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HTPC Bottleneck?

Last response: in Systems
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November 4, 2009 6:27:01 PM

Hey guys, I have a problem with my HTPC which is as follows...

I upgraded from onboard video to a PCI-E card, and the video actually got worse!

Here are my specs

AMD Athlon LE-1660 Lima 2.8GHz Single Core 64 bit processor
Asus M3A78-EM <green> Mobo with onboard HDMI (which I was using)
4 gb DDR2 Ram (32 bit XP though, so only 3 and change being used)
1TB HD
500w PSU
DVD Multi-drive

Any ideas on...

A) Why my video performance got worse? (newest drivers and catalyst installed)
or
B) What I could do to speed things up, short of a new processor? (I have a copy of Win-7 64 bit, I thought I might try...?)

Any help would be appreciated, thanks fellas.

Drago

More about : htpc bottleneck

November 5, 2009 2:37:57 PM

What model of video card did you install?

What resolution are you running at and what native resolution does your TV support?

If you want to speed things up, perhaps you would consider getting a dual core Athlon II X2? The 240, 245, or 250 would be a nice bump in speed for only $60-75.
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November 6, 2009 4:23:52 PM

Bah, sorry for not posting the video card, I typed it in the first reply, which got wiped by accident.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... is the PCI-E card, it's a Radeon HD 4650 1GB.

the onboard is an ATI 3200 chipset, with HDMI and optical audio (pretty good - for onboard anyway)

I Got so frustrated with the performance of the 4650 that I overclocked the $h|t out of it, and now it plays slightly better than the onboard.

A third option I was recently made aware of is the fact that the 3200 onboard supports Hybrid-Crossfire, though only with quite old radeon cards. I can't imagine that downgrading that far just to crossfire the two would be beneficial - though I'm disappointed enough to try anything at this juncture.

I was considering double, triple, and even quad-core upgrades... but my logic is telling me that a 2.8 single core should really be fine for hi-def video.

My TV is a 46" sharp aquos LCD, 120hz, native 1080p resolution.

Edit - I am running at 1080 resolution. If I switch to 720 things run fine but that's the problem now isn't it :-p

Thanks guys.
November 6, 2009 5:31:23 PM

Have you checked task manager to see what CPU usage % you are running at when hidef video is playing? A single core may be good enough, but background items may have you pegging 100% without additional cores to fall back on.

Also, can you elaborate on what you are observing as poor video performance. Stuttering? Picture quality? Tearing? Text? Noise? etc...
November 6, 2009 6:40:20 PM

Away from the computer in question ATM, but the issue is stuttering/tearing from time to time. In a scene where, say, an explosion sends particles flying everywhere, the picture will become somewhat pixelated and only portions of the screen will update. About a second later it all snaps back into place and plays nicely.
November 6, 2009 10:39:17 PM

So....

I just got back to my HTPC and took a look at the processor usage while I'm playing 1080p files.

If it was an engine I would have thrown a rod miles ago... That is to say the CPU usage is pegged at 100%

I am running a 2.8 single core, so I just ordered up a 3.0 dual core. I know a quad would be nicer, but this is my media PC, and I'm not willing to shell out 150 bucks when I can probably get away with 60 (shipped).

I don't know if it will cut it or not, but here's hoping!

(Stupid weekend... probably won't get it till Wednesday...)
!