Major HCPC upgrade planned....

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Tim Cooper, Nov 10, 2002.

  1. Tim Cooper

    Tim Cooper
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    Hi all,
    My trusty hcpc has given me no *real* grief but i feel now that it's time to upgrade the mobo/cpu/memory/graphics card & maybe a case.
    Having been out of the hardware upgrade race for a while i was wondering what is the most cost effective; & more importantly, stable configurations to consider.
    Is still true that the Intel based systems are the "preferred" way to go for stability reasons? or have AMD systems become more stable.
    Having done a little research seems that the P4 1.8 Northwood is a good "bang for your buck" bet, but, i seem to get conflicting advice with regards to motherboards.
    Is it worth carrying over my trusty Radeon 7200 or go for one of the 9xxx series & what are the advantages for doing so.
    So what's your config?

    My current config:
    Suntek Viper case (spray painted black)
    Intel P3 800 100 mhz FSB (slot 1)
    Soyo SY-6BA+ Mobo
    512mb crucial pc133 sdram cas 2
    Radeon 7200 (modded for BNC output)
    IBM GXP 75 30 gig UDMA 100 HDD (lucky to still have this one ;) )
    Audiophile 24/96 sound card.
    Ken Hotte modified capture card.

    As i mentioned, this config has served well but i want future proof myself.
    All advice as usual, greatly app'd.
    Tim.
     
  2. iwilson

    iwilson
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    Well you´re not really doing to badly. If you´re running Dscaler with a few filters turned on then you could justify a CPU upgrade. Maybe a bigger HD if you´re ripping DVD´s.

    Some say the 9xxx series offers some picture improvements, I´ve upgraded to a 9000 and if I was pushed I would say a slight increase in the crispness of the picture. The 9700 offers DX9 support and some improved features. The card I would get however would be the 9500 all the Home Theater goodies of the 9700 at a lower price point.

    The AMD platform has improved immensely now, it was always the chipsets that seemed to cause all the problems. But the platform is mature now, and fewer people seem to report problems. Nvidia has the new Nforce II chipset coming out which is feature rich from a HCPC perspective. Which the additional bang for buck this would be the direction I would be heading in today, althought with your soundcard you won´t be using to many of those features.

    A new case would be great start. I got a DIGN and appear to have been fortunate in getting a good one. The advantage now is that Thomas the guy who organised the powerbuy has them in stock and will no doubt check each case going out for damage and functionality. Read the monster thread for more info on this subject.

    So if I was upgrading today it would be

    ATI 9500 not yet available but coming real soon
    Nforce II board
    AMD 2000XP
    512megs of DDR
    Seagate Barracuda IV or V 80gig (very quiet)

    Carry over the other components

    I ran an AMD Duron based system for a couple of years, and then decided to upgrade to the recommended components. Intel 1.2GHz 256kb Celeron and ASUS TUSL2C MB. Also modded my vid card to output 5 x BNC. The AMD system was rock solid as is my current system.
     
  3. dannyc

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    Biggest upgrade would probably be the Holo3D card if you want to improve scaling on external sources. I have a Ken Hotte modded card too, the Holo3D is supposidly much better.

    Dan
     
  4. Boris Blank

    Boris Blank
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    Hi Tim,
    To be honest, I doubt its worth upgrading anything other than the 7200.

    I'm running on an Abit BX board with a Pentium 3 650 processor and have more than enough power for running TT. I upgraded from the 7200 card to the 9000 and am seeing improvements in the pq - nothing earth shattering but enough to warrant the purchase. I doubt a further upgrade to a 9500/9700 would show as obvious an improvement.

    Unless you intend playing games on your setup or run DScaler or something I don't think you'd see any improvements other than faster OpSys opening of menu's/files. RobScreene upgraded his 1ghz processor to a 2ghz (I think) and saw a minimal improvement.

    I'd wait until there was something definate in the pipeline that required major upgrade before changing anything further at the present time. HTPC just doesn't need the kind of power that gaming does.

    Edit - although a nice case is always a worthy addition!

    Regards,
    Paul
     
  5. Tim Cooper

    Tim Cooper
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    Hi iwilson,
    I'm now running dscaler 4 with no filters on (except gamma) i'm using 100% CPU cycles:(
    You mention an nforce 2 board, any particular brand that you recommmend?
    I personally don't like the dign case & from what i can gather a lot of people have been dissapointed with it (esp' the finish) so it looks like i'll still be looking.
    I was going to go the same route as your config but then will it be any better than my current setup? better i think to go the 2+ gig intel/amd route.
    Thanks for the info.
    Tim
     
  6. Tim Cooper

    Tim Cooper
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    Two more replies whilst i was typing to iwilson......

    Dan:
    I was tempted by the H3D card but bearing in mind to get the best from it you also will have invest in an SDI modded player (circa another £600+) from what i can gather the software for the DCDI is buggy & people are now using Dscaler, this is not helped by the fact that Tom Strade is still using a private forum, this IMHO will only reinforce peoples suspicions about the cards abilities.
    I would have see one first before i make my judgements.

    Paul:
    I do like to tinker with Dscaler i have to most people a really nice picture but i do have noise problems & i cannot use any of the noise filters, without any filters enabled except gamma i'm running max CPU with dscaler 4 i would like some reserve but again the laws of dimishing returns do stack up here.
    Thanks for the replies chaps.
    Tim
     
  7. iwilson

    iwilson
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    Surprising you're getting such high CPU utilization just running the gama filter, nothing else running in the background? As long as you're not dropping any frames I guess it doesn't matter. No recommendations for a MB. I´m not sure if they're shipping yet. And to be honest it's not normally a good ideal to be on the bleeding edge of technology as sometimes it's you that ends up doing the bleeding.

    As to the DIGN I have no problem with the build quality, I don´t think you can do better for the money.

    There is a respected vid card guru at avsforum Mike Parker who has this to say.

    "I have a box of video cards that I have been using for testing with various test patterns and DVD's, there was not much difference between them all, and I even have a few Gforce cards. I could comment on the difference between them all at time of testing. I ended up liking the 7200, 7500 and I found the 8500 to perform pretty much like the 7500. The 8500 has a lower noise floor than the 7500, but the lower noise floor does nothing for increase in video performance over the 7500.

    On the other hand, the 9000 offers a much bigger improvement on performance, but that is contingent on your display device (it would have to be capable of showing the improvement). and even more, that 9700 will make one drool, when/if mated to a complimentary display device.

    These last two cards from Radeon (9000/9700) is a large step up for Radeon. These cards are truly in a class of their own, nothing does video like these cards.

    Gforce cards are probably perfect for games (I'll never know for sure), but they stink on video (they have a lot of catching up to do)...

    my penny..."

    He also mods cards so if you want the ultimate check this out. Powerbuy here

    You don't mention your display device, I'm presuming an FP. As Mike mentions your display must be capable of resolving the improvements. But like everything in this hobby each incremental improvement costs twice as much as the one before for half the improvement.

    In your boots I would wait till next year, when the 9500 is out there together with the new Nforce boards. And the early adopters have had a chance to evaluate them.

    Ian
     
  8. Tim Cooper

    Tim Cooper
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    Hi Ian,
    My setup:

    Barco 808s running 720p 71.928hz ntsc & 75hz pal

    The cpu overhead was noticed when i was running windows 2000 pro sp2 i have running in the background cursor hider, powerstrip, girder, dvd region killer & icon hider. so i guess all of these apps has a bearing but not too much most of them are benign in nature.I have since returned to win 98se as IMHO the picture quality is better i,ve also tried xp but could not get a stutter free picture.
    The M.Parker cards are nice... IIRC it uses a video amp stage + power supply...bloody expensive too, i wish someone in Europe would do one;)
    Thanks for the advice i think i may hang onto my "baby" for a while longer:D
    Tim
     
  9. Jeff

    Jeff
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    The Radeon 9000 is slowed down 8500 chip stuck on a cheap board. How someone can call it better than a 8500 is beyond me. Still I paid my £50 to find out for myself. I suspect Mike P compared a 8500 with old drivers against a 9000 with new drivers. The 9000 is back in its box, it wasn't even that close.
     
  10. iwilson

    iwilson
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    Many other people have reported improvements in image quality when switching to the 9000 series, but feel free to ask him the quote was taken from this thread . The 9000 is not a slowed down 8500. The 8500 based on the R200 core and the 9000 on the RV250. I couldn't care less how either card performs on gaming benchmarks all I´m interested in is picture quality.

    Ian
     
  11. dannyc

    dannyc
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    Ian:
    If you don't like the look of the H3D then you could do what I did and get an SDI silk card and a SDI modded player and just use dscaler.

    Jeff:
    Do you want to sell your 9000 then?

    Dan
     
  12. Jeff

    Jeff
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    The RV250 (V for value range) is a slightly modified version of the R200 chip. None of the changes they made to the chip effect DVD playback although they did implememt the video deblocking stuff, if you can find any software that can use it... Beyond that it comes down to board design, the 8500 looks expensive, my 9000 looks cheap. Also there are many Radeon 9000 designs, I have never even seen an ATI one, so which make or makes are good or bad? I don't believe anyone has evaluated and compared the different 9000 cards.
     
  13. Boris Blank

    Boris Blank
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    New processor, new motherboard - they really do squeeze every drop of blood out don't they.

    Yep, you'll need more power for sure. Never ends, I remember when the Pentium 1 first arrived "I'll never have to buy another processor" I shouted in joyous rapture, "more power than I can ever use"! Oh how innocent I was then!

    Paul
     
  14. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    I must say that now I've tuned the memory timings for the 2700 DDR memory to 2-2-2-5 and upped the memory to 133MHz using the 3/4 cpu/memory divider, the P4 2GHz makes more sense.

    Tim, it does make sense if you are really using DScaler. Sharpness with Noise (Gradual) are really very nice. This combination makes a bt878 card look indistinguishable from a CX23881 card IMHO.

    Still, the only two really tangible things for me with a P4 over a 1GHz P3 are:

    1. Can run DScaler 4.01 with TomsMocomp deinterlacing, Noise (gradual), Sharpness, Temporal comb all at once with no dropped frames.

    2. Can capture full-res (i.e. 7xx by 576) off the CX23881 MSI [email protected] (WDM/DirectShow/amCap) to Huffyuv codec .AVI with no dropped frames.

    OK, so the bootup may be a few seconds quicker, but it really doesn't matter to me for a HTPC.

    Surprisingly, encoding huffyuv .AVI to DVD MPEG2 max quality 2-pass VBR with TMPGenc seems perhaps a little than I would have expected at 1/10.5th=21 hours for a 2 hour laserdisc, where the Athlon 1900+ desktop I think took about 1/7th=14. Mind you a P3 would be very painfull at doing this sort of thing!

    I since found out that I think PC2700 DDR memory is meant to run at 133MHz 2-2-2-5 timing. This slow P4 encoding was with memory running at only 100MHz with slow, pessimistic timings though, plus the Athlon desktop has a very fast pair of Western digital JB 8mb 7200 drives to read and write to.

    I'm pretty sure the P4 2.0 northwood CPU will run happily at 20% overclocked = 120fsb/160memory/2-2-2-5/2.4GHz without heat problems with the standard coolermaster fan (and a bloddy scan paper warranty peper label stuck to the face of the P4 heatspreader) within a tight DIGN 3e case with no case fan, if I find a need to.

    It's also nice to know the socket should take a 3GHz+ cpu in future.

    If upgrading again now, I still wouldn't consider an Athlon as I think the current 2200+ cpu's are almost at the limit of their architecture, also I will only use Intel chipset motherboards. Ironic as for the price the current Athlons are slightly faster, if a little warm running (those heat sensitive fans have to run faster and louder). Great for Athlon desktop or gaming+non-HTPC PC's though, where a little more heat and noise doesn't really matter unless partnered with RAID disk arrays though.

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  15. Tim Cooper

    Tim Cooper
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    Hi Rob,
    Good points to ponder.
    Because i haven't upgraded the machine for the past 18 months i felt it may be time to "retire" my existing setup for a more up to date machine, but judging from peoples advice i think i'll hold onto it for a little longer.
    I thought the new thoroughbred chips from AMD were based on the .13 micron process, are you saying that this chip has a limited lifespan or were you referring to the palomino xp series?
    Either way i think Intel have finally caught up & in some respects surpassed AMD in the power stakes, but not on price however.
    Going to sell your 1 gig p3 yet??
    Thanks.
    Tim.
     
  16. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    I read that the 13micron AMD's are as good as the P4 Northwoods, it's just that AMD are unlikely to bring out the later generation before the P4 3GHz become affordable.

    Sorry Tim, the P3 1GHz should really be swapped back in to a dev server I use. You are welcome to a very similar 1.1GHz Celeron currently in there that should be in that HTPC.

    I think it has been run at one time or another with a 115MHz bus at about 1265MHz. Runs really, really cool. That's why I chose it. How's £25 delivered grab you?

    If your P3 800 is a 133MHz bus chip, then it probably doesn't make sense, but if it's 800/100 then the 1256/125 potential of the Celeron will most probably best it.

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  17. Tim Cooper

    Tim Cooper
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    Hi Rob,
    Tempting though your offer is i'll pass thanks all the same, i was looking for a considerable increase in power.
    My 800 BTW is a vanilla slot 1 100mhz fsb so even if i took your celery i'd have to find a slocket blah blah muck about with jumpers blah blah soyo's only good for 1 gig slot type blah blah :D :D
    Just out of curiosity would you upgrade if you had my system?
    Cheers.
    Tim.
     
  18. Mark Grant

    Mark Grant
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    Hello Tim,

    Have a look for a Slot 1 133mhz bus, 933 or 1000 P3.

    The 133 mhz bus should help a bit.

    One of the computer newsgroups is a good place to find such ancient CPU's.


    Rob,

    If that Celeron 1.1 Ghz is for sale, I am just about to build a media server, that is just waiting for a tualitin CPU :)


    Thanks,

    Mark.
     
  19. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Mark,
    It's a 1.1 Celeron, non-tualatin, sorry.

    Hi Tim, god, that's a tough question...

    If I wasn't determined to capture my Laserdiscs, I'd probably say no, put it towards the mythical holo3dgraphs! But once I had one, Id probably find they don't work with VirtualDub capture and then I'd need more cpu power!

    First of all DScaler Noise(Gradual) is a must-have, so I'm expecting DScaler to do a bit more than some people for me. Noise(Gradual) seems beneficial even for an IDS Falcon or CX23881 card on a high-res projected screen.

    DScaler 4.01 ran fine with 0 dropped frames with my IDS Falcon on a 1GHz/133 P3 using Adaptive+Noise(gradual) at 720 or 768 pixel width.
    Q1: If this doesn't on your 800/100 P3 then it's definitely worth upgrading.

    Q2: Do you plan to buy a holo3dgraph. If so, it does deinterlacing on-chip and hard really clean capture apparently=low cpu requirement unless you want to run it with DScaler temporarily of a holo3dgraph software bug offends you (what are they then?)

    A: Keep a P3 800 and save the £370 upgrade cost toward the £600 holo3dgraph.

    Q3: Do you mostly watch films via DScaler? Film mode Laserdiscs don't need any deinterlacing. They require only 2-3 or 2-2 pulldown removal which uses less cpu; + Noise(Gradual).

    Q4: How much do you watch video stuff via DScaler?
    Adaptive and Greedy High-Motion are good, TomsMoComp may be slightly better. There's not a night and day difference for the Playstation2/X-Box S-Video stuff I have watched most of. TomsMoComp seems to need roughly a 2.0GHz processor to run with a Noise(Gradual) filter.

    Q5: Do you like the Sharpness filter? If so, you'd probably want to be able to run that and Noise(Gradual), you'll probably need a 2GHz.

    Q6: Do you want to capture Laserdiscs for encoding on to DVD's. If so, the 1GHz dropped loads of frames in amCap DirectShow capture, a 1900+ Athlon or 2.0GHz P4 drop none.

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  20. Tim Cooper

    Tim Cooper
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    Hi Rob....blimey a veritable feast of info as usual;)
    Right...

    Q1, my setup can run Dscaler 4.01 fine at 640 pixel width & ONLY the gamma filter on, anything else i get stutter.
    It will not run TomsMoComp period without stutter so i run Video Greedy Hi Motion method, no judder terminator, no fallback on bad pulldown.

    Q2, Initially i wanted a H3D but now...well i'd have to see one before i could judge it. the main drawback for me is the fixed refresh rate as i'm prone to flickering.

    Q3 Still mucking around with dscaler for my laserdiscs but yes i do watch film through it & sky i reckon 70-30% to sky.
    I use two dscaler ini files one optimised for sky the other for LD's, switching via Girder.

    Q4, Video...no only sky & no games will ever cross my rasters ohh no...much to the disgust of my lad:D

    Q5, Can't use the sharpness filter at all, not without major stutter.

    Q6, No capture for encoding to dvd... tooo much hassle;)

    what capture card are you using now?? how would it stack up against my kbk card? did you ever do a comparison with a kbk?
    Cheers
    Tim
     
  21. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    I've never seen a KBK. I did read the Falcon was every so slightly cleaner than a bt878 KBK, but hardly anything in it if at all.

    I'm using the Falcon and a testing a MSI [email protected] cx23881 card on a test WinXP partition with an early alpha of DScaler 4.1, as it blue-screens my normal WinME environment.

    The cx23881 is cleaner on colour noise, but suffers from a little static, which I think is lumina jitter or something. I think I prefer the Falcon and DScaler 4.01 with Noise(Gradual) as theres not a big difference in colour noise after that filter and the static bugs me.

    I forgot you need the gamma filter for your projector, plus Noise(Gradual).


    I'd say get a 2.0GHz northwood. I don't think a 1GHz P3 will run both.

    I always prefer 720 or 768 pixel widths over 640, even though Jeff pointed out to me 640 is enough for Laserdiscs and games consoles! Mind you I usually run 1280x720 for DScaler, whats your panels go to?

    Reportedly the Intel 845G chipset supports 533MHz memory (4x133MHz at 2-2-2-5) so I'd say an Intel 845G is the best bet for a good useful life. I went for an Asus p4b533-v because I like on-board vga for when the machine becomes a secondary, low heat, low noise desktop.

    Remember bouce and orbit could save any burn-in from that big screen console gaming!
    regards,
    Rob.
     
  22. Jeff

    Jeff
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    The XCapture card is starting to look very nice with DScaler, it takes the avia resolution screen to show its not really to H3D standards, very clean. There are still a couple of issues to resolve yet but I'm sure John and the team will get there.
     
  23. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Hi Jeff,
    I just noticed on avs that the pal/ntsc jumper on the msi [email protected] might effect the clock and comb-filtering. I had assumed this would just effect the tuner and which local tv standard it will tune to.

    This could explain why my PAL captures/DSc4.1 have bad comb filtering and some static.

    I'm off to swap a jumper and find that Star Wars SE PAL disc! If I can combine this with a frame rate reduction to 23.976p, a width of 704 and AC-3 captured sound, that'll be an NTSC anamorphic widescreen Dolby Digital 5.1 Laserdisc backup!

    Is there such a jumper on the Xcapture, as I know is has no tuner?

    How close is the Xcapture to your old holo3dgraph? With and without Noise(Gradual) "Probably the best video noise filter in the world!".

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  24. Jeff

    Jeff
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    Neither the Xcapture card or the H3D card need any noise filtering. The H3D card can show a virtually perfect Avia res screen using svideo, the Xcapture can't match that but with Sky it still looks good. The main problem at the moment is with the chroma and luma signals not quite matching up properly. I agree about the gradual noise filter, I always thought it is the best but most seem to go for the adaptive filter.
     
  25. Garrett

    Garrett
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    Hi Tim
    I’ve used nothing but AMD for the least the last 5 years, and they are generally quite cheaper than the comparable Intel. They are also on special offer today at Microdiret, the retail version of the chip are going cheaper than the OMD. :eek:
     
  26. Tim Cooper

    Tim Cooper
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    +96
    Cheers Garrett,
    Out of interest what motherboard or more importantly what chipset does the Mobo have??
    Cheers
    Tim
     
  27. Garrett

    Garrett
    Moderator

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    The best thief you’ll never see.
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  28. Jeff

    Jeff
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
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    If I got a pound for every PC fault that turned out to be VIA chipset related I'd be richer than Bill Gates.
     
  29. Garrett

    Garrett
    Moderator

    Joined:
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    I see in your present system that you have a Soyo MB in PC Pro in Jan the Soyo K7V Dragon Plus was the best board they reviewed, with a Soltek (coming the joint second) but that was then, as mine is a better board than reviewed and even that has a up rated version out.
     

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