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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Why is there no talk in here of dedicated DVD decoders like Realmagic products (I'm sure others exist).


Is it the tinkering you can do with the various software decoders?


Is it a quality issue?


I've said recently my Hollywood+ gives inferior picture quality, but only marginally so (IMO).


The upsides are:


1. Greater stability (IMO).


2. As stated in a previous thread, the CPU usage on my Pentium III 500 while playiong a DVD rarely goes above 20%. That's important for me since my HTPC monitors house lights, alarm system zones, recieves and decodes IR signals, etc., all while playing movies.


3. Simplification of digital audio (has it's own SPDIF that outputs DD and DTS out of the box, freeing up the soundcard for analog uses).


I'm not really saying the Hollywood+ (or other dedicated boards) are better or worse, I'm just curious why nobody considers them in this forum.
 

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I think its because processing power increased to the point that people don't need hardware acceleration anymore. Software solutions are more flexible, and give you more choices in dvd player, etc.


I used to use an mpeg accelerator board (forgot the brand) several years ago on a 266 mhz Pentium machine. You had to route the analog vga signal coming out of your vga card through the decoder card. You then attached your monitor to the decoder card. The decoder card "switched" between dvd playback and your computers vga signal. The switch significantly degraded the vga signal


I'd guess very few people on the forum are using a Pentium III 500 to build an HTPC from scratch.
 

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Well that not ture work permit even with a very processing power 1GHz+ the decode dosen't go below 30% CPUage on any of hardware acceleration video cards like ATI Radeon nor the vNidia GF4 MX.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
BTW,


I just went over to the SigmaDesigns message fiorum. There are a couple of good threads about creating filter graphs to use zoomplayer to show DVD's through the Hollywood+ using whatever filters you want. Including DivX output.


Interesting (I guess that takes the "tinkering" argument out of play).
 

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Hi SHS


I certainly beleive DVD playback takes 30% cpu utilization on a 1GHZ processor. I guess with a 1GHZ processor, that means 300 MHZ goes to mpeg decoding. In the old days, My 300MHZ Pentium processor just barely kept up with DVD decoding, but my 266MHZ machine couldn't.


But whats wrong with 30% cpu utilization? That leaves 70% to do other things. What else do you want to do with your cpu while you're watching a DVD movie? Monitoring lights, executing Girder for IR control, all these things don't take up a lot of compute power.


Also, 1GHZ is a pretty slow processor now adays.
 

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work permit the 30% was base on 2.6GHz Intel with ATI Radeon.

Let say you go out and buy the FASTEST CPU on this plant 3GHz and you still going to see around 30%+ CPUage with ATI Radeon or the vNidia GF4 MX.

No a 500Mhz to 1GHz is more then fastest enough for 85% of people out there that don't play HardCore Games.
 

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SHS:


Are you saying that from 1 GHz to 3.0 GHz that CPU consumption is constant at 30% for decoding; all other things being equal? Sounds like some kind of Einstien'en cosmic speed limit / time slowing thing to me. Some more elaboration might be needed here.


Regards,

DFA
 

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Even if it were 50% on a 1Ghz CPU that still leaves plenty of processor power for OS, IR signal processing, audio, etc. About the only time it could be an issue is if you're also running some massive app in addition to playing a DVD. If that's the case then a faster CPU would be in order.
 

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Quote:
Are you saying that from 1 GHz to 3.0 GHz that CPU consumption is constant at 30% for decoding
This thread has peaked my interest. I'll have to try this at home on my 1GHZ pentium III and 2.8GHZ Pentium IV. I remember my old 300MHZ pentium was just barely keeping up with dvd decoding.

Here's an article stating 70% utilization of a 400MHZ Pentium II using an nVidia TNT.
Here's a range of values between 16 to 83% on a 700 MHZ Pentium 3 (depending on choice of graphics card and dvd player)
40% on a 500MHZ pentium and an s3 based viper II video card
40% Utilization with a Pentium III 600, Geforce256 running windvd, but 100% running power dvd


I must admit, its been years since I even thought about CPU utilization with DVD playback. Why is utilization on a 2.8GHZ Pentium 4 machine and a radeon 9700 pro roughly in line with what it was in the old pentium III days? Is it windows XP and use of WDM drivers?


Anyway, the orginal question posted was Why is there no talk in here of dedicated DVD decoders like Realmagic products . I suppose my answer is still the same. No one really focuses on cpu utilization anymore.

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No a 500Mhz to 1GHz is more then fastest enough for 85% of people out there
Maybe. But the slowest processor you can even buy is a 1GHZ celeron
 

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With a Radeon 7200 and AMD 1700 XP processor I usually can achieve 10-15% processor utilization when using a DVD player that supports the Radeon hardware acceleration. Without acceleration the processor usage can be 30-40%.


Just as a side note, with the proper software I can playback 1080i HDTV video using about 60-80% processor utilization.


SHS, you must have something mis-configured or are not using DVD playback software that takes advantage of the Radeon HWMC and IDCT features. With the most recent releases of the DVD software, most of them are using the DXVA (DirectX Video Acceleration) interface to access the graphics card hardware. Make sure that your drivers support DXVA and that the DVD software is set to use DXVA.
 

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SHS, you must have something wrong with your setup to have high CPU utilization, even for the 1 ghz pc.
 

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Just got home, thought I'd check out cpu utilization on a couple of machines


On a 2.8GHZ PIV, Radeon 9700pro, cineplayer 1.5, with hardware optimizations on, cpu utilization = 0-11%


On a 1GHZ PIII, Geforce 2GTS, windvd, all optimizations off, cpu utilization = 30-35%
 

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pawn & anyone else - I tried the Hollywood+ before they were retail and it had just came out with the AC3 copper. This is when you sent video over the ribbon cable to the video card directly. The picture was clear and clean. The DX3 used RGB pass through and of course had a less than clean image from being an analog signal. I would love to use the Hollywood plus again but the AMC connector has disappeared on video cards and the only video cards IMO that worked will with sigma was ATI. I now use the ATI 9000 Pro. The second limiting factor was DVD software support for the holly+. A third issue is the "DAMN" pcfriendly crap on DVDs that kept screwing up the holly+ software. I am from the older camp that believes that more engines are better than single faster engines. This is because at any given moment FPU resouces may be at 110% utilization on a single CPU. On my current 750e dual Intel with VIA PC133 on MSI board PowerDVD runs an average of 20% with sound at 3% but you should see the peaks when doing more with the player software than just watching the movie play realtime ! Dont for get the interruptions that are thrown at the PC that you cant control or schedule. You can pretty much guarantee that it will happen just when you're getting into the movie. A Duelly is the only multimedia platform for me ! Its the best way to go...
 
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