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Thread: Choosing the right chipset for a HTPC

  1. #11
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    Yeah, Via's newer chips are capable of hardware H.264 and mpeg4. Wonder when that'll be fully supported.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    Yeah, Via's newer chips are capable of hardware H.264 and mpeg4. Wonder when that'll be fully supported.
    look at Harald Welte's Blog
    http://laforge.gnumonks.org/weblog/

    -> Fri, 01 Aug 2008
    ..
    ..

    The start is done, but for sure it'll take 'some' time

  3. #13
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    >>> why do you care about xvmc?! its only for mpeg

    I have a boatload of mpegs.

    >>> any cpu you could possibly acquire through any retail shop today

    My CPUs are more than 5 nanoseconds old, but I don't feel like
    buying a new CPU today. Expensive, and not very "green".

    GPUs have the hardware needed to decode videos. Using a GPU
    to decode video uses less power than using a CPU. A nice feature
    in summer when it is hot. Also lowers the electric bill, and
    helps the "green" factor. I don't have numbers handy for GPUs,
    but IIRC some dedicated decoding chips only use something like
    1-5 Watts, compared to 100-150 Watts for a CPU. I suspect
    that GPUS are somewhere in between.

    >>> aim for intel graphics

    No thanks. Inthell makes buggy products which they do not support
    properly, and they engage in criminal behavior.

    >> S3 Chrome are only for video, so it would not match the
    >> requirements audio+video for the perfect htpc.

    Huh? What GPU outputs audio?

    >> I don't think you can find a motherboard that provide chrome + audio
    >> 8ch LPCM / HDMI.

    8 channel? 2 is plenty. I can live without HDMI.

    I was hoping they make PCI/PCIe cards with Chrome and DVI-I + s-video out?
    I assume that Chrome connected via Ethernet or firewire is too much to
    hope for.

    > Via's newer chips are capable of hardware H.264 and mpeg4. Wonder when
    > that'll be fully supported.

    VIA and ATI can race for it. First one with great FLOSS video decode
    support gets a LOT of customers.

  4. #14

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    Offloading to the GPU for simple mpeg2 decoding is really not worth it. The CPU is more than powerful enough and does *not* require 100W to play back. My HTPC desktop with Celeron E1200 only goes up 10W or so from idle in playback mode (measured by kill a watt) and barely hits 15% usage. GPUs will not make much of a dent in this number.

    As for Intel making buggy products and criminal activity, I have to call your BS. Intel has an outstanding track record of QC on their chips and their platforms have been humming along in perfect stability for several years in my server room. In contrast, several machines I have built using their competitors' platforms have crashed and burned.

    I wouldn't buy VIA hardware btw. They are exiting most markets (certainly the chipset one) and IMHO are on the verge of bankruptcy. OSS support will be questionable for a company with limited resources.

  5. #15
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    suit yourself, but i can tell you this, mpeg2 decoding can be done in 1080p resolution by _ANY_ cpu which anyone should be using, basically, that means, that my amd64 2ghz singlecore socket 754 can do it.

    as for saying intel graphics is buggy and unsupported, i think you ought to look at whom actually has support for stuff, and if you are even considering via, then thats just a giant joke compared to intel.

    if you wanna be able to do highdefinition h264/vc1 you are gonna need to get an E8400+, preferrably E8500/E8600

    yeah, i know, the multithreading branch of ffmpeg will soon be merged, but who knows how long "soon" is, and well, the extra power doesent hurt.

    As for intel being criminals, well.. im not sure what specifically you are referring to, being an american company they almost certainly have done various illegal things, but you can bet you ass via has aswell, and furthermore, one thing is whats LEGALLY illegal, and what is legal but atleast as wrong. Via is guilty of various things which OUGHT to be illegal, but simply arent.

  6. #16
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    >> Huh? What GPU outputs audio?

    I did not mean a GPU should handle audio, but was speaking about the whole packaging. I'm not very connoisseur of the via mainboards, and what kind of chipset/functionnalities they provide. Don't hesitate to inform us on this topic.


    >> 8 channel? 2 is plenty. I can live without HDMI.

    We don't talk about the same thing. If you are building a box with 2.0 it's only a media center (just use one of these multimedia harddrives instead), an htpc (Home Theater) requires at least 5.1, and nowadays 7.1 is more than common.

    About Intel, I agree with crumja, Intel motherboards for example are considered the more stable on the market (not the more efficient or tunable however).


    >> I wouldn't buy VIA hardware btw. They are exiting most markets (certainly the chipset one) and IMHO are on the verge of bankruptcy. OSS support will be questionable for a company with limited resources.

    Imho via are far from bankruptcy ... They are only focusing on their nano/chrome platform. Intel and AMD don't want to use their chipset anymore, so its logical to leave this market.

    Actually VIA stuff (nano cpu, unichrome, vinyl audio controller, ...) seems promising. But again, could a whole htpc system be build with via components ?

    PS: any info on RV710 (and UVD2 - maybe even limited - support under linux) ?

  7. #17
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    I'd definitely say most of a HTPC could go Via. Also, Intel does not let it's mini-itx mobos have anything faster than a pci slot, via doesn't limit that so many have one pci-e 16x so you can add any graphic card needed.

    If put only to cpu, only the new Nano is good with video, but that's what gpus should be for anyway. I'd wait until the Nano ships.

    Depends on the mobo, but I've seen HDMI and 5.1 audio around.

    There are of course the added bonuses of silence, small size, less heat, sometimes embedded infrared (Remote control and IrDA), and then the power draw is minimal.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    I'd definitely say most of a HTPC could go Via. Also, Intel does not let it's mini-itx mobos have anything faster than a pci slot, via doesn't limit that so many have one pci-e 16x so you can add any graphic card needed.
    then how do you explain intel having a mini-itx board with pci express on?

    i think you are referring to the atom boards...

  9. #19
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    >>> if you are even considering via

    I don't know much about VIA (yet). I stumbled across the
    fact that they've had FLOSS support for XvMC on Chrome for
    awhile, but for some reason they aren't discussed much.
    So I'd like to learn more about VIA and see if this Chrome
    thingy meets my needs or not. Stuff like:
    Code:
            available form factors
                    onboard?
                    PCI card?
                    PCIe card?
                    other?
            does it do what I want?
                    2D stuff (xterm, xpdf, web browsers, ...)
                    Xv & XvMC
                    (no gaming required)
            documented / FLOSS, not binaries
            reasonably bug free
            reliable
            DVI-I (or equivalent) and s-video out
            energy efficient, fanless
            economic cost
    >>> you wanna be able to do highdefinition h264/vc1

    Not a requirement.

    >>> As for intel being criminals, well.. im not sure what specifically you are referring to

    Theft.

    >> If you are building a box with 2.0 it's only a media center (just use
    >> one of these multimedia harddrives instead), an htpc (Home Theater)
    >> requires at least 5.1

    Actually I think of it as a DVR. :-)

    >> PS: any info on RV710 (and UVD2 - maybe even limited - support under linux) ?

    Last I read, they hadn't even started to try and figure out if they could
    document UVD/UVD2 without getting a chair thrown at them. I get the impression
    that 3D gaming stuff is getting priority over video decoding stuff. :-(
    I don't have any idea how long it is going to take to get FLOSS XvMC for
    ATI, which is why I'm looking into VIA.

    > I'd definitely say most of a HTPC could go Via. Also, Intel does not let it's
    > mini-itx mobos have anything faster than a pci slot, via doesn't limit that so
    > many have one pci-e 16x so you can add any graphic card needed.

    PCI is fast enough for compressed video, but not fast enough for uncompressed
    video. Those of you that want to have the CPU do the uncompressing need PCIe.
    Does anyone know what the data rate between the CPU and GPU is with the GPU
    providing Xv & XvMC? I assume it is somewhere in between.

  10. #20
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    but werent the mpeg4 supporting xvmc pulled?
    besides, that only covered divx/xvid, and well.. thats pretty much... whats the word... irellevant?! you'll find no high definition material encoded in it(atleast so little that its not worth considering), and mpeg2 is decoded so effectively on cpu's today that it isnt even worth caring about xvmc for it.

    That leaves H264 back, which xvmc, as far as i know, NEVER supported in any incarnation, which means via is out for anything but xv, which leaves you are CPU decoding, and well, you'd do much better with intel than via..

    so as i see it, you can pretty much forget about decoding with the gpu right now, because either
    1: its irellevant (SD material or MPEG2)
    or 2: its non-existant, and ETA is unknown.

    Which brings me back to my recommendation, get an E8400 or higher cpu (E8500 recently went to basically same price), and some intel graphics motherboard.

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