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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This question has to do with streaming from a PC to a media player. However I believe the issue is in the PC and my question relates to PC's so I have chosen to post it here.


Does anyone know of a reason why one particular mother board or NIC would not be able to stream as well as another? If so, what mother boards / NIC's work well and which ones don't?


Here is the background to this question:


I have a new media player which in general is working fine. I do have a very minor issue wiht speed when trying to stream a full bitrate blue ray file from the PC which is done via SMB shares. I am told I need to get read speeds of 8 MB/s for a full bit rate blue ray to work. Right now I'm getting speeds of 6.2 - 7.7 measured by the player. The speed can be pretty eratic and different every time you run a test.


The PC has a Biostar board, with an AMD Athalon II 3.0Ghz. Integrated Realtek NIC and 4 GB DDR2 800 RAM. Not the heaviest of setups but it's only being used as a file server.


I also have a 2nd PC with a Gigbyte board, Intel Core 2 Duo 3.0 Ghz, integrated Realtek NIC, and 4 GB DDR 2 800 RAM.


Both streamed at the same speeds more or less. I think the Gigabyte / Intel box was more consitantly in the 7's but thats really subjective considering Ive got far lest testing on it.


I also have a D-Link PCI NIC with a Broadcom chipset. Tried it in both, with no measurable difference.


The network is wired and made up of two consumer grade D-Link 5 port Gb swtiches. Not the best but I routinely copy files from PC to PC at 90-100 MB/s.


I tried running a temp cable from room to room and took one of the two swtiches out (no change), just used the 100Mb swtich in the router (worse in the 5's), and went directly to the back of the server with hardcoded IP's (worse in the 5's).


I understand this media player gets stable speeds in the 9 -10 M/s range streaming off a Win 7 box that had an Intel board with an Intel integrated NIC.


It seems I have 3 possible issues:


1. Bad player - This is my least favorite. The chances of having a hardware issue that means it works, but only runs a little slow doesnt seem very likely. I can send the player back to be tested but dont really want to be wihtout it for a couple weeks as I really dont think thats the issue.


2. NIC - I could buy an Intel chipset NIC for about $35 and try it in a PCI or PCI express slot. However, how likely is this? Both Realtek and Broadcom are slow but somehow Intel has it figured out? $35 would be a cheap fix but I've thrown away $25 on the D Link already. If there was any confidence it's a NIC issue though I woudl go for it.


3. Motherboard / bus issue - Before I tried the Gigabyte board I was leaninig this direction. The Biostar board is cheap. I believe SMB has a lot of overhead associated with it so it made sense in a way that the board just was having issues. However, the Gigabyte board is sort of middle of the road and didnt perform any better. If it turns out this is the issue I will probably wait a bit to fix this as I would buy a better board this time around.


If anyone has any experience or insight into ths problem it would be GREATLY appreciated.


Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Bump.


Hoping someone has some insight on this one.
 

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Hello,


Are you getting those copy speeds on relatively small files, or multi GB files? I ask because Windows 7 seems to have some kind of cacheing whereby it sets off copying at a truly phenomenal speed, but when you're copying a big file (3+ GB) then the speed suddenly tails off and you see the actual speed your network copy is running at.


This, frankly, sounds like either a NIC or NIC driver issue. I have seen this on even very good motherboards, where you may have two NIC,s from different manufacturers (in my case Marvell and NVidia, the Nvidia is far and away the faster NIC even though both are on the same switch with the same CAT5E cable). It would also be worth checking your network cables to see if your cable has gone bad, and trying different ports on the switch to eliminate a faulty port on the switch, but all things being equal, I'd blame the NIC.


In terms of great NIC's, I hate to be boring but Intel are generally regarded as making some of the best NIC's out there, and you should be able to buy a PCIe NIC for under $30 with an Intel chipset.


Hope this helps,


Best wishes,


Dave
 

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Over the weekend I finished my media server. I had a stuttering issue that was driving me mad. I'm all gigabit, so I could not figure out why I had this issue. Then it hit me, we will see NICs here at the office creating tons of errors, and to resolve the issue we will put the NICs on manual speed/duplex instead of Auto. I changed the settings on my machines to 1000/full manually and it resolved the issue. You might try the same? I'm using cheap $29 DLink and Trendnet gigabit switches.
 

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Give it the 'three finger salute' and look at the 'Networking' tab in the Task Manager. That will give you a hint as to where the bottleneck is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd
Frankly, given you're getting 90~100 MB/s file copies, I'm inclined to think it's something else (thinking it's probably #1).
I think there is something different about how windows/SMB processes a copy operation vs streaming from the HD over a network. Not clear on this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by analogueaddict /forum/post/19602084


Hello,


Are you getting those copy speeds on relatively small files, or multi GB files? I ask because Windows 7 seems to have some kind of cacheing whereby it sets off copying at a truly phenomenal speed, but when you're copying a big file (3+ GB) then the speed suddenly tails off and you see the actual speed your network copy is running at.


This, frankly, sounds like either a NIC or NIC driver issue. I have seen this on even very good motherboards, where you may have two NIC,s from different manufacturers (in my case Marvell and NVidia, the Nvidia is far and away the faster NIC even though both are on the same switch with the same CAT5E cable). It would also be worth checking your network cables to see if your cable has gone bad, and trying different ports on the switch to eliminate a faulty port on the switch, but all things being equal, I'd blame the NIC.


In terms of great NIC's, I hate to be boring but Intel are generally regarded as making some of the best NIC's out there, and you should be able to buy a PCIe NIC for under $30 with an Intel chipset.


Hope this helps,


Best wishes,


Dave

I am getting the copy speeds on large files (3 GB to 40 GB), but it does taper off some as the copy progresses. However if it starts off fast, it rarely tapers down below say 80 or 85 M/Sec. Occasionally it only runs at 40- 50 M/Sec for seemingly no reason.


The first advice i recieved was that this was an issue with the Realtek chipset and an old driver. I did update to the latest driver and it helped, but didnt get the speed where it should be.


I spent $25 on a D-Link card (broadcom chips), because they didnt have an intel card. I probably should have been more patient and got the intel card as I have seen them at Newegg for $30 give/take.


Do you really think an Intel card over a Broadcom or Realtek card would make this difference? If so it's well worth $30 to solve the problem, I just dont want to buy a 2nd NIC that doesnt help me.


Do you think PCIe will be better than PCI for this app? I'd like to leave the PCIe slots open but would loose one if they would run a NIC better.


Thanks for the imput.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTJ /forum/post/19602237


Over the weekend I finished my media server. I had a stuttering issue that was driving me mad. I'm all gigabit, so I could not figure out why I had this issue. Then it hit me, we will see NICs here at the office creating tons of errors, and to resolve the issue we will put the NICs on manual speed/duplex instead of Auto. I changed the settings on my machines to 1000/full manually and it resolved the issue. You might try the same? I'm using cheap $29 DLink and Trendnet gigabit switches.

Tried this and it didtn make much difference if any. I used "Gigabit/full duplex" No two read tests are exactly the same so it's hard to be sure, but I didnt go up to the 8-9 M/sec range where it should be.


There were probably a dozen or more settings on the NIC. I tried turning off a "green" setting that ended up making it run slower, like down in the 4.5 M/sec range, and turning on flow management which didnt seem to do anything.


Any other similar settings I shoudl look for? a lot of them I was not familiar with.
 

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@TODDAVS


You didn't really state what problem you are seeing. Are the videos coming down stuttering?


If the video file plays fine locally on the harddrive but stutters when played over the network then can you print the output of this command from your source and destination computers, so we can see?


netsh int tcp show global
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdiddy73 /forum/post/19610153


@TODDAVS


You didn't really state what problem you are seeing. Are the videos coming down stuttering?


If the video file plays fine locally on the harddrive but stutters when played over the network then can you print the output of this command from your source and destination computers, so we can see?


netsh int tcp show global

Yes, the file studders, sometimes. It used to studder all the time, but since I updated the NIC driver it is better, just not fully resolved. The speed test improved as well as the playback. However, I am told I need to get to the 8 M/sec range to be sure that a full bit rate BD will not studder.


I dont have a destination computer as it is a media player, not an HTPC. The media player has a "speed test" fuction built in.


When I get home I will run the command you entered on the source computer. What is it supposedt to show? Should I start playback, then run the command, or the other way around? Sorry not familiar with this one.


Thanks for the help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdiddy73 /forum/post/19610153


@TODDAVS


You didn't really state what problem you are seeing. Are the videos coming down stuttering?


If the video file plays fine locally on the harddrive but stutters when played over the network then can you print the output of this command from your source and destination computers, so we can see?


netsh int tcp show global

OK, its just a list of settings, sorry was confused about what to expect.


Receive-Side Scaling State : Enabled

Chimney offload state : Automatic

Net DMA state : Enabled

Direct Cache Access : Disabled

Receive Window Auto-Tuning Level : Normal

Add On Congestion Control Provider : none

ECN Capability : Disabled

RFC 1323 Timestamps : Disabled


Thats all


Thanks again for any insight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Does anyone know how to read the "outbound queue" for a NIC in Windows 7? Is there a 3rd party utility or any microsoft add on to do this?


Here are some of the adapter settings that were available and where they are set (under the advanced properties tab of the NIC).


Auto Disable Gigabit : Disabled

Flow Control : Enabled

Green Ethernet : Enabled

Interrupt Moderation : Enabled

IPv4 Checksum Offload : RX & TX Enabled

Jumbo Frame : Disabled

Large Send Offload V2(IPv4) : Enabled

Larege Send Offload v2 (IPv6) : Enabled

Network Address : (there is a blank here for a "value" that is empty, but instead a box is checked for "Not Present")

Priority & VLAN : Priority & VLAN Enabled

Receive Buffers : 512

Receive Side Scaling : Enabled

Shutdown Wake-on-LAN : Enabled

Speed & Duplex : 1.0 Gbps Full Duplex (had this set on auto, no difference)

TCP Checksum Offload (IPv4) : RX & TX Enabled

TCP Checksum Offload (IPv6) : RX & TX Enabled

Transmit Buffers : 128

UDP Checksum Ofload (IPv4) : RX & TX Enabled

UDP Checksum Ofload (IPv6) : RX & TX Enabled

Wake on Magic Packet : enabled

Wake on pattern match : enabled

WOL & Shutdown Link Speed : 10Mbps First
 

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Configurations of your source computer looks good. I was going to tell you to turn on flow control but apparently you did already.

I had pretty much the same NIC card you have and same settings in the driver. My source is a 2008r2 server and media player is windows 7 ult x64. Although I got 100MB/s file copy throughput, my HD content (anything above 720p) stutters coming over the wire - sound and video! I use 2008r2 as my SMB file share and windows 7 media center w/ media browser as a front end destination.


These are the settings that finally solved my problem. Turn off windows tcp/ip tweaks. Here are my output of "netsh int tcp show global"


TCP Global Parameters

----------------------------------------------

Receive-Side Scaling State : disabled

Chimney Offload State : disabled

NetDMA State : disabled

Direct Cache Acess (DCA) : disabled

Receive Window Auto-Tuning Level : disabled

Add-On Congestion Control Provider : ctcp

ECN Capability : disabled

RFC 1323 Timestamps : disabled


turn off receive-side scaling: netsh int tcp set global rss=disabled

turn off chimney: netsh int tcp set global chimney=disabled

turn off NetDMA: netsh int tcp set global netdma=disabled

turn off autotuning: netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

turn ON congstion control: netsh int tcp set global congestionprovider=ctcp


The result is an un-adulterated, unmolested connection. Specifically it was the NetDMA setting that was killing me. Let me know if it works out for you and I will explain why these settings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdiddy73 /forum/post/19613462


Configurations of your source computer looks good. I was going to tell you to turn on flow control but apparently you did already.

I had pretty much the same NIC card you have and same settings in the driver. My source is a 2008r2 server and media player is windows 7 ult x64. Although I got 100MB/s file copy throughput, my HD content (anything above 720p) stutters coming over the wire - sound and video! I use 2008r2 as my SMB file share and windows 7 media center w/ media browser as a front end destination.


These are the settings that finally solved my problem. Turn off windows tcp/ip tweaks. Here are my output of "netsh int tcp show global"


TCP Global Parameters

----------------------------------------------

Receive-Side Scaling State : disabled

Chimney Offload State : disabled

NetDMA State : disabled

Direct Cache Acess (DCA) : disabled

Receive Window Auto-Tuning Level : disabled

Add-On Congestion Control Provider : ctcp

ECN Capability : disabled

RFC 1323 Timestamps : disabled


turn off receive-side scaling: netsh int tcp set global rss=disabled

turn off chimney: netsh int tcp set global chimney=disabled

turn off NetDMA: netsh int tcp set global netdma=disabled

turn off autotuning: netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

turn ON congstion control: netsh int tcp set global congestionprovider=ctcp


The result is an un-adulterated, unmolested connection. Specifically it was the NetDMA setting that was killing me. Let me know if it works out for you and I will explain why these settings.

Thanks. I will try this tonight when I get home. These are the settings you used on the source computer correct?


In case something screwy goes wrong, I take it I can reverse the process substituting "enabled" or "automatic" for "disabled"?


For Congestion Control, is ctcp included in Windows 7 (also ult x64)? I'm asking because it's referred to as an "add on" and you are running Server 2008.
 

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Yes - to revert back the changes, substitute disabled for enabled.

Congestion control provider should be there with other versions of windows 7. I applied the same configurations to my source and destination computers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdiddy73 /forum/post/19614336


Yes - to revert back the changes, substitute disabled for enabled.

Congestion control provider should be there with other versions of windows 7. I applied the same configurations to my source and destination computers.

Well, I was able to change the settings as you noted but it doesnt seem to have helped much. I am still getting read speeds around the 6.5-7.0 M/sec range. Once it settles out, it seems to average close to 7.0, which may be slightly improved. Seems like I was pretty consistently staying in the mid 6's before. It varies anyway so may not be a significant change.


Now having said that I haven't wateched a whole BD file to see if the studdering is showing up. I am just going by the speed test at the moment comparing to what I was told I should be getting to eliminate studdering for any BD file.


I have seen a little studdering at this level, just not very much and not consistently. The problem was significant when i was staying below 6.5 all the time before updating the driver.


Any other thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdiddy73
Dangit! i was hoping it would fix your problem; because it fixed mine. So what is this media player appliance you are using anyway?
I was pretty excited too because I have really felt like it was a setup/software issue. You are the first person I talked to who had a similar problem and resolved it.


It's one of the new Dune players.

I also have a WDTV which has similar problems. I always figured it's just an inexpensive player with an older Sigma chip and can't handle the overhead of SMB at the speed needed for BD. However now not so sure. The WDTV played BD's fine via USB drive but not on an SMB share.


I just think I am missing some setting or have a software/hardware issue with the server. However I am running out of ideas.


The Dune guys have been very helpful and spent a lot of time troubleshooting with me. They did know of one person who had similar issues and replaced their MB / processor and it went away.


Is there something about a cheap MB that would slow down a SMB share even after trying a new NIC? The MB I have is less than a year old but it is an inexpensive Biostar board.


The Dune guys use Intel MBs with Intel NICs. I would buy the Intel NIC if I had any confidence it could solve the problem but would probably wait a bit if I have to get a new MB/processor.
 

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this is what you've got? http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=330

- WD TV HD Media Player (model:WDBABF0000NBK).


It touts all sorts of media files and resolution capabilities but didn't list capability of the ethernet port. Online streaming but didn't say anything about playing files "over the network", only from USB.


Between the two Windows PC's - I would test playing the files over the wire to see if there is stuttering. I'm starting to suspect it's the WDTV.


For your information, the NIC's i used are server-class nics with all the bells and whistles, but they didn't perform when streaming until i turned of those tcp/ip features within Windows. I spent countless hours troubleshooting this problem. Wish i can help you more..... my fellow tech geeks.
 
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