New HTPC - Problem solved (1 Viewer)

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pacificrim

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This week I assembled my new HTPC out of an old (2008) HP computer which I upgraded the CPU from a dual core 2.5 to quad core 2.8Ghz ($20 on eBay), added a GTX 1050ti video card and a TBS 8922 card running on Win10.

I briefly tried several programs like AltDVB, DVB Dream, EBSPro, but I liked ProgDVB because of the option of 2 interfaces. One very detailed for techie play and one which is like a STB for channel surfing. The only problem I found with any of these was getting the UHD channels to play audio smoothly despite lots of codec tweaking. I installed LAV codecs but couldn't get it to play for more than 6 seconds before the audio would go choppy. The video was very good but would eventually crash after a couple minutes.

Researching the Internet and using Google translate on a few sites, I discovered the use of MadVR to solve the problem. Installing MadVR (GPU assisted renderer) and setting the decoder as the hardware Native DXVA in the LAV video codec options fixed it and now it plays UHD perfectly.

Now I'm tripping on the NASA UHD channel. I hope this is helpful to those who venture into HTPCs using Windows.
 

iBoston

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I have the same card, and i was having issues too, however, i ended up buying newer used computer. Its funny, because i was running a dual core as well. I am now running with an i5 quad processor and the issues stopped. I only paid 100.oo bucks for the new computer, and it was worth the upgrade. I have other computers i will test this MadVR on, so thanks for your post.
 

pacificrim

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The Nvidia GPU is doing all of the heavy lifting and tricky math and the CPU is pretty much idling just running windows and ProgDVB. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have got UHD to work without the 4GB GTX 1050ti video card and specifically MadVR to tie them together.

For a remote control I'm using an amazing little touchpad / full keyboard mini controller. It does everything I need and more for like $20

Amazon product
I have ordered 8 Gigs of RAM for it, but it is running perfectly on 4 and I might clone the drive to a SSD and put in a 2TB for recording. I wanted to test it and prove it out before putting more money into it. So far it has exceeded my expectations.
 

kittyhas1000legs

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I have ordered 8 Gigs of RAM for it, but it is running perfectly on 4 and I might clone the drive to a SSD and put in a 2TB for recording. I wanted to test it and prove it out before putting more money into it. So far it has exceeded my expectations.
I did this years ago for my computer. The boot and load times were a huge improvement. I have a 2TB drive for recording ATSC and DVB S-2, plus another 2TB for older files (plus a couple more hard drives...) I should probably get back to sorting through things before I run low on space again.
 
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Cham

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I have 16GB ram and a 500GB SSD in this pc, and a 1Tb std hard disc drive. The SSD works great for the OS and high usage apps. This is an i7 quad processor and no problems playing UHD as long as the signal is fine. Using a nvidia video cardhelps too.
Have ProgDVB as well but never paid much attention to it. Updated it after reading your post pacificrim. Will have to give it a second look...
Guess I have the free version. Are you using the paid professional version?
 

harshness

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UHD is not one of those things that you should resurrect a ten-year-old computer to do. If the computer wasn't capable of UHD then, it is certainly a push to do it now.

Offloading to the GPU is neat in theory, but that depends on there being a fat pipe to the GPU and that probably isn't the case with a PCIe 1.x mainboard. The latest version of PCIe is 4.0 and it is potentially five times faster than PCIe 1.0. You can imagine how a display adapter running in compatibility mode is hobbled. RAM is also 3-4 times faster now than it used to be.

Yeah, you may be able beat it into submission, but is it really worth your time?
 

pacificrim

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UHD is not one of those things that you should resurrect a ten-year-old computer to do. If the computer wasn't capable of UHD then, it is certainly a push to do it now.

Offloading to the GPU is neat in theory, but that depends on there being a fat pipe to the GPU and that probably isn't the case with a PCIe 1.x mainboard. The latest version of PCIe is 4.0 and it is potentially five times faster than PCIe 1.0. You can imagine how a display adapter running in compatibility mode is hobbled. RAM is also 3-4 times faster now than it used to be.

Yeah, you may be able beat it into submission, but is it really worth your time?

Totally worth it. No reason to buy a new 2.8 Ghz quad core processor with 8MB cache for $200 when you can buy a 7 year old 2.8 Ghz quad core processor with 6 MB of cache for $20.

My research before building the HTPC showed tons of gaming computers being made out of the exact parts. Old HP business desktops with LGA 775 ASUS boards, Nvidia GTZ cards, and upgraded CPUs kicking ass on new games.

After work I'll install the GPU monitor that came with the driver disk and see how hard its working.
 

pacificrim

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I have 16GB ram and a 500GB SSD in this pc, and a 1Tb std hard disc drive. The SSD works great for the OS and high usage apps. This is an i7 quad processor and no problems playing UHD as long as the signal is fine. Using a nvidia video cardhelps too.
Have ProgDVB as well but never paid much attention to it. Updated it after reading your post pacificrim. Will have to give it a second look...
Guess I have the free version. Are you using the paid professional version?

I bought the Pro version for $60 CDN. Perhaps there's a better one, but after I got the free version working perfectly I jumped in with both feet and bought the Pro.
 
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pacificrim

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I have continued my HTPC project with lots of reading (and watching a bunch of trippin' NASA UHD) and what I have come up with is that one of the most important things is upgrading past Windows 7 to Win 8.1 or 10.

Microsoft greatly improved the enhanced rendering capability after Windows 7, so having a Nvidia GPU and Win10 is the magic. MadVR made a vast improvement to my setup when I was on a clean install of Windows 7 from the HP recovery media and trying out my new satellite card with ProgDVB and EbsPro. Without MadVR, it was impossible to play UHD on any of the sat programs like DVB Dream and ProgDVB. Now I'm on Windows 10 so I don't need MadVR anymore and instead can use the LAV codes along with the Nvidia GPU which does the heavy lifting.
 

harshness

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I'm not doing any HTPC, but I have two of these computers. I feel these HP's are quite a bargain (when in stock). Just make sure the seller is "Surplus Products" !
HP Z400 Workstation - Xeon Quad-Core W3565 3.2GHz - 8GB Ram - 500 GB Hard Drive - DVD/RW Drive - NVS 290 Video Card - Windows 10 Pro - Newegg.com
I recently retired five of these machines that I bought in 2010 (the Z400 was introduced in 2007). Any computer that doesn't feature integrated USB 3.0 and Gigabit Ethernet should be discounted mightily in modern usage cases. RAM can also be a problem in these machines as it must be added three sticks at a time and error correcting DDR3 1333 RAM (ECC, relatively expensive) is required. That they feature 8GB of RAM suggests an odd combination of chips as it should be a multiple of 3.

As they came from the factory, the hard drives ran like molasses in January and switching them out for 10,000rpm drives or SSDs didn't help much so I suspect that the data channel is slow.

They were exceedingly reliable and I never had to replace any parts but they were not screamers (we ran modest nVidia CAD cards for graphics). They were nothing to brag about then and certainly much less so now more than ten years after the platform debuted (they were designed around Windows Vista 64).

I'd pass and go for something with a more modern architecture (fifth or sixth generation Intel) with PCI-E 3.0 or later and USB 3.0 ports front and back. The modern designs can move data faster and that's one of the most important features of an HTPC since much of the heavy lifting is done by the display adapter and not the CPU.
 

pacificrim

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While I wouldn't make the argument that a 10 year old computer should be deployed in mission critical environments, as a STB replacement or to get 4.2.2 or UHD with a Nvidia GTX card- they rock!
 

harshness

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While I wouldn't make the argument that a 10 year old computer should be deployed in mission critical environments, as a STB replacement or to get 4.2.2 or UHD with a Nvidia GTX card- they rock!
A GTX card has the potential to exchange data with the computer many times faster in a PCIe 3.0 environment (up to 5 times faster). This plays big if you do a lot of transcoding (especially on-the-fly).
 

pacificrim

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Not to flog a dead horse, but how much better than perfect does UHD playback have to be? When the GPU is running at 30% and the CPU is idling at 9%. Clearly the PCIe port is not a bottleneck.
 

harshness

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Not to flog a dead horse, but how much better than perfect does UHD playback have to be? When the GPU is running at 30% and the CPU is idling at 9%. Clearly the PCIe port is not a bottleneck.
There's a distinct difference between supporting a satellite tuner and a full-fledged HTPC. The Amiko HD265 sells for just over $100 if all you're looking to do is watch a TV channel.

I don't think we've seen the full palette of what modern audio and video have to offer yet on FTA.
 

pacificrim

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I don't understand what's missing. What do you mean full-fledged? The HD265 doesn't do UHD or 4.2.2 whereas I'm watching both. None of the UHD capable STB units can watch HD 4.2.2 either.

I just wanted to post a thread about how cheap and easy it was to build a UHD capable HTPC. I don't see your points as valid.
 

harshness

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I don't understand what's missing. What do you mean full-fledged?
You're claiming it as a HTPC but it may not stand up to the rigors of a modern HTPC. That doesn't mean that it won't do what you want (because so far, it is), just that it may not perform as someone who is assembling a modern HTPC would expect.

There are tradeoffs when using a workstation in such an application (bulk, noise, power consumption) that some may be able to overlook at any price point.
 
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