Problems with HTPC performance

Hello all! I could really use some help.

I built a system to run ripped videos, Netflix and Amazon in my bedroom but the performance is just not what I was hoping for. Windows Media Center loads slowly and the graphics moving from selection to selection are very slow and choppy. It is very difficult to pick a movie to watch on Netflix because if you move an any direction it takes 5-10 seconds for the machine to catch up so you can never get it right. Netflix plays better in a browser than in MCE but still the video has a pretty low frame rate and just doesn't look that good.

Additionally, any video I stream from my home NAS (1.5 TB Mirrored FreeNAS) stutters badly. They are ripped DVD's in h.264, 720x422 or something. If I move them to the machine they run much better but still they stutter some and get pixelated at times during viewing. I can stream them to the wired Win 7 machine in my home office and performance is excellent. Amazon Video on-demand is similar.

Frankly, I get much better performance out of the ROKU that is downstairs and I just can't figure out why??

My system is:

AMD Athlon X2 BE-2400 Processor -
ASUS M3A76-CM Motherboard (760G/SB710, Dual-channel)
Integrated ATI 3000 graphics (DVI to HDMI via cable conversion)
Integrated sound to audio ports of TV
2GB DDR2 800 Ram (2 x 1GB w/2 open slots)
500 GB SATA 300 drive
Magnovox TV

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
ATI Catalyst 2009.0721.1107.18080
Video set to 1920x1080 @ 60Hz
AVG Free antivirus

Could it be drivers with the Wireless N LAN card? My speedtest was 15.6Mbps up and 3.01Mbps down via Comcast. That seems pretty good to me.

Maybe I need a better graphics card? 4550 or something w/o a fan? I thought the HD3000 would be designed for HTCP use but maybe not.

Or maybe bump to 4 GB ram? Seems like a lot to stream some video.

Or maybe I have a driver/software problem. I just don't know.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about problems htpc performance
  1. I would definitely recommend getting a video card to push the 1080p TV. No way a 3000 series ATI integrated gpu can push 1920x1080 @ 60fps. Your Win 7 office machine has good performance, but at what res?

    Are your streaming over wireless to your bedroom? Network performance can degrade pretty quickly when going through floors, walls. You might be able to compensate some by adjusting frame burst settings, etc.
  2. Cal,

    Thank you for your response.

    I am thinking that since my content is all either streamed or 480p ripped that there is really no need to drive the 32 inch TV at 1080p. Maybe I should reduce the resolution to 480p or 720p or something like that. Fewer pixels might be the answer for now and a better graphics card later.

    I also think adding another 2GB of ram would help. I just don't want to sink much $ into it right now and I really thought these specs would be plenty. I have heard about much slower systems running MythTV or XMBC. I was expecting Win 7 to take more of a system but this is pretty new stuff - dual core processor, 2GB RAM and a graphics system designed for HD (hence the name, right?)
  3. From what I can see at, the HD 3000 should be able to decode h.264 via the GPU and not have issues. Maybe it is settings or drivers that are causing the problem?
  4. So everyone agree's the HD 3000 can't pump out 1080p and should be replaced?
  5. Try moving the system into the same room with the wireless router. Hard-wire connect the system to the network and see if you still see the same issues. If you do, then you probably need a better graphics card. If not, then the problem is probably the wireless connection.

    -Wolf sends
  6. robertpetry said:
    So everyone agree's the HD 3000 can't pump out 1080p and should be replaced?

    i would imagine the HD3000 can pump videos at 1080P, even if it struggled the cpu would be able to (dual core is plenty)

    look into what wolf said

    my HTPC has the HD4200, which is as fast as the HD3200 which isn't much faster than the HD3000, and there is never a lost frame (VLC or WMC)
  7. Best answer
    The 760G is a neutered 780G... it lacks the ability to offload h.264 decoding from the CPU. Check your CPU usage in task manager while playing a video you are having problems with and post back the results. From my experience with a 690G, a 3GHz dual core was needed to play 1080p h.264 smoothly using only CPU muscle.
  8. Best answer selected by robertpetry.
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