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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am curious if any current owners of the Ceton InfiniTV 4 can provide any CPU usage numbers when recording 4 channels. If you provide numbers can you please tell me your system specifications.


I ordered my card on 9/15 from Fluid Digital, I don't expect to get it until after Christmas but would like to do some planning.


I am interested in knowing this because I am tempted to virtualize my HTPC on my VMware ESXi box. The virtual box is a single Xeon E5620 2.4ghz, 12gb RAM, 8x2TB drives in RAID 6. The virtual box will have an OpenFiler instance running that will be where my recordings will go.


I have a backup solution, i3, 2gb RAM, 1TB HDD but I would prefer to minimize how many boxes I have and the dump across the network is slow compared to local VMs talking to each other.
 

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"virtualize my HTPC on my VMware ESXi box. The virtual box is a single Xeon E5620 2.4ghz, 12gb RAM, 8x2TB drives in RAID 6. The virtual box will have an OpenFiler instance running that will be where my recordings will go."


Ugh.. Unless I'm missing something here, you can't virtualize with a Ceton; there's no virtual hardware for a "tuner" of any kind in ESXi. Also, you won't be able to use your video card for display (but I'm assuming you don't need that; you'll be using extenders).


ESXi has a very tight HCL; the Ceton is not on it, and, in all likelyhood never will be. If you want to virtualize, use something like VMware Server/Workstation, then you can have the base OS for the Ceton, and the virtualized OS for things like Openfiler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjfink /forum/post/19650749


Ugh.. Unless I'm missing something here, you can't virtualize with a Ceton; there's no virtual hardware for a "tuner" of any kind in ESXi. Also, you won't be able to use your video card for display (but I'm assuming you don't need that; you'll be using extenders).


ESXi has a very tight HCL; the Ceton is not on it, and, in all likelyhood never will be. If you want to virtualize, use something like VMware Server/Workstation, then you can have the base OS for the Ceton, and the virtualized OS for things like Openfiler.

I wouldn't need to display on this system, it would actually be headless just doing the recordings and serving content to the extenders.


You are right that you can't virtualize the Ceton card but you can use VMDirectPath technology to pass-through the card to the guest OS. When you pass-through the card to the guest OS it is dedicated to the guest, the guest will see the card as it normally would so it controls it through the Ceton provided driver and there is next to 0 overhead.


This VMDirectPath is actually why I went from my previous 8 core Opteron to a 4(upgradeable to 8) core Xeon system. I needed a motherboard that supported VT-d.


I tried to post a link but it wouldn't let me since I have too few posts but if you go to google and search for the following:


VT-d VMware ESXi pass through


You will see a link from the VMware KB that is the second or third result. This explains how VMDirectPath works.


I mainly need to know how much CPU the card uses so I can determine if this is even feasible. I may also have to get a video card that supports GPU offloading for encoding/decoding and do pass-through on that also. I won't be able to experiment with this until I get my card after Christmas so I am hoping some current owners could provide some insight that may help me out.


As stated in my previous post I have other options, I have a i3 with 2gb of RAM and a 8 core Opteron with 16gb of RAM(my old VMware system). The problem with this route is that the only way to communicate with my storage is through the network. My preliminary tests aren't good when it comes to transfer rates, only getting around 30-50MBps which may not be good enough for both saving and serving up content. When I setup the same test but used a virtual network in VMware I was getting just as fast as the native HDD performance.
 

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Little to No CPU Utilization for the Ceton Card as their is no processing done. Just I/O to write it to disk.


System Specs:


Intel Bad Axe II Motherboard

Core 2 Quad CPU @ 2.4Ghz w/800 Mhz Front Side Bus

4GB of DDR2 RAM at 800Mhz

4GB USB 2.0 drive as ReadyBoost

4x750 Seagate AS Series Drives (7200 RPM) in an Intel Matrix Raid

100GB RAID 10 for Boot

2TB+ RAID 5 for Recorded TV


I am interested to know how the Virtualization works out. I know of one another user who is virtualizing but is using Hyper-V.
 

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OK, I am following a bit of this (and very interested). One thing:


In order to get a ceton installed in WMC, you have to run digital cable advisor (in the gallery menu in WMC). the PC has to pass this and it HAS to have a video card with decent specs-I had an nvidia 8400 that passed in one motherboard but failed in another and had to upgrade to an nividia 220. Not a big expense, but I'm not sure how that affects your setup process. The video card has to be HDCP compliant, and I think you have to have an HDCP compliant display hooked up when the DCA is running. Am interested to see how the virtualization affects video card drivers/HDCP status.


I've never read about what you're doing-but it would create something very similar to the WHS/WMC headless combo box that was talked about quite a bit (another great idea that MS didn't pursue).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by rlundy /forum/post/19655072


OK, I am following a bit of this (and very interested). One thing:


In order to get a ceton installed in WMC, you have to run digital cable advisor (in the gallery menu in WMC). the PC has to pass this and it HAS to have a video card with decent specs-I had an nvidia 8400 that passed in one motherboard but failed in another and had to upgrade to an nividia 220. Not a big expense, but I'm not sure how that affects your setup process. The video card has to be HDCP compliant, and I think you have to have an HDCP compliant display hooked up when the DCA is running. Am interested to see how the virtualization affects video card drivers/HDCP status.


I've never read about what you're doing-but it would create something very similar to the WHS/WMC headless combo box that was talked about quite a bit (another great idea that MS didn't pursue).

I read articles that stated I needed to run that DCA program but it wasn't in my gallery on Windows 7. When I get home I will start setting up a VM and run the Ceton setup to see what it says. I do figure I need to find a video card, but it is going to be hard. My motherboard has 0 PCI-E x16 slots, it only has PCI-E x8 slots. I am tempted to use a PCI-E x8 to x16 adapter but my concern is how to secure the card since it will raise the card up 1 inch.


If you have suggestions I am open. I have seen some PCI-E x1 cards but they aren't as tough as the x16 cards, like 80 stream processors compared to 320 and they are more expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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It's a nice card but is probably overkill for your requirements. A 5450 would work just fine and would be less than half the price of the 5670 (even after the rebate). For HTPC purposes the difference between PCIe 8x and 16x won't be any factor either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micromain /forum/post/19655888


It's a nice card but is probably overkill for your requirements. A 5450 would work just fine and would be less than half the price of the 5670 (even after the rebate). For HTPC purposes the difference between PCIe 8x and 16x won't be any factor either.

I ended up getting the 5670, I know it may be overkill but I may want to do some transcoding on this thing and I really need to try to get the CPU usage as low as possible. The 5670 had 5x the cores, 5x the gflops and was DDR5 for just $40 more, so not a bad deal.


Also, I am locked into the 8x slot since I only have an 8x slot, just hope I don't cut too many pins when I am trimming it to the 8x form factor.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylorjonl /forum/post/19656088


I ended up getting the 5670, I know it may be overkill but I may want to do some transcoding on this thing and I really need to try to get the CPU usage as low as possible. The 5670 had 5x the cores, 5x the gflops and was DDR5 for just $40 more, so not a bad deal.


Also, I am locked into the 8x slot since I only have an 8x slot, just hope I don't cut too many pins when I am trimming it to the 8x form factor.

Won't hurt to have the horsepower though, afaik, transcoding is CPU dependent and doesn't use the GPU. btw, any 8x PCie slot I have ever seen is 16x compatible/8x electrical. You shouldn't need to cut any pins.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micromain /forum/post/19656107


Won't hurt to have the horsepower though, afaik, transcoding is CPU dependent and doesn't use the GPU. btw, any 8x PCie slot I have ever seen is 16x compatible/8x electrical. You shouldn't need to cut any pins.

This is my motherboard:

http://www.tyan.com/product_board_detail.aspx?pid=634


It doesn't have a physical x16 slot, so my choice is to cut the video card or the motherboard to physically fit. I figure it is better to mess up a $80 video card than a $500 motherboard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micromain /forum/post/19656204


I take it back. Your m/b is definitely an exception. I hope cutting the pins works for you though the riser card might be your only valid option.

I want to avoid the riser because I won't be able to secure the video card to the case and it is $50 for the riser. I am pretty sure if I am careful cutting the pins will work, I have an older card I pulled from my moms system that I will experiment on before trashing my new card.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlundy /forum/post/19655072


OK, I am following a bit of this (and very interested). One thing:


In order to get a ceton installed in WMC, you have to run digital cable advisor (in the gallery menu in WMC). the PC has to pass this and it HAS to have a video card with decent specs-I had an nvidia 8400 that passed in one motherboard but failed in another and had to upgrade to an nividia 220. Not a big expense, but I'm not sure how that affects your setup process. The video card has to be HDCP compliant, and I think you have to have an HDCP compliant display hooked up when the DCA is running. Am interested to see how the virtualization affects video card drivers/HDCP status.


I've never read about what you're doing-but it would create something very similar to the WHS/WMC headless combo box that was talked about quite a bit (another great idea that MS didn't pursue).

You can just add the reg keys that the cable advisor adds bypassing the program.
 

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From the pictures of your mobo, the back of the pcie slots are already open so you shouldn't have to cut anything. I think slot 1 might interfere with the ram slots and 3 and 4 might run into the heatsinks, but it looks like slot 2 should be fine.


And personally, even if the slots aren't open I'd rather shave away some plastic from a slot with a dremel than try to cut out a section of PCB between 2 contact pins.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigLan /forum/post/19661748


From the pictures of your mobo, the back of the pcie slots are already open so you shouldn't have to cut anything. I think slot 1 might interfere with the ram slots and 3 and 4 might run into the heatsinks, but it looks like slot 2 should be fine.


And personally, even if the slots aren't open I'd rather shave away some plastic from a slot with a dremel than try to cut out a section of PCB between 2 contact pins.

OMG, I can't believe I didn't see that.......


My thought process on modifications was I would prefer to void the warranty on the video card than on the motherboard, but it doesn't matter now.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylorjonl /forum/post/19654112


Thanks for your input jmallory. Can you add which video card you are using? I am wondering if it offloads some to the GPU.

Nvidia 8860GTS, but again, there is no processing going on when moving the program stream from the Ceton card to the disk as it is already in digital form. The Nvidia would only kick in when taking the recorded stream and coverting it to video to display.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So I got my video card today, slapped it into the computer, setup a starter VM, did my pass-through, installed drivers/updates and got the following scores on the Windows Experience Index:


Processor - 4.7

Memory - 5.5

Graphics - 6.9

Hard Disk - 6.7


This VM gets the same score as my workstation



It was a pain to get Windows 7 to let me run the WEI tests on the VM, I had to mess around with extending a second monitor on my pass-through video card, then set it as the primary monitor. That caused weirdness with VMware, it displayed correctly but the mouse only worked on the left side of the screen. I am hoping that I can set the VMware adapter as the primary video and that the OS will use the secondary card for any encoding/decoding I do.


Now I just have to wait for my Ceton, I ordered it on September 15th, Fluid Digital said it should come in January. I checked eBay but all the cards are like $650+, which is rediculous. I guess I will just have to wait but I am so impatient



Forgot to ask, anyone know any good tools to test how well it performs at encoding/decoding? I want to see if it will use my secondary card to offload GPU or if I have to get it as the primary.
 
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