 HDR streams too (only up to full HD, of course - no 2k or 4k videos!).


    1GB of system memory is fully suficient.


    I am using Intel G31+E8400, 1GB DDR2 800, Radeon HD 5450 1GB DDR2 (complete consumption at the wall - idle 38W, burn 66W).

    i am using it with small pico PSU (10 USD) and home-made 12V/8A switching supply (from spare part - 7 USD).


    From second-hand components this can be completed very cheaply.


    Now I am preparing new Librelec machine for friends - I bought old ITX board with Celeron 1037U (for 12 USD) with HDMI output.

    Edited 4 times, last by harrym ().

  • Well, firstly I wanted to use RPi3, seemed liked the best way, but, in my country people are selling those for such an unreasonable price (and only RPis are sold here, nothing else of that kind), and when you actaully see how much I would spend on the gpu and psu for the old pc, it's much cheaper than buying a RPi, sure, RPi has other fuctions than just being used as a Kodi device, but that's all I need right now.

    And I really don't need something to hold my stuff on a network, got one TV in the whole house so I don't really need anything special in that kind.


    I really appreciate your answer!

  • Well, firstly I wanted to use RPi3...

    Yes, I've been thinking the same way. :-) RPi 3 is too expensive (compared to, for example, Orange Pi, but there is no full support) for what it can do. Finally, I came to the conclusion that putting Kodi on the x86-64 scraps comes out for the same money and is a much more versatile solution.

  • Get a Raspberry Pi 3 B+.

    but, in my country people are selling those for such an unreasonable price

    Why not import it from China for a reasonable price? Way better option than buying a crappy videocard for a crappy PC :)

    Raspberry Pi 3B+ is a great choice if you don't need 4K.

  • Get a Raspberry Pi 3 B+.

    Why not import it from China for a reasonable price? Way better option than buying a crappy videocard for a crappy PC :)

    Raspberry Pi 3B+ is a great choice if you don't need 4K.

    Nah, need to wait too long for it, also, whenever I ordered something from China it was never what I actually ordered... but still, buying it here you get ONLY the board, now, you have to get a non-knockoff power supply for it, also a quality SD card (if u want it smooth)... and again the price goes much higher than a gpu and a psu.

  • Thanks, that's the info I needed!

  • Well, firstly I wanted to use RPi3, seemed liked the best way, but, in my country people are selling those for such an unreasonable price (and only RPis are sold here, nothing else of that kind), and when you actaully see how much I would spend on the gpu and psu for the old pc, it's much cheaper than buying a RPi, sure, RPi has other fuctions than just being used as a Kodi device, but that's all I need right now.

    And I really don't need something to hold my stuff on a network, got one TV in the whole house so I don't really need anything special in that kind.


    I really appreciate your answer!

    Yes, all the R-Pi devices IMO are overpriced here also, by the time you have case & PSU etc.

    There are very cheap ARM devices that come with Android which can be booted with LibreElec or CoreELEC and much better value than the R-Pi. Some are even 4K capable.

    Have a read about Allwinner, Amlogic and other devices & development in the community section to see what is available.


    All I suggest is you consider it ..... ;)

  • For fully supported HDMI output (with 1920x1080 px = Full HD) you need at least AMD Radeon HD 5xxx (or above) or nVidia GT 2xx (or above).

    Ideal are (TDP < 20W - passive cooling) HD 5450, HD 6450, GT 210, GT 710, GT 720.

    Please note that Nvidia GPUs will no longer be supported as per LibreELEC 10. Dropping VDPAU support by Nvidia as well as the lack of developer interest to bring NVDEC's shady setup into Kodi, makes it that Intel UHD and AMD Ryzen are the better choices for a future HTPC.


    Should you want to use Nvidia graphics, then Windows is your only choice. Nvidia VDPAU under Linux has only had support for 8 bit, 10 bit video support has never been in the picture.

  • Please note that Nvidia GPUs will no longer be supported as per LibreELEC 10...

    Nice to know it.

    I think, it is not problem. Libreelec 10 will be actual since 2020. And at least until version 11 (2021-2022?) will be still able to use version 9 for add-on compatibility.

    I do not understand exactly, but it is written somewhere that VDPAU can operate as a VAAPI subdriver.

    Canceling support for nVidia graphics is a shame because nVidia makes the only true 14nm graphics for the HTPC - GT 1030.

    But I think it will not be so bad, because at that time, almost free (<10 USD) to get used second-hand Intel UHD processor boards.

  • Oh well, that's sad to hear.

    But, if it's true that harrym says that's it's going to be actual in 2020, I'm not really worried. That's a whole year ahead.