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Limitation of Integrated Video?

essential

Senior member
Aug 28, 2004
402
2
81
Primary purpose: 24/7 Windows Media Center DVR (with cablecard)
Secondary purpose: XBMC, Netflix
No gaming.

I've been planning a HTPC for a while and I'm kind of tired of waiting. I'm planning a mITX build with an internal Ceton InfiniTV 6.

mITX + internal Ceton means I'm forced to go with integrated graphics. I was going to go with a Haswell i3 or i5 since it solved the 23.976 issue, but I read that the 4400/4600 struggles with madVR especially on higher settings. Looking at the Haswell refresh, it seems they are all still 4400/4600 graphics, no Iris till Broadwell, and I don't want to wait that long for a build.

My question is, how limited will I be with the 4400/4600 graphics? People run HTPCs with old Core 2 Duo's ... so it can't be that much of a limitation? How much does madVR improve picture quality? I've seen zoomed images of the differences in filters, but if you watch a movie with and with out madVR, how big is the difference? I understand madVR can really only run in MPC, but I've read you can tweak XBMC to play your files in MPC, not sure about DVRed content, I assume that will lack madVR either way, that likely has to play back within Media Center, but I'm not 100% sure.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
Primary purpose: 24/7 Windows Media Center DVR (with cablecard)
Secondary purpose: XBMC, Netflix
No gaming.

I've been planning a HTPC for a while and I'm kind of tired of waiting. I'm planning a mITX build with an internal Ceton InfiniTV 6.

mITX + internal Ceton means I'm forced to go with integrated graphics. I was going to go with a Haswell i3 or i5 since it solved the 23.976 issue, but I read that the 4400/4600 struggles with madVR especially on higher settings. Looking at the Haswell refresh, it seems they are all still 4400/4600 graphics, no Iris till Broadwell, and I don't want to wait that long for a build.

My question is, how limited will I be with the 4400/4600 graphics? People run HTPCs with old Core 2 Duo's ... so it can't be that much of a limitation? How much does madVR improve picture quality? I've seen zoomed images of the differences in filters, but if you watch a movie with and with out madVR, how big is the difference? I understand madVR can really only run in MPC, but I've read you can tweak XBMC to play your files in MPC, not sure about DVRed content, I assume that will lack madVR either way, that likely has to play back within Media Center, but I'm not 100% sure.
What is madVR?
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Personally I think madVR really helps when you have a bad source - SD, heavily compressed, etc. The quality difference when just playing a ripped Blu Ray between MadVR and the regular XBMC player is negligible.

What you are going to care about more is having enough power to de-interlace all that DVR content no matter what player you chose.

I know on the Nvidia side of things the GT 430 was the first low-end GPU they made that can deinterlace content with the best settings possible. A Intel HD 4400 is a little bit weaker than the GT 430, so I couldn't guarantee it would work fine but I think it would.
 

LoveMachine

Senior member
May 8, 2012
491
3
81
I'll second Poofy's comments. I played with MPC and MadVR, and really only noticed a difference on a few DVD rips from older movies (1980s). Newer movies with better filming on DVD I didn't see any real difference. I ended up back with XBMC, and at 10 feet/3m on a 46" plasma, I'm quite happy using either an AMD 7750 or HD4000.
 

essential

Senior member
Aug 28, 2004
402
2
81
I'll second Poofy's comments. I played with MPC and MadVR, and really only noticed a difference on a few DVD rips from older movies (1980s). Newer movies with better filming on DVD I didn't see any real difference. I ended up back with XBMC, and at 10 feet/3m on a 46" plasma, I'm quite happy using either an AMD 7750 or HD4000.
This is good to hear, I'm less concerned about madVR then, although I still may experiment once I get set up.

What you are going to care about more is having enough power to de-interlace all that DVR content no matter what player you chose.
This worries me a bit, I do want the best possible picture quality. I assume the video chipset in a standard time warner cable box is much less powerful than a Core i3/5 with HD4400/4600 so either way I assume I'd see some improvement either way, but I'd like the best possible solution. If I went with a standalone video card like that GT430 or better I'd have to move to a microatx setup, then the case takes up quite a bit more space in the living room.

Thanks for the input.
 

essential

Senior member
Aug 28, 2004
402
2
81
You can do a full GPU and Mini ITX. Heck two of my HTPCs are that way, one in this case:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811154091

But the built in GPU should be enough probably.
Yes, but since I'm going to run an internal Ceton I don't have room for a second internal card in an mitx case. That's why I'm stuck with integrated video or switching to microatx but I'm trying to stay as small as possible. Broadwell with Iris has me intrigued but I don't want to wait till 2015.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,489
450
126
I use a Ceton InfiniTV 6 ETH with my older i3-3225 (HD4000-based) HTPC acting as the DVR, and it works fine. Although,it's important to keep in mind that MPC can only use four tuners. If you want, you can always dedicate those extra tuners to other machines. With the Ethernet-based tuner, I use the beta firmware with tuner pooling so it is able to share the tuners among all PCs.
 

blotto

Senior member
Feb 11, 2006
219
4
81
I don't do live TV/PVR but I do have a few 1080i TS files that play very well on my HD4600 i5 4440 with "DXVA Best" interlacing in XBMC.
I've dabbled with MadVR with a dedicated GPU (most recently a 280x) and find the quality to only be slightly better provided the source is decent. 720p tv looked better upscaled to 1080p with MadVR while 1080p bluray had almost no gains. This was on a 106" front projection setup where flaws are magnified.
In the end I didn't find MadVR to be worth the loss of the seamless XMBC interface. If a decent frontend comes out that supports it I would be inclined to switch but as of now I'm pleased with XBMC's playback quality.
 

MongGrel

Lifer
Dec 3, 2013
38,751
3,064
121
A 280X is pretty much overkill for just video I'd think, I do have one on my main that I run a 2560x1080P 29 inch widescreen extended to a 47 inch 1920x1080P on. But I guess you're just putting it up there for discussion sake.

Built a probably overblown HTPC in the bedroom with leftover things and just using and old EVGA GTX 260 216 pretty much blows the Bright House cable box out of the picture quality away.

Even runs the 720i TV in there at 1920 x 1080P, which I didn't even know was possible when i set it up at the time first.

I still even need to stick the L5639 in that thing yet, hass an ole I7 920 in it atm.

I'd get at least something cheap over integrated though.

But evidently it will do the job, so who am I to say really.
 
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blotto

Senior member
Feb 11, 2006
219
4
81
280x is overkill for all HTPC usage except MadVR, even a 290x can't handle everything turned up when NNEDI3 upscaling and OpenCL Error Diffusion are used. Of course if you're watching 1080p sources on a 1080p display these don't do much but for SD sources or scaling 1080p to 4k these offer as good or better scaling than the highest end standalone video processors that can cost to the tens of thousands of dollars.

I'd take integrated intel over any cheap card any day. Any thing lower than a 270 can't handle the basic functions of MadVR and the HD4600 can handle anything non-MadVR related just as good as any other card on the market. It puts out a proper 1080p24, bitstreams HD audio, supports DXVA scaling and deinterlacing. Quick sync is also gaining some traction in various decoders. Seems like a waste to buy a card unless you're getting a powerhouse for gaming or MadVR.
 

essential

Senior member
Aug 28, 2004
402
2
81
I use a Ceton InfiniTV 6 ETH with my older i3-3225 (HD4000-based) HTPC acting as the DVR, and it works fine. Although,it's important to keep in mind that MPC can only use four tuners. If you want, you can always dedicate those extra tuners to other machines. With the Ethernet-based tuner, I use the beta firmware with tuner pooling so it is able to share the tuners among all PCs.
Thanks for the replies. I think I've decided to go integrated. I really want to keep the case footprint as small as possible, and it's not worth going to a larger case and dedicated card just for MadVR. I do plan to wait a couple weeks to get a Haswell refresh though, but not waiting for Broadwell.

I can always do a second "main" HTPC in the future when integrated solutions are better. One question though Aikouka, I'm planning on running WMC for my LiveTV and DVR functions (not MPC), I thought that could handle all 6 tuners. I do plan on shared tuners with some extenders, but I wasn't aware of that limitation if it's also true for WMC.
 
Sep 12, 2004
16,852
58
86
Thanks for the replies. I think I've decided to go integrated. I really want to keep the case footprint as small as possible, and it's not worth going to a larger case and dedicated card just for MadVR. I do plan to wait a couple weeks to get a Haswell refresh though, but not waiting for Broadwell.

I can always do a second "main" HTPC in the future when integrated solutions are better. One question though Aikouka, I'm planning on running WMC for my LiveTV and DVR functions (not MPC), I thought that could handle all 6 tuners. I do plan on shared tuners with some extenders, but I wasn't aware of that limitation if it's also true for WMC.
It's not a problem for WMC. By default it is limited to 4 tuners but the Ceton driver package by-passes that limitation. There's also Tuner Salad, which can be used to unlock the tuner limitation. I've read posts on AVS where people are running 16 tuners, or more, in a single system.
 

piasabird

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
17,183
60
91
Typically full motion video is only about 30 frames a second. It might be limiting if you were looking to use a 4K Quality Display if they actually made one.

I use a wireless motherboard and 4600 Intel HD Video hooked to a Samusung 1080p LCD HDTV. Works fine for me. Might be different if you have some specific 3D Video Requirements.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,480
931
126
Thanks for the replies. I think I've decided to go integrated. I really want to keep the case footprint as small as possible, and it's not worth going to a larger case and dedicated card just for MadVR. I do plan to wait a couple weeks to get a Haswell refresh though, but not waiting for Broadwell.

I can always do a second "main" HTPC in the future when integrated solutions are better. One question though Aikouka, I'm planning on running WMC for my LiveTV and DVR functions (not MPC), I thought that could handle all 6 tuners. I do plan on shared tuners with some extenders, but I wasn't aware of that limitation if it's also true for WMC.
I just don't think there would be any problem with the Intel iGPU for HDTV. In my case, with only the Intel 3000 iGPU, I still have in mind a possibility to use the iGPU exclusively for Media Center, while my dGPU would feed my desktop and/or gaming monitor. In your case, you likely intend to use the system as a dedicated HTPC, so there can't be any issues.
 

SpeedKing

Senior member
May 21, 2003
240
0
0
iGPU is fine. I just upgraded from an AMD X2 5200+ with a AMD 5570 GPU to a i3 4130 using the HD4400 and I must say I was overall impressed with the iGPU.

The only short coming was deinterlacing which is nowhere near as good as AMD's vector adaptive deinterlacing.

Tuner wise TunerSalad works a treat. I have 8 tuners in my HTPC and they work quite well in WMC.

The system has no issues recording 8 stations while watching 1080p content from either HDD or Blu-Ray disc.
 

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