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I'm sure video cards are a good thing when streaming video but not sure about other components. I'll be buying a used business computer and trying to optimize for use and budget.
I7 vs I5?
What chip generation?
Edits: 12/15/21Follow Ups:
It really depends on whether you want to transcode the videos in the computer or only watch them at their original bit rate. Transcoding is very CPU intensive. Also, how many simultaneous streams will you be watching? If you are only watching at the original encoded bit rate and I5 will be able to stream 4K without a problem. Once you start transcoding while watching a movie everything changes. Some people will use handbrake (a transcoding app) and create multiple versions of all of their movies so they can watch them at the original bitrates without needing any transcoding. Of course, each version will take up disk space.
Thanks for the response... I still haven't pulled the trigger here.
Whats the benefit of transcoding. Not sure what it even is??
I'll be streaming off the various services and watching movies saved on a home NAS.
The computers I'm watching are all I7-6700 variants. I think they are old enough to hit the surplus market in high numbers, but not too old to be obsolete for a while. The trick is to find one that has SSD and a video card.
Technically, transcoding is converting any digital format to a different digital format. In the home theater world it is usually used to down rez movies. Let's say you buy a new movie on an UHD disc and you rip it onto your computer's hard drive for storage. It's original resolution is 3840 x 2160. If you watch the movie on a device at that resolution the computer will be able to display the movie at the original encoded resolution and no transcoding will need to take place. If you want to watch the movie on your laptop that has a resolution of 1920 X 1080 it won't display. You need to transcode the video file. You can either create an entirely new file at the new resolution of have software convert it on the fly. As you can imagine, transcoding on the fly is very CPU intensive.
I am far from being on expert on this topic but here are my thoughts.
I would make sure the machine has an HDMI output, the best graphics processor that can be found in the lot and and the latest generation Intel or AMD processor that could be found in the lot.
With Intel, the generation can be found after the dash in the processor model. An I5-7XXX is 7th generation, and I5-8XXX is 8th generation. This is extra important if the machine is using Intel integrated graphics as the graphics performance gains from generation to generation is significant.
8GB is sufficient memory. If desired I would also make sure the machine has a wireless network card and/or confirm that it has a wired network card.
An SSD is a really nice to have if available. Unless you are planning to store large amounts of information on the drive a 128GB hard drive is sufficient though a 256GB drive is preferred.
Ideally the machine will be Windows 11 compatible if you care about security patches after October 2025.
Depending upon what you are trying to do you might be better off or fine with a $50 Chromecast, FireStick TV, or Roku.
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