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HD 3650 AGP or HD 3850 AGP for 1080P playback

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September 22, 2011 7:33:13 PM

Hi,

Due to the imminent release of BF3, I have swapped rigs around my house. My XPS420 + HD 6850 will now be my gaming rig and I would like to see if I can get my other very old 5 yr rig playing 1080P movies at full res in my cinema room. (Note I only ever really played BF2 on my old rig!!)

The old rig has the following spec currently:-

Chaintech SK8T800 mobo (AGP slot)
2GB RAM
Athlon 64 3400+
Radeon 9800 Pro
400W PSU

I wondered if I put a HD 3650 AGP or a HD 3850 AGP in it, then would it play full 1080P mkvs / blu rays etc smoothly? A 3650 AGP is only about £40 so would be a very cheap solution rather than buying a whole raft of new components +/or a newer rig. I just dont know if the GPU would take the strain off what is clearly a poor CPU by today's standards.

Not sure if I would need some extra juice in the PSU either??

Done some Googling, cant find anyone with this setup who wants it solely for this purpose. Not interested in gaming on it at all anymore.

Any help, opinions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Lee

a b U Graphics card
September 22, 2011 7:52:41 PM

Well just looking at your computer specs - you should be able run HD content no problem - if it's just movies you are interested in.

Since Blu Ray's are encrypted, you will need an HDMI out capable video card that supports the HDCP handshake signal. So yeah as long as your video card you are getting has HDMI out - it should be all good. Also you will need a cinema player that supports blu-rays. And yes those newer GPU's can do HD playback on the graphics card instead of the CPU - which makes your setup possible (even with a "weak" CPU).

Before you do though, have you tried playing 1080P MKV files on the computer? You might want to do a test run first.
a b U Graphics card
September 22, 2011 7:53:18 PM

I think you need a 4xxx series or above card for H.264 hardware decoding, so a 3xxx card isn't going to help HD playback very much. You may have to spend a little more on a 4650 to get any real benefit.
Related resources
a b U Graphics card
September 22, 2011 8:04:55 PM

Forgot to mention, even though some 3650's don't have HDMI out - they support DVI -> HDMI converters which won't degrade the signal as they are both Digital connections.
a b U Graphics card
September 22, 2011 8:08:43 PM

benski your wrong:

http://www.amd.com/us/products/desktop/graphics/ati-rad...

Straight from the horses mouth.

■Unified Video Decoder – View and manipulate the latest Blu-ray and HD DVD content with a dedicated hardware video decoder that leaves your CPU free to perform other tasks.

■Ultimate Image Quality – Performance that rivals high-end HD-DVD and Blu-ray players on displays with resolutions that exceed 1080p – up to 2560x1600.1

A cheap 3650 should do you just fine for your computer as a blu ray player. These cards take the decoding so your CPU doesn't have to.
September 22, 2011 10:22:59 PM

Chainzsaw, thanks, I saw that spec page too but was a little skeptical due to it being the 'official' plug page and all. I am not sure whether that page is just the specs for PCI-e either, or even whether there should, in theory, be any performance difference between a AGP or PCI-e based HD 3650 card. My projector can run with DVI > HDMI or VGA cable so that is fine as I'll run the sound through a 5.1 surround anyway.

In any event, its probably worth a gamble for only £40.

Will report back for anyone else who is interested.

P.S. In answer to your other question I have tried SD, 720P and 1080P movies with the current setup. Only SD works.

Thanks again, Lee.
a b U Graphics card
September 22, 2011 11:06:33 PM

Chainzsaw said:
benski your wrong:

http://www.amd.com/us/products/desktop/graphics/ati-rad...

Straight from the horses mouth.

■Unified Video Decoder – View and manipulate the latest Blu-ray and HD DVD content with a dedicated hardware video decoder that leaves your CPU free to perform other tasks.

■Ultimate Image Quality – Performance that rivals high-end HD-DVD and Blu-ray players on displays with resolutions that exceed 1080p – up to 2560x1600.1

A cheap 3650 should do you just fine for your computer as a blu ray player. These cards take the decoding so your CPU doesn't have to.


The horse is speaking a different language ;) 

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/adobe-flash-10.1-pe...

Requirements


"Remember, there are specific hardware requirements that need to be satisfied to realize the decoding benefits of H.264.


Requirements for Hardware H.264 Flash Decoding
Hardware
Starting Driver Support

Intel
Intel 4-Series chipset family (like the GMA 4500MHD)

Core i3/i5/i7 processor family with Intel HD Graphics
15.16.5.2021
(8.15.10.2021)

AMD
Radeon HD 4000 or higher
Mobility Radeon HD 4000 or higher
Radeon HD 3000 (integrated) or higher
FirePro V3750, V7750, V8700, V8750 or later
ATI Radeon: Catalyst 9.11
ATI FirePro: driver 8.68

Nvidia
View list of latest list of support GPUs
starting support unknown, use latest

Broadcom
BCM70012
BCM70015
-

Apple
Hardware that Supports Mac OS X Video Decode Acceleration Framework (such as GeForce 9400M, 320M, GT 330M)
Mac OS X 10.6.4 or later"


a b U Graphics card
September 22, 2011 11:10:36 PM

In short you need UVD2 to take advantage of H.264 encoding, which is what is most commonly used in HD video's available on the net.
a b U Graphics card
September 22, 2011 11:47:58 PM

benski said:
In short you need UVD2 to take advantage of H.264 encoding, which is what is most commonly used in HD video's available on the net.


Hmmm, I am confused. He's decoding, not encoding.

From AMD: UVD is a dedicated video decode processing unit introduced with ATI Radeon™ HD 2000 series graphics processors that offloads CPU from the decoding process. UVD technology reduces power use, helps decrease system noise and helps to increase notebook battery life during HD video playback

From wikipedia: The UVD is based on an ATI Xilleon video processor, incorporated into the same die of the GPU and part of the ATI Avivo HD for hardware decoding videos, along with the Advanced Video Processor (AVP). UVD, as stated by AMD, handles decoding of H.264/AVC, and VC-1 video codecs entirely in hardware. However, video post-processing is passed to the shaders. MPEG-2 decoding is not performed within UVD, but in the shader processors. The decoder meets the performance and profile requirements of Blu-ray and HD DVD, decoding H.264 bitstreams up to a bitrate of 40 Mbit/s. It has context-adaptive binary arithmetic coding (CABAC) support for H.264/AVC

How is it that the 3650 wouldn't support hardware accelerated h.264 decoding since it has UVD?
a b U Graphics card
September 23, 2011 12:11:46 AM

In short, yes a low end graphics card will work for HD content :) 

Take care.
a b U Graphics card
September 23, 2011 12:23:14 AM

I don't know exactly, 40Mbit/s should theoretically be enough, I'm not an expert on this, read the Tom's article I linked to. I am not entirely sure on this issue myself, but when I was researching this myself before I bought a HD 4650 for an aging P4 system I gave my parents I read alot of info confirming what the Tom's article says. I had a HD 3870 for a while, it played HD videos fine, but I also had an e8500 so it may not have been doing the decoding. It would be nice if someone here who still has a 3xxx radeon could chime in on whether or not it can decode H.264 encoded HD video.

a b U Graphics card
September 23, 2011 12:28:39 AM

Personally I do not think you will have good luck with a 3650 playing back 1080p divx .mkv's. Blu-ray's yes, other 1080p content I think is going to give you problems.

a b U Graphics card
September 23, 2011 12:34:41 AM

benski said:
I don't know exactly, 40Mbit/s should theoretically be enough, I'm not an expert on this, read the Tom's article I linked to. I am not entirely sure on this issue myself, but when I was researching this myself before I bought a HD 4650 for an aging P4 system I gave my parents I read alot of info confirming what the Tom's article says. I had a HD 3870 for a while, it played HD videos fine, but I also had an e8500 so it may not have been doing the decoding. It would be nice if someone here who still has a 3xxx radeon could chime in on whether or not it can decode H.264 encoded HD video.


I read the article you linked. If seems to be specific to Flash 10.1. I know Flash is used a lot (like YouTube) but I think as long as he uses a player that can use UVD (sometimes called UVD+) he's probably fine. My old 3650AGP is collecting dust since the system it was in finally got unstable and I retired it. I honestly don't know whether the old P4 that was in that system would have been able to play videos as smoothly as it did. Methinks the video card was handling most of the decoding but I'm not sure. Cheers!
a b U Graphics card
September 23, 2011 1:20:10 AM

I have 3850 AGP and they can play H.264 1080p mkv. I assume the 3650 can also do the job, but I suggest you to get the 4670 AGP because they are more readily available on the market and use less power.
September 24, 2011 5:27:20 PM

Ok so I got the 3650 this morning, after much messing about with installing Catalyst Control Center and the latest drivers, alas it wont play full 1080P very well at all.

It will just about play 720P OK using Media Player Classic or VLC.

Next questions are therefore:

1. Do you think I need to change a setting somewhere or try some other software? I have installed the big K-Lite codec pack to see if that worked, also hardware acceleration is set to max. This is pretty unchartered territiry for me since my other rig played everything straight out the box virtually.

2. If not, what CPU do you think I could buy to make this set up work? (if any) My 3400+ operates at 90-100% when playing 720p mkv files. Bear in mind I only have a Chaintech SK8T800 mobo with 775 socket.

Hope someone can help!

Cheers, Lee
a b U Graphics card
September 24, 2011 11:37:28 PM

Alright I kinda feel bad now that my suggestion that the video card would definately work letting you play HD content doesn't work so well.

For 1080P content - are you trying out MKV files, are actual BLU ray content?

It almost sounds as if your not using hardware accleration by the usage of your CPU. If the video card is being used for hardware acceleration - your CPU usage should be much less - say around 50% or even less.

VLC media player has an option for Acclerated video output - to go to it click on Tools > Preferences then click on the Input and Codecs button. After clicking on it there should be an option "Use GPU accleration" make sure it is check marked.

As for your CPU i think it';s actually a S754. I think the highest rated processor available for that socket is 3700+.

That socket has been a dead end for the past 5 years though. You might be able to find a better processor for your computer but it will be either really expensive, or hard to find or both.

Although I'm still inclined to think that your setup should be able to play blu ray content no problem.

Edit: You need at least VLC 1.1 for hardware acceleration. FYI I am currently using 1.1.11
a b U Graphics card
September 25, 2011 1:16:23 AM

Make sure AMD media codec is installed and installed properly by checking the installation log after driver installation.

If you didn't check after your driver installation, just install the standalone AMD media codec again and check the installation log this time.

Enable DXVA (includes all .264 content regardless if it is mkv, mp4, etc...) in MPC by going:

View>options>internal filters and select everything with (DXVA) and apply

Then, on playback>output select

for xp: vmr9 (renderless), directx9 and directx9
for vista,7: evr custom pres, directx9 and directx9

for directshow video, realmedia video and quicktime video

Ok and restart MPC and play video.

Also, I use CCC instead of K-lite. But I don't think it matters for .264 since you have to disable those codec to use the AMD codec (which is what I told you to do in the player settings).
September 25, 2011 5:28:07 PM

Pyree \ Chainzsaw - this issue is now officially SOLVED.

Everything works brilliantly following your suggestions - thank you very much.

regards, Lee
a b U Graphics card
September 25, 2011 11:48:07 PM

No problem
December 6, 2011 9:58:39 AM

Leeky Leek said:
Pyree \ Chainzsaw - this issue is now officially SOLVED.

Everything works brilliantly following your suggestions - thank you very much.

regards, Lee


Too late, but I can also confirm that HD3650 is enough to decode 1080 files with MPC.

Meanwhile, I can't make it read 1080 in Youtube.
If I download the Youtube file, then play it, there is no problem, but it's impossible to play it in Youtube
I don't think it comes from the card, but from Flash in Youtube.

Do you have the same problem ?
!