[Question] - Hardware Requirements for HD streaming

Discussion in 'MPExtended' started by hairlesshobo, November 28, 2012.

  1. hairlesshobo
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    So I was hoping to get some pointers. I am trying to get HD streaming to aMPdroid clients working and I am not having much luck. I have tried using two different machines as a server, one is an AMD Athlon X2 4200 (2.2gh Dual core) with 4GB of RAM on Win 7 x64. It plays for 5 or 10 seconds and gets really choppy. If you pause it for a minute to buffer and then hit play, it works for a minute or two and gets choppy again. This is on the same network as the server, so the modem speed of my phone is not the cause. I've tried this on two different devices with the same results (SGSII and Nexus 10 tablet).

    My first thought was, "OK, the hardware is not beefy enough. No surprise there since the system is nearly 7 years old." So then I decided to bust out my huge server, my HP Proliant ML370 rocking dual Intel Pentium Xeon 2.8ghz w/ hyper threading. More or less, 4 cores, each being more powerful than that old AMD I am running. I threw Server 2008 Standard onto a RAID 5 SCSI array and loaded MPExtended and the other requirements. This thing is connected to the same network as where my movies reside and connected with Gigabit. I figured this would be great, at least as a proof of concept. To my dismay, it still acts the same way.

    I have tried the ffmpeg (my preferred) and VLC HD streaming profiles, and neither work well at all. I can only get 5-10 seconds out of it before it starts chopping really bad. To rule out client problem, I tried playing videos using Flash HD profile in WebMPExtended on a beefy AMD client PC (that I can watch blurays on all day long without issues) and I have the same problem.

    For those of you out there who have had success streaming with the HD profile, what hardware specs are you running. Am I going to need to invest in a beefy quad core, 6 core, or even 8 core machine with 16+ GB of DDR3? I don't mind saving up and building a new server, I just want to know that what I build is going to be capable of running MediaPortal TV Server, ForTheRecord, MPExtended and be able to support at least 2 simultaneous HD profile transcodings on the fly.



    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,

    -Steve
     
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  3. mhoogenbosch
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    I stream to my android phone with hd and my htpc is a core i3 370m, mobile proc, dual cores with HT, 2,4ghz at most. No problems at all. I also think it has to do with the file you are transcoding, i've only watched a complete serie, not a full movie.

    Edit: i don't know about two streams simultainisly.
     
    Last edited: November 28, 2012
  4. hairlesshobo
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    Well, I also thought the same thing might be the cause. ALL of my videos are h.264 encoded video in mkv container with AC3 audio. Some are standard (shows and movies) and some are full HD (movies). It doesn't make a difference if I play back one of the standard quality shows or a HD quality file, it still acts the same for some reason.
     
  5. mhoogenbosch
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    The shows i'm watching are 1080p, i'm using android vlc hq for profile.

    I'm now streaming to my android device and watching HD live tv, no stutters or anything.

    Can't it be your wireless connection?
     
  6. hairlesshobo
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    I doubt it's a wireless connection issue for two reasons. 1) I have two different wireless routers, and the same thing happens on both. 2) I have tried it on a wired gigabit desktop and have the same results.

    I remembered that my parent's DVR machine is at my house right now and it's a Phenom II X4 955 black edition, 3.2GHZ per core. I fired it up and put mpextended on it. Sure enough, works perfect. I guess the two boxes I have just don't have enough horsepower to do what I want. I will start saving and try to get me at least a quad core unit, or hopefully an 8 core so I know it'll be able to handle multiple streams.

    Thanks for the pointers!

    I am still curious what everyone has been using and the results they have had. Could be very useful information for others in the future when looking to support heavy duty streaming.[DOUBLEPOST=1354125446][/DOUBLEPOST]How much RAM does your system have, and what type of RAM is it? I am starting to think that RAM might be more important than CPU since both of my systems that could NOT stream HD were using 4GB DDR (one was regular and one was ECC memory), but the one that COULD stream it is either DDR2 or DDR3 (can't remember) and it's 8GB.
     
  7. mhoogenbosch
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    My system has 4GB DDR3.
     
  8. hairlesshobo
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    .. Maybe the speed of the memory has a lot to do with it then..
     
  9. Oxan
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    Which generation server is that? Newer instruction set extensions (SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4, AVX) seem to make a lot more difference in encoding speed than an extra GHz on an older generation CPU.

    I don't think memory speed is very important, though it'd certainly help.

    In any case, I think you'll find more information when you google for generic information about needed hardware to encode the video with x264, ffmpeg or VLC. MPExtended basically just starts these programs and doesn't do anything with the encoding itself.
     
  10. hairlesshobo
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    You know what, I completely forgot about the instruction set aspect of the processors. The Athlon X2 and Intel Xeon are both older generation, and I'm sure it's before the days of some of the newer instruction sets. That would explain why my parent's machine with the Phenom II X4 is so efficient. So that even more confirms that I am going to have no choice but to build a new DVR server.

    And yeah, I know that MPExtended doesn't transcode anything. I use ffmpeg for everything encoding related (I also run Subsonic with ffmpeg as the transcoder and had the same problems), so I knew it wasn't MPExtended that was the problem.

    I will look up what instruction sets x264 relies on and see if maybe I have a system around there that'll satisfy those needs and hold me over until I can afford to build a new unit.

    Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!

    -Steve
     
  11. Oxan
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    x264 doesn't require much more than standard x86 and maybe the x87 FPU. However, you're going to notice some significant speed improvements with some of the newer instruction set extensions (I think MMX, SSE2, SSE4 and AVX made the most difference). I remember that I've read a ~20% improvement for AVX, and I think the previous instruction set extensions improved performance likewise. I'm not 100% sure though. For transcoding in MPExtended to work without stuttering, you'll need x264 to transcode at about 105% of the framerate of the source material (that is, if you want to play normal 25fps material, you should be able to encode about 26fps to avoid stuttering and have reasonable buffer times).

    (x264 is also the encoder used by VLC and ffmpeg, so the same applies for them).
     
    Last edited: November 30, 2012
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