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post #1 of 61 Old 04-02-2019, 07:29 AM - Thread Starter
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7.1 audio on a motherboard used for home theater

Hi all, I have what's probably a dumb question. I'm using an old PC as my HTPC with an nVidia 1050Ti video card going into my Denon AVR-X3400H AVR using an HDMI cable. I don't know if the PC has 7.1 audio, but I do get 7.1 audio when watching a movie. Where does the 7.1 audio come from? does the onboard sound send the audio to the video card and then sends it out through the HDMI cable to the AVR?

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post #2 of 61 Old 04-02-2019, 07:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velocci View Post
Hi all, I have what's probably a dumb question. I'm using an old PC as my HTPC with an nVidia 1050Ti video card going into my Denon AVR-X3400H AVR using an HDMI cable. I don't know if the PC has 7.1 audio, but I do get 7.1 audio when watching a movie. Where does the 7.1 audio come from? does the onboard sound send the audio to the video card and then sends it out through the HDMI cable to the AVR?
The audio is sent digitally through the HDMI cable. Digital signals are processed by the CPU. The purpose of a sound card or onboard audio is to convert digital audio signals to analog. Since the audio is being transmitted through the HDMI, the onboard audio has nothing to do with it.
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post #3 of 61 Old 04-02-2019, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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I see. I didn't know that. so I'm going to build a new HTPC this year. I guess its not important to get a motherboard with onboard good audio then?

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post #4 of 61 Old 04-02-2019, 08:40 AM
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If your just going to send audio through HDMI then onboard sound doesn't matter.
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post #5 of 61 Old 04-02-2019, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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ok thanks for clearing that up. do you know if there are motherboards that are good for HTPC?

Family Room: Onkyo TX-NR 646 AVR, Polk Audio RtiA3 fronts, Polk Audio CSiA4 center, BIC America F12 sub, Polk Audio RC-65i rears
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post #6 of 61 Old 04-02-2019, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velocci View Post
ok thanks for clearing that up. do you know if there are motherboards that are good for HTPC?
I don't know that there are any that are specifically better for an HTPC. Unless of course you are considering using the onboard audio or video. The normal considerations come into play.

Size? ATX,mATX, ITX
USB ports, how many do you need, how many do you want available on the case
PCIE layout and slot options

And many more. Do you know which platform you want to use? Intel or AMD?, which form factor? That will at least start to narrow things down.

But I will say with your current PC with the 1050ti, an upgrade won't do a while lot. That GPU is pretty current as it comes to audio and video (unless you want to go full quality with madvr). So you should be able to already do 4K60/HDR. Unless the rest of the system is extremely lacking.

WHat are the specs of the current rig and what do you hope to do with a new system that this one can't?
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post #7 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 05:43 AM - Thread Starter
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it terms of size of the motherboard, it doesn't really matter to me cause my wife keeps re-assuring me that size doesn't matter. seriously, I have a cubby in my entertainment unit and I just want the case to fit in there. I don't want it to big, but big enough so it fits my 1050Ti or any other video card and about 3-4 hardrives. I'd like the motherboard to have a usb-c port, at least 4 sata ports. anything else it should have? in terms of cpu, i'm thinking intel. is AMD better for HTPC? But then again, this will also double as my main PC which I use for photo editing. My current machine HTPC will not play well using plex, its very choppy or always buffering. Its a Lenovo M90p and its old. It works fine with Kodi, but I hate how kodi works. not easy to use. plex is so much better, but its more demanding in terms of CPU. plus my current machine is always shutting down and i'm thinking its getting too hot.

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post #8 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 06:16 AM
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Sounds good. I don't know anything off the top of my head you would need. Whatever you think you need.

Seems odd that Kodi can play your media but Plex can't. Sounds like maybe Kodi is taking advantage of the GPU and Plex is not. With that GPU a dual core CPU would usually get you by if we're talking 1080p.

As far as platforms it's down to preference and usage. I personally prefer AMD right now. There just seems to be more value there. Plus when there new chips come out this summer you have an upgrade path. Or just wait until then. But I know name people stick with Intel and I don't blame them.
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post #9 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm playing 4k movies though. I played them using plex on my own PC which has an i7-2600k at stock speed. I know that CPU is ancient now, but plex seems to run fine on it, other than it buffering now and then. it also plays better on my son's PC which has an i7-7700k overclocked to 5ghz. I haven't actually plugged either machine into my AVR in my basement to really test it yet. but I will. What do you mean by being able to upgrade the AMD cpu in the summer? you mean they always keep using the same type of socket?

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post #10 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 07:05 AM
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I have no problem playing 4K 1:1 rips on an i3 7th gen NUC using PowerDVD.

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post #11 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
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powerDVD eh? do you get full 7.1 audio and HDR formats with that?

Family Room: Onkyo TX-NR 646 AVR, Polk Audio RtiA3 fronts, Polk Audio CSiA4 center, BIC America F12 sub, Polk Audio RC-65i rears
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post #12 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velocci View Post
I'm playing 4k movies though. I played them using plex on my own PC which has an i7-2600k at stock speed. I know that CPU is ancient now, but plex seems to run fine on it, other than it buffering now and then. it also plays better on my son's PC which has an i7-7700k overclocked to 5ghz. I haven't actually plugged either machine into my AVR in my basement to really test it yet. but I will. What do you mean by being able to upgrade the AMD cpu in the summer? you mean they always keep using the same type of socket?
Yeah they keep the sockets much longer. They have some really nice cpu's (according to rumors) coming out in the summer.

How are you using plex to play these files? Where is the server running? Or are you installing an instance of the server on each machine? I ask because the server does the heavy lifting if the device you are playing on can't direct stream the media.

Still with that gpu and cpu I would think the files should play. The 2600k is one gen up from your 870 (albeit it was a large jump at the time but still), with the 1050ti they should work.
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post #13 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 07:44 AM - Thread Starter
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I had the plex media server installed on that old Lenovo machine in my basement and I also installed the plex media player. it was doing a direct play or direct stream, I don't remember which one. it kept buffering. If I install the PMS on my own machine with the i7-2600k and use the Lenovo machine to play it using the PMP, it would be choppy. If I play the movie directly from the PMS on my i7-2600k, it works almost perfectly. but I want to play it in my basement HT. it seems to me the differences between the machines is the CPU.

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post #14 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velocci View Post
I had the plex media server installed on that old Lenovo machine in my basement and I also installed the plex media player. it was doing a direct play or direct stream, I don't remember which one. it kept buffering. If I install the PMS on my own machine with the i7-2600k and use the Lenovo machine to play it using the PMP, it would be choppy. If I play the movie directly from the PMS on my i7-2600k, it works almost perfectly. but I want to play it in my basement HT. it seems to me the differences between the machines is the CPU.
Are both machines hard wired or wifi? If wifi what is the signal(2.4GHz or 5GHz)? Strength(Bars)?
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post #15 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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they are both wired and at 1Gbps

Family Room: Onkyo TX-NR 646 AVR, Polk Audio RtiA3 fronts, Polk Audio CSiA4 center, BIC America F12 sub, Polk Audio RC-65i rears
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post #16 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 09:28 AM
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they are both wired and at 1Gbps
How fresh is the OS install on both machines? What processes are running in the background?
Drivers, firmware and OS up to date?
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post #17 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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the one on the i7-2600k is an old install. the one on the Lenovo is fairly new. I installed it late last summer. there shouldn't b much running in the background on the Lenovo machine because we only use it for HTPC. since its an old PC, the bios would be old. the OS is fairly upto date, but I will run and update when I get a chance. but 4k movies play well with Kodi and MPC. the problem is kodi's configuration and gui sucks and MPC doesn't sound well and doesn't have that fancy front end.

Family Room: Onkyo TX-NR 646 AVR, Polk Audio RtiA3 fronts, Polk Audio CSiA4 center, BIC America F12 sub, Polk Audio RC-65i rears
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post #18 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 10:19 AM
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the one on the i7-2600k is an old install. the one on the Lenovo is fairly new. I installed it late last summer. there shouldn't b much running in the background on the Lenovo machine because we only use it for HTPC. since its an old PC, the bios would be old. the OS is fairly upto date, but I will run and update when I get a chance. but 4k movies play well with Kodi and MPC. the problem is kodi's configuration and gui sucks and MPC doesn't sound well and doesn't have that fancy front end.
Maybe try a fresh install on the i7-2600k. I have an old Prodesk 600 G1 with an i5 4590 and MSI GTX 1050ti LP(both refurb). I spent around $300 for the setup. It works great as an HTPC/Gaming machine. You don't need anything too new for an HTPC unless you plan on doing some high end gaming or video editing.
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post #19 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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the i7-2600k machine runs fine (although I actually haven't plugged it into the AVR). it runs fine in my office with a 4k monitor plugged in. plus its way too big to lug to the basement and back all the time. I'm going to build another HTPC anyways cause I do photo editing as well.

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post #20 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 12:01 PM
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Something seems strange there. But I don't have a ton of experience with plex. I would try Emby
https://emby.media/windows-server.html

Or just share the MKV from whatever PC and install Kodi, point it to the shared drive and see how playback goes on the machine with the 1050ti. If you think that the issue is the CPU watch how it loads when watching a movie. If it is pinned at 100% than its obviously choking, but if not its probably not the problem.
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post #21 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 12:04 PM
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Yah like the previous poster said. Use HWmonitor. It's free.

https://www.cpuid.com/softwares/hwmonitor.html

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post #22 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
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i'll try that, thanks

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post #23 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 12:28 PM
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Make sure to check CPU usage before testing streaming. Do a cold boot and let the PC settle. Check the CPU usage before running a program. This will help determine if background programs are eating up CPU resources.
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post #24 of 61 Old 04-03-2019, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
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ok so on the Lenovo HTPC the cpu utilization before running plex was close to 0. while using the plex media server to watch a movie, the cpu utilization was 100% and the movie would buffer every 5 seconds. using plex media player, cpu utilization was 100%, there was no buffering but the video was choppy beyond use. I installed windows updates, disabled some startup programs. I ran the same tests on my own machine with the i7-2600k and the cpu utilization while watching a movie using the plex media server was 100%. while playing it with the plex media player, it was less than 100%. the reason for the difference is that when using plex media server (through the browser), there is transcoding going on, but while using the plex media player, its using direct play.

Family Room: Onkyo TX-NR 646 AVR, Polk Audio RtiA3 fronts, Polk Audio CSiA4 center, BIC America F12 sub, Polk Audio RC-65i rears
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ok so on the Lenovo HTPC the cpu utilization before running plex was close to 0. while using the plex media server to watch a movie, the cpu utilization was 100% and the movie would buffer every 5 seconds. using plex media player, cpu utilization was 100%, there was no buffering but the video was choppy beyond use. I installed windows updates, disabled some startup programs. I ran the same tests on my own machine with the i7-2600k and the cpu utilization while watching a movie using the plex media server was 100%. while playing it with the plex media player, it was less than 100%. the reason for the difference is that when using plex media server (through the browser), there is transcoding going on, but while using the plex media player, its using direct play.
Yup. Time for a new PC.
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post #26 of 61 Old 04-04-2019, 02:39 AM - Thread Starter
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But according to the plex site, that lenovo pc should be fast enough for plex if i'm not transcoding. I also found out that the i7-2600k was overclocked to 4.3ghz and i didnt even know it. And i was using the stock cooler.

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post #27 of 61 Old 04-04-2019, 06:02 AM
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You need to use hardware accelerated transcoding. This is a feature that requires Plex pass. I think they offer a trial to test it out?

Then set everything you can to encode and decode on the GPU. Right now you are trying to do it in software, which is pure CPU and it's not going to happen.
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You need to use hardware accelerated transcoding. This is a feature that requires Plex pass. I think they offer a trial to test it out?

Then set everything you can to encode and decode on the GPU. Right now you are trying to do it in software, which is pure CPU and it's not going to happen.
And this is why I use Kodi.

Also be aware that Plex can only use hardware accelerated transcoding for HEVC and H.264 type media.

https://support.plex.tv/articles/115...ted-streaming/

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post #29 of 61 Old 04-04-2019, 08:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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You need to use hardware accelerated transcoding. This is a feature that requires Plex pass. I think they offer a trial to test it out?

Then set everything you can to encode and decode on the GPU. Right now you are trying to do it in software, which is pure CPU and it's not going to happen.
but i'm not transcoding. when I use the Plex media server and watch movies on the plex media player, its not transcoding. its using Direct Play. it shouldn't be too difficult for the CPU to do this but for some reason it is.

Family Room: Onkyo TX-NR 646 AVR, Polk Audio RtiA3 fronts, Polk Audio CSiA4 center, BIC America F12 sub, Polk Audio RC-65i rears
Basement: Denon AVR-X3400 AVR, Klipsch RP280f fronts, RP450c center, SVS PB-2000 sub, Polk Audio RC-85i rears & surrounds
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post #30 of 61 Old 04-04-2019, 08:10 AM
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but i'm not transcoding. when I use the Plex media server and watch movies on the plex media player, its not transcoding. its using Direct Play. it shouldn't be too difficult for the CPU to do this but for some reason it is.
Have you tried using the same media files through Kodi? See if your CPU usage is the same.
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