HTPC Questions

Discussion in 'AnyDVD HD (Blu-ray issues)' started by mick2006, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. mick2006

    mick2006 Well-Known Member

    I am thinking about building a HTPC to hook up to my Pioneer 4360 plasma but have some questions for those of you who are hooked up to displays of this type.

    1) How difficult is it to make adjustments with PDVD to ensure the video quality is equal to that of standalone BD and HD DVD players? Before I would build it, I would want to know that the quality is going to be the same as the stand alone units I have.

    2) Second, I was planning on getting the ATI Radeon 2600xt as a graphics card. Does anyone know if this card is compatible with a pioneer plasma display. And if not, what graphics card would you recommend?

    3) I was planning on going with either the intel 6700 or 6750 cpu. Is there any real advantage to going with quad core over the models above? I do no gaming by the way.

    4) What type of power supply would you recommend? In addition to the Cpu and graphics card mentioned, I would be hooking up at least 4 500 internal hard drives, as well as a blu ray drive. And I would be running vista home premium.

    Any other info. that you want to provide would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. RedFox 1

    RedFox 1 Super Moderator

    If it were me I would buy the HD version Here
    http://www.hothardware.com/Articles/ATI_Radeon_HD_2600_and_2400_Performance/
     
  3. mick2006

    mick2006 Well-Known Member

  4. bachuka

    bachuka Well-Known Member



    1) I think the quality is better for me. You have to make sure your plasma handles vga hookup well or handles hdmi/dvi well from a pc. You can have overscan issues if it does not. Test it with a desktop/laptop you may have laying around.

    2) I personally like Nvidia better. The 8600 gts would be my recommendation.

    3) Either of those will be fine. I'm using a e6600 and I only get about 30% cpu utilization on HDDVD. Bluray movies even less since the nvidia does all the acceleration. No advantage to quad core.

    4) I like the antec 500W models...any model should be fine. I would choose a quiet one. Stay away from the fanless phantom, I've had problems with those.
     
  5. sarah99

    sarah99 Well-Known Member

    ATI 2600 works well and has less driver bugs than the Nvidia cards IMHO.

    This is way over the top, an e2160 will do the job with plenty to spare. (bigger CPU, more fan noise cooling it)

    400W will be plenty, the higher the power rating, the more heat you get and the more fan noise.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2007
  6. Humpa

    Humpa Well-Known Member

    I have a question sarah99 or Slyfox1, I have read around some various forums (like avsforum.com) but it is hard to find specific information.

    I've been having problems lately with some major frame drop. I don't know if it is the latest powerDVD 3104a build that I installed, or the latest ATA drivers I just installed, or a combination of the two. I never had build 2911 of powerDVD, at least I don't think I did. I'm not sure how to tell. But I bought powerDVD back in April, and hadn't upgraded since then. The About screen doesn't list the build, and it actually says powerDVD Ultra 7.2. Though the player itself says "HDDVD Blu-Ray Next-Gen PowerDVD v7.3".

    I have two 1GB sticks of ram, the E6700, and the ATI 1950x 512MB card and the auzentech meridian sound card.
    I have the dvi output plugged into my 1368x768 Panasonic 50" plasma.

    Basically I'm not sure of some of the video settings. In powerDVD I have hardware acceleration on (though I've tried turning it off as well) - it says "Enable Hardware acceleration (ATI Avivo)"
    But I'm not sure what to use for interlacing. But nothing seems to help anyway. Should I use "None" or "Perform hardware de-interlacing"? And if I use hardware de-interlacing, what should I choose from the drop down? It lists Weave (No De-Interlacing) and Bob (Hardware De-Interlacing) and then 3 others which are long hex strings. And then the Perform smart de-interlacing and those options are grayed out no matter what I do.
    In the ATI CCC I have tried all the settings in the Basic Quality menu. I don't know if I should use Weave, Bob, Adaptive, Motion Adaptive, or Vector Adaptive ... or use automatic de-interlacing. I also don't know if I should have Pulldown detection checked or unchecked.

    I'm not sure if any of this matters, but in the Displays Manager I have the desktop area set to a custom 1856x1044 (this was what worked to get rid of the black border that was otherwise present around the edge of the screen). Color quality is 32bit and refresh rate is 30Hz.

    I just watched Untouchables Blu-Ray (playing files from hdd), and it was pretty awful (lots of frame drops and freezes in the video - pausing/unpausing helps cure that, briefly). I wasn't watching my CPU usage, but I just turned my HTPC back on and fired up Untouchables and my CPU usage started around 80%. But after a couple of minutes, it is now up in the 90's.
    I just stopped the playback and turned off hardware acceleration, and the CPU usage seems to be exactly the same as with hardware acceleration on.
    Apparently that is my problem, eh? :confused:

    Do you think I should try and roll back the ATI drivers or uninstall powerDVD and try and find build 2911. Or should I just buy the 2900 HD? Though I am a little tired of sinking money into this HTPC.

    Any help would be appreciated - or any links.
    I hate asking for help, but am at wits end and a little frustrated (not to mention confused). :(

    EDIT: Untouchables is MPEG-4 AVC at around 35Mbps. I just watched Bullitt HDDVD, and it ran at 50-60% CPU with no frame drops that I could see. But that was VC1 at 15-25Mbps
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2007
  7. sarah99

    sarah99 Well-Known Member

    7.3 might fix it (MPEG-4 AVC is a new codec for Blu-Ray)
    "None" for interlacing
    If you change the graphic card then the ATI 2600 is the one to go for.

    The ATi drivers work fine on my e4300 + ATi x1600 (both inferior to your kit)
    It's gotta be PowerDVD causing the problems.

    The version that says 7.2 and 7.3 is a cracked pirate version (very naughty), which is pretty useless for anything and doesn't do hardware acceleration.
    It's also a complete pig to uninstall ...... that'll teach ya!
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2007
  8. Humpa

    Humpa Well-Known Member

    I bought it!!!!
    I bought both powerDVD and the full Nero (plus hi-def plugin)

    I think what happened was that I bought the wrong version of powerDVD (the deluxe instead of ultra? I forget at the moment, I'm not at home). So I then bought the ultra version and I submitted a claim to get a refund - which they accomadated, BTW.
    So perhaps there is some problem from installing ultra over deluxe?

    And thanks for the reply
     
  9. Humpa

    Humpa Well-Known Member

    Just an update to my frame drop issues.

    I did a clean install of XP and tried everything again. I used the latest CCC drivers and powerDVD Ultra. Nothing changed at all. I was still seeing high cpu usage and dropped frames on most high def movies.

    So I bought a 8600GTS nvidea and it arrived today. It works awesome.
    I guess the ati 1950x just isnt any good for hd content. Hardware acceleration just wasn't working correctly.

    nvidea still doesn't have as good hardware acceleration using XP as opposed to Vista, but it is still plenty good enough. I played a few hddvd's and blu-ray's and my cpu usage was hovering in the 20's or lower (as opposed to the 70's and 80's with the ati card).

    I might buy an ati 2600hd as well and give that a try. The 8600GTS and 2600HD together would still be considerably cheaper than that damn 1950x I bought. :confused:
     
  10. Adbear

    Adbear Well-Known Member

    I use a 2.4 quad and with the auto fan settings it is very hard to hear it. When I first switch it on it doesn't even spin up the fan for the first 30 secs on my board.



    This PSU is way to low a spec for a core2duo with a new graphics card and 4 500gb drives you really need something around 550 or above, it's very easy to get ones that a extremely quiet these days without having to pay a fortune for them. If you get a PSU that doesn't have enough power you'll start getting blue-screens and locking up
     
  11. sarah99

    sarah99 Well-Known Member

    I have a 300W PSU in my core2duo Dell 5150, Nvidia 7600GS graphics, 3 HDs .... no problems.
     
  12. ligou

    ligou Member

    The last PowerDVD Ultra version (3104a.1) is not necessarily the best, as many people claim in this forum. Although CyberLink Advisor agrees with my configuration (5 green balls and 2 yellow balls) I could not run such a version (I got black screens).

    According to my request, CyberLink kindly gave me the 2911 version which is supposed to be better. As a matter of fact it is true, at least for me (I only use a HD-DVD drive).
    The play back of King Kong is not perfect; it stutters some times but now I can see something.
    Is there any method to suppress or mitigate stuttering?
     
  13. Adbear

    Adbear Well-Known Member

    Then you've been lucky so far, that PSU is seriously underrated for your specs, The lowest they recommend is a 450 for the CPU. If it's to low and you start to use it for encoding etc as it needs to draw more power it either starts to get very very hot or starts crashing. Using a lower PSU for items needing a lot of power just makes the PSU run hotter. Using a higher rated PSU and not drawing as much power as it can handle makes it run at a lower temp
     
  14. Humpa

    Humpa Well-Known Member

    what kind of CPU % is it using when playing back hddvd's? What video card do you have?
     
  15. ligou

    ligou Member

    CyberLink Advisor gave me 2 yellow balls:
    - one for the CPU P4 3.2Ghz, play back uses almost 100%!
    - the Graphic Card is GeForce 7600 GS, 256 MB,
    the other balls are green.
    I know that I am just on the limit, but why the last version of PowerDVD was worse.
     
  16. Humpa

    Humpa Well-Known Member

    The new PowerDVD was worse for me too (though even with the prior PowerDVD I would still get the occasional stutter, and my CPU % was way too high). I have a C2D E6700 and I had an ATI 1950x 512MB card. Some movies were so bad that I went out and bought a $100 8600GTS, as you can see from a couple of posts back. :confused:
    The 8600 made all the difference for me (and the latest forceware beta's).