Trying to find bottleneck - Need to upgrade 7600GT? - AVS Forum
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks in advance for any help.

My dell e510 is struggling to play any local or networked HD content. The audio is great, but the video stutters. I currently have a Nvidia 7600 GT video card installed and it has served me well over the past 9 or so years. However, I would like to be able to play BluRay rips and HD home videos on the PC. I'm not sure if the video card (7600 GT) is the bottleneck or the processor itself. The PC is gigabit connected.

I'd love to upgrade to a new pc, but this one still seems to handle all the other tasks I need it for...browsing, ordering pizza, e-mail, etc... If I can get away with a $40 - $70 video card upgrade, then that's what I'm after.

Dell e510:
Intel Pentium 4 3.4 Ghz - Single Core processor
GeForce 7600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814143049
D-Link DGE-530T Gigabit Network Adaptor

I'm confused too.

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Old 07-16-2012, 12:24 PM
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It's a bit of a weak PC by today's standard. Even a very modest $200 new build would blow it away.

I am not sure it's worth upgrading an P4 based PC any more.

Better to start fresh.

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Old 07-16-2012, 12:28 PM
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You should be able to use task manager to check the stress on your CPU during playback, and gpu-z to check the stress on your GPU. That is an ancient CPU by today's standards, but it might be okay if you're using GPU hardware acceleration. If you end up upgrading the GPU, I would strongly discourage you from getting an ATI card. They work fine for many people though. An nvidia GT 520 or GT 430 is a good option. If you end up upgrading the whole system, just get an Intel 2105 and use integrated graphics.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions. I probably will end up replacing the pc with a budget build. I could get the hardware I need for sub $200 since i have a spare case and power supply, but I'd like to run Windows 7 on the new pc and that pushes the cost up a bit. Also going to put in a SSD, after having one of those in my HTPC I don't think I'll ever run the OS from a HD again in a new build.

I use a GT440 in my HTPC and have been very happy with the performance.

I'm confused too.

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Old 07-17-2012, 09:56 AM
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Which media center front end are you using? If it's XBMC, there are free options like Ubuntu and openelec. There's also the Windows 8 release preview which you can use for free for the time being. If you're using Media Browser, then you're probably stuck with Windows 7 for the time being. Can't you reuse the OS from your old computer?
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm currently using xbmc. However the video playback is a secondary function of this pc. I don't absolutely have to have the bluray playback stutter free at this point.It's one of those things that bugs me a little just because I know it could be better....but I don't really need it.

I run an OEM copy of XP that came on the e510 out of the box. I wouldn't be able to transfer the license to a new MB. I just priced out the parts I need to upgrade to an AMD Llano build.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813138333
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231277
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103951

Would put the total for these parts at about $180. So add the cost of the SSD and the family friendly OS to that and I think I'll be good to go. Might wait for Windows 8 to be released, could be a good excuse to grab the latest MS OS and play around a bit.

Again, not needed, but it's fun to tweak.

I'm confused too.

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Old 07-17-2012, 11:21 AM
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When you say you have a "spare case" I assume you aren't talking about reusing the e510 case are you? I don't think that Dell case is a standard layout. In fact I think that motherboard is a reverse layout to a standard ATX or mATX, and I doubt the standoffs are in the correct places. So I assume that you mean you have a spare mATX case sitting around to use.
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:30 AM
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the 7600 supports bluray acceleration so it is not the bottle neck
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idividebyzero View Post

the 7600 supports bluray acceleration so it is not the bottle neck

Not fully, though. The first nVIDIA card that did hardware decode acceleration of all Blu-ray codecs is the 8400 GS G98, I believe.
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, a had a co-worker donate a full ATX tower to the cause. The BTX form factor of the e510 means it'll stay intact as preschool gaming rig.

I'm confused too.

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Old 07-17-2012, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djearl81 View Post

I run an OEM copy of XP that came on the e510 out of the box. I wouldn't be able to transfer the license to a new MB

True about the motherboard license transfer, but . . .

The gray area here is that you are eligible for a $40 Win8 upgrade which can be rolled back to W7 Pro

Since there is no upgrade path from XP to 8, the upgrade will use an installer. Wait a month and see, but there will probably be a lot of "Full install W8 from upgrade" articles come out
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:49 PM
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GASP.

Not that I am saying to do it but you could easily install windows 7, Home, PRO or Ultimate without any CD code.

It would work fine minus the annoying box asking you to register it.

It's not a great long term solution but excellent short term.

I have done it.

I usually end up just getting a key code and keeping the install - making it legit. A phone call to Microsoft gets you a key code.

But sometimes I just want to test out a PC and I am not certain of the final set up yet- so it's a viable option for me.

I then wipe the drive clean- reinstall and do it how I want and legit.

There is no reason you can not build a PC or clean install windows even without a key code and have it function.

You get 30 days to register it anyways. You could decide if you wanted the $40 windows 8 or the windows 7 PRO in that case.

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Old 07-18-2012, 10:05 AM
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Actually you get 120 days to use Windows without a key, at the end of the trial you can type slmgr -rearm in CMD (google it for instructions) and it will reset the timer, MS gives you 3 resets giving you 120 days.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idividebyzero View Post

Actually you get 120 days to use Windows without a key, at the end of the trial you can type slmgr -rearm in CMD (google it for instructions) and it will reset the timer, MS gives you 3 resets giving you 120 days.

Wow did not know

Thanks for insight.

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Old 08-07-2012, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I'd be curious to see if anyone has suggestions for my next build. The PC will primarily serve as an office PC for web browsing, taxes, some emulated games, and the occasional movie.I plan to house all the data on a different. The SSD would strictly be for the local OS and programs. I can salvage an optical drive from an older pc.

AMD Phenom II X4 B93 Socket AM3 Processor $49.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0389134

Micro Center 4GB DDR3-1333 (PC3-10666) CL9 Dual Channel Memory $19.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0353218

Crucial m4 CT064M4SSD2 64GB SATA 6.0Gb/s 2.5" Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $62.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0364541

Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P Socket AM3+ 760G mATX AMD Motherboard - open box - $54.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0366104

Microsoft Windows home premium 64bit OEM - $99.99

Already have a case and power supply at home. Brings my total for this build to $297 including the OS. I'm considering a prebuilt system, but I really want the speed of the SSD and the included 500GB/1TB drive isn't needed at the moment.

I'm confused too.

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Old 08-07-2012, 12:27 PM
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Why an outdated, hot running, cpu like a Phenom (and Radeon 3000 graphics)? You can get a Pentium G630 at Micro Center for the same $49.99, or an AMD Llano A6-3500 at Newegg for $79,99. Or, if you're lucky, your local Micro Center might still have a I3-2100 in stock for $89.99.

And, especially if this is an all-purpose pc, you should definitely get a 120/128GB SSD. It will be faster, it will last longer, and you won't have to worry about what you put on it. 120/128 is definitely the best value. Why pay $65 or more for a 64GB when you can get a really good 128 (like a Samsung 830 for example) for under $100?
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:44 PM
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I agree on the cpu. I would go Intel personally. Even though it's dual core vs quad. The new pentiums are not like the old. Very quick.

As for the ssd I used a 64 gb on my main pc for a long time. It's fine but you really want to have an HDD in the system as well. A networked drive can work but it would be much better with at least a 500 or something.

As for the speed of the ssd I disagree. Yes the 128s are the sweet spot but it looks like budget is a main concern here.

64gb M4 is plenty fast. Besides file transfers I'd be willing to bet you wouldn't tell the difference in a blind test between the 64gb crucial and the 128 sammy.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:04 PM
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I would upgrade the video card and also upgrade to Win7. XP just doesnt make use of full hardware video acceleration. My HTPC is a single core 3GHz and works just fine with a GT430 video card & win7.

This link describes the various nvidia acceleration features. You want at least VP2 on a card which the 7600 doesnt have.
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dicko2 View Post

I would upgrade the video card and also upgrade to Win7. XP just doesnt make use of full hardware video acceleration. My HTPC is a single core 3GHz and works just fine with a GT430 video card & win7.
This link describes the various nvidia acceleration features. You want at least VP2 on a card which the 7600 doesnt have.
I think the link is missing.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll have to compare the specs per price on the different cpu suggestions. I favored the Phenom as I built my HTPC last year with a phenom and it's been rock solid. Slickdeals featured a 120gb SSD (Kingston SH103S3/120G HyperX 120GB Solid State Drive) this morning for $79.99. So I'll pick that up and start stock piling parts until I'm ready to put it all together.

If I go intel, the motherboard prices get a little higher. My main concerns in the motherboard are gigabit ethernet and and HDMI port.

I'm confused too.

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Old 08-08-2012, 09:21 AM
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One thing to consider. Most return policies are 30 days or less. You probably don't want to stockpile parts any longer than you can be sure to have built and started up the system to make sure they work

Don't worry, especially with SSDs, something else will be on sale tomorrow, or next week, or whenever you're ready to actually buy and build.
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteboy714 View Post

I think the link is missing.

Oops. Here it is.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia_PureVideo#Table_of_PureVideo_.28HD.29_GPUs

This is a nice link if you want to compare the capabilities of nvidia cards
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Nvidia_graphics_processing_units
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I put it all together yesterday. Took about an hour to get all the parts and put everything together. Posted on the first attempt. Phew....


CPU:
AMD Phenom II X6 1045T 2.7GHz Six Core Socket AM3 Boxed Processor
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0382798

Motherboard:
Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P Socket AM3+ 760G mATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0366104

SSD: (Slickdeal)
Kingston SH103S3/120G HyperX 120GB Solid State Drive - 120GB, SATA III, 2.5"
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2416662&tab=7&SRCCODE=WEBLET101SATSFY&cm_mmc=Email-_-WebletMain-_-WEBLET101SATSFY-_-Satisfy

RAM:
Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR3-1333 (PC3-10600) CL9 Dual Channel Desktop Memory Kit (Two 4GB Memory Modules)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0382099

Case/Power Supply: (Open Box)
PowerSpec Apex TX-381 Micro ATX Mid Tower Computer Case w/300W Power Supply
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0330535

OS:
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit OEM (PC)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0361170

Microcenter Total: $304.14
Mail in Rebate: $10.00
Tiger Direct Total: $79.99

Total build cost: $374.13


I decided to go with the Phenom X6 core as the price point was right when used in combo with the motherboard. (After the mail in rebate the MB will be free.) From what I saw the Phenom was a better value than the FX4100 based on expected pc use. It also appears that the Phenom can be overclocked a bit should that need arise. The MB has GB ethernet, but only DVI. However, since it's basically free I'm happy to use a DVI to HDMI cable as it's not connected to a surround sound system. As far as the RAM goes, I went with 8GB simply to max out the capacity of the MB. I was at the store, putting the parts in the cart, and the $15 to double the memory made sense. Maybe it was wasted money, but I don't really have to worry about memory anymore.

After loading windows and various other software, my cpu temp was 37C. Well below critical temps for this cpu with the stock cooler.

The graphics, as expected, are the lowest scoring portion of the build in the WEI. It doesn't stutter when I play a BluRay rips from my media server...so I'm happy.

Should the need arise for local storage I'll put in a HDD, but I'm going to try the network route for now to see how that works out.

Noise: the only moving parts are the power supply fan, exhaust fan, and cpu fan. Are they quiet, not really...are they distracting...not really. Definitely quieter overall than the old Dell and not worth spending money to quiet down at the moment.

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks to the forum. It's awesome that we have this platform to bounce ideas off each other and the people are so willing to offer opinions and insights. Cheers gang!

I'm confused too.

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