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Thanks guys, I've decided to go all out on a high end HTPC, can you check it?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
So based on the advice here I've decided to just pony up the extra bucks and go all out on a full on HTPC. The core of it will be a Core i7 CPU and a fanless HDPLEX case. I haven't nailed down just which case yet, but it'll either support a 125w TDP cpu allowing me to use the 3770 or 3770k CPU or it'll have a 75w TDP max which means I'll be using the 3770S chip. My main question is, can you glance over the list and let me know how it looks. Mainly I want to use MCE to record off the Ceton and then handbrake or some other "all in one" to transcode into high profile mp4s for archive and play back ability on iPads/AppleTV. Secondary is to get the best image quality from MadVR. I understand I'll have to give up some image quality ability due to power/heat limits from the fanless case but I still want to get as much out of it as I can.

First, would this selection of kit work well for a quad tuner ceton based DVR and transcoding box (occasional bluray 3D iso playback)

Motherboard - ASRock H77M

CPU - Intel Core i7 3770S (if I go with a case requiring 75w TDP or less) or Intel Core i7 3770 (possibly K version if it allows use of higher speed DDR3)

Memory - 8Gigs of either G.SKILL DDR3 2133 or 8Gigs of G.SKILL Super Low Volt DDR3 1600

Hard Drive - WD Red 3Tb (Because of the 24/7 operation design and it's the lowest noise level I can find at 24 dB max, this would be the only moving component and thus only noise)

TV Tuner - Ceton InfiniTV Internal card (external is an option but I would rather keep everything in one box)

I'm hoping I can get all that powered with a 180 watt fanless PSU and heat needs to be a focus as everything is passively cooled so I can't fit much more kit into the box.

Second, and this is really the point that I need help with...

I understand MadVR really stresses memory bandwidth and graphics performance. Can I avoid running a graphics card with this setup and still get pretty good MadVR image quality? If not, I need a fanless graphics card suggestion AND the Ceton needs to move to external (blah). Also, If I got the 2133 DDR3 I would switch to a motherboard that supported that speed, would I also need to switch to the unlocked 3770K cpu so I can run the memory overclocked to 2133 but keep the CPU within like 5 or 10% of stock speeds? Again, heat is a huge issue so if the only way to run the 2133 DDR at that speed is to overclock the CPU I don't think that's an option.

Finally, would MadVR really have much of a change from 1600 DDR to 2133 DDR? A 10 or 20% performance increase would probably be worth it in my book since costs are roughly the same.

This is all coming in at about $1100 or so, but the case is a huge $350 to $400 worth of that so....

Also, THANK YOU for your feedback, I know I've got a lot of questions here and I really value your input on getting the best MadVR performance out of a fanless system here.
post #2 of 16
Intel iGPU's DXVA2 scaling is already the best in this class. Set madVR to Bicubic50 / DXVA2 / DXVA2 and any IVB processor + DDR3-1600 2 x 2GB will support it just fine.
post #3 of 16
You don't need to overclock the cpu to overclock the ram. You do however need a board with a z77 chipset if you wish to run ram speeds higher then 1600mhz with an ivy bridge cpu. That being said the motherboard you picked will be capped at 1600mhz ram.

Far as the software goes I have never used MadVR so I can't really help with that.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Intel iGPU's DXVA2 scaling is already the best in this class. Set madVR to Bicubic50 / DXVA2 / DXVA2 and any IVB processor + DDR3-1600 2 x 2GB will support it just fine.

HA! I was just reading over some of your posts and was kinda wishing you had a 2012 or 2013 buyers guide :P

So the kit looks pretty good and should be able to produce great image quality for liveTV playback/DVRing?
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ikkuranus View Post

You don't need to overclock the cpu to overclock the ram. You do however need a board with a z77 chipset if you wish to run ram speeds higher then 1600mhz with an ivy bridge cpu. That being said the motherboard you picked will be capped at 1600mhz ram.

Far as the software goes I have never used MadVR so I can't really help with that.

Correct, and if I decided to run the faster ram I would switch to this board probably, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130673
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by acarney View Post

So the kit looks pretty good and should be able to produce great image quality for liveTV playback/DVRing?

Yes, unless you see 59/29 bug, in which case you would need to add a dsicrete card such as HD 6570.

For SD contents, Jinc3+AR is the best upscaling algorithm (Intel driver's algorithm is Lanczos+AR), but HD 7770 is the minimum for SD video (HD 6570 is good for SD movies).
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Yes, unless you see 59/29 bug, in which case you would need to add a dsicrete card such as HD 6570.

For SD contents, Jinc3+AR is the best upscaling algorithm (Intel driver's algorithm is Lanczos+AR), but HD 7770 is the minimum for SD video (HD 6570 is good for SD movies).

What's the 59/29 bug? Is there a way to avoid it? I only have room to play with one expansion card so if I go with the internal Ceton I'm screwed if I need to add a graphics card...
post #8 of 16
I think you shouldn't worry about this. Just make sure driver's all post-processing disabled, except for deinterlacing and film mode detection.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

I think you shouldn't worry about this. Just make sure driver's all post-processing disabled, except for deinterlacing and film mode detection.

I'm hoping not as again I would like to keep the Ceton inside since I'll already need a SDV tuning box and i've got my bluray player AND possibly a battery backup stuffed under my GT50...

Also, it looks like the only passively cooled card that is close to the one you suggested is the AMD 7750. I'm worried that might produce too much head for the tight case AND might not even fit...

I do watch some SD content, would it look at least as good as a standard cable box going to a TV? Or would it not work at all without a dedicated video card?
post #10 of 16
Intel's own upscaling algorithm (Lanczos, a very common algorithm) is pretty good, a least should not worse than STB.

Jinc upscaling algorithm brings you to a whole new world. As I said, HD 7770 is necessary to upscale SD video with Jinc or you will need to overclock HD 7750, say, to 1000MHz core clock. The power consumption of the total system would be ~100W with Jinc, so a passive cooling system is not good.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Intel's own upscaling algorithm (Lanczos, a very common algorithm) is pretty good, a least should not worse than STB.

Jinc upscaling algorithm brings you to a whole new world. As I said, HD 7770 is necessary to upscale SD video with Jinc or you will need to overclock HD 7750, say, to 1000MHz core clock. The power consumption of the total system would be ~100W with Jinc, so a passive cooling system is not good.

9 times out of 10 I watch HD channels. However, if there was something super important to watch that only aired on an SD channel and I didn't mind waiting a day to watch it or something, I could record that channel in SD and then use handbrake or something to upscale to 1080 and encode into mp4 or something and then play that back and I would get around the issue of not being able to use that "whole new world" of upscaling, yes? Are those kind of ultra high quality upscaling algorithms available for handbrake or any other fairly simply encoder? I don't mind a little bit of a work flow and time delay to get that ultra nice picture for older content. (I'm thinking of things like Iron Chef America or Good Eats that now air on "Cook" channel in SD instead of on FOODHD but those are more of an archive and have those for when I'm bored kind of things...)
post #12 of 16
You may be able to get closer results with Avisynth scripts + certain dlls, but I don't know how. From madshi's post at Doom9's Forum:
Quote:
Look for "EWA Lanczos" in ImageMagick, that's pretty much the same as Jinc. ImageMagick is open source. So it shouldn't be too hard to make it work in AviSynth for someone with AviSynth development experience. ImageMagick doesn't have an anti-ringing filter, though, that's purely my own invention. I've explained that in my "non-ringing Lanczos" thread in the doom9 AviSynth area, though. None of the AviSynth devs seemed to be very interested at the time, though (I had started that thread a loooong time ago, years (?) before I actually finally implemented the anti-ringing filter in madVR).

The difference between with and without anti-ringing filter is huge, however. The anti-ringing filter is madshi's own.
Edited by renethx - 3/3/13 at 7:19am
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by acarney View Post

What's the 59/29 bug? Is there a way to avoid it? I only have room to play with one expansion card so if I go with the internal Ceton I'm screwed if I need to add a graphics card...

I have the 59/29 bug on several channels. With the HD4000 the picture flashed. With a HD5670 the picture stuttered. Now with my HD7770 the picture is perfect, the only way to now its there is to look at the stats.

The Ceton runs real hot. you might have problems with it in that case.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy_Steb View Post

I have the 59/29 bug on several channels. With the HD4000 the picture flashed. With a HD5670 the picture stuttered. Now with my HD7770 the picture is perfect, the only way to now its there is to look at the stats.

The Ceton runs real hot. you might have problems with it in that case.

You could always go with a trinity apu if you are worried about the 59/29 bug. - A10-5700 gives you quad core at 65W

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113289
Edited by jeffkro - 3/3/13 at 9:09am
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

You could always go with a trinity apu if you are worried about the 59/29 bug. - A10-5700 gives you quad core at 65W

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113289


Would an AMD APU for sure avoid the 59/29 bug? You trade a HUGE amount of x264 encode performance compared to an Intel chip, but if it FOR SURE avoided the bug, then that might be a key change for me...
post #16 of 16
The 59/29 bug is too hard to predict. It usually only shows up on a few of channels that are flagged wrong. In your area you might not have any at all.
Turning off adaptive contrast in your drivers helps a lot, but in my case it still was noticeable. Since i use an external video card, I haven't gone back and looked at the igpu with latest drivers to see if the problem was fixed.

I have used a ATI HD5670 and I still saw the bug. So I would say the AMD APU is not a FOR SURE way to avoid the bug, but I don't have one to test. I don't know if there is even a For Sure way.
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