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Playing HDTV - What Processor?

Discussion in 'Televisions' started by Rob.Screene, Jul 31, 2004.

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  1. Celeron 1.7GHz

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  2. Pentium4 2.0GHz

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  3. Pentium4 2.4GHz

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  4. AthlonXP 2400+

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  5. Pentium4 2.8GHz

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  6. AthlonXP 3000+

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  7. Athlon64 3200+ (Socket 754)

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  8. Pentium4 3.0GHz

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  9. Pentium4 3.2GHz or more.

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  10. Athlon64 3400+ or more.

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  1. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Folks,
    Those of you playing .ts or HD mpeg2 or WM9 please state what processor you have, what HDTV sizes you play and how smooth your results are.

    I'll start myself...

    Pentium4 2.0GHz
    1. wm9 720p fifth element, plays superbly.
    2. wm9 shrek 1080i, terrible slideshow.
    3. .ts untried.

    thanks,
    Rob.
     
  2. Random Hajile

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    Have you tried enabling AGP fast write in the bios for the 1080 stuff? playing 1080 stuff on my athlon 2200xp used to jerk like hell then enabled agp fast write and for 98% of the time run silky smooth now.
     
  3. Boris Blank

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    WM9/.ts 720p no probs on my 2.4 P4 but 1080p stuff can cause some occasional stutter (mildly annoying but could live with it if need be). On a 3.06 P4, .ts at 1080p plays just fine. AGP with Fast Write enabled in both cases, 512meg ram.


    Paul
     
  4. museumsteve

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    Athlon64 3400+, haven;t come across any issues yet. Haven;t looked at any 1080p stuff though. (cos I cant display it ;)
     
  5. twarde

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    I think HDTV playback depends more on the horsepower of the graphics card than the CPU. Perhaps people can post what combination of CPU/Graphics card they use.
     
  6. Messiah

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    Pentium4 3.0GHz

    1. wm9 720p, plays superbly.
    2. wm9 1080i, plays superbly.
    3. .ts, plays superbly.
     
  7. Master Rahl

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    Athlon64 3000 with a Radeon 9000, ATI's HDTV Wonder, Hauppauge Nexus DVB-S card on a 21.3" Samsung Syncmaster.

    - over the air HDTV signals displays fine, even when I'm shrinking 1080i signals [HDTV Wonder is doing the hard work]

    - downloaded 720p TS/WM9 files play fine

    - downloaded 1080p TS/WM9 files play fine, even when I'm viewing it shrinked down (my resolution is 1600x1200)

    - satellite HDTV channels play fine, even 1080i. For HD channels, I run the Nexus-S in software mode, meaning the CPU does the decoding. The card doesn't support HD in hardware mode.
     
  8. Rob.Screene

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    It's my assumption that anyone playing HD via a HTPC would definitely have a DirextX9 capable card, such as Radeon 9500 upwards or a recent Nvidia.

    I think the Nvidia 5700 is becoming popular as TheaterTek have reported it possibly contains a better MPEG hardware assisted decode.

    I'd be amazed if anyone is still on say a Radeon 7200 and playing HD regularly?

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  9. Master Rahl

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    My card isn't DirectX 9...

    You can easily play HD files on any computer as long as the CPU is fast enough and the video card can support the resolution. The video card has absolutely nothing to do with HD playback unless it has a hardware HD MPEG-2 decoder on board.

    I tried 720p on my parents' machine. They have a Radeon 64MB VIVO (the very first Radeon that came out) on a 2200 and it plays without skipping. CPU utilization is like 80% though.
     
  10. fozi999

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    I have P4 2.66Ghz, Radeon 9600XT 128MB and 1024MB RAM.

    I used to only have 640mb RAM which caused stuttering on all HD material I tried, now with 1GB I have no probs. :)
     
  11. Mr.D

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    P4 2.4 533 fsb 1gb dual addressed DDR radeon 9800xt 256 plays 1080i and 720 WM9 fine.

    P4 3.2 800fsb 1gb dual adressed ddr400 radeon 9800 pro 128 plays 1080i anf 720p no problem.


    Both machines pass the microsoft test app ( the 2.4 is close to borderline)
     
  12. kunwho

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    Shuttle SN45G 3.2Ghz Athlon 512Mb ram ATI 9600
    Barco 1209 on a resolution of 1280x960

    Plays all WM9 and .ts (or renamed to .mpg if using WinDVD 6) file smoothly. Play via network if fine with no stutter. :thumbsup:
     
  13. rogeralpine

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    This is an interesting thread in so much that I have a new PC being delivered tomorrow and I am anxious that it'll cope with HD stuff.

    It's a P4 2.8 with 512mb of RAM. All I need to add is a graphics card (I presume the onboard will be a waste of time?)

    The train of thought here seems to indicate that;

    a) The graphics card is not such an important issue as it's the processor that does the work?

    b) A good healthly slice of RAM is recommended - say 1gig.

    c) Playback software - are some more efficient/able than others?

    What would ppl recommend I do with respect to upgrading the PC - Graphics card (ideally which one?), RAM - worth upgrading to 1024mb?. Software - any ideas?
     
  14. IanPM

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    I have an Athlon 1600+ (1.4ghz) 512mb of memory and an ATI Radeon 9600pro:

    720p - plays fine in most cases, there is the ocassional jump.
    1080i - Doesn't seem very happy, jumps around like an excited toddler.
    1080p - No chance.
     
  15. Rob.Screene

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    From looking at the test app on my 2GHz/400fsb Pentium4, I can run it at about 14% overclocked and get "Front side bus and main memory speed" close to borderline on the 1080p benchmark with everything else ok.
    Ref: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/content_provider/film/wmvhdtool_intro.aspx

    Not a chance on my 2GHz 2400+/266fsb Athlon XP desktop though, even though it has plenty of processor cpu for 1080p and overall is borderline yellow, the "Front side bus and main memory speed" are way down in the red.

    So, it looks mainly down to "Front side bus and main memory speed". Hence why the 533fsb Pentiums do it easily i.e 2.4GHz/533 2.8GHz/533 and why the 800fsb ones 2.8GHz and higher probably walk it.

    If you don't have an 800fsb capable motherboard, mine only goes up-to 533fsb, so the 2.8/533 Northwood at £106 delivered. is looking like a sensible option for my HTPC?
    [Edit: P4 2.8/533 should arrive tomorrow, er, that's today!
    I figured I'll only have to overclock about 5% to get 3.0/533 performance if needed so sourcing a 3GHz one isn't important]


    It's my understanding that the "Prescott" chips run hotter and are only slightly faster for Doom3 and most are 800fsb anyway.

    It seems as long as it's not an early 400fsb 2.8, but a later 533fsb 2.8 then it might be ok?

    Are 3GHZ/533 Pentium "Northwood" chips still available as I can't see them listed now?

    Changing motherboard is too much work and opens up Athlon 64 and PCI-Express graphics card questions I don't want to risk buying in to right now.

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  16. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Of the folks with 3GHz P4's, are those running on 533fsb getting good results?

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  17. dvdmike

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    twin 3.066 xeons 2gig of ram nvidia 5950pro
     
  18. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    My god Mike,
    Is that machine running in the room when you watch a movie? Must like a bit of cooling doesn't it?

    Here's me pondering about going from a 2GHz 52.4W thermal output to 2.8GHz 68.4W thermal output :)

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  19. IanPM

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    LOL @ that test, my work PC failed dismally, which pretty much was expected ;)
     
  20. Boris Blank

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    Yes, no problems here with my new Northwood 533fsb 3.06 (from Scan.co.uk a week ago). I went for this rather than the Prescott's due to heat issues and the fact that the Northwoods are still slightly faster. I too thought about buying a 2.8 and overclocking it but thought that I'd prefer to have the "real thing" with an option to clock even higher if needed (but that looks un-necessary now as the 3.06 does everything nicely!).

    Playing Doom with an FX5700 Ultra and it all looks very nice, not the highest setting but high enough that I'm not bothered about anything that may be missing.
    Paul
     
  21. dvdmike

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    yep fans but super quiet ones i listened before i bought and it has quiet inlays an inch thick it needs an upgrande tho when the 6800 comes out in pcix
     
  22. Rob.Screene

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    How much was it may I ask? I can't see them on the site now, so that was a prudent move.

    I did notice the 2.8 generally overclocks higher than the 3.06 on overclockers.com, not sure why although some of the higher figures use quite heavy voltages and cooling.

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  23. Boris Blank

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    Hi Rob,
    Blimey, they went fast! It was £150 all in, a bit higher than I would have liked but beggars can't be choosers.

    Keep your eye on EBay though, there were a two or three new 3.06 533's there last week with HSF for about £110 to £120 from reputable sellers.
    Paul
     
  24. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Thanks Paul. Well at least I saved about £40 by having to overclock by 5% to get a proper 3GHz, so I don't feel too bad about the 2.8GHz arriving today. Well done on getting one of the last at that price though.

    Just finished my quarterly admin and I'm down to play with some chips!

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  25. monkeh

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    My work pc struggles with 1080 but is ok with 720
    it's a p4 2.66 with a matrox g550 agp card, 768mb ram

    My home pc runs 1080 perfect
    p4 2.8 running at 3.3ghz, ati 9800 pro, 1024mb ram
     
  26. Rob.Screene

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    I've played around with the Pentium4 2.8/533 on my 256MB system for a while.

    CPU-wise I think a Pentium4 2.6GHz is probably plenty, but a 533MHz bus is not for the most demainding WMV9, unless with something like dual-channel DRR or something esoteric. Two solutions are to use an 800MHz bus chip and motherboard or try overclocking a 533bus/cpu.

    According to the ms benchmark, I noticed a resonable benefit from replacing the PC2100 standard memory with £40 PC3200(400MHz) CAS2 memory and ensuring the memory timing was set to 2-3-2-6
    Ref: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=27141
    Ref: http://www.corsairmemory.com/corsair/xms.html

    Also this allowed upping the memory frequency, as there are now about 4 settings from 200 upwards that appear with the 2.8 cpu in-place. This has a bigger effect.

    Upping the master clock from 133 to 143 gives me 3.0GHz cpu with 572fsb and more importantly allows me to set the CAS2 memory to 381MHz. This brings the 1080p fsb bar up to just over the requirement, but it still stays yellow.

    It's obviously memory speed and bus speed that WMV9 1080p needs right now, until hardware WMV9 assist appears on graphics cards, like ATI is promising for the future Radeon Catalyst 4.8 drivers.

    I read on AVS that the Halo2 1080p demo is about the most demainding of WMV9 clips so I did most testing with that.
    Ref: http://forums.bungie.org/halo/archive15.pl?read=455587

    At 3GHz/572fsb/381mem,
    watching the WM9 View Statistics counter and cpu usage in task manager, I see this is regularly peaking cpu over 90% and drops between 29 and 40 frames, which is visibly pretty smooth with only a couple of pauses at big scene changes in this tortuous clip.

    1080i MPEG2 TS is a doddle, using about 50% cpu, peaking at about 60%. Although VLC doesn't seem to do film-mode deinterlacing so the output judders horribly on pans. I can't wait for TheaterTek 2.0 due out within a few weeks, which I think does proper deinterlacing including WMV9 HD playback.

    One nice bonus is that the pc doesn't appear to get hotter using TheaterTek DVD playback, probably because it's the same load just done at a faster speed by the 0.25V higher faster cpu. I thought the much faster frequencies would make it hotter.

    Setting the Halo2 clip on repeat is a big torture test for my quiet cooled HTPC with just the 300W SilenX psu fan to extract the heat.

    I've installed and connected a small case fan on the back of my DIGN HTPC case and ramped it's speed right down with a zalman fanmate, like on the cpu fan. This helped lower motherboard and hard disk temperatures in addition to keeping the cpu inder 64 degrees C max, plus allowed the fans to be tuned to very very quiet for when I'm listening to music off the HTPC with no projector on.

    Running the cpu fan faster alone was pointless as the cpu still reached 72 degrees C and the motherboard at about 52 degrees which I'd not be happy with for the length of a movie.

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  27. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    I'm running an older 2600+ with Radeon 9600 non pro, and it copes easily with 720 stuff, and I get the occasional stutter with 1080. I haven't enable agp fast write though, so that should a difference. I'll report back if I remember to:

    1. do it.

    2. Remember I said I was going to report back. :)

    Gary.
     
  28. piwi

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    On my son's Athlon XP2400+, 256MB RAM, nVidia TI4400 128MB the 720p WMV-HDs play ok. The 1080i WMV-HD is a just an HD slide show with good audio. Need to check that AGP fast write bios settings later, it's sleeping for the 13 year old ones. On the same PC the SKYSTAR 2, DVB Viewer and WinDVD (for the filters/codecs) just do fine on Euro1080 and Astra HD. Have to check on the channels again . . .

    Need to buy another Skystart (but now with CI) and see how that runs on my PC (??? Duron 700, 512MB, but with an nVidia 5600 256MB ???)

    Cheers,

    Peter. :thumbsup:
     
  29. Master Rahl

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    Don't use VLC. It is crap. It uses nearly six times as much CPU power to play 1080i as Moonlight's Elecard player or WinDVD 6. With WinDVD 6, I can play a 720p on an Athlon 1.2 GHz with minimal loss of quality.
     
  30. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    I enabled fast write, and couldn't see any stuttering on the T2 demo, but the 1080 test from Microsoft says that my PCs performance is somewhere around halfway between 720 and 1080 - very similar to my desktop with 2800+ and Radeon 7500. I expected the 9600 to make more of a difference than than the 200mhz extra on my desktop...

    Gary.
     

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