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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after doing a bunch of research, especially with renethx's guide, I think I'm going to go with his mid-range Intel setup. I noticed however that there is an integrated GPU solution, and a non-integrated one. Is a more powerful non-integrated GPU even needed if the CPU is powerful enough to decode h.264? I haven't decided on the OS yet, but even if I choose XBMC for linux, I won't need any hardware acceleration with that CPU, right? I've seen people ask about the HD5450 video card, but why would that be necessary if there's an on-board HDMI output? Is the picture better that integrated for Blu-ray? That Asrock H55M board looks pretty solid, but it's also fairly new so I couldn't find many reviews on it. Does anyone have experience with it?
 

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GPU acceleration of blu-ray is built into pretty much all integrated graphics now a days, faster GPUs become important for upscaling, de-interlacing and gaming. With that aside though, CPUs don't have hardware acceleration of video, so it has to decode in real time onthe CPU which is MUCH less efficient, MUCH! Onboard video will be fine for most basic HTPCs.
 

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artos is right, and for the most part, if you buy a motherboard and it has hdmi on it, you will have dxva or hard ware acceleration.


it much better to use a gpu for video decoding then use a cpu...


but yes, if you had a high end phenom II or core i7 cpu...you could probably get away with it...


but you could save a lot more money just by getting a motherboard/descrete card to playback your videos
 

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The primary reason people want an ATI 5000 series is because of bitstreaming support for HD audio codecs.


One issue you can run across with getting too weak of an integrated graphics card is it will try to decode the video/upscale for you but be inadequate and cause you problems. While it is possible to tweak codecs and work around the media foundation to use a codec that doesn't use HW acceleration, it's easier just to get a GPU capable enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by user4avsforum /forum/post/18128537


G45 will do any 1080p you can throw at it. However if you want the high-end bitstreaming audio in a low power integrated solution you will want to go with the newer H55 or H57.

So the H55M Pro does NOT need a video card capable of bistream like the ATI? I was looking at the specs and didn't see that specifically mentioned. By the way, I don't even have speakers, so I'll be using the TV speakers until I can afford a nice sound system, so even if the MB doesn't do bitstreaming, I can always buy a new GPU later.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SHaklee3 /forum/post/18129025


So the H55M Pro does NOT need a video card capable of bistream like the ATI? I was looking at the specs and didn't see that specifically mentioned. By the way, I don't even have speakers, so I'll be using the TV speakers until I can afford a nice sound system, so even if the MB doesn't do bitstreaming, I can always buy a new GPU later.

I think that in the case of the H55 it doesn't have the GPU onboard, but it supports Clarkdale processors that have the GPU built into the processor.
 

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If you use a Core i5-6xx series chip or a Core i3 series chip, bitstreaming over HDMI is done with the H55 or H57 chipset.


The same chips with a P55 chipset will not deliver bitstreaming (or video at all), and the Core i5-7xx series and Core i7 series on an H55 or H57 will also not deliver video and bitstreaming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael /forum/post/18129195


If you use a Core i5-6xx series chip or a Core i3 series chip, bitstreaming over HDMI is done with the H55 or H57 chipset.


The same chips with a P55 chipset will not deliver bitstreaming (or video at all), and the Core i5-7xx series and Core i7 series on an H55 or H57 will also not deliver video and bitstreaming.

Thanks. I was reading reviews for the A55M Pro and a couple people were having problems getting bitstreaming to work, so they changed boards. Should I stick with another brand, such as Asus for about $20 more?
 

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Can't recommend specific brands; it's an inherent property of the chipset, so they should all work. Depends on the BIOS and, in some bizarre cases, the receiver.
 

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Last weekend, I helped a friend setup his new i3 & Asrock H55 PRO board and I was very impressed. I've had a HTPC for several years and always relied on GPU hardware acceleration for video playback but his i3 & Asrock were able to play back both H264 and VC1 (1080p) content without DXVA.


It played back virtually everything we tried, very easily with low CPU utilization (10-20%). He overclocked his CPU a few hundred mhz so that may help.


Unfortunately, he doesn't have a receiver capable of TrueHD or DTS MA so we didn't test the lossless bitstreaming but from every review I've seen of this architecture (Clarksdale & H55 chipset), bitstreaming works fine. It's specifically made for bitstreaming so you can expect it will be supported.


My conclusion after seeing his setup:


After paying $250 a year ago for a dedicated ASUS Xonar to do bitstreaming and a nvidia 9600GSO $100 that can't even do VC1 DXVA on top of the cost of the rest of my components, I'm going to purchase an i3 Clarksdale and H55 MB ($200), DD3 memory and a new micro ATX case. Lower power consumption, less noise, less problems! I'll be replacing my main HTPC setup.


Goodbye Xonar passthrough & speaker vs. digital output issues, goodbye crappy Nvidia VC1 DXVA issues. Goodbye requiring proper codec configuration to enable DXVA! Goodbye dedicated audio or video cards!


IMO, Intel clarksdale is the way to go...
 

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Having not used it myself I would still agree. You can't beat 3-in-one solutions (CPU, GPU, bitstreaming) on one chip for a mini-HTPC setup. The i3 and i5s actually have a GPU chip on them separate from the CPU - it isn't that the CPU is so powerful that it can handle video decoding while staying under 20% usage. I haven't heard of any DXVA issues with them, though. Maybe this is because Intel programmed it on the CPU level where the CPU passes off all video decoding type code to the GPU and so it doesn't need 3rd party driver support like DXVA does.
 

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I'd say the Clarkdale is perfect, for me at least. The only negative is that it doesn't properly output 24p...should be 23.976 fps but instead it's an even 24 fps so it skips a frame every 40 seconds or so. Not a problem for me since I don't notice stutter when playing at 60 fps and my TV isn't even capable of 24p.


I'm just waiting for a mini-itx motherboard to become available. Should be this month.
 

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Hardware v software is a pretty blurry line these days.


GPU's are becoming more softwarey everyday and with big hyperthreaded CPU's with tons of vector processing units are becoming more hardwarey all the time.


If you've got a big cpu (highend dual core, midrange quad) that's all you need. That can handle all the upscaling postprocessing you'd need for SD and can decode HD. Of course for a new build all the integrated GPU's (The cheapest video solution) has decent video acceleration.


Then there is also the HD-Audio component wich requires either an ATI video card or the new H55 intel chips, both of wich have pretty decent hardware accel.
 

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The only thing that even a powerful cpu can't do is 1080i deinterlacing. So if you watch a lot of HDTVs, then a decent gpu is necessary.


Hopefully someone somewhere brings out a good software deinterlacer for the x86 platform in the future. That would render the gpu completely useless for HTPCs of the future!
 

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Gfx accel can make it so that your CPU shows little to nothing on playback (4% usage or so.) Further, with today's dedicated video processing on most gfx chips, you don't even need to put much of a card in. at the same time a decent, new CPU can handle blu ray playback without much effort too.


Ultimately though, there seems to be times where the GPU doesn't like the way this video is made, or that video is encoded, that is the time when a strong CPU with a robust software codec can chug right through the problem.


As it always has been in the HTPC segment (at least for the last 6 or 7 years I have been dabbling in it) small and low power gets the attention, but a beefy CPU backed up by a beefy GPU hears the least number of curse words


-Suntan
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinqian /forum/post/18146520


The only thing that even a powerful cpu can't do is 1080i deinterlacing. So if you watch a lot of HDTVs, then a decent gpu is necessary.


Hopefully someone somewhere brings out a good software deinterlacer for the x86 platform in the future. That would render the gpu completely useless for HTPCs of the future!

wrong.


My g45 blows away anything I have seem from any ATI card i have tried, as far as 1080i content goes.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 /forum/post/18146627


wrong.


My g45 blows away anything I have seem from any ATI card i have tried, as far as 1080i content goes.

Not that I agree or disagree on the subject if a CPU can deinterlace 1080i, but your point isn't valid. The G45 has an Intel® GMA X4500HD GPU chipset. It doesn't use the CPU for deinterlacing.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 /forum/post/18146627


wrong.


My g45 blows away anything I have seem from any ATI card i have tried, as far as 1080i content goes.

LOL you realize that the G45 is the iGPU on the board right? The cpu itself does not actually perform deinterlacing or hardware acceleration.
 
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