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Bob790
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Begging for Computer Parts

Post by Bob790 » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:08 pm

The computer used to trial and approve series for showing at BAS is now getting a little long in the tooth (It doesn't have teeth really) and could use an upgrade.

I have an offer of a C2D CPU without a working motherboard. If anyone has any hardware they could be persuaded to part with to help build a fully functional system capable of showing HD videos in real time could they let me know?

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Post by wolfboy » Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:30 pm

Guys, I have been looking online at what you can get for a reasonable price. The lowest spec intergrated graphics that will support full HD is the GMA X4500HD. Most low end motherboards have graphics on board that have X4500 chip but not the HD version so will not do 1080p (I dont know what the highest mode is they will go to).

Are you after full 1080p support or would 1080i or 720p cut it?

If you do need the full 1080p then I would suggest a cheapy MB (ICH7/G31 based are going for around the £33 mark) and a pretty cheapy graphics card - In this instance, as you will probably be running windows I would go with an ATI as it has on board HD Audio passed through the HDMI port (NVidia only support 2ch and require SPDIF pass through so an MB with an SPDIF_O header).

What equipment do you already have so I can work out what you need and I will check what bits I have lying around?

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Post by Bob790 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:15 pm

wolfboy wrote:What equipment do you already have so I can work out what you need and I will check what bits I have lying around?
We have a reasonable AGP graphics card, 1 gig of memory (although it's probably too old to work with more recent motherboards), Enough SATA hard disks to satisfy our current needs, keyboard, mouse, network card etc...

A performance check has shown that the bottleneck is the processor (XP 2400+ - only eight years old and already past it). There is a C2D CPU available from a laptop with a broken motherboard but it is proving difficult to extract and may not actually work.

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Post by wolfboy » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:34 pm

Bob790 wrote:
We have a reasonable AGP graphics card, 1 gig of memory (although it's probably too old to work with more recent motherboards), Enough SATA hard disks to satisfy our current needs, keyboard, mouse, network card etc...

A performance check has shown that the bottleneck is the processor (XP 2400+ - only eight years old and already past it). There is a C2D CPU available from a laptop with a broken motherboard but it is proving difficult to extract and may not actually work.
I think the reason for the bottleneck in the CPU will be that its doing software decoding of the H.264 - this is going to nom the processor something wicked, given the type of CPU I would imagine that it is struggling to say the least.

There is a simple solution to this - buy a graphics card that can you can offload the H.264 decoding to to prevent it nomming your CPU. Now, because of the vintage of your PC, there is only one AGP card (assuming your board is of a vintage that it does not have PCI-E) that we have found that will support HD (H.264, VC-1, MPEG-4)
this one Kudos to BigAl for finding that one, I didn't think they actually did an AGP version with an HD capable GPU. Now I have no idea how well that will perform but you will need software capable of doing the offloading i.e. VLC from V1.1.0 onwards. Not all software can do hardware offloading.

However, from the sounds of it, you need a brand new system as I doubt you can do much to upgrade the existing bits. As for the C2D chip you mentioned, the thing about it coming from a laptop is that it will not be the standard LGA 775 socket which limits which motherboards you can buy - you need one to support the mobile CPU which are more expensive (low power consumption = cost more).

If you go the new system route then the you can probably expect to be £200-£300 range to get you a workable system. For future proofing these days you will want to look at i3 (Cheapest is £82, £60 mobo, DDR3 £65) (N.B. i3 has HD on board graphics and utilises the SSE4 extensions to do the H264 decoding) or i5. You could still scrape together a C2D (£45, £36 mobo, £28 Ram, £22 graphics) but is coming to the end of its upgradable life shortly so you will be back in the situation you are in now again quite quickly.

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Post by sadie » Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:30 pm

According to Intel, the C2D in question apparently uses either sockets PBGA479 or PPGA478. That does indeed sound laptop-specific.

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Post by sadie » Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:34 pm

wolfboy wrote: I think the reason for the bottleneck in the CPU will be that its doing software decoding of the H.264
If it's not using the graphics card properly, does that mean there could be a software solution? Is there a good way of verifying this - checking the render graph used?

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Post by wolfboy » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:04 am

sadie wrote:If it's not using the graphics card properly, does that mean there could be a software solution? Is there a good way of verifying this - checking the render graph used?
Afraid not, basically the graphics card hardware you have is probably not capable of decoding the H.264 so even if the software can offload it the graphics card cant do anything with it. This is why the CPU is decoding it instead since the graphics card cant - You need both hardware acceleration on board and software support to do the offloading.

Most AGP graphics cards cannot do the H.264 decoding - so that I can check, what graphics card is it and I will check out the funcitonality offered by the GPU just in case but as said I doubt it can. If you want to do the offloading then you are looking for H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-4 hardware acceleration usually mentioned in the manufacturers spec, This is it for the card I linked you to..

The one I linked to is actually a newer GPU strapped on to an old AGP board. Usually you would connect the GPU via PCIe which is much faster so what they have done is bridged the PCIe to AGP and thus why its a bit more expensive.

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Post by mossimmi » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:27 am

Hello,
I need help on components for a system for my 10-year-old son to build with me. It would be the first time either of us has actually built a computer, so easy setup and no compatibility issues are the 2 most important things. A few months ago I looked at Newegg bundles and the selection seemed great but now in the mid $500 range, it seems very sparse. Any help will be greatly appreciated :)

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Post by NoviceOtaku » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:04 pm

I can't recommend Novatech enough for this. I have had PC die on me in the past and Novatech had the configuration needed to get me up and running again.

Their motherboard bundles start from £99.98, which can be found HERE

They're based in Portsmouth, if you want to collect as well.

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Post by Soruk » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:55 am

Seeing as a 7-year-old thread has been well and truly necro'ed, a Raspberry Pi can do full HD video - with hardware decoding of H264 content (and for a couple of quid for the key, MPEG2 as well).

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Post by sadie » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:24 am

Soruk wrote:Seeing as a 7-year-old thread has been well and truly necro'ed, a Raspberry Pi can do full HD video - with hardware decoding of H264 content (and for a couple of quid for the key, MPEG2 as well).
But can it process a file with subtitles? I've seen a lot of hardware H.264 decoders that just don't understand the concept. They can decode video fine, but not the post-processing steps where subtitles get added.
Oh, did I say that out loud?

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Post by Soruk » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:44 pm

It certainly works in Kodi (OSMC).

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