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Question Playback of H.265 4k encoded files on Xeon X3440 system

Golgatha

Lifer
Jul 18, 2003
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Currently I have a computer hooked up to a new 4k TV. It's a Xeon X3440 with 12GB of DDR3 ECC and a GT 630 passive video card. I tried to play a H.265 encoded 4k video on it recently and it spiked the CPU to 100%. Going Online I found the GT 630 doesn't support H.265 decode. I was considering a GT 1030, which does have hardware based H.265 decode. Would my old CPU keep me from running 4k decoding smoothly, or is it mainly dependent on the video card? Playback software is the latest VLC release.
 
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VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
49,212
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For stuff like that, (4K UHD decode, of H.265/HEVC, or VP9), it's mostly dependent on the video card, if you want silky-smooth and not-skippy video playback.

RX 570 cards will do H.265 playback in hardware, but require shader resources to play back VP9 (YouTube 4K) using "Hybrid mode" (uses shaders too, besides decode pipeline). (*Have personally tested VP9 4K UHD playback on YouTube, works beautifully, as long as I'm not mining on the GPU.)

Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G (and I assume, the 3200G and 3400G that just came out), have more advanced video-decode hardware than the RX 570 cards, and CAN decode both H.265 and VP9 4K UHD in hardware. Beautifully-smooth. (But requires dual-channel RAM to do so, I believe.) (*Have personally tested, works beautifully on 4K UHD VP9 YouTube playback.)

For low power, at this point, if you're not into "heavy" or 4K gaming, consider getting a GTX 1660 card, for HTPC purposes? (The 1650 has only the Pascal video-processor onboard, you need a minimum of the 1660 to get the Turing one.)
 

Golgatha

Lifer
Jul 18, 2003
11,829
88
91
For stuff like that, (4K UHD decode, of H.265/HEVC, or VP9), it's mostly dependent on the video card, if you want silky-smooth and not-skippy video playback.

RX 570 cards will do H.265 playback in hardware, but require shader resources to play back VP9 (YouTube 4K) using "Hybrid mode" (uses shaders too, besides decode pipeline). (*Have personally tested VP9 4K UHD playback on YouTube, works beautifully, as long as I'm not mining on the GPU.)

Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G (and I assume, the 3200G and 3400G that just came out), have more advanced video-decode hardware than the RX 570 cards, and CAN decode both H.265 and VP9 4K UHD in hardware. Beautifully-smooth. (But requires dual-channel RAM to do so, I believe.) (*Have personally tested, works beautifully on 4K UHD VP9 YouTube playback.)

For low power, at this point, if you're not into "heavy" or 4K gaming, consider getting a GTX 1660 card, for HTPC purposes? (The 1650 has only the Pascal video-processor onboard, you need a minimum of the 1660 to get the Turing one.)
Thanks for the information! I'm looking mainly for decode hardware support. This is a relatively old setup I originally built in Summer 2010 and I don't really game on it. I think the 1650 would be a good card to get, as I can get one for about $130 as an open box at Microcenter locally, and it supports all the video decode stuff I need (VP9 and H.265). Any encoding I do, I do on the machine in my signature with my 5820k + 1080 TI system. The Xeon system is there mainly as a psedo-fileserver for my house and the occasional playback of local MKV files on my home theater. I'm just looking to upgrade that local playback capability and hoping the CPU is fast enough with the inclusion of a modern video card.

If I thought I could get away with the passively cooled GT 1030, I'd go that route since I don't game on the HTPC/fileserver machine, but I think the 2GB video RAM would limit me even on decoding; also the price difference is like $10, so might as well get the 1650.

https://www.microcenter.com/product/487975/geforce-gt-1030-sc-passive-2gb-gddr5-pcie-video-card

Card I'll likely get and it seems more future proofed since it supports H.265 4:4:4 decode at 8,10, and 12 bit depths.

https://www.microcenter.com/product/606089/Mini_ITX_GeForce_GTX_1650_Overclocked_Single-Fan_4GB_GDDR5_PCIe_Video_Card
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
3,861
513
126
If I thought I could get away with the passively cooled GT 1030, I'd go that route since I don't game on the HTPC/fileserver machine, but I think the 2GB video RAM would limit me even on decoding; also the price difference is like $10, so might as well get the 1650.
The RAM size limitation revolves around Netflix 4K decoding. Nvidia arbitrarily decided you need 3GB of memory to do that, even though the GT1030 is perfectly capable of decoding all types of 4K video. (h.264/h.265/VP9)

For $10 extra I'd go the 1650 route. Unless passive cooling is really important.

Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G (and I assume, the 3200G and 3400G that just came out), have more advanced video-decode hardware than the RX 570 cards, and CAN decode both H.265 and VP9 4K UHD in hardware. Beautifully-smooth. (But requires dual-channel RAM to do so, I believe.) (*Have personally tested, works beautifully on 4K UHD VP9 YouTube playback.)
Raven Ridge can do 4K VP9 decoding in single channel mode, no problem. I'd recommend a dual rank DIMM if you go single channel though, preferably as fast as possible. You also don't want anything heavy running in the background with the Athlon variety.
 

Golgatha

Lifer
Jul 18, 2003
11,829
88
91
Thanks all for the input. I ended up getting the passively cooled GT 1030 for $50 on eBay. It solved all the playback issues I was having. H.265 is too much for my old Xeon to decode, but with the hardware assist on the GPU is only hits the CPU for about 10% max when playing back video now.
 
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