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  1. I have an old PC that i want to format and make use of as an HTPC for media Playback on a Plasma TV.

    Its specs though, arent all that good, and i cant even get to decode 720p properly. I even get stutters on SD content sometimes, but that may be a result of overcrowding this system with software and files, and possibly having some viruses, al of which, will get resolved after formatting the drive.

    The Rated specs are, AMD Athlon 64 @2.25GHz, 2GB DDR-400 Ram, ATI HD3870 500MB and a SATAII Seagate HDD.

    Will it be possible to get up to full 1080p Playback on such as system, once i format the drive and do a fresh OS install?

    Also would you think a liter OS, like some linux distro or MACOSX (x86 version) would benefit better and run smoother?
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  2. I think it's cheaper to invest in a new PC in your case.
    you need a new CPU ,and new memory = new motherboard
    new PSU
    whats your budget by the way?
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  3. No budget, i already have plenty of computers. Just got to make use of my older models somehow. Do you think that this PC wont be able to decode 1080p? Even satelite receivers can do that and they have 300-400Mhz MIPS processors, how is that possible??
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  4. Even with the slow single core CPU you should be able to get 720p60 or 1080p30 playback with an HD3870 if you use a player that supports DXVA. Try MPCHC. Of course, the files have to be encoded within DXVA specs otherwise (not too many b-frames or re-frames, etc.).
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  5. Member edDV's Avatar
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    And playback will be better for MPeg2 encoded HD video vs h.264 or VC-1. Older display cards only had acceleration for MPeg2.
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  6. I have already enabled DXVA on the current system, and most of the time it doesnt seem to make a difference.

    Also i never use MPEG-2 HD content.

    BTW, can DXVA be utilized on the alternative systems i mention (Linux/MAC)?
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  7. ATI started having h.264 playback with the HD 2400 generation. The HD 3870 should be fine.

    Note that DXVA is the name of the Microsoft API. Linux has hardware h.264 decoding but under different names. I'm not sure how widespread it is. And I suspect NVIDIA supports it better than ATI.

    http://www.splitted-desktop.com/~gbeauchesne/mplayer-vaapi/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Acceleration_API
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  8. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Ah, I missed the ATI HD3870. You should be getting h.264 playback with near zero CPU activity if everything is set right.
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  9. MPCHC should tell you when it's using DXVA, in the Status bar under the Seek bar. You may have to go into MPCHC settings and disable ffdshow (within MPCHC only) to get it to use DXVA.
    Pull! Bang! Darn!
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  10. In MPCHC be sure the DXVA h.264 decoder is enabled: View -> Options -> Internal Filters (left pane) -> Transform Filters -> H264/AVC (DXVA). Exit and restart MPCHC.
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  11. I have already succesfully enabled DXVA in the past, and it is confirmed showing on the filter properties.

    I'm just saying that i still keep getting droped frames, and stuttery playback at points even on 720p content. Have not yet dared to try 1080p.

    Maybe if i freshly install a new OS i will get better performance.


    BTW is there any way that both GPU and CPU work together for maximum performance?


    Or is it choose either one or the other for the decoding process?
    Also will prioritizing give better results (eg High priority on specific process)
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  12. Originally Posted by therock003 View Post
    I have already succesfully enabled DXVA in the past, and it is confirmed showing on the filter properties.

    I'm just saying that i still keep getting droped frames, and stuttery playback at points even on 720p content. Have not yet dared to try 1080p.
    What kind of CPU usage are you seeing during playback? Is that 720p24 or 720p60?
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  13. 720p24 but i will have to get back to you about the cpu usage as i'm currently not on this computer...
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  14. What OS are you currently using?

    If Windows, run Task Manager (ctrl + alt + del) and tell us a) how many processes you've got running after booting to the desktop, b) how much free memory is available, and c) what your average cpu usage is just sitting at the desktop with nothing else running other than the task manager.

    Have you got the dreaded Google desktop installed or the even more dreaded Windows search installed? If 'yes' to either then uninstall them. Likewise, if you haven't turned off windows' own file indexing services then do so.

    How much free space have you got on your main hard drive (where drive C: is)? Have you recently defragged it?

    Have you got things like skype and webcam software running? Is office and adobe reader automatically running each time you start windows? etc. What antivirus/internet security system have you got running? Is it/they checking each file as it's accessed? If you're running AVG free, go into the advanced settings and turn off the system caching - yes, it might speed up the avg scans but it will slow your system down the rest of the time. If running McAfee, is your system one of the many that suffers from McAfee hogging the cpu for long periods of time for no readily apparent reason? And lastly (unless I can think up some other stuff to ask you ) have you ever installed any codec packs?

    It's all very well concentrating on the whizzy, accelerated hardware in a system, but if it's clogged up with unnecessary background tasks and has been messed around with by often less than helpful codec packs, then it'll struggle with simple SD playback let alone anything HD.

    I'm guessing that as you're asking about Linux and MAC OSs that a) you are running windows and b) that you probably have less experience with MAC or Linux distros than windows in which case I'd probably advise against going down that route. I can't comment on MAC software, but all the Linux distros I've tried over the years have all been very different beasties to Windows and far, far more frustrating when something doesn't work as expected! If you do want to try Linux then I'd recommend Linux Mint (based on Ubuntu) as it seems to have a lot of multi-media stuff included in it's distros, the basic screen layout is closer to Windows than some other distros I've tried, and I've had the most out-of-the-box success with network and wireless network cards/usb adapters with Mint than any other flavour of Linux. (Since I found and got on OK with Mint a couple of years ago I haven't really tried anything else, so it may be that things have changed and that there are even better distros around now. I'm sure there are many people here who are far, far more knowledgable about linux than I am who will steer you in a better direction if I'm typing utter and outdated rubbish.)
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  15. What OS are you currently using?

    Windows Server 2003 32-bit

    If Windows, run Task Manager (ctrl + alt + del) and tell us a) how many processes you've got running after booting to the desktop, b) how much free memory is available, and c) what your average cpu usage is just sitting at the desktop with nothing else running other than the task manager.

    All of the microsoft process plus some generic process like catalyst control center, nokia service manager, netlimiter service, manictime, but most of the startup have been disabled. Same has been done with my services.

    Have you got the dreaded Google desktop installed or the even more dreaded Windows search installed? If 'yes' to either then uninstall them. Likewise, if you haven't turned off windows' own file indexing services then do so.

    Windows Search no, Google Desktop Yes, but i have already disabled it in the past from running on system startup.

    How much free space have you got on your main hard drive (where drive C: is)? Have you recently defragged it?

    It varies. Lots of times it drops to 3-7GB free, now it is up to 150GB free off a 500GB drive. No i do not defrag, i have been told it does nothing, and it does take a lot of time to do it.

    Have you got things like skype and webcam software running? Is office and adobe reader automatically running each time you start windows? etc. What antivirus/internet security system have you got running? Is it/they checking each file as it's accessed? If you're running AVG free, go into the advanced settings and turn off the system caching - yes, it might speed up the avg scans but it will slow your system down the rest of the time. If running McAfee, is your system one of the many that suffers from McAfee hogging the cpu for long periods of time for no readily apparent reason? And lastly (unless I can think up some other stuff to ask you ) have you ever installed any codec packs?

    Skype is installed but not running. I have also not set office,and adbe to run, although i do get flash player update prompts quite often. AV is NOD32 which supposedly is the lightest one, right?

    It's all very well concentrating on the whizzy, accelerated hardware in a system, but if it's clogged up with unnecessary background tasks and has been messed around with by often less than helpful codec packs, then it'll struggle with simple SD playback let alone anything HD.

    I'm guessing that as you're asking about Linux and MAC OSs that a) you are running windows and b) that you probably have less experience with MAC or Linux distros than windows in which case I'd probably advise against going down that route. I can't comment on MAC software, but all the Linux distros I've tried over the years have all been very different beasties to Windows and far, far more frustrating when something doesn't work as expected! If you do want to try Linux then I'd recommend Linux Mint (based on Ubuntu) as it seems to have a lot of multi-media stuff included in it's distros, the basic screen layout is closer to Windows than some other distros I've tried, and I've had the most out-of-the-box success with network and wireless network cards/usb adapters with Mint than any other flavour of Linux. (Since I found and got on OK with Mint a couple of years ago I haven't really tried anything else, so it may be that things have changed and that there are even better distros around now. I'm sure there are many people here who are far, far more knowledgable about linux than I am who will steer you in a better direction if I'm typing utter and outdated rubbish.)

    Well i now that alternative OS are more of a hassle than Windows is, but since this is system is going to concentrate on performing the tasks of a media center, i was just wondering if it's be wise to run an alternative OS due to fewer needed resources...
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    The usual method is to open the task manager at the process tab, sort by CPU and start the playback.
    Look to see what tasks(s) are using most of the cpu and what the cpu percentages are.

    If you'd like to try a defragment tool, I quite like the free Auslogics defrag program, if you've got some big files
    mixed in with the system disk, you can set it to ignore file fragments over a certain size, say 64 - 100MB.
    I finds this is a good compromise. The defrag finishes very fast.
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  17. Get a Win7 install disc and install Windows 7. You can run it for a month without activation (ie, you don't have to pay for it to test it out). See how well DXVA works there.
    Last edited by jagabo; 15th May 2011 at 18:28.
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  18. If your free space drops down to 3-7GB then you really need to defrag occasionally. I'd also recommend something like CCleaner to clear out temporary and temporary internet files, log files etc. before defragging. I'd go along with davexnet's suggestion of Auslogic's free defrag program, it's surprisingly quick and a lot prettier than the standard MS defrag of recent years! (Much more reminiscent of the very old Norton Defrag, *sighs* Happy Days!)
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