I recently upgraded my Kodi streaming box (or home theater PC). I wanted to share my experiences with the old and the new to help any of you out there looking for a new home theater PC. Hope this helps!
Goodbye to My Old HTPC
My old Home Theater PC for streaming Kodi, which was the Acer Aspire Revo r3700, was starting to show its age. Don’t get me wrong, it has been a great little HTPC that played Kodi perfectly fine for many years. However, it only had 2 GB of RAM which was quite low and was very light on CPU power.
A couple of years ago, I actually got whole new life out of this under-powered computer by swapping out the hard drive with a new solid state drive (SSD). What this did was allow for very fast memory swapping to the SSD as opposed to the incredibly slow memory swap on the old hard drive.
Anyway, eventually it started to show its age again in the form of not being able to upgrade to Windows 10 due to video card drivers and also having random issues with video like blanking out the screen when Kodi goes full screen (until restarting Kodi). That, and it started slowing down again, probably due to the SSD degrading in performance over time because of so much reads and writes from memory swapping.
So, I figured it was about time to upgrade!
Shopping for a New HTPC
I’ve done a lot of research of HTPC options on the market and I actually wrote a blog post where I gave a list of top Kodi Streaming HTPCs in 2015. However, when I went to search for one to buy myself, I ended up going with something else!
The first criteria for me was to go with a Windows computer just because I was most familiar with it. I could have gone with an Android box, which would actually be a good solution for most people, but for me, I wanted to use EventGhost translate certain remote IR commands to automate some functions. I also wanted to use my TV tuner with antenna and run the Argus TV back-end it.
My Choice, the ASUS VivoPC
So, the computer that stood out to me as having decent specs for a great price (and also looks pretty cool), was the ASUS VivoPC VM42-S075V.
Regarding the plug it has, this thing has everything I want…
- HDMI out (in addition to VGA)
- 6 USB ports (2 are USB 3.0)
- Audio features mic in, line in, headphones out, optical out, and even a built-in speaker.
- It even has an SD card slot
Internal specs are sufficient for a basic HTPC…
- Intel Celeron processor
- 4 GB of RAM
- 500 GB Hard Drive (which I’m sure I’ll eventually swap out with an SSD)
Easy Hard Drive Upgrades
Now, about the swapping of the hard drive, this little computer has a very unique feature that’s pretty cool. You can slide an unlock switch in the back to open the top panel exposing the hard drive for an easy upgrade.
Want Something with More Power? VivoPC VC62B
Being budget-conscious, I chose that model of ASUS VivoPC mainly because of the “bang for your buck” you get with it.
However, if you want to kick it up a notch and get something a bit higher end, the VivoPC VC62B might be what you’re looking for.
Here are the added benefits of this model:
- 4th gen Intel Core i5 processor
- Usually comes with 4 GB of RAM, can go up to 16 GB
- Usually comes with a 1 TB hard drive instead of 500 GB
- DisplayPort++ instead of VGA
- 4 USB 3.0 ports and 2 USB 2.0 ports
My Experience with My ASUS VivoPC
Here are my
- It hasn’t crashed or froze yet (which is more than I can say for my previous HTPC).
- It looks cool in my entertainment center.
- It feels like a well-designed product and stuff just works.
- It successfully upgraded from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 when I first got it.
- It’s not the fastest computer, but I know that’s because it has a hard drive (probably with 5400 RPM). But I’m ok with that knowing that I’ll upgrade it to SSD some day. But for now, it’s not too bad.
What do You Think?
Did you give one of these a shot? What do you think? Does it serve you well, or have issues?
Any other model recommendations you think are better than these?