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Guide to Building a HTPC, Workstation and Server - Page 612

post #18331 of 19097
Any idea when an updated version of the guide will be released? Been waiting on the new version for over a month now. Thanks.
post #18332 of 19097
I made the suggested changes:

All of the following are disabled:

- Energy Efficient Ethernet
- Flow Control
- Green Ethernet
- Interrupt Moderation
- Jumbo Frame

Bounced both the server and the htpc and run my same test with a 20G file I been using. Same results I had before. Download (server > htpc) rock steady between 105MB/sec and 108MB/sec. I watched the upload (htpc > server) with the same file until it dropped below 20 MB/sec (about 1.5 mins into the copy) then killed it.

Any other suggestions?

I am still curious about what RAID cards are being recommended for RAID5 less than 10 drives....
post #18333 of 19097
Here's the final system I came up with - please feel free to comment. This is for a Win7-64 build with Windows Media Center: for live TV though a HDHomeRun, recording TV, playback of 1080p MKVs etc...

My main dilemma was over which Llano chip to use, debating between the A6-3500 and the A8-3850. I decided that I probably wouldn't be doing much gaming and so went with the A6-3500 because of the $50 price difference and lower TDP. I appreciate that the 460W Seasonic PSU is overkill for this system, but I want to get the system was quiet as possible and it was actually cheaper than a 150W picoPSU setup and would give me headroom to upgrade in the future. I'm also planning to run the system 24/7 and I have more peace of mind in a brand such as Seasonic.


[CPU+GPU] AMD A6-3500 ($80)
[RAM] Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 ($28)
[MOBO] Asrock A75M ($75)
[CASE] Silverstone ML03B ($60)
[PSU] Seasonic X-460 ($90)
[SSD] 80GB Intel 320 SSD ($70)
TOTAL = $403

Extras:
Big Shuriken 2 low-profile cooler ($40)
Western Digital 2TB USB 3.0 External HDD ($113)
post #18334 of 19097
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrolmstd View Post

Any other suggestions?

I am still curious about what RAID cards are being recommended for RAID5 less than 10 drives....

How about turning your HTPC into a normal AHCI system? At least 60MB/s is guaranteed. A hardware RAID card is recommended only when you want a faster speed. For example, LSI MegaRAID SATA/SAS 9260-4i, $360 or 9260-8i, $520. You will need an empty PCI Express 2.0 x8 (x16 also works) slot.
post #18335 of 19097
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FishLaw View Post

Any idea when an updated version of the guide will be released? Been waiting on the new version for over a month now. Thanks.

Very soon (December 2011 and January 2012 combined). I am sorry for the delay.
post #18336 of 19097
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferrino View Post

Here's the final system I came up with - please feel free to comment. This is for a Win7-64 build with Windows Media Center: for live TV though a HDHomeRun, recording TV, playback of 1080p MKVs etc...

My main dilemma was over which Llano chip to use, debating between the A6-3500 and the A8-3850. I decided that I probably wouldn't be doing much gaming and so went with the A6-3500 because of the $50 price difference and lower TDP. I appreciate that the 460W Seasonic PSU is overkill for this system, but I want to get the system was quiet as possible and it was actually cheaper than a 150W picoPSU setup and would give me headroom to upgrade in the future. I'm also planning to run the system 24/7 and I have more peace of mind in a brand such as Seasonic.


[CPU+GPU] AMD A6-3500 ($80)
[RAM] Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 ($28)
[MOBO] Asrock A75M ($75)
[CASE] Silverstone ML03B ($60)
[PSU] Seasonic X-460 ($90)
[SSD] 80GB Intel 320 SSD ($70)
TOTAL = $403

Extras:
Big Shuriken 2 low-profile cooler ($40)
Western Digital 2TB USB 3.0 External HDD ($113)

For video playback, A6-3650 is enough, there is no difference between 3650 and 3850. The main difference between 3500 and 3650 is the processor speed, which sometimes affects video playback (for example, 1080p60 video playback under LAV Video Decoder [ffmpeg, not DXVA2 copy-back] + madVR; DXVA2 copy-back does not work well with 1080p60).

If you want a system that can play back whatever you throw in, A6-3650 is a safer choice. A6-3650 can operate at CPU voltage 1.250V with no problem, that makes the difference of power consumption between 3500 and 3650 very small, 10W at most at video playback.

A8-3850 is better in gaming (3DMark06 basic scores 6000 vs 7300, 3DMark 11 P800 vs P1100).

Note that with Seasonic X-460 (20mm deeper than the normal PSU), you can't attach an optical drive inside ML03.
post #18337 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

and AMD Radeon HD 6570 (for example, HIS H657H1G, $65).

HD 6450 and GT 520 are a bit too low-end in my taste.

Thank you for the recommendation. My receiver has no HDMI inputs. Do these cards now have SPDIF headers? Or, do I simply continue to use the integrated (mobo) audio SPDIF?
post #18338 of 19097
Excellent tutorial thank you!
post #18339 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

How about turning your HTPC into a normal AHCI system? At least 60MB/s is guaranteed. A hardware RAID card is recommended only when you want a faster speed. For example, LSI MegaRAID SATA/SAS 9260-4i, $360 or 9260-8i, $520. You will need an empty PCI Express 2.0 x8 (x16 also works) slot.

Thanks for the feedback. The only time this bites me in the a$$ is when I am transferring files to the server. Playback (server(raid5) > htpc) is exceptional. Thinking I will learn to just get a cup of coffee when I have to push files to the server and worry about it when it comes time to expand again...
post #18340 of 19097
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by floepie View Post

Thank you for the recommendation. My receiver has no HDMI inputs. Do these cards now have SPDIF headers? Or, do I simply continue to use the integrated (mobo) audio SPDIF?

You have to use S/PDIF on the motherboard (or add a analog sound card).
post #18341 of 19097
hi everyone, what's a good digital tuner for Win7 Media Center?

just need something dependable and deliver good picture quality, and doesn't cost an arm.

many thanks!
post #18342 of 19097
Thanks renethx. I decided to eliminate doubt and just pony up the extra $40 to get the A8-3850 ($120 at Newegg). My CPU cooler is good for around 130W TDP, so I should be fine. BTW, I'm not planning to use any 80mm case fans in my ML03B - hopefully I should be OK with temps - there's a lot of ventilation in there with only a single SDD and PSU in addition to mobo...

Yes, I knew the Seasonic would obstruct an optical drive - I don't use discs, so no problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

For video playback, A6-3650 is enough, there is no difference between 3650 and 3850. The main difference between 3500 and 3650 is the processor speed, which sometimes affects video playback (for example, 1080p60 video playback under LAV Video Decoder [ffmpeg, not DXVA2 copy-back] + madVR; DXVA2 copy-back does not work well with 1080p60).

If you want a system that can play back whatever you throw in, A6-3650 is a safer choice. A6-3650 can operate at CPU voltage 1.250V with no problem, that makes the difference of power consumption between 3500 and 3650 very small, 10W at most at video playback.

A8-3850 is better in gaming (3DMark06 basic scores 6000 vs 7300, 3DMark 11 P800 vs P1100).

Note that with Seasonic X-460 (20mm deeper than the normal PSU), you can't attach an optical drive inside ML03.
post #18343 of 19097
Hello from a htpc guide subscription holder:

I'm in the process of building a system for my living room.

I've gone with the mid-range mini ITX AMD system from the guide (AMD A6-350 processor on a ASRock A75M-ITX motherboard) but replacing the recommended Antec ISK 310-150 case with a Antec ISK 100 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811129095).

Problem is that the heat sink/fan on top of the processor is too large to get one side of the case back onto the chassis! The side of the chassis does have a large (100mm) fan but it's off center to the location of the processor on the motherboard.

So I think I have three options:

1. Return the ISK 100 and get the recommended ISK 310-150 case
2. Find a different heat sink/fan for the processor
3. Run the system without one side of the case (it won't be in view)

What would you recommend?
post #18344 of 19097
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oprig View Post

So I think I have three options:

1. Return the ISK 100 and get the recommended ISK 310-150 case
2. Find a different heat sink/fan for the processor
3. Run the system without one side of the case (it won't be in view)

What would you recommend?

Replacing the stock cooler with GELID Slim Silence AM2 and undervolting CPU to 1.250V is a solution.
post #18345 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

For video playback, A6-3650 is enough, there is no difference between 3650 and 3850. The main difference between 3500 and 3650 is the processor speed, which sometimes affects video playback (for example, 1080p60 video playback under LAV Video Decoder [ffmpeg, not DXVA2 copy-back] + madVR; DXVA2 copy-back does not work well with 1080p60).

Well I ended up going with an A8-3850 to cover my back, but I must admit that I'm a bit lost when it comes to terms such as LAV, ffmpeg, DXVA2 copy-back, madVR etc. Is there some sort of glossary/FAQ somewhere? I have a rough idea of what they do, but I'm unsure what the most popular combinations are. For instance, if I want to view H.264-encoded 1080p24 MKVs with Windows Media Center on a A8-3850 APU, what setup should I use as a minimum (i.e. using the internal WMC player)? Thanks!
post #18346 of 19097
One stupid question - If I had a TV plasma 3D and have a dedicate bluray 3d player I am able to watch in 3d, right? Now on pc, you need to have a BR optical drive 3d? Or on htpc there are no difference on drive? Because I know the Radeon and Nvidia have both a 3d sytem, what is the difference, if tv already have it?

PS: sorry for the bad english...
post #18347 of 19097
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferrino View Post

Well I ended up going with an A8-3850 to cover my back, but I must admit that I'm a bit lost when it comes to terms such as LAV, ffmpeg, DXVA2 copy-back, madVR etc. Is there some sort of glossary/FAQ somewhere? I have a rough idea of what they do, but I'm unsure what the most popular combinations are. For instance, if I want to view H.264-encoded 1080p24 MKVs with Windows Media Center on a A8-3850 APU, what setup should I use as a minimum (i.e. using the internal WMC player)? Thanks!

madVR is supported by MPC HomeCinema, but not by WMC internal player. Advanced MPC-HC Setup Guide includes basic setup. You can launch MPC HomeCinema from Media Browser (a movie organizer WMC plug-in).
post #18348 of 19097
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpa View Post

One stupid question - If I had a TV plasma 3D and have a dedicate bluray 3d player I am able to watch in 3d, right? Now on pc, you need to have a BR optical drive 3d? Or on htpc there are no difference on drive? Because I know the Radeon and Nvidia have both a 3d sytem, what is the difference, if tv already have it?

PS: sorry for the bad english...

Any BD optical drive can read BR 3D. Any of the latest AMD, NVIDIA and Intel GPUs supports MVC (BR 3D video codec) hardware decoding and HDMI 1.4a 3D video format (Frame packing) output.
post #18349 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

madVR is supported by MPC HomeCinema, but not by WMC internal player. Advanced MPC-HC Setup Guide includes basic setup. You can launch MPC HomeCinema from Media Browser (a movie organizer WMC plug-in).

Thanks - do you think the A8-3850 would be able to handle madVR without an additional GPU?
post #18350 of 19097
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferrino View Post

Thanks - do you think the A8-3850 would be able to handle madVR without an additional GPU?

Yes. Actually if you are not interested in 60fps contents (right now commercial camcorders are practically the only source of 60fps), even A6-3500 is enough for madVR.
post #18351 of 19097
So I ended up getting the i3-2105 from new egg and a Asus P8H61-I for mobo. It is $100 cheaper than a z68.

I also got the ASUS PCE-N10 wifi card and put it in the PCIe slot however I would get nothing on the screen. I only see the screen when the wifi card is not installed. It looks like the computer thinks the wifi card is a video card since it is plugged in the PCIe slot and it would deactivate the onboard video card.

I went to the bios and selected iGPU and not on auto however it still did the same.

I went and I exchanged the wifi card for a USB one however I was under the impression that it would work with the PCIe 2.0 x16?

no?
post #18352 of 19097
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boxterduke View Post

So I ended up getting the i3-2105 from new egg and a Asus P8H61-I for mobo. It is $100 cheaper than a z68.

I also got the ASUS PCE-N10 wifi card and put it in the PCIe slot however I would get nothing on the screen. I only see the screen when the wifi card is not installed. It looks like the computer thinks the wifi card is a video card since it is plugged in the PCIe slot and it would deactivate the onboard video card.

I went to the bios and selected iGPU and not on auto however it still did the same.

I went and I exchanged the wifi card for a USB one however I was under the impression that it would work with the PCIe 2.0 x16?

no?

PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot should support any PCI Express 1.x/2.0 up to x16. But in some mb, only a graphics card is supported...
post #18353 of 19097
Thread Starter 

Table of Contents

- Llano Lineup
- Configuration
- Clips
- Results
- Conclusion

Llano Lineup

First, the current lineup of Llano APU is:


APU Cores Clock L2 Cache GPU Radeon Cores GPU Clock TDP Price
A4-3300 2 2.5GHz 1MB HD 6410D 160 443MHz 65W $66
A4-3400 2 2.7GHz 1MB HD 6410D 160 600MHz 65W $71
A6-3500 3 2.1/2.4GHz 3MB HD 6530D 320 443MHz 65W $80
A6-3650 4 2.6GHz 4MB HD 6530D 320 443MHz 100W $115
A6-3670K 4 2.7GHz 4MB HD 6530D 320 443MHz 100W $115
A8-3850 4 2.9GHz 4MB HD 6550D 400 600MHz 100W $135
A8-3870K 4 3.0GHz 4MB HD 6550D 400 600MHz 100W $135

A4-3300/3400 is a dual-core processor with 160 Radeon cores. So both processor and graphics are pretty weak. A5-3500 is a triple core processor with 320 Radeon cores, the same as the discrete Radeon HD 5550. The processor frequency is low (2.1GHz) and the power consumption is low (max 65W). A6-3650 is quad-core with the same graphics as A6-3500. TDP 100W looks pretty high, but it operates at voltage 1.250V with no problem, with much lower TDP. A8-3850 has 400 Radeon cores.

Configuration

I used:

- APU: A4-3400, A6-3500, A6-3650, A8-3850
- Memory: DDR3-1600 2 x 2GB. Memory is used as a system memory as well as video memory. You can use DDR3-1866, but the difference is very small in video playback.
- A75 chipset mb
- OS: Windows 7 x64 SP1
- Driver: 12.1. In CCC > Video, all video post-processors are disabled except for the following three:
+ Color > Advanced Video Color > Dynamic Range: Limited (16-235)
+ Quality > Use automatic deinterlacing
+ Quality > Pulldown detection
- Player: MPC HomeCinema
- Video decoder: LAV Video Decoder 0.45 (the latest is 0.46). This version implemented DXVA2 (copy-back) support. I also used ffmpeg decoder of LAV Video Decoder.
- Deinterlacer: DXVA2 deinterlacing via madVR (the default setting)
- Video Renderer: madVR 0.80, in the full-screen exclusive mode, with one of the following quality settings:
+ medium: Bilinear/Bicubic 50/Bicubic 50
+ high*: SoftCubic (softness: 100)/Lanczos (3 taps)/Lanczos (3 taps)
+ high: SoftCubic (softness: 100)/Lanczos (4 taps)/Lanczos (4 taps)

Clips

There are six major video formats in NTSC countries:

 

  Origin Main medium Format Output to renderer Frame interval
SD film film DVD, SDTV broadcast 480i60 480p24 41.708 ms
SD video video DVD, SDTV broadcast, camcorder 480i60 480p60 16.683 ms
HD film film BD (and HDTV broadcast up to pulldown) 1080p24 1080p24 41.708 ms
HD interlaced video video BD, HDTV broadcast, camcorder 1080i60 1080p60 16.683 ms
HD progressive video (720) video HDTV broadcast, camcorder 720p60 720p60 16.683 ms
HD progressive video (1080) video camcorder 1080p60 1080p60 16.683 ms

 

I used the following clip for each of them:

- SD film: Ratatouille (2007) (480i60, MPEG-2, AC3)
- SD video: Die Zauberflote (2003) (480i60, MPEG-2, AC3)
- HD film: Iron Man (2008) (1080p24, AVC, TrueHD/AC3)
- HD i video (AVC): La Traviata (2010) (1080i60, AVC, DTS-HD MA)
- HD i video (VC-1): Life - Plants (2010) (1080i60, VC-1, DTS-HD HRA)

- HD p video (720): La Traviata (2010) (720p60, AVC, DTS-HD MA)
- HD p video (1080): La Traviata (2010) (1080p60, AVC, DTS-HD MA)

Edit: All moved here. I added HD i video (VC-1) because 1080i60 VC-1, although rare, is often hard to play back using FOSS codecs or Windows built-in codec. The desktop refresh rate used is:

- 23Hz for film
- 59Hz for video

Results

I measured during the playback of each clip:

- Number of dropped frames ("DF"; shown in the screen when pressing Ctrl+J). This should be 0, of course.
- Average CPU usage ("CPU"; I used Performance Monitor built in Windows). Higher CPU usage may result in dropped frames.
- Average GPU usage ("GPU"; I used GPU-Z and Excel to calculate average). Higher GPU usage may result in dropped frames.
- Average rendering time ("RT"; shown in the screen when pressing Ctrl+J). This should be well lower than 41.708 ms for film and 16.683 ms for video.

Here is a summary:

 

 

Conclusion

DXVA2 (copy-back) can't handle HD p video = 60fps contents well (as sated in the release note). Somehow there are occasional dropped frames with ffmpeg decoder implemented in LAV Video Decoder. Using ffdshow Video Decoder (also ffmepg) fixes the problem, but that requires A6-3650 or higher (as decoding AVC at 60fps is pretty CPU-intensive). The only major source of HD p video is commercial camcorder right now anyway and perhaps you will use Media Foundation in WMC to play them back. Any Llano APU can handle HD p video pretty easily under DXVA2/EVR.

As for the formats found in DVD and BD (all except for HD p video), A4-3400 can handle medium quality with DXVA2 (copy-back) pretty easily. All APUs, A6-3500 and higher, can handle high quality setting with either DXVA2 (copy-back) or ffmpeg. (ffmpeg does not support interlaced VC-1 yet.) My recommendation goes to:

- A6-3500, $75, that can handle all video formats in DVD, BD and broadcast smoothly at madVR's highest quality settings. It also supports HD p video (= 1080p60 AVC) and BR 3D excellently under DXVA2/EVR.
- A6-3650, $110, or higher. If you think the triple core at 2.1GHz of A6-3500 is weak, any of A6-3650 and higher is recommended. GPU-intensive AMD's own video post-processors (notably Mosquito Noise Reduction and De-blocking) will work only in these models (if you are interested).


Edited by renethx - 2/11/13 at 10:23am
post #18354 of 19097
Thread Starter 
Llano APU dethroned the golden combination of Core i3-2105+Z68+DDR3-2133. (DDR3-2133 is only available as 2 x 4GB or higher kit, that is pretty expensive compared with DDR3-1600 2 x 2GB, no need of overclocking, DXVA2 compatible AMD GPUs was implemented in LAV Video Decoder etc.) This will be reflected in the next issue (available very soon). I apologize for the long delay (as usual lately).
post #18355 of 19097
Will the i3-2105 be better than my HD 5550? Mostly 720/1080p .mkv and Blu-ray.

Need to do some upgrades on my G31 E8500 HTPC, running out of space. Thinking about a Board/CPU while I'm at it.

Socket 1155 boards with USB3 Headers?
post #18356 of 19097
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mingus View Post

Will the i3-2105 be better than my HD 5550? Mostly 720/1080p .mkv and Blu-ray.

Need to do some upgrades on my G31 E8500 HTPC, running out of space. Thinking about a Board/CPU while I'm at it.

Socket 1155 boards with USB3 Headers?

Well, they are equally good in normal video playback. HD 5550 is much better in gaming (as well as video playback with madVR if you are interested).

LGA1155 mb with internal USB3 internal headers are pretty expensive (GIGABYTE GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3 microATX $150, a bunch of Z68 ATX mb over $150). You may want to wait for Z77 mb (in April).
post #18357 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

For me this seems to be a network problem. A typical transfer rate between two JBOD (i.e. no RAID at all, software or hardware) systems is

(One system is A75 chipset + Realtek RTL8111E Gb LAN chip + WD20EARS, another is GeForce 9400 chipset + NVIDIA Gb LAN + Samsung HD501LJ.) All of the following are disabled:

- Energy Efficient Ethernet
- Flow Control
- Green Ethernet
- Interrupt Moderation
- Jumbo Frame

I agree, it's definitely a networking protocol issue. I have had similar issues where I can go to/from my htpc (W7 ultimate Sp1) to/from my 2008 R2 server with no speed issues (100% of the time). To/From my htpc to other W7 machines it often slows to a crawl (usually it's only one direction that has the issue, depending on the machine). The research I've done so far seems to imply it's a protocol negotiation issue, possibly having to do with W7 homenetwork.

Try this command:
netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=disabled

It seemed to help, although not 100%.

You also might want to remove your network drivers and reinstall and make sure to set it up as a work network (I haven't had a chance to try that yet).
post #18358 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot should support any PCI Express 1.x/2.0 up to x16. But in some mb, only a graphics card is supported...

According to this thread: http://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,43912.0.html

He got it to work with a NIC installed in the pcie slot on an p8h61-i.
A few things that might be worth trying:
1 - BIOS update
2 - see if there is a BIOS setting to turn the slot down to x2 or x4.
3 - Try a different card, could be a defective card.
post #18359 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by packetlosss View Post

I agree, it's definitely a networking protocol issue. I have had similar issues where I can go to/from my htpc (W7 ultimate Sp1) to/from my 2008 R2 server with no speed issues (100% of the time). To/From my htpc to other W7 machines it often slows to a crawl (usually it's only one direction that has the issue, depending on the machine). The research I've done so far seems to imply it's a protocol negotiation issue, possibly having to do with W7 homenetwork.

Try this command:
netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=disabled

It seemed to help, although not 100%.

You also might want to remove your network drivers and reinstall and make sure to set it up as a work network (I haven't had a chance to try that yet).

tried the netsh disabled, uninstalled drivers, installed new drivers from realeck, and flipped it to a work network. No change
post #18360 of 19097
Thread Starter 
Radeon HD 7700 Series graphics cards (7770, $185 and 7750, $132) will be available on February 14. I would like to include them in the next guide. I apologize for the long delay.

here
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