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 Post subject: how to tell if my video card is doing its job?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:26 am 
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I have an aging machine... xp-m 2400+ with an ATI Radeon 9600xt graphics card. Lately I keep running into more and more videos that it struggles to play. I know this machine is pretty old, but I would have thought my video card would do some hardware acceleration on videos and allow to play some fairly modern content. The Coral Reef wmv-hd clip MikeC uses in all the reviews is a good example... it is unwatchable on my pc, but it plays fine on my laptop with a Core Duo and integrated graphics (using only about 30% of one core). Sure the Core Duo is more powerful, but it has integrated graphics (GMA950 I think) and I thought my 9600xt would make up for it. Considering that some Atom+Ion systems can play that clip... well, surely my cpu is faster than an Atom...

Am I expecting too much from my old machine? Or is it possible I missed a plug-in or something that would allow my video card to help out more? I've been getting so frustrated I've found myself with a newegg shopping cart full of athlon II and 785g parts a lot lately :)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:31 am 
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Both your 9600xt and GMA950 have about the same level of video playback acceleration, which is to say not much. They both have motion compensation but that's about it.

The big difference is your CPU. The Core Duo has SSE3 which will help with video decoding. The XP-M only has SSE1. The Core Duo also has over double the memory bandwidth even with the integrated video.

Still, check to make sure you have the latest drivers and such. Check that you are using the same codec versions and video output options on both machines.

The Ion chipset can offload a lot more of the video decoding than either the 9600xt or GMA950. Look at the reviews for Atoms with GMA950s for a more fair comparison.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:26 pm 
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At most you should get the job done by upgrading just the video card OR the cpu but there should be no need to upgrade both.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:51 pm 
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To be honest, and with the greatest respect to "LM" I would sugest a total PC upgrade, I know that you know that you have been putting it off for a while, and I also know that you know exactly what you want to replace it with.

If you dont, there is a shortish list of options, the first being, can you wait a few months - no doubt the answer is yes, as your PC is so ancient by PC standards that a few months wont matter.

Then look at the low end dual core CPU's for power consumption, and the integrated mobo's to do the rest. You will probably find that out of the combo AMD win, simply because of better video playback, and low power under littel/no load, vs the Intel camp who have lower power but crap graphics.

You will of course have to look at a new HDD simply because new mobo's only have one IDE channel (1 cable - 2 Devices).

So things might start to mount up, I wouldnt think about it for a second, but you and I are not the same person.


Andy

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:18 pm 
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To my knowledge, Media Player Classic is the only media player which supports GPU acceleration.
You need this program (free) to even be able to test if the GPU is powerful enough.
It only supports bitstream mode, you need at least an NVidia 8(9)xxx or Radeon HD card for this to work.

I don't think there's a program which will use your GPU for playback, all the workload will be done by the CPU.

More info here.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:14 pm 
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lm wrote:
At most you should get the job done by upgrading just the video card OR the cpu but there should be no need to upgrade both.


if it was like 1995, sure.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:37 am 
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thanks for all the replies. sounds like older vga cards didn't do much with video acceleration, which would explain my current issue. i always had it in my head that they helped with that... guess i was wrong :oops:

i don't think it makes much sense to try to guy a "new" socket A cpu or AGP vga card in this day and age, so i'm sure i'll end up building a new AM3 system in the next few months.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:00 am 
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I have sat on my desk, and sew setup, MSI 785GM-E51, Athlon II 245, 2GB DDR-3 1333, and a Samsung F1 320GB HDD, running XP SP3, and I have just benchmarked it using the classic old PC Mark 2002, and 3D Mark 2001.

I got on PC Mark 2002 - CPU 10,124 - Memory 20,150 - HDD 2372. 3D Mark 2001 gave me a score of 13,972, and that is with only 64MB of RAM given to the onboard graphics (this board does not have sideport memory.

Its pretty cheap overall, here are the main components.

http://www.ebuyer.com/product/173978
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/168975
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/169489 (2 of these, well not exactly, but its an example)

The reality is that this system with its integrated graphics is not far off of the performance of your 9600xt, and the rest of the system will make your old system look pathetic. Overall the system will likely end up using about the same amount of power under load, and probably somewhat less at idle. You might need to get a new HDD/ODD at the same time as modern motherboards only have one PATA channel. The fan that comes with the CPU is actually not that bad (compared to OEM fans of the past), and the chipset simply does not need any fans.


Andy

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:27 pm 
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andyb wrote:
To be honest, and with the greatest respect to "LM" I would sugest a total PC upgrade


Actually I agree. I must have misread the original post. I did not realize that the system is so old that it has AGP bus etc.

Once the system becomes capable of 1080p at least the next killer app that NEEDS a system upgrade is at least nowhere in sight atm.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:42 pm 
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andyb wrote:
I have sat on my desk, and sew setup, MSI 785GM-E51, Athlon II 245, 2GB DDR-3 1333, and a Samsung F1 320GB HDD, running XP SP3... You might need to get a new HDD/ODD at the same time as modern motherboards only have one PATA channel


I've actually been looking at Gigabyte's 785G boards, though I don't know how they compare to the MSI one. I also wanted an Athlon II 240e, but they are hard to find and it seems most people can undervolt a 240 and be just as good so I'm thinking of doing that. My hard drive is SATA so it would make the move just fine, though I might buy a new optical drive just to get lightscribe and have everything on SATA. My case and PSU could probably suffice, but the case is generic and doesn't breathe well so I figure I might as well get a new one too... that way the old pc can be a backup since it won't be cannibalized to death.

The things holding me back are USB3 and SATA3. Seems like I might want them someday and it would be better if they were integrated into the motherboard. But it looks like that would be a long wait so I should probably just go ahead with this.

Thanks for the tips.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:44 pm 
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usb3 is kinda far off

even if it was on a board it wouldnt be a part of the true chipset until much further down the road. You would be better off with add-on cards. There is nothing to put in slots nowadays anyway right? normally there are 2 pci-e empty and 2 pci empty.

I still use IDE dvd drives. nothing really different about them. I had a couple in boxes unused that were plextors so I wouldnt bother to get a replacement just for sata. I havent seen a board that doesnt have an IDE connector on it.

a dual core plus 4 gigs ram would put you into orbit compared to an ol' xp amd. id try anything at this point.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 6:46 am 
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USB3 will be great, but as ~El~Jefe~ states you can add it on later when you actually have a need.

As far as SATA 3 is concerned, you really are not missing much. The only drives that can churn out data that fast are not the drives themselves, but the cache on them, so until SSD's start to approach 300MB/s you have nothing to worry about in reality. SATA 3 right now is totally pointless, dont fret.

As far as the make of Mobo is concerned, I prefer Gigabyte, and use MSI as my fall back plan. The same chipset on a Gigabyte board currently costs £10 more than that MSI board, and adds better motherboard grounding layers and solid caps all round. We got this board to go into our backup server, and for testing purposes. Chances are we will replace it in a few months with a better board, as we will want to use one board in everything.

You dont have the luxury of doing that at essentially no cost to us, so chose wisely.


Andy

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Main PC, P180, CM Silent Pro 500M, i5 3570k @ 4.2Ghz, 8-GB @ 2,000MHz, 256 GB Samsung 830, 500-GB 7K500, MSI 660Ti Twin Frozr, PC is super quiet :o
Server, 6-TB RAID-5 array, + 2 x 2-TB backup drives, 380W Enermax Pro82+, 4x very quiet fans, positive pressure only, no exhaust fans
Living Room PC, 3500+, 2-GB RAM, HD501LJ


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2009 7:11 am 
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+1 Andyb, right down to mobo brand preference. Gigabyte and MSI boards since the bad cap fiasco have been stellar, IME.

Another problem with an older system is that newer GPUs with an AGP bridge tend to be much slower than the older GPUs, thanks to both PCI-e-centric design (8GB/s full-duplex v. up to 2.1GB/s sort-of-half-duplex), and poorer AGP drivers. Even if you could technically just upgrade the video card, it would still be risky, in terms of actual performance.

You will not regret a new dual or quad. And, like the Athlon XP, get a nice one, with some fast RAM, and you can sit on it for several years.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:45 pm 
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your machine is not old...
a pci vid card of later chipset plugged into a tiny 633 cognac still does the same as any other pc.

this time of year is quite noticable, it just doesn't matter on the net, it can even blur the fronts of the desktop. This year is a bit more active.

This is frustrating with a new machine, and when I didn't know better, I blamed it as well. Rather silly now.

I even thought a 900 athlon was outdated. I got put in my place with facts, thankfully.

you could sincerely go back to 370/462 sockets and o the same freakn things on the net today, vid card permitting.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:54 pm 
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colm wrote:
you could sincerely go back to 370/462 sockets and o the same freakn things on the net today, vid card permitting.


No, you couldn't. It's all CPU work.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:56 pm 
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Monkeh16 wrote:
colm wrote:
you could sincerely go back to 370/462 sockets and o the same freakn things on the net today, vid card permitting.


No, you couldn't. It's all CPU work.

Hmm, I think he might be using Lynx as his web browser...


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