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HD Decoding 2400pro

Discussion in 'AMD / ATI' started by devguy, May 5, 2008.

  1. devguy

    devguy

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    I just recently bought a new Sapphire 2400 pro AGP for a community house computer. It is an old dell that formerly had a GeForce 4 MX card in it. Here are the specs:

    Pentium 4 2.0Ghz Northwood (no HT)
    640Mb RAM (512mb + 128mb I presume)
    Sapphire 2400 pro AGP 256mb gDDR2
    Turtle Beach Monte Carlo Sound Card
    Dell Motherboard (Dimension 4550)

    And I'm using the Sapphire 8.4 AGP hotfix drivers in Server 2003. Gaming performance is pretty nice (Halo is smooth at 1024x768 with everything turned up but specular). However, as soon as I try to play an HD DVD, I get greeted to a slide show (PowerDVD Ultra HD edition with all updates installed). The box for AVIVO acceleration is ticked, so hardware UVD should be working. If I try unchecking it, then when I try playing the HD DVD again, it forces itself back on (...strange).

    One thing I think it might be is that since we're using Server 2003, I'm unable to get drivers for the 360 HD DVD player like I can in XP x64/Vista x64. Therefore, in Device Manager there is a generic DVD ROM driver for it and there are two instances of 360 Memory Units all without drivers. Is there any place to download the 360 HD DVD drivers? I've been searching and all I've been able to find are dead links (I'm guessing because everyone else gets them off Windows Update).

    Aside from that issue, is it unreasonable to expect this PC to be able to play an HD DVD? I have it plugged into a tube HDTV via component at 1024x768. The tv supports 1080i, but since it isn't widescreen, 1920x1080i doesn't work right. 1280x1024 is far to small to read, and 800x600 is easily readable but looks like shit.

    Also, kinda unrelated, do any of you think this computer will be able to handle Oblivion at 1024x768 no AA and at least medium settings?
     
  2. devguy

    devguy

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    Well, to anyone with the same problem, I found this by a fellow buyer from NewEgg:

    I tried this and some odd things happened. Now, I can't get an HD DVD to play at all (PowerDVD just closes itself when starting the movie- but I can access the DVD title menu). VLC continues to play HD avi files like crap. Oddly, however, I'm now able to play the 720p Shrek avi at full speed in Xbox Media Center (although it has its own problem with digital audio at the moment). I wonder why XBMC does it fine while VLC makes a slideshow?

    Also, about Oblivion, it runs pretty poorly. It is quite playable, but only because it is an RPG. The FPS (around 16-22 @ 640x480) would make me cry in an FPS. I'm able to overclock it to near 2400XT speeds and that helps, but not a ton (maybe 19-23 fps). Anyone know of any important settings or tweaks to make Oblivion run better (oldblivion is no good on a slow Shader Model 3.0/4.0 card).
     
  3. KainXS

    KainXS

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  4. hat

    hat Maximum Overclocker

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    Well get memory. 512mb and Oblivion is like trying to feed a sumo wrestler a celery stick lol.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220079

    as for your hd problem, who knows, a good kit of fresh memory can do wonders
     
    Crunching for Team TPU
  5. Darren

    Darren New Member

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    Pentium 4's are eight years old!! They are slow, and playing HD content isn't going to happen.
    640 MB of ram isn't enough as Windows XP with background processes can use 512 MB alone, this only leaves 128 MB to play movies and play oblivion:roll:

    Upgrade your processor to a cheap dual core with at least 2 GB of ram and playing HD will be a piece of cake. (I've got a Athlon X2 3800+ costs around $30 British Pounds and it uses around 50% CPU usage when running HD content. Bare in mind my CPU is much faster than yours and has two cores, so on a p4 Northwood forget it.

    Your slow processor, you have little ram, and an ultra slow video card, playing HD content is unreasonable. If you need help upgrading we shall guide you through which hardware is best for watching HD content and gaming:)


    ATI 2400 Pro isn''t a gaming card: It's one of weakest graphics cards currently in the 2000 series. Return it, and I'll advice you further on which cards would fulfill your requirements. Secondly even if you had a more powerful card, your 640 MB of ram and your P4 will NOT be enough to game sufficiently.


    Like I said the 2400 is a extremely weak card and gaming wasn't its intention. The 2400 XT is equally weak and isn't a gaming card. Return the card!
    PS. The 2400 Pro can only play HD content half-decently if coupled with a dual core processor.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2008
  6. devguy

    devguy

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    KainXS, thanks for the link. The problem on upgrading the computer is that it is a house computer (donated to our house), and the only money that can be put into it is money from the house . I just convinced them to let us purchase a 2400pro as I saw that card to be the best bet considering the power supply limitation. This PC has, I believe, either a 250W or a 300W PSU and I felt uncomfortable recommending the 2600 pro on top of a machine with a netburst processor, 2 HDDs, and 2 DVD-Rom drives. One isn't going to be able to just buy a new PSU for this old Dell (and to buy one through Dell means you'll be paying out the arse). On top of that, this Dell is stuck on the old 400mhz FSB, so upgrading the a 3.06 Pentium 4 with HT is out of the question. Even the 2.8 Ghz Pentium 4s on 400mhz FSB are unreasonable as they cost as much as a nice Allendale!

    And trying to recommend scrapping this donated computer because upgrading it would be more expensive than starting over would not go over well with non-tech savvy people who don't understand these things.

    What I'm going to try to do is replace the 128mb stick with a 512mb stick (PC2100 is what the motherboard supports). I can't upgrade to 2x1GB sticks because the motherboard is limited to 1GB Ram total. Otherwise, of course I would already have done that!

    Oh and Darren this line:
    Is really a strong overestimate. If that is what happens for you, then something must really be hogging your memory resources as I've never had that high of memory usage just sitting around in XP (usually no higher than 320mb at the desktop on any of my PCs). On top of that, the machine is running Tiny2003 and desktop usage is around 150-220 mb RAM. And yes, I'm aware that the 2400pro isn't a gaming card. That wasn't the intention upon buying it. The intention was playing 720p quality videos and having component out (s-video out sucks really badly). However, my housemates got excited about it and wanted to put Oblivion on it. I told them it would be really slow, but they didn't care. Now, it is pretty slow and they want me to do something about it without spending money (non-tech savvy people, man...).
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2008
  7. Deusxmachina

    Deusxmachina New Member

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    I know people using P4 2.0s for watching HD. 720p, no problem. It's barely enough for 1080, but they say it's enough if the computer isn't doing any other tasks and the video card's hardware acceleration is kicking in and helping out. Overlay mode will be easier on your equipment than VMR mode. Lots of people only have 512mb memory in their HTPCs, so that shouldn't be an issue unless trying to multitask (or if playing Oblivion). I usually have 800mb or so of browser windows open at one time, so obviously if someone tried playing a video with that, 512mb wouldn't work too well.

    The 2400pro is weak. I tried Hellgate:London at 1920x1080 with it for fun. I could walk around and maybe fight one guy at a time pretty ok. It's better than an ollddd card, but something like even an 8500GT is a lot better.

    The 2400pro doesn't like hardware accelerating mpeg2 while also having to deinterlace it. 1080i mpeg2 (generally what you get from broadcast TV) is its big weak spot. HD-DVD/Blu-Ray shouldn't be a concern since the onboard UVD chip can do all the decoding for that, which also takes most of your CPU out of the equation.

    Some people say the 2400pro simply doesn't have the bandwidth for 1080. Mine played it fine other than for the deinterlacing mpeg2 stuff I mentioned. 1080p is actually easier than 1080i.

    There've been lots of problems with people trying to get the hardware acceleration to work on the AGP versions of the cards. Not sure if there was ever a good fix for that ever, actually.

    DDR2 is cheap, a good mb is $75 or less, a low-end dual-core is $75 or less. An "ok" video card is around $50. Heck, a used 7600GT is still pretty decent stuff. If you want to keep spending your time trying to get an underpowerd PC working for people who expect Oblivion to look good on a 2400pro and less than 1gb memory, that's up to you. Meanwhile, it SHOULD have no problem with at least 720p and HD DVD if you can get the hardware acceleration working.
     
  8. devguy

    devguy

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    Actually, using KainXS's link, I got the game to perform very nicely at 640x480. I still plan on going for the 1GB RAM, though. And yes, my intention behind the 2400 pro was HDDVD and 720p video playback. It's my housemates who wanted to also use it for games. Halo plays very nice at 800x600 but Guitar Hero III is basically unplayable (although it says 1GB RAM is minimum system requirement, so we'll see how it does with that extra RAM).

    As far as my original question about HD DVD playback troubles, it seems that I am far from alone in the problem with UVD acceleration on an AGP card. That tweak I found on NewEgg helped alot. Hopefully the extra RAM will help to, but we will see.
     
  9. CrackerJack

    CrackerJack

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    To play HD smooth you need atleast a dual core (2.4Ghz or higher) and 2gb of ram. And watching a HD movie at 1024x768 won't be good enough. To low of a resolution. If you can do 1,280x720 (720p) That will be good, but it's still not full HD.
     
  10. devguy

    devguy

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    The resolution of the TV we are using is 1080i with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Obviously less than ideal. I've looked around and supposedly the actual resolution for such a TV is 1440x1080i, but setting the screen to that is way too big for the monitor. And CrackerJack, I'm finding out that it isn't the case that one needs a dual core 2.4+ghz and 2GB RAM for HD content (well, maybe for 1080p, but not 720p). Perhaps you are seeing that through your experience with the HD 2900 series which has no UVD acceleration?

    Are there any tools to resize the picture on the screen? The TV itself doesn't have one, I can't find one in either CCC or in ATT. XBMC has an excellent screen resizer, but its effects only last for that program.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2008
  11. Deusxmachina

    Deusxmachina New Member

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    A 1.6ghz C2D is even overkill if not doing much multitasking at the same time, but that's the slowest CPU I recommend since there's not much reason to get anything slower nowadays unless someone is giving it away. 512mb is low but ok unless multitasking, and 1gb is plenty for most people even with mild multitasking.

    ATI CCC has the overscan setting that lets you change the TV picture a little. Not a big help, but it can help.

    If you're using a monitor for desktop/media control, you can use Theater Mode to output the video full-screen to the TV. That usually fits the TV better than if outputting the entire desktop to the TV.

    4:3 1080i TVs are great. They can display 16:9 like a 16:9 TV but can also display 4:3 content in its proper form without any of the crappy stretch mode.
     

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