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post #1 of 27 Old 04-29-2012, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I just noticed today that Newegg finally has the new Ivy Bridge CPUs in stock. I've been waiting for these to do a nice upgrade on my system, so I placed an order today (Sunday). When it comes (hopefully Tuesday), I'll be putting it through some tests to see how well it suits my needs (I hope there's a version of memtest for it). So if anyone is curious as to how well such a brand new system is handled by recent Linux distros, I'll be trying out a few. I will eventually be using an Nvidia card with this system, but I will also try out the integrated graphics, assuming they can handle my 2560x1600 monitor (I think Sandy Bridge was supposed to do that). Unfortunately, I don't have an A/V receiver to test out HDMI audio, just 8 channel analog audio and a TV that only supports 2ch PCM. Stay tuned!

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post #2 of 27 Old 04-30-2012, 09:12 AM
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If you have a Microcenter near you, then you could have picked up an IB for a much cheaper price.

I will let you be the guinea pig. I am interested to see how well IB does. I know I shouldn't, but I have thought about moving to an IB as well.

My new favorite game is Save The Titanic

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post #3 of 27 Old 04-30-2012, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tip on Microcenter. There is one around, but pretty far away. The cost of fuel would negate a lot of the savings, but I'll try to keep that in mind for the future.

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post #4 of 27 Old 04-30-2012, 12:25 PM
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FYI on Microcenter prices.
http://www.microcenter.com/storefron...rocessors.html

My new favorite game is Save The Titanic

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post #5 of 27 Old 04-30-2012, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, I already saw them. Are you just trying to rub it in?
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post #6 of 27 Old 04-30-2012, 07:41 PM
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A little bit! I just wanted people who are thinking of going IB that Microcenter has an incredible price.

My new favorite game is Save The Titanic

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post #7 of 27 Old 05-02-2012, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Put the system together last night and ran memtest86+ 4.20 all night. No errors after almost 3 complete passes. So memtest worked, but it did identify my CPU as a Gen2 Core processor (I think Ivy Bridge is supposed to be Gen3). Oh, and doing this on my 2560x1600 monitor worked just fine.

This morning, I have booted the Gentoo 2012 LiveDVD. X came up ok, and desktop effects seem to be working (KDE 4.7.4). I'll try booting some Ubuntus later on today.

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post #8 of 27 Old 05-02-2012, 09:45 AM
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I'd highly recommend that you do a badblocks -svw /dev/sdX test of the hard disk before you install anything on it (this test will erase everything on your hdd so only do it on a new empty disk), this will make sure the hard disk is error free.
I always do that on all my new hard disks and it saved me a lot of hassle as it allowed me to spot a few defective hard disks before I started using them.
Of course if you only use a SSD then ignore this test, this is only relevant for magnetic hard disks.

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post #9 of 27 Old 05-02-2012, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for that suggestion tux. I actually have been doing that for the last year or so an all new HDDs either for me or anyone else I buy them for. For this system though, I have no new HDDs, only new CPU, Motherboard, and Memory. Eventually if I see a nice SATA III SSD that I like, I'll try upgrading that as well. My OS drive will be an old 32GB SSD in the meantime, which I've already partitioned and aligned correctly:
Code:
Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/sda: 32.0 GB, 32044482560 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 3895 cylinders, total 62586880 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xd917d917

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *        1024    10752631     5375804    7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda2        10753024    17044479     3145728    7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda3        17247881    62584831    22668475+   f  W95 Ext'd (LBA)
/dev/sda4        17045504    17246207      100352   83  Linux
/dev/sda5        17247883    22367135     2559626+   7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda6        22368256    62584831    20108288   83  Linux

Partition table entries are not in disk order
Oops, looks like sda5 is wrong. Oh well, that's just where I keep misc stuff, it doesn't get much use. Someday when I upgrade the SSD, I'll probably do it right.
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post #10 of 27 Old 05-02-2012, 03:20 PM
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That's a lot of partitions for a small drive. Does windows really need 3 partitions?

I also noticed that the partition Start/End are not on consecutive blocks. Mine almost always are:

Code:
Disk /dev/sdb: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x0003a85b

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1   *           1        7295    58597056   83  Linux
/dev/sdb2            7296       60801   429786914+   5  Extended
/dev/sdb5            7296       12158    39062016   83  Linux
/dev/sdb6           12159       12644     3903763+  82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sdb7           12645       60801   386821071   83  Linux
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post #11 of 27 Old 05-31-2012, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
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No, Windows does not need 3 partitions, but my setup does.

1. XP 32-bit
2. XP 64-bit
3. Misc programs

And I think the misalignment is due to some Windows pickyness regarding the creation of partitions. I usually have to create partitions within Windows, and then tweak the starting sectors later in Linux to keep it aligned to 4k boundaries. For some reason, Windows sometimes fails to format partitions I've created from within Linux.

Anyway, back to my Ivy Bridge system, I finally had a chance to do some experimenting on it recently. Bottom Line: I'm not impressed with the integrated video. Neither Windows nor Linux (only tried Mythbuntu 12.04 so far) can drive my 2560x1600 monitor at anything higher than 1280x800 (half resolution). Speaking of Mythbuntu, MythTV 0.25 seems to actually use more CPU when set to use VA-API than when it is on the Normal profile. My 1080i video camera footage looks terrible with VA-API as well on all de-interlace settings, but that might have to do with the downscaling to 1280x800. I also tried VA-API on an AMD E-350 system, and it didn't work there either. I'm going to try to do some research on VA-API to see if I'm missing anything, but in the meantime I'd say don't give up your NVIDIA cards just yet.

I'm going to try and download Fedora 17 overnight tonight, and see if it's any different regarding the Intel video.

Matt
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post #12 of 27 Old 06-01-2012, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turtleggjp View Post

I also tried VA-API on an AMD E-350 system, and it didn't work there either. I'm going to try to do some research on VA-API to see if I'm missing anything, but in the meantime I'd say don't give up your NVIDIA cards just yet.

VAAPI on AMD E350 works actually really well, I have been experimenting with this on a ScientificLinux 6.2 installation with vaapi and vlc 2.0 packages from my own repo ( http://pkgrepo.linuxtech.net/el6/ ) and it works flawlessly. I get perfectly smooth playback of 1080p files, both VC1 and H.264.
See also this mini how-to written by me:
http://scientificlinuxforum.org/inde...showtopic=1629

I think the vaapi packages from whatever distro you use must be flawed.

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post #13 of 27 Old 06-01-2012, 04:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tux99 View Post

VAAPI on AMD E350 works actually really well, I have been experimenting with this on a ScientificLinux 6.2 installation with vaapi and vlc 2.0 packages from my own repo ( http://pkgrepo.linuxtech.net/el6/ ) and it works flawlessly. I get perfectly smooth playback of 1080p files, both VC1 and H.264.
See also this mini how-to written by me:
http://scientificlinuxforum.org/inde...showtopic=1629

I think the vaapi packages from whatever distro you use must be flawed.

Great news on the Vaapi success on ATI!

It appears Linux now has a viable alternative to Nvidia for artifact-free (tearing, etc) video playback at lower CPU usage.

I was confident ATI would come through eventually, just took longer than expected

Looks like the AMD Fusions/IGP's will be the low cost/low TDP/low CPU usage benchmark to beat for video playback.
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post #14 of 27 Old 06-01-2012, 04:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ericglo View Post

FYI on Microcenter prices.
http://www.microcenter.com/storefron...rocessors.html

Good thing I'm 20min from a MC

MC has had a policy of matching/beating online prices from well known sites (Newegg, Amazon, etc) for a couple years now. Since adopting the new customer-friendly attitude, MC has been a fun place to shop again, reminiscent of Softwarehouse (Compusa before the name change) and Computer City of the late 80's/ early 90's before they both went sour.

One other MC tip- I haven't paid for a motherboard in about 2 years. MC has CPU/motherboard bundle deals all the time, often with a free motherboard (well, $0.01 actually), or at most $10-$20 for a high end mobo with a CPU bundle.

Plenty of AMD boards, so going with a recent vintage A4/A6/A8 APU

http://www.microcenter.com/search/se...995+4294965455

may be a better option for a HTPC now that VAAPI appears to work.

For the same reasons I use Linux (and not Win/OSX), I use only AMD CPU's- don't want to support a CPU monopoly (Intel only) just as we don't want an OS monopoly/duopoly (MS/Apple), regardless of absolute benchmark performance.

However, I like to support and use Nvidia GPU's not only for the performance/driver quality on Linux, but to keep the Intel+ATI GPU duopoly in check. Looks like Nvidia is fading from the x86 market and focusing on ARM moving forward. Don't see how this can be stopped given the CPU/GPU integration trend.
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post #15 of 27 Old 06-01-2012, 05:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb View Post

Great news on the Vaapi success on ATI!

It appears Linux now has a viable alternative to Nvidia for artifact-free (tearing, etc) video playback at lower CPU usage.

I was confident ATI would come through eventually, just took longer than expected

Looks like the AMD Fusions/IGP's will be the low cost/low TDP/low CPU usage benchmark to beat for video playback.

I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm but despite my previously mentioned success I still consider Nvidia to be the better video playback solution.

VLC vaapi playback on the E350 with my setup is perfect, but Flash certainly isn't...
My experience with Flash on the AMD E350 is that it has more tearing and worse performance than on an Atom+ION box.

Also VDPAU is still more widely and more solidly supported by media players than vaapi. Mplayer and Xine for example don't have vaapi support. There are independent branches (forks) of both xine and mplayer that have vaapi support but I tried mplayer-vaapi and couldn't get it to work properly. Haven't tried the xine vaapi branch yet.

Therefore so far the only players that I tried that work great with vaapi on the E350 are VLC and Totem (via gstreamer-vaapi).

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post #16 of 27 Old 06-01-2012, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tux99 View Post

I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm but despite my previously mentioned success I still consider Nvidia to be the better video playback solution.

VLC vaapi playback on the E350 with my setup is perfect, but Flash certainly isn't...
My experience with Flash on the AMD E350 is that it has more tearing and worse performance than on an Atom+ION box.

Also VDPAU is still more widely and more solidly supported by media players than vaapi. Mplayer and Xine for example don't have vaapi support. There are independent branches (forks) of both xine and mplayer that have vaapi support but I tried mplayer-vaapi and couldn't get it to work properly. Haven't tried the xine vaapi branch yet.

Therefore so far the only players that I tried that work great with vaapi on the E350 are VLC and Totem (via gstreamer-vaapi).

Moving forward, Flash is fading from relevance and the mplayers/xines of the world will most likely clean up their VAAPI support.

The point is, in the long run, it looks like ATI GPU's will be a good bet on Linux.

Plus, the Flash performance issue could be mitigated by using a quad core APU

http://www.microcenter.com/single_pr...uct_id=0382494

http://www.microcenter.com/single_pr...uct_id=0382496

and you'd still be ahead cost-wise, while getting VAAPI for non-Flash video.
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post #17 of 27 Old 06-01-2012, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tux99 View Post

I think the vaapi packages from whatever distro you use must be flawed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turtleggjp View Post

(only tried Mythbuntu 12.04 so far)

Kinda surprising that such an HTPC centered OS would have such flawed VA-API packages. Oh well, maybe it's just MythTV's support, which is too bad since that was what I had hoped to use this system for. My Ion system has been wonderful these last couple of years, but it has developed one slight problem (or rather it has one drawback that has only recently become an issue). It only has 4 SATA ports (3 internal, 1 eSATA), and I have put together a RAID array that I would like to grow larger than 4 disks. With no option for expansion cards, my only choice seems to be connecting additional drives by USB. That's where the E-350 system came in, since it has 6 SATA ports.

That's great to hear that VLC seems to be working well with VA-API. I had heard of such success, which is why I've been trying other things besides my tried and tested NVIDIA cards. I'm not giving up on this yet, but it may go back on the back burner for now. In the meantime, I'm going to try and upgrade the rest of my MythTV systems to 0.25, since I was impressed with some of the improvements that have been made (other than VA-API support). Most importantly, it's better handling of Blu Ray subtitle tracks inside MKV files, especially recognizing the forced subtitles on Captain America (only 5 of them in a seperate track that I flagged as a forced track in MKVMerge). I should have Fedora 17 Live Gnome and KDE by now too, so I'll take those for a quick spin as well, perhaps while my atom systems are compiling MythTV 0.25 (that takes a while )

Matt

EDIT 1: Fedora 17 Gnome: 1280x800 max. Actually, that seems to be the only resolution option. Compositing seems to be working though. Gnome 3 still bugs me...

EDIT 2: Fedora 17 KDE: Same 1280x800 restriction (no surprise there). Compositing in KDE is working, and quite nicely too. I see a little bit of tearing when moving windows, but not while using the Desktop Cube effects (switching desktops and Ctrl+F11). Fall Apart effect looks good too.
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post #18 of 27 Old 06-01-2012, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turtleggjp View Post

Kinda surprising that such an HTPC centered OS would have such flawed VA-API packages.

I wouldn't be too surprised, I have come across plenty broken packages where I wondered how the heck nobody noticed and fixed this before me...

Anyway if you have a spare partition you can try it for yourself, just install Centos 6.2 or SL 6.2 (choose a standard desktop install) on your E350 system and then add the packages that I mention in my how-to here:
http://scientificlinuxforum.org/inde...showtopic=1629
The whole setup should take you no more than 30 minutes or so.

I'd actually be happy about some feedback to know if the how-to is written clearly enough and isn't missing anything and works for you.

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post #19 of 27 Old 06-01-2012, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turtleggjp View Post

EDIT 1: Fedora 17 Gnome: 1280x800 max. Actually, that seems to be the only resolution option. Compositing seems to be working though. Gnome 3 still bugs me...

EDIT 2: Fedora 17 KDE: Same 1280x800 restriction (no surprise there). Compositing in KDE is working, and quite nicely too. I see a little bit of tearing when moving windows, but not while using the Desktop Cube effects (switching desktops and Ctrl+F11). Fall Apart effect looks good too.

This must be EDID (automatic detection of supported monitor resolution) not working correctly, I have noticed that quite frequently too in the last few years with several distros, I thing there must be some regression in Xorg that sneaked in a few years ago and nobody has fixed yet.

The best way to work around that is to create a manual monitor config file /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/monitor.conf :
Code:
Section "Monitor"
    Identifier "Monitor0"
    VendorName "Whatever"
    ModelName "Whatever"
    HorizSync    30.0 - 83.0
    VertRefresh  60.0 - 60.0
EndSection
(of course replace the HorizSync and VertRefresh values with the correct ones for your monitor (look them up in the user manual).
This should be enough, you don't need a full xorg.conf file anymore.

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post #20 of 27 Old 06-01-2012, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tux99 View Post

This must be EDID (automatic detection of supported monitor resolution) not working correctly, I have noticed that quite frequently too in the last few years with several distros, I thing there must be some regression in Xorg that sneaked in a few years ago and nobody has fixed yet.

....

When KMS (kernel mode switching) was introduced a couple of years ago it broke a bunch of things including EDID detection.

And we're still waiting for the artifact-free high-res start-up screens that KMS was supposed to provide.
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post #21 of 27 Old 06-01-2012, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Did I mention I had the same resolution restrictions in Windows? My monitor is a 30" monitor with no built-in scaler, so it pretty much can only accept two resolutions: 1280x800 and 2560x1600. If the Intel graphics chip cannot put out 2560x1600, that leaves only one option. I don't think any amount of EDID tweaking will solve that, especially since it doesn't work in Windows either. Also, the AMD E-350 system seems to be restriced to 1280x800 as well.

I just upgraded my MythTV systems to 0.25 today, which should make it easier to test out its VA-API capabilities on the E-350 system (more content ready to go). I think I have enough room for another partition on that system, so I'll give the distros you recommended a try. I noticed that Gentoo has VLC 2.0.1 available, so I might give that a go first.

Matt
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post #22 of 27 Old 06-01-2012, 11:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turtleggjp View Post

Did I mention I had the same resolution restrictions in Windows? My monitor is a 30" monitor with no built-in scaler, so it pretty much can only accept two resolutions: 1280x800 and 2560x1600.

Well the Radeon HD6310 GPU in the E350 can output max. 1920x1080 on HDMI or DVI ports so you will never get anything but 1280x800 on that monitor with it, regardless of OS.
That said the analogue VGA port supports up to 2560x1600@60Hz so you could try using the VGA port if your monitor has a VGA input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turtleggjp View Post

I just upgraded my MythTV systems to 0.25 today, which should make it easier to test out its VA-API capabilities on the E-350 system (more content ready to go). I think I have enough room for another partition on that system, so I'll give the distros you recommended a try. I noticed that Gentoo has VLC 2.0.1 available, so I might give that a go first.

A VLC 2.0.2 (pre-release git snapshot) package is also available in my Centos/SL repo as mentioned in the guide I linked to earlier.

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post #23 of 27 Old 06-01-2012, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac The Knife View Post

When KMS (kernel mode switching) was introduced a couple of years ago it broke a bunch of things including EDID detection.

Aah, that could be it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac The Knife View Post

And we're still waiting for the artifact-free high-res start-up screens that KMS was supposed to provide.

TBH I don't give a flying fig about fancy high-res start-up screens or flicker-free boot, I never understood how some people could get so obsessed about such an irrelevant detail. I care a lot more about sharp fonts and smooth flicker-free video playback!

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post #24 of 27 Old 06-02-2012, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tux99 View Post

...

TBH I don't give a flying fig about fancy high-res start-up screens or flicker-free boot, I never understood how some people could get so obsessed about such an irrelevant detail. I care a lot more about sharp fonts and smooth flicker-free video playback!

Me too. It pisses me off to no end that they broke all kinds of really important functionality for eye-candy.
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post #25 of 27 Old 06-02-2012, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tux99 View Post

Well the Radeon HD6310 GPU in the E350 can output max. 1920x1080 on HDMI or DVI ports so you will never get anything but 1280x800 on that monitor with it, regardless of OS.
That said the analogue VGA port supports up to 2560x1600@60Hz so you could try using the VGA port if your monitor has a VGA input.


A VLC 2.0.2 (pre-release git snapshot) package is also available in my Centos/SL repo as mentioned in the guide I linked to earlier.

That is not correct, I have e-350 based htpc runing win7 x64 and I am simultaneously using dvi@1920x1200 and hdmi@1920x1080.
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post #26 of 27 Old 06-02-2012, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by strumf666 View Post

That is not correct, I have e-350 based htpc runing win7 x64 and I am simultaneously using dvi@1920x1200 and hdmi@1920x1080.

Well that's what the manual of my Sapphire PURE Mini E350 mobo says, some Asus E350 mobo manual I saw said the same. That said I'm not doubting your statement, in fact I'm glad if the E350 can do better than the official specs!

I still doubt the E350 is capable of 2560x1600 over dvi or hdmi, that sounds too far off the official spec to me.

What mobo are you using?

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post #27 of 27 Old 06-02-2012, 06:06 PM
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So far all official specs and manuals I have seen state 1920x1080 as max resolution and most that it is not possible to use hdmi&dvi at the same time... Wonder why as it works.
I do not have access to any higher resolution display so I could test.
I am not satisfied with cpu performance of e-350 though so I am looking to upgrade to i3 ivy bridge setup (preferably 3225) when intel decides to release the i3 range. Hopefully 24fps bug won't be to noticable because I do not want additional discrete graphics card in the htpc at least without a good reason.
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