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Raspberry Pi (HTPC) hardware parts

Can I Use A Raspberry Pi 4 As My HTPC?

  • Adam Douglas
  • htpc

I’ve had several home theater PC (HTPC) system setups since circa 2005 and for some reason over the years I moved away from them using apps instead. I even went to the point of doing transcoding to allow for multiple systems to access the media server (comptuer, gaming consoles, etc). I honestly just don’t recall why I did this since it goes against what I like to do and believe in. A few years back I was given an old Toshiba Satellite S70D-A laptop that came out around 2013. The screen connectivity is broken but I didn’t really care because it was going to be hooked up to my Samsung 50” TV (UN50MU6300). The laptop does have decent power but it just can’t handle processing video without issues to a 50” TV let alone being able to play old emultaor games. I feel like something more is damaged with this laptop that I can’t visual see. Here is the specifications of the laptop.

Toshiba Satellite S70D-A

  • Processor: AMD A Series Quad-Core Mobile Processor A10-5750M(2.5GHz/3.5GHz, 4MB L2Cache) with AMD AllDay Power
  • RAM: Samsung 12GB DDR3 1600 (8GB x1, 4GB x1)
  • HDD: 1TB SATA (5400 RPM)
  • GPU: AMD Radeon HD 8650G–Integrated up to 6241MB (64bit OS) dynamically allocated shared graphics memory with 12GB of system memory
  • LAN: Atheros802.11 bgn+ BT
  • Optical: DVD Super-Multi Double Layer
  • Camera: Integrated HD Web Camera
  • Display: 17.3” 16:9 TFT Active Matrix colour LCD with LED backlight, resolution:1600x900x16.7 million colours

I dream some day of building a computer system for my HTPC that is small form factor and into stylish case. However I just don’t have the finacial means to do just that at this time. Therefore I thought what if I can do this with a singe-board computer (SBC), such as a Raspberry Pi 4 for the time being? I will not be able to do everything but I will have the advantage of inexpensive hardware and low power consumption. So without much more thought I ordered my self the following items. I realize with the case I purchased I shouldn’t require the heatsinks but I thought to be safe why not since they don’t cost very much. For those interested I purchased everything from buyaPi.ca.

Parts List

  • Rasberry Pi 4 Model B 8GB
  • Ethernet cable: 1.5m (5’) CAT6
  • Case: Flirc Raspberry Pi 4 Case
  • Power supply: 5.1V 3.0A USB-C, black
  • Memory card: SanDisk Ultra 16GB microSD HC I
  • Heatsink: aluminum (3 pack)
  • Video cable: 1m (3’) Micro-HDMI to HDMI, black

Raspberry Pi 4 Specifications

  • Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.5GHz
  • 2GB, 4GB or 8GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM (depending on model)
  • 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, BLE
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports; 2 USB 2.0 ports.
  • Raspberry Pi standard 40 pin GPIO header (fully backwards compatible with previous boards)
  • 2 × micro-HDMI ports (up to 4kp60 supported)
  • 2-lane MIPI DSI display port
  • 2-lane MIPI CSI camera port
  • 4-pole stereo audio and composite video port
  • H.265 (4kp60 decode), H264 (1080p60 decode, 1080p30 encode)
  • OpenGL ES 3.1, Vulkan 1.0
  • Micro-SD card slot for loading operating system and data storage
  • 5V DC via USB-C connector (minimum 3A*)
  • 5V DC via GPIO header (minimum 3A*)
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE) enabled (requires separate PoE HAT)
  • Operating temperature: 0 – 50 degrees C ambient

I honestly don’t know what software or operating system I will end up using in the end. I have to do some testing first before I get too deep into this adventure. I’m sure I will need to tweak this hardware a bit before everything will work smoothly.

Feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions or issues you would like to share with me.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting 100DaysToOffload.com.