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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 2005-12-22, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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HTPC Built With 'Old' Technology

Here's one I'm thinking on to be used strictly with a media server (no gaming). I have a 46H84C with HDMI and a digital receiver.

I have a 40GB Max and the O/S.

This case in black looks great and is surprisingly quiet (my daughter has one).
http://www.edgeworld.net/catalog/item52.htm $85 I'll lose the cheezy badge.

Mainboard with AGP8 http://usa.asus.com/products.aspx?l1...72&modelmenu=1 $100

Video http://www.bestbuy.ca/catalog/prodde...20&catid=20397 $200

Sempron 3000+ $120, 1GB 3200 DDR $140 Total grief under $650.

simplicity is genius...
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 2005-12-22, 09:19 PM
 
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For the same price as that 9800P, you could get a 6600GT that plays better with nvidia's dvd decoder. And more storage would be great for a media server.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 2005-12-22, 09:23 PM
 
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I would strongly recommend that you take a lower end video card but a bigger Hard Drive. My HTPC is running with a Radeon 9250 that can easily be found for under 80$. On the other side, with only 40Gb you will screem for more space in no time
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 2005-12-22, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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The media server will be housed in an Antec 1040B initially with 2- 200 GB drives and room for 6 more.

Will a 9250 or a 660GT give me the same punch for HiDef and upscaling rendering ?

I have an AIW Radeon 32MB DDR, but it won't allow 1080i to my display without chugging.

This machine is basically an interface for connectivity to the display and digital receiver.

I just want to have an affordable, yet effective machine without bleeding edge compnents.

simplicity is genius...
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 2005-12-23, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
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Does anyone know if the remote for the AIW Radeon 9800 Pro can be programmed to turn the PC on without a keyboard or mouse ?

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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 2005-12-23, 09:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filper
Will a 9250 or a 660GT give me the same punch for HiDef and upscaling rendering ?
...
I have an AIW Radeon 32MB DDR, but it won't allow 1080i to my display without chugging.
...
I just want to have an affordable, yet effective machine without bleeding edge compnents.
The video card has little to do with HD and upscaling. Those tasks rely on CPU power - especially any processing (denoise, sharpen, etc) that must be done before upscaling. My recommendation for the 6600GT is that it can alleviate some of the strain on the CPU *if* you use nvidia's ubiquitous decoder, leaving you more horsepower to fiddle around with the settings.

Either card are available with fanless heatsink designs for optimal sound performance.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 2005-12-23, 09:19 AM
 
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I use an ATI Remote Wonder and it only becomes operational once XP is up and running. I have to power up the old fashioned way - manually. That said, the remote can turn the PC off.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 2005-12-23, 09:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filper
Does anyone know if the remote for the AIW Radeon 9800 Pro can be programmed to turn the PC on without a keyboard or mouse ?
Turning on from a completely off state is unlikely unless supported by your motherboard.

However, you can turn most PCs on from S3 (suspend-to-RAM) state via USB. It may require a registry modification to enable USB power to remain active while in suspend mode though. AVSforums' MCE FAQ does link to the appropirate reg entries for this mod.
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 2005-12-23, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toronto365
I use an ATI Remote Wonder and it only becomes operational once XP is up and running. I have to power up the old fashioned way - manually. That said, the remote can turn the PC off.
At least I'll only have to get up off me fanny half as often . Not a big deal anyway.

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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 2005-12-23, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilJP
The video card has little to do with HD and upscaling. Those tasks rely on CPU power - especially any processing (denoise, sharpen, etc) that must be done before upscaling. My recommendation for the 6600GT is that it can alleviate some of the strain on the CPU *if* you use nvidia's ubiquitous decoder, leaving you more horsepower to fiddle around with the settings.
Not 100% true.

If you are using S/W post-processing, aka ffdshow, the CPU is important. If you aren't then the GPU, and drivers running on them, make a big difference.

The 6600GT is generally a good bet. But even the older high end ATI cards, 9500 series or higher, got a LOT better with the 5.12 drivers.

I'm currently running full DXVA acceleration, using VMR9 with TheaterTek, i.e. Nvidia decoders, on my AIW9700Pro and the upscaling is as good as it's been in a while. I've turned off ffdshow and haven't felt the need to go back.

This is on a relatively ancient CPU and MB combo, 2.5G P4 and AGP 4X.
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 2005-12-23, 11:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jvincent
Not 100% true.

If you are using S/W post-processing, aka ffdshow, the CPU is important. If you aren't then the GPU, and drivers running on them, make a big difference.
Only if you choose a GPU under a certain baseline - and all HD-compliant display cards are generally beefy enough to handle most of those tasks (a lowly FX5200 can do DXVA and VMR9, whereas ATI's side requires a bit more with a 9500 being the bare minimum card).

I'm assuming the OP wants to buy a new card that's widely available now, so his retail options are pretty much 6600GT/9800P in the $150-200 range. Should he opt for a lower card like the 9250, then for better quality and dependable performance, I would use CPU post-processing.

Quote:
I'm currently running full DXVA acceleration, using VMR9 with TheaterTek, i.e. Nvidia decoders, on my AIW9700Pro and the upscaling is as good as it's been in a while. I've turned off ffdshow and haven't felt the need to go back.
My experience with Theatertek is limited but I'm not sure that you mentioned what does the actual upscaling. On my setup (XP3200+, 9700P, 46" DLP on DVI>HDMI) I can definitely notice the differences in visual quality between standard GPU-enabled processing and ffdshow processing.

Lord of the Rings (Fellowship Extended) is one movie that I use to test my settings; the scene where the Fellowship first encounters Galadriel can clearly show inadequate upscaling. The dark forest background will show transfer noise that hasn't been cleaned up while skin tones on Galadriel's cheeks can show too much processing if they lose their gradual transition. Using VMR9 and in full-screen mode (not true upscaling), the noise remains very noticeable in many players including Theatertek, Cineplayer, and PowerDVD. Also, "upconversion" using anything besides ffdshow results in broken up skin tones.

imo this applies to some other material like the X-Files or Stargate SG-1 tv series which use lots of high-contrast scenes, and older movies with poor transfer quality. Your results may vary depending on the type of material you watch.
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 2005-12-23, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilJP
My experience with Theatertek is limited but I'm not sure that you mentioned what does the actual upscaling. On my setup (XP3200+, 9700P, 46" DLP on DVI>HDMI) I can definitely notice the differences in visual quality between standard GPU-enabled processing and ffdshow processing.
It has gotten very confusing on where the actual scaling happens these days.

As I understand it, if you are using VMR9 at a resolution greater than DVD native the scaling happens in two places. There is a stage in passing the frames to the renderer which involves the CPU and then there is a stage which is a function of the GPU.

There are subtle differences between the two VMR9 modes, fullscreen or renderless, but I don't begin to understand the mechanics of how they are different.
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 2005-12-23, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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FYI. I just bought the AIW 9800 Pro (not too many left).

A great read though folks, I appreciate the comments.

Over the Holidays I'm going to give the card a whack with an XP1600 on an Asus A7V-266E and see how it works. I currently have Catalyst 5.9 on the machine. Should I install 5.12 ?

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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 2005-12-23, 11:54 AM
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Yes. Definitely go with 5.12.

I use the Omega version on my AIW9700Pro, which is the same card just a slower clock.
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 2005-12-23, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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This card is a serious improvement even on a 17" LCD...

More to follow.

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