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Hi.


OK. So I am new to the HTPC arena. I recently put together two machines at my home. One machine is intended to be used as a Home PC/File server. The other is intended to be used as an HTPC. The two boxes are about 20 feet from each other. I am using Windows 7 Pro 64x on both machines and use WMC on the HTPC. The problem I am unable to resolve is intermittent stuttering with audio and video that is streamed to the HTPC.


It seems like I should have enough horsepower (specs below) to serve the files flawlessly, but I get stuttering. Are there some processes I should turn off assoicated with Windows 7 on the PC that may cause big resource spikes that would affect the serving of the files? Is the onboard LAN a problem? What might cause a problem with data throughput with my configured system? I am really trying to narrow down the possibilities at this point. Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks.


Here are the specs for the machines:


PC

Asus P8P67-M Pro

Intel Sandy Bridge I5-2500K

4GB DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

Crucial 128 GB SSD

Hitachi Deskstar 1 TB 7200 RPM SATA II 32 MB

LG 10X Blu-ray Burner - SATA WH10LS30


HTPC

Asus P8H67-M Pro

Intel Sandy Bridge I5-2500K

4GB DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

SAMSUNG Black Blu-ray SATA Model SH-B123L/RSBP

D-Link DWA-552 32-bit PCI Xtreme Desktop Adapter

Crucial 64 GB SSD


Router: D-Link DIR-655 Xtreme N Gigabit Wireless Broadband Router
 

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it's hard to say. Could be radio interference. Anyway to try hooking up the HTPC by wire?


If your server PC is not headless, do you have problems playing the media on that machine? Although you may have the power to play the files, does not mean the programs settings are correct for good playback? Does the stuttering occur for all files. Try different file types and sizes. I know for me, I have better performance if I just stream the file to my HTPC, and let it decode/playback the file. I don't have a server, per se, but I do have a PC I leave on, and have attached my media external drives to that machine, which I have networked into my LAN as shared drives. The issues I have are the drive itself. Another option, try using a different media program such as Boxee or XBMC.
 

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Do the files that stutter play fine locally?


Do you have anti-virus installed? If so, did you try turning it off?


Did you measure the throughput of your wireless connection? Something in the range of 5MB/s with no dips should be sufficient. You may want to open task manager and click on the networking tab while a movie is playing to see if you see sustained throughput.
 

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Wired is always going to be better than wireless. (if possible)


As mentioned above, playing a file locally sounds like a good first step.


On the wireless side, try changing channels... 2.4 GHz is prone to interference (cordless phone, microwaves, baby monitors, neighbors' WiFi)


For 802.11n, start simple... don't use channel bonding (40 MHz channel), try with a 20 MHz channel first. Also, use WPA2 for the wireless security. (WPA2 is also the most secure) 11n can misbehave with WPA or WEP. Lastly, your router should have some QoS settings (maybe listed as WMM), these should be turned on to give priority to video traffic.
 

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Also, when changing channels... 1, 6, and 11 are the only non-overlapping channels in the 2.4 GHz band. So try sticking to those.


There are lots of good WiFi Analyzers out there to see what's out there... I have "WiFi Analyzer" on my Droid.
 
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