General Performance Metrics

We are not going to compare our build with full-blown desktop solutions. Instead, we will see how the unit stacks up to some of the low power offerings that have graced our labs. Some of the benchmarks have been run for the first time, and hence, not all benchmarks are available for all units. In addition, we are only presenting benchmark results for our build under Windows 8.

Windows Performance Index

This metric is often considered meaningless, but we feel it serves as an indicator of what could be the bottleneck in a system. On Windows 8, systems can score up to 9.9 on this metric, compared to 7.9 on Windows 7.

Given that we have equipped the system with SSDs and the RAM runs at the prescribed maximum of 1600 MHz, it is no surprise that the HD 4000 GPU is responsible for a score of 4.7 for the system.

Futuremark Benchmarks

Futuremark PCMark 7

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark11

Futuremark 3DMark06

Miscellaneous Benchmarks

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R11.5

Starting with this review, we are going to utilize Graysky's x264 Benchmark v5.0 for testing out x264 encoding performance. Instead of just presenting benchmarks for our build alone, we took the opportunity to run the benchmark on two HTPC units we reviewed earlier.

Video Encoding - x264 v5.0 64b

Video Encoding - x264 v5.0 64b

There are no surprises in the benchmarks, with the CPU performance befitting a 55W TDP unit. The absence of four physical cores does hurt it against the i7-based units in the above graphs (and would have showed in the x264 benchmark too, if we had run it on a i7-based system). However, this is not a concern for most HTPC workloads.


Introduction Network Streaming Performance - Netflix
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  • BReal - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    In every test I still wonder about how Linux/Ubuntu (insert random distro) will preform these would a linux setup do it's job? :)
  • Gigaplex - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    It's usually pretty good with the proprietary NVIDIA drivers. Other platforms, not so much, you're generally better off with Windows in terms of performance.
  • powerarmour - Monday, January 21, 2013 - link

    Pretty good with the Intel Mesa drivers too, VA-API is quite well supported now, especially in XBMC.
  • Fx1 - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    Home Theatre PC? LOL

    My Panasonic GT50 will play MKV ripped full 45gb Blu rays right off a HDD without problem

    i have netflix and a ton of other video stuff right on the TV.

    I fail to see why you would spend any money on a HTPC any more.
  • Bob Todd - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    Your Plasma TV has built in CableCard tuners and terabytes of storage for DVR duty? CableCard leases are usually ~$2 a month vs. ~$10-20 a month for DVRs from your cable company. It's easy to have 8+ HD tuners with basically limitless storage with WMC. HTPCs can be a lot more than glorified media streamers, and your TV doesn't come anywhere close to fulfilling all of the use cases a HTPC can.
  • Fx1 - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    For a start the UK doesnt suffer your cable company issues. We have 2 providers that are not that expensive and include DVR for FREE. Plus you can connect a 2TB HDD to the TV and play Blu ray rips and record like a DVR on the same drive. God knows why you would want to store all those TV shows anyway they are pretty much on every torrent website anyway. Quite frankly a HTPC in this era just isnt worth the money. No matter how you spin it
  • ganeshts - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    Problems start cropping up when the decoder in your GT50 refuses to play the MKV off the torrent site.

    I bet your GT50 doesn't do HD audio bitstreaming, and I am pretty sure the online experience (quick check up of something on the browser or automatic metadata downloading) doesn't work out to be the same as that of a HTPC.

    Even without using tuners, I would recommend going the HTPC route if you can afford it.
  • jeffkibuule - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    I just recently ran into the problem where my Samsung TV would play some, but not all MKVs I've downloaded. Plus, the interface for playing video files on a NAS is terrible on all devices. Pretty much any app is better. UI, metadata, and remembering how much of a video you played is just as important as being able to watch a video.
  • Bob Todd - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    DVRs usually aren't really "free", they just increase the package price to compensate. My HTPC has already paid for itself and is now saving me money every single month. That isn't "spin", it's just a fact. And your entire post is ludicrous considering you are pointing out geographical differences and that your situation doesn't match everyone else's, then turn around and say nobody has a reason to have a HTPC. Your provider gives as many DVRs as you want for free? Here some providers include one "for free" but the package is really another ~$20 a month vs. leasing a CableCard. And every 2nd/3rd/4th DVR or STB you need is more money out the window every single month. It cracks me up how myopic people like you can be and how you think your single use case applies to everyone on the planet.
  • Fx1 - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    Our 1TB DVR is free and quite honestly not that much of a big deal. There must be some weird American obsession with recording tv shows that the rest of the world doesn't share. To build a pc for the sole purpose is pretty extreme.

    Also I have yet to have an mkv that won't play on the Panasonic tv. I was surprised myself but really this review just shows how a htpc is just an excuse to build a pc

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