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Hardware Support Discussions related to using various hardware setups with SageTV products. Anything relating to capture cards, remotes, infrared receivers/transmitters, system compatibility or other hardware related problems or suggestions should be posted here.

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  #1  
Old 01-27-2005, 12:54 PM
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bznotins bznotins is offline
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XFX GeForce FX 5200 w/hardware MPEG-2 Decoder

I currently have an ATi 9200SE vid card and when I'm watching recorded shows (MPEG-2) in Sage, I get about 40% CPU usage (on an underclocked XP 2200+). I'm reasonably happy with the quality, but then again I don't know what to expect. Sports are bad though.

I decided to try this video card since it has the following feature:

"Integrated Full Hardware MPEG-2 Decoder
Delivers full-frame, full-screen MPEG-2 video on your desktop."

It will probably arrive next week sometime and I'll install it shortly thereafter.

I did a search around these forums but couldn't find anyone using this card. Any thoughts? Am I dreaming when I hope that it will lower my CPU utilization and improve the playback quality?

Thanks,
Z
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  #2  
Old 01-27-2005, 01:04 PM
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The statement
"Integrated Full Hardware MPEG-2 Decoder
Delivers full-frame, full-screen MPEG-2 video on your desktop."
Is false.

Nvidia quoted that when the 5x00 series came out, but it was a very misleading marketing ploy. The truth is, you are gonna see about the same performance out of the 5200 as with your current ATI 9200. The card does accellerate some parts of the MPEG2 decoding, but not any more than the 9200 does AFAIK
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  #3  
Old 01-27-2005, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bznotins
I currently have an ATi 9200SE vid card and when I'm watching recorded shows (MPEG-2) in Sage, I get about 40% CPU usage (on an underclocked XP 2200+). I'm reasonably happy with the quality, but then again I don't know what to expect. Sports are bad though.
Which decoder are you using, and have you enabled Hardware accelleration (DXVA) in the decoder?
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  #4  
Old 01-27-2005, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nielm
Which decoder are you using, and have you enabled Hardware accelleration (DXVA) in the decoder?
I think I'm using VRM9 (VMR9?). Is that hardware acceleration? I didn't know I had it -- which is why I'm looking to get this new card...
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  #5  
Old 01-27-2005, 03:35 PM
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The decoder is the DVD player which could be Power DVD or similar, It will be displayed in Detailed Setup->Video->Mpeg2 Video Decoder. The hardware accelleration setting is normall found in the preferences of the associated DVD player app.

(VMR9 is the renderer, and can be a CPU hog with some graphics cards as all that transparancy is done by the CPU if the GFX card cannot do it. You could try switching to Overlay renderer.)

Most video cards have had hardware accellerated MPEG-2 for at least 5 years!
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  #6  
Old 01-27-2005, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nielm
The decoder is the DVD player which could be Power DVD or similar, It will be displayed in Detailed Setup->Video->Mpeg2 Video Decoder. The hardware accelleration setting is normall found in the preferences of the associated DVD player app.

(VMR9 is the renderer, and can be a CPU hog with some graphics cards as all that transparancy is done by the CPU if the GFX card cannot do it. You could try switching to Overlay renderer.)

Most video cards have had hardware accellerated MPEG-2 for at least 5 years!
Ah, OK. My decoder is PowerDVD (albeit an older OEM version that came with a DVD-ROM I purchased). I'll try to navigate around it and see if I can find the hardware acceleration part. If memory serves, I've looked before but the menu system of PowerDVD is terrible...
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  #7  
Old 01-27-2005, 05:13 PM
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Start PowerDVD;
Right click video window;
Configuration
Video Tab
Note that with HW accell enabled, PDVD sometimes does not allow VMR9 to be used (if your GFX card does not have MPEG2 accelleration in VMR9)
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  #8  
Old 01-27-2005, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nielm
Start PowerDVD;
Right click video window;
Configuration
Video Tab
Note that with HW accell enabled, PDVD sometimes does not allow VMR9 to be used (if your GFX card does not have MPEG2 accelleration in VMR9)
OK, I set the "hardware accellerated" option in PowerDVD and my CPU usage dropped to about 15% when watching a show. Not too shabby!

But there was no real improvement in quality unfortunately.

Thanks for the help! Since I've ordered the new card anyway, I might give it a try but I'll keep my expectations low...
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  #9  
Old 01-27-2005, 07:50 PM
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Give the nVidia decoders a shot. Of course I wouldn't expect a big improvement because the 5200 doesn't have the guts to do the really nice deinterlacing and stuf found on the more powerful nVidia cards.
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  #10  
Old 01-27-2005, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89
Give the nVidia decoders a shot. Of course I wouldn't expect a big improvement because the 5200 doesn't have the guts to do the really nice deinterlacing and stuf found on the more powerful nVidia cards.
Well, this FX 5200 I ordered is a DX9 card, so might the quality improve if I use that with the nVidia decoders?

Also, in the SageTV settings, there are Bob, Weave, and Bob & Weave options that I can choose... which should I use for standard TV (I don't have HDTV)?

Thanks!
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  #11  
Old 01-27-2005, 07:54 PM
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I never touch the deinterlace settings in Sage (nor the DXVA settings) as they've caused problems for me in the past, and they don't do anything.

In the nVidia decoders I use Pixel Adaptive deinterlacing and Smart deinterlace control.
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  #12  
Old 01-27-2005, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89
I never touch the deinterlace settings in Sage (nor the DXVA settings) as they've caused problems for me in the past, and they don't do anything.

In the nVidia decoders I use Pixel Adaptive deinterlacing and Smart deinterlace control.
Cool, thanks, I'll give that a try.
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  #13  
Old 02-05-2005, 04:35 PM
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OK, I installed this card today.

The good:

- Smaller than my ATi 9200SE by about 1 or 2mm in every dimension. This is good because in my custom DVR I need all the space I can get.
- nVidia drivers seem to be better than ATi's for TV adjustments -- I can adjust the colour saturation (couldn't on ATi) which really helps with one of my complaints about TV-Outs (washed-out colours). The card "remembers" overscan and flicker settings (the ATi wouldn't and would have to be adjusted with every reboot).
- The picture quality with hardware acceleration enabled is a bit better. Not night and day, but better.
- The video card displays correctly to the TV right from POST -- so I can now adjust the bios without having the haul my monitor over to the DVR (the ATi card would only be legible on the TV after the drivers loaded)

The bad:

- The overscan settings can only be set as "bigger" (in every dimension) and "smaller" (in every dimension). With the ATi drivers, you could adjust the horizontal and vertical sizes independent of one another.
- Heat. This card runs hotter than the ATi card. In fact, after watching about 20 mins of a TV show, the picture really starts to stutter/flicker and I have to turn hardware acceleration off and take the quality/CPU hit. But I downloaded Coolbits and underclocked the core and memory and now it appears these issues are resolved...
- CPU usage is about the same as with the ATi card (with hardware decoding enabled)

Anyways, I'm going to keep this card installed and sell the old one...

Thanks for the help everybody...

Last edited by bznotins; 02-05-2005 at 04:37 PM.
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