Slow 720p playback on new HTPC (1 Viewer)

powergoat

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October 17, 2007
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Hello all,

I just built my first HTPC this last weekend, and I'm still working the kinks out. So far I've been able to get everything to my liking except for one thing: Playing back 720p .mkv files is sluggish. The framerate periodically drops due to the cpu being to heavily taxed. Here's my specs:

CPU: Celeron D 356 - 3.33 GHz
Motherboard: Intel D945GTP
Memory: 1GB Corsair Value Select
Monitor: Samsung 46" DLP

I was pretty sure these parts could do 720p playback without problem when I ordered them. So I have something incorrectly configured. Any suggestions?
 

mzemina

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  • February 23, 2005
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    You don't mention the video card/chipset - I wonder if it is ATI? I've heard many problems about ATI drivers and people needing to use older version.
     

    Commodore 64

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  • June 20, 2005
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    I use a P4 3.0e for 720p playback and generally it works fine. However, if I get a high bitrate 720p file, then I get dropped frames. Seems like this system is borderline for x264 playback. Yours may be too. x264 will put a hurtin' on yuor CPU, big time. Ideally you'd have hardware assist from your video card...What is your videocard? 8500GT and up have hardware acceleration for x264. My rig is AGP and since it generally plays well, I haven't bother to look into upgrading the video card, I'm not even sure there is an AGP card with x264 hardware acceleration.

    FYI, mkv is irrelevant, it is just a container for your video file. You are most likely playing back x264 formatted video which is Mpeg-4 and older cards only have Mpeg-2 acceleration.

    One thing you may wish to try is a different x264 codec. For example, CoreAVC stutters sometimes when the recent FFDShow x264 doesn't. I use CoreAVC. What do you use?
     

    stefcep2

    Portal Member
    October 18, 2007
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    mediaportal seems to tax the CPU a fair bit. From looking at your specs I'd consider a full AMD CPU eg Athlon 64 or X2 CPU rather than a sempron and maybe another gig of ram. I had 720p video skip on an Athlon X2 4800+ with 2 gig when playing via mediaportal but not when using the playback software that came with my tv tuner. It also depends on how good your integrated graphics is: sometimes updating to a pci-express videocard will be all that you need, and you may not need to update the cpu or ram.
     

    powergoat

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    October 17, 2007
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    Yeah, I'm just using the onboard video. It's Intel GMA 950 I believe. Does video processing offload a lot of work onto the graphics card? If so, you're probably right and a pci-e upgrade may be in order... my board only does pci-e at 4x though, cause i thought the onboard would be fine :(

    Anyways, as for codecs, I installed the k-lite pack which is using ffdshow I believe. Would Core avc give me some better performance?
     

    Commodore 64

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    Is K-lite updated recently? If I were using FFDShow x264, I'd find the latest.

    Regarding CoreAVC and performance, it's better on some encodes, worse on others (I hear), but it's all I've ever used, and it works so I've just stuck with it. It is not free though.

    The onboard video is not enough to handle HD content. Get yourself an 8500/8600GT and I think you will be all set. Unless you meant all you have is PCIe x 1. In that case you are SOL. :(

    edit: But it looks like your board has both a PCIe x 1 and PCIe x 16. http://www.intel.com/products/motherboard/D945Gtp/index.htm

    I'm not sure what interface your TV has, but here's a pretty cheap MSI 8500GT that will go DVI or Component:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127297

    and here's an HDCP rady one for a few bucks more:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127301
     

    powergoat

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    October 17, 2007
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    wortelsoft

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    May 13, 2005
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    You could go for a AMD ati HD 2400 they have HD acceleration, only drivers and software still gives some trouble. You can get them in passively cooled low profile solutions.

    Think that will do.
     

    Commodore 64

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    For x264 hardware acceleration you need an 8500GT or better.

    The 2nd MSI card that I linked to is a low profile form-factor card, but it does not appear to come with a low-profile bracket which is odd. If it were me, since my HTPC is out of sight, I would just grab that MSI card and remove the bracket and put in my machine.

    I know Leadtek makes a low-profile 8500GT but I can't seem to find one for sale anywhere.

    I haven't used ATi in a while, so I don't know much about their offerings.


    Try this site for x264 codecs and FFdshow: http://x264.nl/
     

    powergoat

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    October 17, 2007
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    So I removed the K-lite codec pack and reinstalled ffdshow by itself last night. That gave me some better performance. I then decided to pick up the AVC codec, and that gave me a little better performance than ffdshow as well. Now x264 is eating up about 80-90% cpu while playing. So at least it isn't maxing out the cpu and dropping frames anymore. I'm probably still going to pick up the new video card to make everything a little smoother. Thanks for the help everyone :)
     

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