I'm considering setting up a PC as a Media Center. Mainly to watch movies (ideally HD quality) and listening to music, but also to perform tasks like e-mail, web browsing, ...

I quite like the looks and the price of this barebone: http://www.asus.de/Barebone_PC/S_Series_7L/S2P8H61E

However it comes with integrated graphics and audio and only has one free PCI-Express slot. Which would mean in the worst case, where both integrated graphics and audio turn out to be insufficient, I could only upgrade one.

So is integrated graphics and audio sufficient for a media center solution?

Cheers, Will

  • 1
    In this configuration, any Integrated Graphics (or lack thereof) is the responsibility of your CPU, not the motherboard. I was actually bitten by this issue myself on a similar build (I installed a quad core i5, which I hadn't realised does not include integrated intel graphics, so had to add a graphics card). If you select an appropriate Core i3 with integrated HD Graphics you should be fine. – PJC Nov 10 '12 at 9:31
  • Thanks, I was thinking of buying the Intel Core i3 2100 BOX, 3.1GHz, LGA 1155, 2C/4T. – Will Nov 10 '12 at 9:33
  • Can't speak for US pricing, but here in the UK you can get the 3225 for £20 more (~€30) and it'll happily handle whatever HTPC tasks you throw at it. – Richard Nov 10 '12 at 10:21

I know a few people using integrated graphics just fine with Windows Media Centre. I'm running an Atom based nettop with only 2GB (!) and it'll handle 1080p fine as long as it isn't streamed.

Personally I would get the CPU with the Intel HD4000 which is more than adequate for your needs. Something like the Core i3-3225 would be great and not too expensive.

Don't forget that some of your memory will be required by the GPU, so grab 8GB if you can and allocate 2GB to the GPU. To be honest, 4GB (with 3GB for Windows) should be fine too - but the difference in price between 4 and 8GB these days is minimal.

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  • Thanks. I'm taking that into consideration now, but the 3225 won't be compatible with the barebone integrated graphics as far as I can see, since it requires a Sandy Bridge CPU, so I maybe the Intel Core i3 2125 (HD3000)? – Will Nov 10 '12 at 10:31
  • Good spot and apologies for missing that. The 2125 looks to be a good option. – Richard Nov 10 '12 at 10:52
  • alright, ordered my barebone incl. components :) – Will Nov 11 '12 at 15:32

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