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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I can't find out what is best for HTPC purpose.


I want 1080p and 5.1 or 7.1 on HDMI, most hd files I play is *.mkv and it HAS to be able to run that flawlessly. And I want it to be cheap to run (low watt req)


I will not be doing any gaming on it what so ever, just to clarify.


I have tried to make 2 setups I think is reasonable:


Intel:

E5200 C2D

Abit IP35 Pro (Have one in surplus and I read it was pretty watt effective)

and use the integrated gfx


Amd:

Amd 4850e
ASUS P5N7A-VM

Gigabyte passive HD4550
 

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You can't use the Abit IP35 Pro (Intel, socket LGA775) motherboard with an AMD processor.


Since you already have the motherboard, I'd go with:

Core 2 Duo E7200/E7300

Gigabyte HD4550


You can also go with the Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5200 for the processor but it's still listed as under testing on the CPU support list on Abit's webpage. A BIOS update might be required to support it but I wouldn't count on one being available since Abit has gone out of the motherboard business last Dec 31, 2008.
 

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Both motherboards you listed (Asus P5N7A-VM and Abit IP35 Pro) are for Intel processors using socket LGA775. Also, the Abit IP35 Pro doesn't have integrated graphics.


The cheapest option would be to add a processor and graphics card to your existing motherboard. The difference in power consumption between the two is likely small enough as to not make a big difference in your electricity bill.
 

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Your best bet right now is an intel chip + a nvidia 9400 chipset.


End of story, you'll thank me later.



That P5N7A board would be a fine choice.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131348


although mkv's are always tough to predict, but AMD X2 @ 3.0ghz or C2D @ 2.8ghz can do software BD playback, so they should handle any MKV, but you may need to approach those speeds to garuntee flawless MKVs if your MKVs are full 1080p rips that aren't encoded correctly for hardware accel or you want to use codecs that don't enable hardware accel.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mech0z /forum/post/15476169


So you dont think the E5200 is up for the task?

If the file you're trying to play supports hardware acceleration, then the E5200 is more than fast enough. If it doesn't (which some MKV's don't) then you might need a faster processor and a fast codec (CoreAVC) in order to do brute-force/software decoding. An E5200 might be able to do the job, but a faster processor will give you more leeway.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mech0z /forum/post/15476324


The E5200 is just very cheap and I guess its very power efficient.

It's very close to fast enough, you can always overclock it just a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Year think I am going to stick with that, then its just if I should go for a HD4550 + Abit ip35 pro or a the asus board with build in gfx
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mech0z /forum/post/15476671


Year think I am going to stick with that, then its just if I should go for a HD4550 + Abit ip35 pro or a the asus board with build in gfx

flip a coin


nvidia does 24p correctly, passes BTB and WTW, but it does have a bug with black levels for blu-ray playback (only native off the disc/iso) via native HDMI out.


ATI doesn't pass BTB or WTW and is a little shakey on 24p, but no bugs with HDMI out.
 

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If you're planning on the E5200 CPU, then go with the Asus motherboard. Abit has gone out of the motherboard business and it's possible that the E5200 might not work on the IP35 Pro ( CPU support list ).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Btw a minor thing, when we talk HTPC people talk alot warmer about AMD/ATI compared to Nvidia, is there anything that aint working very well for the 9300 regarding 1080p or 5.1/7.1 sound ?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mech0z /forum/post/15477117


Btw a minor thing, when we talk HTPC people talk alot warmer about AMD/ATI compared to Nvidia, is there anything that aint working very well for the 9300 regarding 1080p or 5.1/7.1 sound ?

nvidia has a bug in their video driver for Blu-ray playback with native HDMI out for vista.


It only effects pretty specific sub-segment of users, but it's effects are profound.



In Vista (XP is fine) via native HDMI out(DVI->HDMI is fine) nvidia drivers contract the desktop picture to 16-235 so black on your desktop matches black from consumer electronic devices. This in itself isnt' that bad, just set video to expand to 0-255 in the nvidia control panel and DVD/mkv/avi will all display correctly and consistently. But, for some reason the protected video path video uses the video setting in an absolute fashion compared to the relative way all other content works.


The net result is that blu-ray off the disc is always one step darker than every other video source.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The bluray thing wont matter and in the first while I will run it with toslink and dvi to hdmi (already have such a cable) until I can afford a new hdmi reciever as well.


JUST got my new SCS SBS-01 setup so cash is a bit short
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti /forum/post/15477243


nvidia has a bug in their video driver for Blu-ray playback with native HDMI out for vista.


It only effects pretty specific sub-segment of users, but it's effects are profound.



In Vista (XP is fine) via native HDMI out(DVI->HDMI is fine) nvidia drivers contract the desktop picture to 16-235 so black on your desktop matches black from consumer electronic devices. This in itself isnt' that bad, just set video to expand to 0-255 in the nvidia control panel and DVD/mkv/avi will all display correctly and consistently. But, for some reason the protected video path video uses the video setting in an absolute fashion compared to the relative way all other content works.


The net result is that blu-ray off the disc is always one step darker than every other video source.

Yes, but it's really not that clear that it's because of a "bug" in the drivers. For instance, if I set PDVD8 to use EVR I get consistent blacks like any other video application (VMC, VMP, ZP), except of course TMT and WinDVD9. This proves to me that it's the HD apps through their way of implementing a protected video path that seem to ignore the drivers setting and expand anyway.


I've tested this with discrete ATI (3850) and Nvidia (9800gtx, 9600gt) with latest drivers on Vista x32 and x64.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulli /forum/post/15477522


Yes, but it's really not that clear that it's because of a "bug" in the drivers. For instance, if I set PDVD8 to use EVR I get consistent blacks like any other video application (VMC, VMP, ZP), except of course TMT and WinDVD9. This proves to me that it's the HD apps through their way of implementing a protected video path that seem to ignore the drivers setting and expand anyway.


I've tested this with discrete ATI (3850) and Nvidia (9800gtx, 9600gt) with latest drivers on Vista x32 and x64.

This is a bug, because everything else works exactly as expected.

Which exact video cards are you using, you have to have a native HDMI port on the card, not a dongle.


ATI always expands HD video levels to the desktop and their "pixel format" option changes the desktop levels, with the useBTC601 reg entry DVD and BD are consistent.


With nvidia there are a number of permutations, but I'll lump them into not bugged and bugged.


Not bugged:

Desktop black is at 0, the video level in the control panel effects both SD and HD together. With the video level at limited you pass BTB and WTW data.


Bugged:

Desktop is at 16 (only via native HDMI out w/ Vista), and because the desktop is at 16, now you need to set the video level to expanded which clips BTB and WTW data, but this will get your black level consistent with other CE devices (and with limited in all the not bugged scenarios). But protected path does this absolutely instead of releation to the desktop. It's very easy to verify that it still does respect the driver setting, because if you set it to limited then the black level comes up a notch and BD playback will now match other CE devices, Black will match black on the desktop, but DVD now has an elevated black compared to the desktop.


The way you know this has to be a bug, is that you can do something you've probably never seen before BTB for windows. if you playback a calibration pattern like the one off the AVS disc and resize the playback window for powerDVD or TMT to non 16x9 so you get windows generated black bars, the content playing back is darker than the desktop black (you may need to turn the display brightness up to see this).


This is 100% repeatable, I've seen it over multiple installations it is absolutely a bug.


As a programmer myself I can visualize exactly where this probably is in their code an what it takes to fix (probably like 3 lines of code).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti /forum/post/15478044


This is a bug, because everything else works exactly as expected.

Which exact video cards are you using, you have to have a native HDMI port on the card, not a dongle.

Ah!, ok. Thanks for the clarification!


What about ATI without the UseBTC601 registry hack? No bug there by just using CCC levels setting?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulli /forum/post/15478578


Ah!, ok. Thanks for the clarification!


What about ATI without the UseBTC601 registry hack? No bug there by just using CCC levels setting?

Well it's not a bug, and I think they may have changed it recently with the latest drivers.


Last time I hooked my ATI card up to my TV was like july. I mostly use that setup for gaming/development work.
 
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