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Old 02-13-2013, 11:13 AM   #1
Charlie98
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Default Video card memory and the HTPC

It looks like a GPU for my HTPC is in my future... I'm still not able to get smooth streaming on video, particularly Netflix (which is a biggie with my family) using the HD graphics on my G620 chip... so I'm researching GPUs...

Some (most?) of the lower end GPUs that would be suitable for a HTPC setup have DDR3 memory vs GDDR5 in the higher line cards... is DDR3 adequate for HTPC, or is it worth it to go all-in with a GDDR5 card? I'm assuming the newer cards with better tech will have lower power draw and, therefor, probably be quieter, but I don't know.

Any suggestions on a good HTPC card? Must have a full sized HDMI-out... no minis. ...and I don't do 3D. I like Evga/nVidia but I'm open to anyone.
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:59 AM   #2
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That's strange that you're having issues with netflix. I run a set top box at home with a celeron g530 in it and the on chip graphics never seem to give me any trouble.

I did read something over at media portal where the lower end chips aren't recommended for 1080i. My TV is only 720p anyway so I guess I couldn't compare.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:16 PM   #3
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How's the GPU acceleration in Netflix these days?
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:02 PM   #4
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I'm running a Sapphire Radeon 6450 gpu in my main htpc rig and it handles everything fine. I don't stream from netflix however. It has GDDR3 RAM, and comes with a low profile bracket in case you need it. Also has full size hdmi, not the mini. It's cheap, you can find them on sale in the $30 range usually, either on sale or through a rebate.

EDIT: Are you sure it's not a bandwidth issue?
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
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How's the GPU acceleration in Netflix these days?
I thought silverlight acceleration through GPU was fixed awhile back but the G530 should be plenty to handle it in software so I wouldn't have noticed.
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:52 PM   #6
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I don't have any problem with netflix with the IGP Radeon HD4200 on my desktop PC, or the intel GMA graphics on my laptop. I'd guess the problem lies elsewhere.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thestrangebrew1 View Post
EDIT: Are you sure it's not a bandwidth issue?
Before the HTPC (and still, now...) we have an LG POS BD player that we streamed Netflix through... never a problem. We were watching NF this past weekend through the HTPC and we were getting slight stutter and tearing (I think that's what it is... where maybe a 1/3rd of the way down the image looks like it's offset a pixel or two... and again further down? )

Quote:
How's the GPU acceleration in Netflix these days?
Quote:
I thought silverlight acceleration through GPU was fixed awhile back
I remember reading something some time ago about Netflix especially having problems... I had forgotten about that. Are you suggesting even a GPU wouldn't help with NF?
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:38 PM   #8
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I think it was two years ago at this point. There was quite a bit of complaining about it (rightly so) because netflix switched from flash (which could be accelerated through gpus) to silverlight which at least at the time could not be accelerated. This meant netflix ran like ass on platforms like the e-350 whereas before it ran fine. I think silverlight was really the culprit, it just didn't support the acceleration. I want to say that newer versions of silverlight fixed this but I never saw it reported so it could still be the case.

I have no idea why they switched by the way. I can certainly understand wanted to ditch flash but to ditch it for silverlight doesn't make much sense at all to me.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:32 PM   #9
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You have more CPU than I do and I've never really noticed any issues. I'm running a radeon 5450. From what I've read the radeon cards are better in HTPC use. The 6000 series picked up a couple codecs in hardware that would be worthwhile, but it only takes really low end hardware.
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie98 View Post
Before the HTPC (and still, now...) we have an LG POS BD player that we streamed Netflix through... never a problem. We were watching NF this past weekend through the HTPC and we were getting slight stutter and tearing (I think that's what it is... where maybe a 1/3rd of the way down the image looks like it's offset a pixel or two... and again further down? )
Hmm that is odd. Maybe just drop some cash on a cheap 6xxx series radeon and see how it works. I doubt the type of RAM will make much of a difference. I'm interested in signing up for netflix to see just how well my rig works with it. I know my wife would like to catch up on a few shows and watch a few movies.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:42 PM   #11
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Newegg has this Diamond 6450 on sale today for $20AR... let's give it a try.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:56 AM   #12
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Quick bump. Charlie did the gpu solve your problem?
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thestrangebrew1 View Post
Quick bump. Charlie did the gpu solve your problem?
I got it installed yesterday, I have not had time to really test it... I'll have to wait until this weekend. My biggest question is Netflix...

I'll update!
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie98 View Post
I got it installed yesterday, I have not had time to really test it... I'll have to wait until this weekend. My biggest question is Netflix...

I'll update!
Ah ok. Let us know. That is a pretty weird prob you have!
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:41 PM   #15
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I am watching HULU on my computer MB DG35EC with integrated video on the motherboard (720p) and an Intel E7200 CPU. Looks good on my HD 1080p 19" Dell VGA Monitor.
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:50 PM   #16
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htpc's shouldn't need video cards (aka noise makers)
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:54 PM   #17
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htpc's shouldn't need video cards (aka noise makers)
are you kidding me? HTPCs need video cards, so they can take advantage of hardware decoding of h264. Also, decent video cards offer digital audio out, which is pretty much required if you want dts, etc.
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
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htpc's shouldn't need video cards (aka noise makers)
Not when they are fanless...
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:36 AM   #19
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Quote:
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htpc's shouldn't need video cards (aka noise makers)
Well I know enough people that use htpc's for extra rigs for lan parties, not to mention blu ray playback. Depending on the age of the CPU a graphics card goes a long way.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:04 AM   #20
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Quote:
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htpc's shouldn't need video cards (aka noise makers)
Heh, you can get quite good performance from a GPU without picking one with an audible fan under most 'home theater' scenarios.

And then you can play a game on it too.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:30 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thestrangebrew1 View Post
Ah ok. Let us know. That is a pretty weird prob you have!
Well, after it's all said and done, the playback from disk is better but Netflix is still jacked up. I'm going to try playback through Explorer and through the BD player and see how that works, but I expect to find that Explorer will be the same as through WMC, and the BD player will be fine. Oh, well.

In the end I'm glad I have the video card... all of $20, mind you. The playback from storage is better, if only marginally so.

...and just because I like posting pictures... here is the new HD6450 in place...

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Old 03-13-2013, 04:50 AM   #22
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Regarding the tearing issue... I've been running a Radeon 5450 and recently have been finding the same issue.

I solved it (after MUCH Google Fu) by changing the system performance settings to "for Best Appearance" and then selecting the Windows 7 Aero theme (I was using the Win 7 Basic theme before).

Strangely enough that solved all my Netflix issues. I never had an issues with the Canadian Netflix feed, but once I VPN'd to the US feed all H.E. double hockey sticks broke loose.

Let me know if you need more instruction to try the above... otherwise hope it helps...

RadMan

EDIT - I'm talking about Netflix through the browser by-the-way, I still can't get the Netflix Icon to show up in WMC.

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Old 03-13-2013, 09:07 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RadMan View Post
Regarding the tearing issue... I've been running a Radeon 5450 and recently have been finding the same issue.

I solved it (after MUCH Google Fu) by changing the system performance settings to "for Best Appearance" and then selecting the Windows 7 Aero theme (I was using the Win 7 Basic theme before).

Strangely enough that solved all my Netflix issues. I never had an issues with the Canadian Netflix feed, but once I VPN'd to the US feed all H.E. double hockey sticks broke loose.

Let me know if you need more instruction to try the above... otherwise hope it helps...

RadMan

EDIT - I'm talking about Netflix through the browser by-the-way, I still can't get the Netflix Icon to show up in WMC.
Netflix through the HTPC at all (IE or WMC) results in a stream worse than using Netflix through the old stand alone BD player.

I also am set up with Win Classic... I'll have to try the Aero.

Thanks for the tip!
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:06 PM   #24
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dammit... i wonder if op really isnt having 'issues' and the streaming bitrates have simply become more demanding.

i have an old p4 2.0ghz machine that i fitted with an hd3650 back in august. believe me, this thing was playing any streaming video! the video card was handling it all.

but i just pulled it back out and was messing with it. i can BARELY get the lowest res streaming videos to play! wtf? well, ive seen this before so i guess im not surprised.

i wanted to give it to dad, because his t-bird 1700+ can barely surf the net anymore. it hasnt got slower, the internet got harder to browse.

im going to try throwing in a p4 3.0ghz into this computer i have, and if it cant push the 3650 hard enough to play videos then this pos is going on craigslist.

getting sick of the constant growing demands of streaming video... its been awhile since ive tried my e350 machine, i wonder if that can still play hd streaming like it did just a few months ago...

but really, op, i just cant believe a g620 is not good enough. it should easily handle any hd video.
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:40 PM   #25
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but really, op, i just cant believe a g620 is not good enough. it should easily handle any hd video.
No, I would tend to agree... others have done it. I think I'm just missing something in the settings somewhere... but where? There is 10 different groups of settings I can tweak between all the components and software...
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