Guide to Building a HTPC, Workstation and Server - Page 581 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #17401 of 19525 Old 07-02-2011, 09:39 PM
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Thread cleaned up. Lone Wanderer, please stop posting off topic in this thread or I will take more severe action next time.

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post #17402 of 19525 Old 07-03-2011, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

1) Yes, you can use a server as a HTPC too. RPC-470 will work. You may need to pay attention to fan noise and cooling, however (I mean you may need to replace the fans with/add quieter ones).

Fan noise will not be an issue for me as the server will be located in the basement.

As far as using the guide for direction, should I be looking to build a HTPC with large storage capabilities or a server capable of HTPC duties? Can you recommend one of your guide systems over the others?

What do you recommend for a raid solution, software Vs hardware and benefits of each.

thanks

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post #17403 of 19525 Old 07-03-2011, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrolmstd View Post

Fan noise will not be an issue for me as the server will be located in the basement.

As far as using the guide for direction, should I be looking to build a HTPC with large storage capabilities or a server capable of HTPC duties? Can you recommend one of your guide systems over the others?

What do you recommend for a raid solution, software Vs hardware and benefits of each.

thanks

ATX mid-range Intel HTPC system should be good for your purpose. The mb can be that of the high-end system (more SATA ports). Add a Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 8-port SAS/SATA controller card (used in all server systems) for more storage space.

Windows 7. Backup important files. Some kind of fault tolerance such as FlexRAID for less important files (mainly BD movie files).
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post #17404 of 19525 Old 07-03-2011, 04:56 PM
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renethx,

I'm looking to build a HTPC sometime in the next two weeks, waiting on newest guide to be released. I wanted to run my equipment and purpose by you (and thread) to see if there's anything out of the ordinary I should be looking for.

TV: Insignia 46" LED 120Hz

Receiver: Onkyo 6300 HTIB HDReady

Usage: The box will nearly always be on/standby, I want to be able to WAKE via Ethernet. It'll sit right next to my TV area, and be visible. It'll be used to download Usenet and Torrent data frequently, as well as playing video files right from it. So it'll need to be powerful enough to Unpack and Repair archives as well as rip bluray disc. I don't have the money to build a seperate server box so I want it to be able to hold several hard disk, including a SSD for the OS. HD Audio is important to me as well as 3D capabilities (for future). The box will connect to receiver and from there to the TV.

Been waiting to purchase guide here to see if the new AMD line is what I want or Intel.


Thanks! Very informative thread!
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post #17405 of 19525 Old 07-05-2011, 03:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Video playback

jakmal pointed out in his review that at 1080p60 playback approximately half the frames were dropped. It looks like enabling Dynamic contrast is the main cause of dropped frames here. I observed that fps drawn fluctuates between 30fps and 60fps seemingly periodically. At some scenes fps suddenly drops, then a few seconds later it goes back to 60fps. So I disabled Dynamic contrast, voila! there was zero dropped frame. The other post-processors on or off affects dropped frames little to none. I tried DDR3-1333, 1600 and 1866. DDR3-1866 is a lot better at 1080p60 playback even if Dynamic contrast enabled (very few dropped frames).

As for madVR, the APU is good enough for SD/HD 24p contents. However I see lots of dropped frames (roughly two thirds of the frames) at 1080i60 playback (let alone 1080p60), with ffdshow Video Decoder (libavcodec H.264 decoder) + yadif (a software deinterlacer) + madVR. Edit: This is a bug of the latest libavcodec that integrates ffmpeg-mt. If rolled back to SVN 3866 with ffmpeg-mt, the playback of 1080i60 and 1080p60 became smooth as butter.

In summary, the new APU is good for:

Under DXVA/EVR

- HD/SD 24p
- HD/SD 60i
- HD/SD 60p if Dynamic contrast is disabled (well, who'd want to enable it anyway?)

Under ffshow Video Decoder (ffmpeg-mt + yadif)/madVR and DDR3-1600 (see below)

- HD/SD 24p
- HD/SD 60i (VC-1 is not supported)
- HD/SD 60p

Obviously ffdshow/madVR is a better solution than DXVA/EVR because of consistent PQ and smoother playback (higher power consumption of the system is a drawback, however).

Memory selection

DXVA/EVR

You'd better stay away from DDR3-1333. DDR3-1600 is the minimum for stable GPU operation (only +$5 [2 x 2GB]) or go for DDR3-1866 if you can afford (+$26; but then you'd better add a discrete card).

ffdshow/madVR

Here are a bit strange/surprising results. Number of dropped frames (those during the first few seconds are excluded):
  1080i60 (La Traviata) 1080p60 (Ginza Cat)
DDR3-1333 ~500 0
DDR3-1600 4 0
DDR3-1773 ~1000 ~100
I tried a couple of times, with similar results. So obviously DDR3-1600 is the best choice.

Dual display

GPU is not powerful enough to drive dual display stably (let alone decode dual video stream) even if video memory is set to 1GB.

CrossFire

I attached a HD 6570 discrete graphics card in CrossFire mode. Dual graphics is now called HD 6630D2. The display can be attached to either of the GPUs, but with slightly different video playback performance.

1080i60

It looks like both GPUs are used evenly at video playback, a great improvement over the previous Hybrid CrossFireX.

1080p60

Obviously only UVD of the GPU to which the display is attached is used. That means:

- If the display is attached to HD 6570, then playback is as good as HD 6570
- If the display is attached to HD 6550D, then playback is as good/bad as HD 6550D.
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post #17406 of 19525 Old 07-05-2011, 06:17 PM
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The memory listed in the guide for this board is not on the ASRock supported memory list that I could see (F3-12800CL8D-4GBXM). It may not be an issue but I try to stick with memory that is supported in case of support issues that pop up later.

I did find what seems to be simlar memory that is supported (F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ) but I do not know how to decipher the numbers to know if if one is better than the other.

Can someone shed some light on the numbering scheme used for memory?

thanks

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post #17407 of 19525 Old 07-05-2011, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
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post #17408 of 19525 Old 07-05-2011, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Intel 82579V is used in dozens of the latest Intel chipset desktop/server motherboards, including all the motherboards of the server section of my guide. However you will encounter a trouble in installing a driver for this device under WHS 2011 (an error message that the device is not found). Here is a simple workaround.

Download the latest driver from the Intel Download Center > Ethernet Components > Ethernet Controllers > Intel 82579 Gigabit Ethernet Controller > Network Adapter Driver for Windows Server 2008 R2: PROWinx64.exe for non-Itanium (obviously ). The current version is 16.3. Unzip PROWinx64.exe (by 7-Zip for example) to a folder, say, PRO_v16.3. Open the file

PRO_v16.3\\PRO1000\\Winx64\\NDIS62\\e1c62x64.inf

with Notepad. At the beginning of the file, you will see

Code:
[Manufacturer]
%Intel%     = Intel, NTamd64.6.1, NTamd64.6.1.1

[ControlFlags]
ExcludeFromSelect = \\ 
    PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1502,\\ 
    PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1503

[Intel]

[Intel.NTamd64.6.1.1]
; DisplayName                   Section              DeviceID
; -----------                   -------              --------
%E1502NC.DeviceDesc%            = E1502.6.1.1,       PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1502
%E1502NC.DeviceDesc%            = E1502.6.1.1,       PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1502&SUBSYS_00011179
%E1503NC.DeviceDesc%            = E1503.6.1.1,       PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1503
%E1503NC.DeviceDesc%            = E1503.6.1.1,       PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1503&SUBSYS_00011179

[Intel.NTamd64.6.1]
; DisplayName                   Section        DeviceID
; -----------                   -------        --------
%E1502NC.DeviceDesc%            = E1502,       PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1502
%E1502NC.DeviceDesc%            = E1502,       PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1502&SUBSYS_00011179
Short explanation:

- NTamd64.6.1.1 = WINDOWS 7 for 64-bit EXTENDED PLATFORMS
- NTamd64.6.1 = WINDOWS Server 2008 R2 for 64-bit EXTENDED PLATFORMS (We are concerned with this, WHS 2011 is a variant of WINDOWS Server 2008 R2.)
- E1502 = Intel(R) 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection
- E1503 = Intel(R) 82579V Gigabit Network Connection (We are concerned with this.)

Apparently [Intel.NTamd64.6.1] lacks entries for E1503, while the section [E1503] actually exists in the file (meaning 82579V works with Windows Server 2008 R2), that's the cause of the error message. (I don't know why Intel wants to prohibit us from using 82579V with Windows Server 2008 R2, maybe another marketing matter?) So add two E1503 lines there so that:

Code:
[Intel.NTamd64.6.1]
; DisplayName                   Section        DeviceID
; -----------                   -------        --------
%E1502NC.DeviceDesc%            = E1502,       PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1502
%E1502NC.DeviceDesc%            = E1502,       PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1502&SUBSYS_00011179
%E1503NC.DeviceDesc%            = E1503,       PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1503
%E1503NC.DeviceDesc%            = E1503,       PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1503&SUBSYS_00011179
Save the file and close it. Copy the folder PRO_v16.3 to a USB memory and insert it to the WHS 2011 system. Now you can install the driver by the usual method. (That is, go to Control Panel > Hardware > Devices and Printers > Device Manager > Other devices > Ethernet controller. Right click it and click "Update driver software", click "Browse my computer for driver software", then enter "G:\\PRO_v16.3\\PRO1000\\Winx64\\NDIS62\\" in the Browse... field, where G: is the driver letter for the USB memory that depends on each system. Click the "Next" button. Installation of the driver will begin.)
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post #17409 of 19525 Old 07-06-2011, 11:53 AM
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Any idea on the time frame of the new guide?
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post #17410 of 19525 Old 07-06-2011, 02:54 PM
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1st Thanks for all the info renethx. I jumped the gun a little bit an bought the May 2011 guide since we're in July and June is nowhere to be found. I got the 4 guide subscription so I guess I have plenty of time to re-evaluate my build as time progresses.

My goal is to have media server/file server/workstation hybrid build. I am still in the rough stages of specing out the build, but I am curious if you can comment on the support of Intel H67 boards ability to boot from pci? Obviously, I am looking to install an SSD for the boot partition. I looked at the MB compatiblity list on OCZ.com for the Revo drive, and didn't find much for H67 positive or negative.

dKK
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post #17411 of 19525 Old 07-06-2011, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dakaratekid View Post

1st Thanks for all the info renethx. I jumped the gun a little bit an bought the May 2011 guide since we're in July and June is nowhere to be found. I got the 4 guide subscription so I guess I have plenty of time to re-evaluate my build as time progresses.

My goal is to have media server/file server/workstation hybrid build. I am still in the rough stages of specing out the build, but I am curious if you can comment on the support of Intel H67 boards ability to boot from pci? Obviously, I am looking to install an SSD for the boot partition. I looked at the MB compatiblity list on OCZ.com for the Revo drive, and didn't find much for H67 positive or negative.

dKK

I am using Revodrive X2 in my Z68 MB and I can't tell you how much I enjoy it. With that said, I think it will work on H67 board too.
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post #17412 of 19525 Old 07-06-2011, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carisma View Post

Any idea on the time frame of the new guide?

The new guide is almost ready, that includes AMD A-series APU (Llano) systems (well, nearly half of the systems were updated), will be uploaded in 24 hours.

Llano is the most exciting product of 2011.

Update

I tested A8-3850, $135, and I can recommend it confidently. However, I need to test A6-3650, $115, more closely. Apart from the processor frequency, the main difference is GPU:

- A8-3850: Radeon HD 6550D 400 cores 600MHz
- A6-3650: Radeon HD 6530D 320 cores 443MHz

So I have to check how good/bad HD 6530D is (in particular for 1080p60 and madVR, where GPU load is very high even with A8-3850). Consequently the next issue will be delayed a couple of days. I am sorry for another delay.
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post #17413 of 19525 Old 07-07-2011, 05:55 PM
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No worries...I would rather it be tested and signed off before it is recommended.
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post #17414 of 19525 Old 07-10-2011, 04:46 AM
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Any idea when those couple of days will be up? Sorry to be annoying, I just can't wait to read it as I'm building my first HTPC this week!
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post #17415 of 19525 Old 07-10-2011, 01:18 PM
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@ renethx: Do you have any experience using linux with various components during your testing? And if so, can you share any challenges you have encountered with respect to audio/video, if at all? I've started to purchase parts of the system and am trying to be uncharacteristically extra-cautious
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post #17416 of 19525 Old 07-10-2011, 03:57 PM
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renethx,

Plan is to standup the HTPC part of this build first then start adding storage to it so that I can move files from a WHS onto this new server.

Using the guide I came up with the following but it is a mixture of server and a HTPC.

NORCO (RPC-470) case.
Radeon HD5670 video card.
CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W High Performance Power Supply
ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (B3) ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Pentium G620 2.6GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ

Little concerned about the DDR3 1600 & Pentium G620 wondering if I will be able to get 1600 out of it. ASROCK says the memory is supported but not in conjunction with a specific CPU so I would appreciate any insight you can provide.

thanks

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post #17417 of 19525 Old 07-10-2011, 06:57 PM
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Hi All,

I have to say I'm interested to see the reviews of AMDs new chips, I've seen some mixed reviews already of the A8 chip but none really of the A6. I'm looking to build a Media Server but held off until AMD released their babies. My decision to use i3 2100 or A6-3650 is made difficult a couple of things

- The A6 beats the i3 in terms of graphics (but not really an issue for me as this will be a server unless I decided to change it over to HTPC in the future)
- The i3 beats the A6 in terms of CPU
- The MoBo's are a stickler, the ones for AMD have 5/6xSATA3 built in and are pretty cheap, the equivalent priced ones for Intel generally have 2xSATA3 and 3/4xSATA2 which would mean would need to buy a separate SATA controller not to mention some of them don't have internal USB3 connectors.

What are peoples thoughts?
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post #17418 of 19525 Old 07-10-2011, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzmunky View Post

Any idea when those couple of days will be up? Sorry to be annoying, I just can't wait to read it as I'm building my first HTPC this week!

I finished testing A6-3650. I will finish updating the issue soon (in a day or so).
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post #17419 of 19525 Old 07-10-2011, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boldaslove View Post

@ renethx: Do you have any experience using linux with various components during your testing? And if so, can you share any challenges you have encountered with respect to audio/video, if at all? I've started to purchase parts of the system and am trying to be uncharacteristically extra-cautious

No, Linux is the last OS I would test. In general NVIDIA graphics is the best choice for Linux.
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post #17420 of 19525 Old 07-10-2011, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrolmstd View Post

renethx,

Plan is to standup the HTPC part of this build first then start adding storage to it so that I can move files from a WHS onto this new server.

Using the guide I came up with the following but it is a mixture of server and a HTPC.

NORCO (RPC-470) case.
Radeon HD5670 video card.
CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W High Performance Power Supply
ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (B3) ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Pentium G620 2.6GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ

Little concerned about the DDR3 1600 & Pentium G620 wondering if I will be able to get 1600 out of it. ASROCK says the memory is supported but not in conjunction with a specific CPU so I would appreciate any insight you can provide.

thanks

G620 supports up to DDR3-1333. But I would still choose DDR3-1600 because the price difference is small (~$5 for 2 x 2GB) and DDR3-1600 is more future proof (all upcoming processors support DDR3-1600 and DDR4 only comes in 2014 [39% in 2015 ]). Of course DDR3-1600 works fine at DDR3-1333 and DDR3-1066.
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post #17421 of 19525 Old 07-10-2011, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theaccent View Post

Hi All,

I have to say I’m interested to see the reviews of AMDs new chips, I’ve seen some mixed reviews already of the A8 chip but none really of the A6. I’m looking to build a Media Server but held off until AMD released their babies. My decision to use i3 2100 or A6-3650 is made difficult a couple of things

- The A6 beats the i3 in terms of graphics (but not really an issue for me as this will be a server unless I decided to change it over to HTPC in the future)
- The i3 beats the A6 in terms of CPU
- The MoBo’s are a stickler, the ones for AMD have 5/6xSATA3 built in and are pretty cheap, the equivalent priced ones for Intel generally have 2xSATA3 and 3/4xSATA2 which would mean would need to buy a separate SATA controller not to mention some of them don’t have internal USB3 connectors.

What are peoples thoughts?

Server usually means no video playback. Then 2100 is a better choice because it runs cooler (well, even for video playback 2100 is equivalent to A6). Never mind SATA 6Gb/s. There is (and will be in foreseeable future) no HDD that benefits from SATA 6Gb/s.
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post #17422 of 19525 Old 07-11-2011, 02:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theaccent View Post

Hi All,


- The MoBo's are a stickler, the ones for AMD have 5/6xSATA3 built in and are pretty cheap, the equivalent priced ones for Intel generally have 2xSATA3 and 3/4xSATA2 which would mean would need to buy a separate SATA controller not to mention some of them don't have internal USB3 connectors.

What are peoples thoughts?

There is no point in giving preference to SATA3 ports since there are no hard drives that are fast enough to gain any benefit. Indeed hard-drives would barely be able to saturate SATA2.

It is therefore largely irrelevent whether the mobo has SATA2 or SATA3 as far as performance is concerned.

SATA3 ports are backwards compatible as well.
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post #17423 of 19525 Old 07-11-2011, 05:48 AM
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Many thanks for the reply... seems like i3 is the winner perhaps, now just to decide on a MoBo... I was looking at Gigabyte GA-HA65M-UD3H-B3, I like that it has USB3 with an internal connector as my case has front USB3 port... any other suggestions?
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post #17424 of 19525 Old 07-11-2011, 09:10 PM
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Hello all. I've searched the internet up and down but I can't seem to find an answer to this question.

Can the Nvidia 525M (laptop graphics card) bitstream DTS-HD Master Audio??
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post #17425 of 19525 Old 07-13-2011, 02:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turkletont View Post

Hello all. I've searched the internet up and down but I can't seem to find an answer to this question.

Can the Nvidia 525M (laptop graphics card) bitstream DTS-HD Master Audio??

Sorry Turtle, I looked for you but couldn't find a simple answer either. maybe you will have better luck if you post a new thread. This thread is mainly for people discussing the renethx' HTPC Guide.
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post #17426 of 19525 Old 07-13-2011, 08:19 AM
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Good deal on 1.5TB Samsung F4 5400RPM through Newegg Shell Shocker, only $50!
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I am giving up waiting for the updated edition. Been too long waiting now and have to make urgent decisions for customer. Sorry.
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post #17428 of 19525 Old 07-13-2011, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
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A summary of GPU's capability of handling various video resolutions/frame rate. The blanks will be filled soon. But to avoid further delay, I will upload the new issue with blank.

- HD 6530D = integrated in Llano A6-3650/3600/3500
- HD 6550D = integrated in Llano A8-3850/3800

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post #17429 of 19525 Old 07-13-2011, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post
A summary of GPU's capability of handling various video resolutions/frame rate. The blanks will be filled soon. But to avoid further delay, I will upload the new issue with blank.
Safe to assume HD3000 graphics on par or slightly better than HD2000 for the same tests?
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post #17430 of 19525 Old 07-13-2011, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by efotonik View Post

Safe to assume HD3000 graphics on par or slightly better than HD2000 for the same tests?

HD 3000 should not be worse than HD 2000. HD 3000 has twice the number of EUs (Execution Units).
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