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Discussion Starter #1
I am in the process of trying to understand what CPU I need in a DVD player/scaler HTPC box using DScaler to it's maximum potential now and with future versions of DScaler.


My only planned use for a HTPC is as a DVD player and scaler (720p/1080i) with outboard sound processing.


I think I have a good handle on the rest of the components needed in the box now and I would like it to be future ready within a reasonable range as far as CPU horsepower goes.



I will likely buy a pre built box from Cellar Cinemas or someone like them.


Could anyone comment.


Thank you.
 

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It depends upon a zillion factors but I'll take a swag at it.


First assume a properly tuned machine, nothing else running, no video card overlay restrictions on refresh rate or resolution, and you have Sleep_Interval=0 set in the DScaler.ini file.


Then:


For running with no filters, in only 640 pixel width using Greedy (Low Motion) you might get by still with only 4-500 mhz.


For running with no filters, in only 640 pixel width using Greedy (High Motion) with no advanced options turned on you might need 6-700 mhz.


I can run Greedy(HM) with all the advanced options at 640 pixel width on a P3 866 PC133.


For running as above with more filters on at 720 or higher pixel width that might go to 1-1.2 ghz with DDR or rambus memory.


In the future the minimum required machine may be a 6 ghz Sexium (tm).


We are, of course, going to use it all. ;)


- Tom
 

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I'm running Dscaler 3.1.0 on a PII 400 with 256mb of RAM. Its a homebuilt computer that I reformatted just to be a basic HTPC so there isn't much running at all. 800x600 with Radeon LE.


I can run 640 pixel width, Greedy HM, no filters with 0 df/s. I used to get a coupe in windowed mode and none in full screen, but that went away when I changed sleep interval.
 

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Is Dscaler really that processor intensive - am I doing something wrong?


Pixel Width:754

Greedy High Motion

No Filters


video was playing, but hypersnap wasn't configured right

I guess?

http://shared.slowcar.net/dscaler.jpg



Which filters should I be running? The noise reduction is the

only one that gives me appreciable gain - but that is only

from distant viewing. Close up viewing still shows processing

artifacts.


Adding in T.N.R. only increases my processor usage by 2 percent?


Chris Bennight
 

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FWIW, my dual (I know, Dscaler doesn't do SMP) celeron 366's OC'd to 517 run GHM w no filters with 0dfs at 754 pixel width. I realize that I'm underpowered by most standards, but I don't see much difference between running ~450 and 550Mhz (I can run at 571 rock stable - all hail the BP6!) so I sit in the middle. For the record, SMP doesn't buy me anything with Dscaler, other than reducing the chance of a background process causing a DF (network file transfers still blow goat for quarters under Win2k).


BTW - is there any decent documentation anywhere about what the different filters do? I turned the noise filter on, and I still have 0dfs, but I don't _see_ anything...
 

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Chris


For some reason the task manager in NT doesn't give the correct CPU usage numbers for DScaler, be assured it is using up all the cycles on your PC. DFS remains the best way of seeing if you're under or over the limit.


luvmytivo


Try the help file that ships with 3.1.0 there should be some details on the noise filter in there.


John
 

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You sure about it not giving correct information? If I keep everything the same but enable ALLl the filters I get 50-60 percent usage (no dropped frames). The only thing that gives me dropped fromes is the judder remover - and that also randomly throws me into PAL mode.

http://shared.slowcar.net/dscaler2.jpg


Chris
 

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Chris: unless you have a sneak peek of Tom's Sexium chip, task manager isn't reporting the right numbers. ;)


Try Sleep_Interval=1 in your .ini file for more realistic numbers and use a different CPU usage monitor. For instance, I use wintop.


As for Tom M's headline question, and taking into account Tom B's layout of the requirements, you might as well get a P4 1.7 GHz. This will give you a margin of safety and will allow you to upgrade by changing the CPU only, once DScaler requires it.
 

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I know that I am beginning to sound like a broken record. However, I will say it again.


DDR or RAMBUS


If you plan on using DScaler, these are well worth the investment. Some might be tempted by the new crop of P4 motherboards. These are red herrings. They are not what you want.


I will avoid the whole Intel vs. AMD thread (no one ever wins there). I don't care which you go prefer. Just get the whole package.


For AMD this means XP1xxxx chip with DDR

For Intel this means P4 (478) with RAMBUS.


I can guarantee that the DScaler developers will be able to use this power, and the result will be a better picture.


-Steve
 

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Nobody really has yet given DScaler benchmark results that put numbers to the DDR/rdram issue.


Our esteemed moderator and master system builder Xcel has a couple times suggested we add in code to turn DScaler into a high bandwidth video benchmark. But we didn't do it yet.


Sorry. :(


But my own guess is that future releases may depend quite a bit on the memory architecture and I tend to support Steve's comment above.


- Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Tivolicious:


Please comment on which P4 mobos are best for HTPC now and what do you see coming as the next "latest crop".


I am leaning toward getting an all out pre built HTPC now although I don't mind waiting if there is something coming soon that is far better than what's available now.


Thank you.
 

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Personally I think that the Intel D850MV is the best right now. It is an Intel board. They tend to be some of the best stability-wise. It features the 478 chipset, and it uses rambus. Unlike its brother, the MD, it has 5 PCI slots. If you didn't want to go Intel, I think that Asus has a similiarly spec'ed motherboard.


As for "the latest crop" comments those were in reference to the new SDR P4 boards. Intel, under pressure from the anti-rambus people, produced a chipset that is P4/SDR friendly. This, IMHO, isn't appropriate for the HTPC market. With the price of ram down where it is (even rambus) there is no need to ditch the extra performance of rambus for a few bucks.


In terms of the future, I would suspect that Intel will be producing a P4/DDR board. I don't know the time frame of such a thing.


Hope this helps,

Steve
 

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I don't think that it is worth the wait. There is nothing that says that DDR is any better than Rambus. I think that DDR tends to be a little better when it comes to low bandwidth tasks and Rambus tends to be a little better when it comes to high bandwidth tasks. However, the differences are relatively small.


I would imagine that the DDR boards would see better volume. As such, the prices might be slightly lower. The cost of DDR is also a little better. I tend to measure this against the fact that Intel spent a significant amount of time orginally designing the P4s to be used with Rambus. I can't help but think that this might help when it comes to the little optimizations here and there.


The one thing that I have learned is that there is always something to wait for. At some point you have to jump in to the game. I don't think that there is anything in the motherboard area that is holding you back right now.


-Steve


p.s. I can't help laughing about the fact that I keep accidentally typing P$ .
 

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Steve, just want to clarify, the D850MV motherboard is based on the i850 chipset, not the "478". 478 is just the pin configuration in the latest P4 chips (vs the 423 in the older P4 chips). Intel also makes the i845 chipset, which uses SDRAM.


Also, there are boards out there based on the VIA P4X266. ECS boards are currently available and MSI will also be producing one. A board that particularly intrigues me right now is the new Soyo SY-P4S DRAGON Ultra, based on the SIS 645 chipset and supporting DDR333, USB 2.0, onboard raid 133 and spdif (both optical and coaxial). See www.hardocp.com/new_img_01/nov/soyo_pr.html
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by dschmelzer
Chris: unless you have a sneak peek of Tom's Sexium chip, task manager isn't reporting the right numbers. ;)


Try Sleep_Interval=1 in your .ini file for more realistic numbers and use a different CPU usage monitor. For instance, I use wintop.
Sleep Interval was already set to 1 under [threads] in my ini file - would you mind emailing a copy of wintop to me ([email protected]) (I assume it's the freware microsoft power toys program?) I couldn't find an download points for it.



thanks,

Chris
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jin kim
Steve, just want to clarify, the D850MV motherboard is based on the i850 chipset, not the "478". 478 is just the pin configuration in the latest P4 chips (vs the 423 in the older P4 chips). Intel also makes the i845 chipset, which uses SDRAM.


Also, there are boards out there based on the VIA P4X266. ECS boards are currently available and MSI will also be producing one. A board that particularly intrigues me right now is the new Soyo SY-P4S DRAGON Ultra, supporing DDR333, USB 2.0, onboard raid 133 and spdif (both optical and coaxial). See www.hardocp.com/new_img_01/nov/soyo_pr.html
I am sorry if I wasn't clear as to that point. Of course the 478 is the pin configuration. I just didn't want someone to accidentally find themselves in yesterday's technology with the 423 pins.


Apparently I wasn't at all clear during my threads. If I had been clear, I would have gotten my point across to stay away from the i845 chipset; it isn't worth it for the savings.


I hate the VIA chipset. I (and many others) have had nothing but problems with it.


-Steve
 

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I am a PC builder, recently turned Home Theater enthusiast, who couldn't pass up the idea of HTPC. I have been working on various HTPC's for awhile, and I have to agree with Steve that the Via P4X266 is a chipset that I would stay away from. My experience with Via chipsets (even the ones that Intel is not suing them over) is that while they may perform better (read faster in benchmarks) than the equivalently priced Intel chipset (if there is one), it always seems to come at the expense of stability -especially VIDEO stability- which is to say the least an important consideration for HTPC. On that note, while SiS has been no pillar of stability either, Thomas Pabst ( www.tomshardware.com ) has posted a noteworthy review of the new Pentium 4 chipset, the SiS 645. Nonetheless, for overall great speed and ROCK-solid reliability, you cannot beat an Intel i-850 chipset with a socket 478 P4 and a pair of Rambus Pc-800 modules. This of course comes at the expense of your wallet, although plummeting PC prices have made this a more feasible option. My personal preference, if you don't like an Intel motherboard, would be the ASUS P4T-E. The dash E is for the 478pin version - don't even consider the P4T with 423, you will be disappointed in a year when you see how non-upgradable it is.
 
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