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Thread: ati & htpc

  1. #1
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    Jun 2010
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    Default ati & htpc

    Hi,
    I decided to use Linux. I'm rather novice in this environment. Recently I've tested all versions of popular and media center type distributions. Now Im using latest Mandriva. I have biggest problem with video playback. If the material is in a better resolution, then worse it is played. Even simple divx movie make some screen tearting. I tested MPlayer, VLC and Xine. The same everywhere. I've tried to compile ffmpeg, mplayer, install vaapi patches for mplayer and vlc. After last Catalyst upgrade, system is not respodnig

    When I used WinXP, my graphic cart performed well. There were even spdif passthrough on hdmi. My configuration is AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800, nforce 570 motherboard and 2GB DDR RAM. From what I read is not well with the support of ATI cards on Linux. I have a Radeon HD2600. It's connected with HDMI into a LCD television. Is there easy way to install Linux, add some players from repositories and just use it on my PC? Which distribution, player shall I use? Or do I need to buy Nvida card?

    Sorry for my English, it's not my mother tounge
    Thanks in advance for your reply.

  2. #2
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    The Catalyst drivers have a few issues with video playback. I suggest using the open source drivers (radeon), they should work much better. The downside is slower 3D performance, but you won't need much of that for a HTPC, right?

    Any recent distribution would work, but fedora usually has the latest versions of radeon. mplayer with xv output should work for most video files. For high-bitrate HD movies, you'll need either GPU decoding (not available on your HD2600) or the experimental mplayer-mt (so decoding is done on both CPU cores).

  3. #3
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    Some people also suggest that using a GL rendering backend in your video player works better than the default Xv backend on the binary fglrx driver. You could give it a try.

  4. #4
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    What do you mean by "GPU decoding"? UVD? Does linux support only UVD2 cards? Does VDPAU do these kind of troubles with nvidia cards?
    I have tested Xv, gl and other available rendering methods in all tree players.

    I'll test mplayer-mt

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by przekop View Post
    What do you mean by "GPU decoding"? UVD?
    Yes, UVD. Currently it can only be used with catalyst on HD4xxx cards and it's not officially supported.

    For GPU decoding, you'd have to buy a new GPU (either HD4xxx or a recent nvidia offering with VDPAU), but you won't need that unless you plan on watching high-bitrate full HD movies.

    I can play a 720p mp4 video without GPU acceleration with 50% CPU load on a single core that's downclocked to 800MHz. If you cannot do that on your rig, it's a software issue.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rohcQaH View Post
    The Catalyst drivers have a few issues with video playback. I suggest using the open source drivers (radeon), they should work much better. The downside is slower 3D performance, but you won't need much of that for a HTPC, right?

    Any recent distribution would work, but fedora usually has the latest versions of radeon. mplayer with xv output should work for most video files. For high-bitrate HD movies, you'll need either GPU decoding (not available on your HD2600) or the experimental mplayer-mt (so decoding is done on both CPU cores).

    Using XvBA, I'm running a mobile HD2600 with Debian Squeeze and can play back 720p and even some 1080p material.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by przekop View Post
    What do you mean by "GPU decoding"? UVD? Does linux support only UVD2 cards? Does VDPAU do these kind of troubles with nvidia cards?
    I have tested Xv, gl and other available rendering methods in all tree players.

    I'll test mplayer-mt
    GPU decoding would be UVD, xv only accelerates some colorspace conversion and scaling stuff as far as I know.
    linux does not really support any kind of accelerated decode on ATI cards. There's a xvba thread a mile long in here and I can only conclude from it that it doesn't work very well and if it does, it's still a pita to get to work and breaks about every other driver release.
    No, VDPAU doesn't have a fraction of the troubles uvd has.
    The things I know to work are VDPAU and that broadcom crystal hd stuff.
    Just forget ATI for accelerated video for the moment, that'll save you a huge amount of trouble and time.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by barkas View Post
    No, VDPAU doesn't have a fraction of the troubles uvd has.
    If you're lucky and it works.
    Otherwise it doesn't work.

    The things I know to work are VDPAU and that broadcom crystal hd stuff.
    The broadcom stuff is very appealing. Only problem is that it can be somewhat pricey when you factor in the slot conversion card.

    Just forget ATI for accelerated video for the moment, that'll save you a huge amount of trouble and time.
    My conclusion is that though somewhat buggy, it is more likely to "do something" than nvidia, which stands a great chance of just crashing and doing nothing.

  9. #9
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    An Athlon 64 X2 4800 should be enough to decode most HD video. Be sure to install mplayer/ffmpeg that were compiled with multithreading patches.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by chithanh View Post
    An Athlon 64 X2 4800 should be enough to decode most HD video. Be sure to install mplayer/ffmpeg that were compiled with multithreading patches.
    An X2-3800 actually does the job decently. Not with ffmpeg mind you, but with coreavc it works fine.

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