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Htpc upgrade

Show off your HTPC builds, NAS Servers, and any other hardware. Great place to ask for hardware help too.
Teddyboy
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:30 pm
Location: San Diego, Ca

Re: Htpc upgrade

Post by Teddyboy » Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:47 pm

I just finished watching Akira 4k version scaled down to 1080p. No overheating to the point that the htpc shuts down, and no more stuttering.

Using Throttle stop, I undervolted the CPU, CPU Cache, and the Intel GPU to -80mv. That appears to be stable for me because I get not bluescreens or sudden freezes. I set up a task so now throttle stop starts up when ever I reboot the htpc and that user logs on. The log on is automatic using systinternals autologon. CPU temp was at 56C while the movie was playing and never went above that. The case was warm to the touch but not burning hot like the previous night when I was trying to watch 200 in 4k. It probably would be a little lower if I stuck with DXVA. I didn't note the temp when I was using DXVA2.

The only settings in madvr that works for my system is to use one of two downscaling settings:
processing done by GPU texture units:
Bilinear
picking that options also sharpens the picture, hides source artifacts, and does some aliasing.
processing done by GPU video logic:
DXVA2
picking this option doesn't do any of the extra processing that bilinear does but the picture still looks pretty good.
madvr 1.PNG
madvr 1.PNG (158.03 KiB) Viewed 310 times
gpu dxva.PNG
gpu dxva.PNG (133.95 KiB) Viewed 310 times
The upside to using DXVA2 is GPU usage hovers at constant 37%
gpu texture units.PNG
gpu texture units.PNG (117.08 KiB) Viewed 310 times
GPU usage for Bilinear is at 47% to 50%.

Any spiking from the GPU was from me moving the mouse around or bringing up madvr and the task manager. Usage settled back to the percentages I stated once they where closed. It was interesting to see the differences when you picked one and applied the change to madvr. It's a subtle difference, but you can notice it.

I can't use any of the pixel shader processors. They drop frames and stutter. Some less then others, but still a no go. It remains to be seen what will happen when I get a native 4k panel. I'm going to upscale blu-rays and dvds, so I suspect I'll have to pick from the same options for image upscaling.

It really comes down to what you like to see in video quality. They are both good, but I tend to prefer Bilinear as it sharpens the picture a little more. It's a matter of personal taste.

I don't think I'll be needing the Noctua cooler, but I'll hang on to it for a little bit as I have a 30 day return window. I think the playback issue has been resolved. No more stuttering, and no more shutdown due to thermal limits being hit by the system. It played the 2 hour movie without any issues due to high temps.
Mechanical Engineer, Solidworks junkie, Reef aquariums, sci-fi, weight training, orchids, Ferns, Kaiju, model kit building, balboa park, scripps aquarium

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Pauven
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Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:28 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
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Re: Htpc upgrade

Post by Pauven » Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:39 am

That's awesome! Thanks for sharing your findings.

Now the hard part: you'll have to force yourself to watch many more 4k movies to test the downscaling performance. Different codecs, different compression ratios, and with/without HDR will all stress the system differently. I'd test solely with Bilinear, as it has the better picture quality and is likely to fail before DXVA2.

Just keep watching every 4k movie in existence so you can definitively confirm the settings... :D
President, Chameleon Consulting LLC
Author, Chameleon MediaCenter

Teddyboy
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:30 pm
Location: San Diego, Ca

Re: Htpc upgrade

Post by Teddyboy » Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:55 am

I have 39 4k movies in my collection. After Akira, I watched Coppola’s Dracula. It definitely ran hotter, but I just wanted to watch the movie, so I didn’t have task manager open to see if gpu usage increased nor did I check temps. I watched the entire movie which is a just over two hours. My pc never shut down due to thermal overload, nor did it exhibit any kind of skipping or sound degradation due to the pc thermally overloading when I restarted it like it did when I watched 2001 4k before I did my tweaks.

So far this works on a passively cooled system using madvr Bilinear. It sits out in the open below the tv. It’s low profile and it looks good. I couldn’t have it sitting in a enclosed shelf as it would probably quickly overheat. It may not work very well in other environments as a passively cooled pc. I’m going to keep the Noctua heatsink as a precaution for when I move to a different place next year. It’s not the end of the world if I have to use it, and it’s a good heatsink. Even AppleTV 4k has a fan.

I have more movies to watch, and I may bring up task manger on some to see how the gpu usage and temps are. I’m pleased with the results so far even though it’s only two 4k movies I’ve watched. I’m going to set up MPC-BE to use Madvr either today or tomorrow to upscale dvds. I’ll be using the same scaling algorithm(s) that I used for downscaling 4k. Those are the ones (Bilinear or DXVA2) that appear to work within the GPU hardware limits. I will try other scaling algorithms to see how they do as well.

Asrock did get back to me yesterday and they basically confirmed that video memory is dynamically allocated. CMC did throw a error last night but I didn’t do a screen cap of it as I was to tired to deal with it. It had something to do with the screen saver not being able to find artwork in the cache. If it happens again, I’ll screen cap it and post in a new thread.
Mechanical Engineer, Solidworks junkie, Reef aquariums, sci-fi, weight training, orchids, Ferns, Kaiju, model kit building, balboa park, scripps aquarium

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Pauven
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Re: Htpc upgrade

Post by Pauven » Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:16 pm

That's really promising. Glad the undervolting is working so well for you. I might undervolt mine too, though since I already have a Noctua cooler on it I doubt it would make a difference.

Teddyboy wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:55 am
I have 39 4k movies in my collection.
Wow, nice. I thought that was more than I have, so I just counted them all and I have 58, which is about double what I thought. I did pick up both the Skywalker Saga and Mission Impossible in 4K, so that's 15 right there. Part of the visibility problem is that in CMC, if you apply the 4K filter, it doesn't actually show everything. While Box Sets work okay, Movie Collections end up hiding movies and don't show up when you apply the 4K disc type filter. I think Movie Collections are always showing as DVD's, regardless of what's inside them. Room for improvement. I'll have to write a function that searches the movies you have in each collection to see if any match the filter you are applying.

Teddyboy wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:55 am
CMC did throw a error last night but I didn’t do a screen cap of it as I was to tired to deal with it. It had something to do with the screen saver not being able to find artwork in the cache.
I don't believe I've had any reports of that one before, nor seen it myself. Off the top of my head, I imagine this could happen in a perfect storm, if CMC was busy refreshing the artwork cache while the screensaver was showing fanart, and it happen to request an image in the process of being refreshed. I won't worry about it unless it happens again, as I presume it's like winning the lottery while being struck by lightning.
President, Chameleon Consulting LLC
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Teddyboy
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:30 pm
Location: San Diego, Ca

Re: Htpc upgrade

Post by Teddyboy » Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:18 pm

Downscaled 4k movie playback appears to be working fine. I set up MPC-BE Saturday to upscale DVDs. I had a lot more choices to pick from but Bilinear seemed to still be the best choice for upscaling in terms of doing a good jog upscaling and gpu resource utilization. DXVA2 was a poor choice for upscaling. The gpu hit the ceiling right away and started dropping frames. Some of the other scaling algorithms over sharpened and had to many artifacts for my taste and/or to much gpu resource utilization. The DVDs look much better with upscaling then without.

Your MPC guide and the link to the YouTube video for setting up madvr in MPC worked great. The sample clips that he had for testing were perfect. I still have a lot more to learn about it, but it is functional now with decent upscaling of DVDs. It all appears to be working within the hardwares limits and it looks good. Which is all I ever wanted.

I’m going to drop of the front panel and drawing to my friend so he can machine it for the inteset ir board the next Friday I have off.
Mechanical Engineer, Solidworks junkie, Reef aquariums, sci-fi, weight training, orchids, Ferns, Kaiju, model kit building, balboa park, scripps aquarium

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