Need help-New HTPC, Poor BD playback, WAF in the crapper. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 04-04-2009, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
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This has been the most frustrating PC build I have ever done. I can't get smooth playback at all for BD and HD-DVD discs, at least not reliably. Here's my specs:

Intel C2D E7400
2x1GB PC 800 RAM
GIGABYTE GA-E7AUM-DS2H (using the onboard nVidia Geforce 9400 GPU)
LG Super Multi-Blu drive
WD 1Tb Green HDD
Windows Vista Ultimate 32 bit

I'm using TMT3 for playback, and most of the Blu-Ray movies I try to watch wind up a stuttering, frame-dropping mess. Some are worse than others. Audio works fine, but the video is almost unwatchable. I have the resolution set to 1080p, 59hz. I've tried with and without HWA, 60 and 59hz refresh rate, audio mixer on and off. The only real thing I've found that seems to help somewhat is running TMT3 outside of the VMC interface and turning HWA off. Still, CPU utilization is through the roof with the hardware assist off. CPU usage is 97-100% (with VMC running, 70% without) during the entire playback process. If I turn HWA on, it drops to around 40% (With VMC running, 24% without). Isn't this abnormally high?

I've done everything I know to do, I'm using the most recent drivers for all hardware bits, including the newest 1.03 firmware for the LG drive, Vista is fully patched. I'm running into some mental roadblocks and could use a fresh thought on this. There are other issues I'm having with this build, but really the whole point was getting set-top like BD and HD-DVD playback and I can't get it. I get the feeling I'm missing something painfully obvious, but I don't know what.

Please experts, lend me a hand. If there's any details missing let me know, I can fill them in. I want to get this working before my wife shoots me.
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post #2 of 15 Old 04-04-2009, 08:07 PM
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i suspect its a problem with TMT3

try powerdvd and see if that works

your hardware is not the problem (more than enough).

Rule #1: You haven't wasted your money...you just haven't spent enough yet.
Rule #2: When in doubt...get both.
Rule #3: No need to invoke malice when stupidity alone suffices.
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post #3 of 15 Old 04-05-2009, 06:55 AM
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Try ouputting 1080i instead of 1080p since the reduced output bandiwdth puts much less load on your 9400.
If running over 50=60% CPU you will most likely have stuttering. So you must have hardware acceleration enabled.
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post #4 of 15 Old 04-05-2009, 08:42 AM
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My setup is almost like yours(exept RAM 2*2GIG) and operating system (VISTA HOME PREMIUM).Refresh rate is 23hz and TMT3 working like charm.
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post #5 of 15 Old 04-05-2009, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't have a 24p capable display (Sony 60A2000). I think 23 and 24hz were listed as available rates. Is it safe to use those settings on my TV?
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post #6 of 15 Old 04-05-2009, 09:14 AM
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I don`t know.
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post #7 of 15 Old 04-05-2009, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by listonosz pat View Post

My setup is almost like yours(exept RAM 2*2GIG) and operating system (VISTA HOME PREMIUM).Refresh rate is 23hz and TMT3 working like charm.

Since the native resoloution of your PJ is 1280x720@60Hz your PJ is uping the 23hz video it is receiving to 60fps using 3:2 pulldown.
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post #8 of 15 Old 04-07-2009, 12:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, I tried today to fix this again. I scaled the rez down to 1080i and 720p, still have the choppy video. There is a definite framerate improvement at 720p, but the problem is still there. 1080i offered almost no perceptible improvement. I think I'm going to reformat the HDD and start over. I must have missed something in the driver setup or something. I think part of the problem is the VMC front end. I was checking CPU usage during a test run using Band of Brothers. Set to 1080p, CPU usage was at 64%, but fell to just 14% after closing the ehshell.exe process. No other programs were running. Tomorrow I'm going to try re-installing Total Media Theater and maybe switching to PowerDVD ultra.

Anyone have any other ideas?
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post #9 of 15 Old 04-07-2009, 06:49 AM
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It appears that you system is not using the hardware decoding and scaling firmware in the 9400 chip since you have a CPU utilization of 64% which would certainly causing stuttering.
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-07-2009, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walford View Post

It appears that you system is not using the hardware decoding and scaling firmware in the 9400 chip since you have a CPU utilization of 64% which would certainly causing stuttering.

I agree, but any ideas as to why?

I did some more work last night and installed the newest graphics drivers from nvidia, 182.50 off the top of my head. I then uninstalled and re-installed TMT3. There didn't seem to be much improvement. Then I got a copy of PowerDVD 9 and it was better, but not good. I still got a little video stutter within VMC and even worse, displayed small blue bars at the top and left side of the movie! Played just about perfectly outside of VMC though!
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post #11 of 15 Old 04-07-2009, 10:26 AM
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There are only a few current DVD players such as PowerDVD9 that actually call the PurevideoHD features to do the decoding of H.264 content and AFAIK TMT is not one of them so it is using software decoding.
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post #12 of 15 Old 04-07-2009, 12:03 PM
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something is fishy..

i have 3 htpc's NONE of which have superior hardware to your system, and all of them work great.

are you positive you don't have other programs running in the background? if so, turn them off or disable them.

the vid gpu should do all the heavy lifting, and your cpu use should be low.

my advice would be to get an actual bluray disc, and play it with Powewrdvd directly (not accessed through any front end, not accessed off a hard drive).

If you can do this successfully, then you've narrowed the problem down a bit.

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Rule #2: When in doubt...get both.
Rule #3: No need to invoke malice when stupidity alone suffices.
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post #13 of 15 Old 04-07-2009, 12:15 PM
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Heartsur...,
What program(s) are you using to play H.264 BR DVDs or 1080i or 1080p MPEG2 MKV files using what OS?
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post #14 of 15 Old 04-07-2009, 10:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Tonight I did 2 things, and it seems my video performance has improved dramatically.

1. I increased the memory allotment for the onboard video from 256mb to 512mb, manual adjustment in the BIOS.

2. Apparently I had unknowingly set up the RAM to run in single-channel mode. I reconfigured the RAM to run in dual-channel mode instead.

I made those 2 changes and now the BD and HDDVD playback is everything I had expected. During the course of all this, I even got my Standby issues fixed! So, everything appears to be on the right track. Thanks everyone for the help!
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post #15 of 15 Old 04-08-2009, 07:40 AM
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I don't think the memory allocation helped since 128Mb normally works for 1 display but is marginal for two display so 256mb is reccomended for two displays since a single 1080p frame buffer is just over 8MB and not that many frame buffers are in use at any one point in time,
Doubling the speed of your memory, howerver, is what really helped.
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