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Old 2009-06-11, 00:04   Link #1
synaesthetic
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Netbooks and Fansubs

I am not positive that I have this in the correct subforum, so forgive me if it's misplaced.

I'm looking at purchasing a netbook computer for various different tasks in the near future, primarily for my writing, but also to have a second computer to use in bed, on the couch watching TV or when I travel.

Most of these netbooks have the Intel Atom N270 processor at 1.6GHz; at least the one I'm looking at does. I'm wondering, if anyone here owns a netbook with the Intel Atom N270 could comment on the machine's performance when watching fansubs?

I get most of my stuff in the .mkv container, and I try to get the higher quality releases, so I'm most interested in how well this works on the netbook platform--do these small computers play back smoothly without skipping audio and video?
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Old 2009-06-11, 02:20   Link #2
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I've found that watching HD fansubs on a netbook works - as long as you have CoreAVC installed. Playing HD fansubs is still going to tax the CPU (etc) quite a bit though, so I can't guarantee if every HD fansub will play smoothly.

Fansubs with resolutions lower than 1280x720 should play without a hitch though, unless the fansub group used softsub karaoke or accidentally encoded it at 60fps or something.
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Old 2009-06-11, 09:59   Link #3
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I suggest getting netbooks with the nVidia ION platform (it may cost a little more, but not much, but should be out this summer) because they will handle video better (especially 1080p) since it contains a dedicated GPU, but only takes RAM like most integrated solutions and unlike GMA 950, it won't use CPU to render the video, but you may still need to install CoreAVC for completely smooth playback.
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Old 2009-06-11, 10:41   Link #4
synaesthetic
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I am thinking of buying an Acer Aspire One due to the small size and small price as well. As I said it's primarily going to be a second computer to supplement my more powerful desktop and will mostly be used for writing on the go, e-mail, looking up walkthroughs and whatnot on the Internet, but I'd also like to use it to watch anime on when not at home, as I have a USB hard drive where all my multimedia is kept and I can easily take that with me.

Refurbished models seem to be in the 150-250 range for the 8.9" variant, while the newer 10.1" models seem to be in the $330-380 range, new in box.

I don't really want to spend a lot on this since it'll be something of a knockaround PC, so I'm going to wait a bit and see what the ION variants cost when they're released.

I'll look into CoreAVC.
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Old 2009-06-11, 17:53   Link #5
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I have a friend with an Aspire and was curious about how well it performed with HD fansubs. I watched the first episode of a 720p/H.264 encode of Nodame Cantabile (either the C1 or Anime-Keep version) after installing smplayer for Windows. It had a bit of a problem with the OP because of its higher bit rate (all those flowing musical notes and such), but the show itself played fine. Nodame probably isn't a good test if you're planning on watching shows with lots of on-screen action, but for many shows with relatively static backgrounds and limited motion, the Aspire should be fine.

Note that both smplayer and mplayer, which does the actual heavy lifting, are entirely free. You might find you don't need CoreAVC at all.
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Old 2009-06-11, 18:39   Link #6
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Dual-core atoms are quite capable, so wait for them to appear in netbooks. And, yes coreavc helps a lot while playing hd content, wittout any problems (at least for the most).
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Old 2009-06-11, 18:53   Link #7
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I don't have anything as high as 1280x720 already and I'm not that much of a stickler for quality in the first place.

Good information though.
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Old 2009-06-11, 21:04   Link #8
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The new n280 processor offers 1.66 ghz and by the end of the year there will be a n450 which will do 2.0ghz
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Old 2009-06-11, 23:25   Link #9
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I'd like to keep the price under 300 though. The more powerful netbooks start approaching the prices I can get a regular (and by default, more powerful still) laptop.

I'd really like the Samsung one, but if it's too nice it will end up being left at home most of the time out of fear of damaging it. A used or refurbished 8.9" Aspire One will likely be what I get. If HD fansubs won't run then I guess I'll stick to SD. =)

Thanks for the info.
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Old 2009-06-12, 05:19   Link #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
I don't have anything as high as 1280x720 already and I'm not that much of a stickler for quality in the first place.
Unless you're planning on hooking the netbook up to a larger screen, then anything higher than 1280x720 is fairly pointless as most (all?) netbooks don't exactly have Full HD displays. Mine (a MSI wind clone) has a 1024x600 display afaik, which means HD content has to be scaled down already (but it's still sharper than upscaling 704x400 SD fansubs).
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Old 2009-06-12, 07:56   Link #11
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http://www.engadget.com/2009/05/25/l...ias-ion-chips/

THis might be what you're looking fo as it is a netbook that supports 1080p
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Old 2009-06-12, 09:45   Link #12
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Originally Posted by Mooglar View Post
http://www.engadget.com/2009/05/25/l...ias-ion-chips/

THis might be what you're looking fo as it is a netbook that supports 1080p
As I said though, with a 1280x800 screen being able to play 1080p video does not really make sense, unless you hook it up to a Full HD display (1920x1080).
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Old 2009-06-12, 10:01   Link #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GHDpro View Post
Unless you're planning on hooking the netbook up to a larger screen, then anything higher than 1280x720 is fairly pointless as most (all?) netbooks don't exactly have Full HD displays. Mine (a MSI wind clone) has a 1024x600 display afaik, which means HD content has to be scaled down already (but it's still sharper than upscaling 704x400 SD fansubs).
This did cross my mind and considering that the screen will be 1024x600 or less, I'm not going to intentionally go out of my way to get high-def content.

Plus, my desktop environment runs at 1024x768 (1280x960 is just too small on a 17" LCD), which means full HD is scaled down... pretty much everywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooglar View Post
http://www.engadget.com/2009/05/25/l...ias-ion-chips/

THis might be what you're looking fo as it is a netbook that supports 1080p
Biggest problem with this one and many of the newer netbooks is they're getting to the point where they aren't any smaller than a regular laptop. If it's not going to be much smaller than a regular lappy with a 14" display, then I might as well just get the more powerful regular laptop.

I'm specifically looking at the 8.9" Aspire One because it's about the same size as a hardback book. Very small, very easy to put in my purse and tote around with me everywhere. The newer 10.1, 11 and 12+ netbooks are leaving the "small and easy to carry" zone and entering the "needs a real laptop bag just like a regular laptop" zone. Which is just too big to carry everywhere.
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Old 2009-07-01, 20:25   Link #14
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Ended up getting an Asus EEE PC 900HD. After a lot of research, the Celeron M 353 appears to perform a lot better than the Atom N270 except in terms of battery life.

This netbook is great, I never expected a 900MHz processor to kick this much ass. I'm not trying to watch 1080p on it, but it does 720p effortlessly without dropped frames, and I'm not even using CoreAVC.

The Atoms will probably get better when the dual core Atoms come out. I'm sad that the 8.9" netbooks seem to be on the way out--the 10.1~2" netbooks are slightly larger, but just large enough to be a pain to carry around. And now they're putting out more 12" netbooks which almost defeats the whole purpose of a netbook...
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Old 2009-07-01, 23:41   Link #15
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Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
This netbook is great, I never expected a 900MHz processor to kick this much ass. I'm not trying to watch 1080p on it, but it does 720p effortlessly without dropped frames, and I'm not even using CoreAVC.

The Atoms will probably get better when the dual core Atoms come out. I'm sad that the 8.9" netbooks seem to be on the way out--the 10.1~2" netbooks are slightly larger, but just large enough to be a pain to carry around. And now they're putting out more 12" netbooks which almost defeats the whole purpose of a netbook...
Good to hear those netbooks can at least handle that much; the reviews I saw never really tackled what they could handle regarding video playback.

IIRC, the dual core Atoms aren't destined for the netbook market because of their higher heat generation and voltage requirements.
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Old 2009-07-02, 00:14   Link #16
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I saw some guy a while ago get Far Cry to run on the very same netbook I bought, and it was totally playable with a steady 20-30 fps.

These things are more powerful than people give them credit for. I think everyone's still a little used to the original 7" netbooks running a neutered Linux distro with slow 2GB SS drives.
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Old 2009-07-02, 12:03   Link #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
Ended up getting an Asus EEE PC 900HD. After a lot of research, the Celeron M 353 appears to perform a lot better than the Atom N270 except in terms of battery life.

This netbook is great, I never expected a 900MHz processor to kick this much ass. I'm not trying to watch 1080p on it, but it does 720p effortlessly without dropped frames, and I'm not even using CoreAVC.

The Atoms will probably get better when the dual core Atoms come out. I'm sad that the 8.9" netbooks seem to be on the way out--the 10.1~2" netbooks are slightly larger, but just large enough to be a pain to carry around. And now they're putting out more 12" netbooks which almost defeats the whole purpose of a netbook...
The Celeron M is basically a Core solo so it's not surprising it outperforms the Atom even at lower clock speed.

Performance per clock of an Atom is not really that good.. Hyperthreading helps compensate for being an in-order cpu so multithreaded apps also gives the Atom a needed boost
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Old 2009-08-06, 12:02   Link #18
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Reviving my old thread.

Concerning video playback, the nVidia ION platform is apparently the way to go. There's a problem--I only see availability of the ION on 12" or larger netbooks in this country, and if I'm going to go that big, I might as well just get a regular laptop with MOAR POWER.

So far the only 10.1" netbook I've found packing the ION is the Mobii ION miniPC from Point of View, but it doesn't appear to be sold in the US, and it uses the desktop variant of the Atom N280, the Atom 230. Battery life suffers considerably as a result.

Really the ION is overkill for what I want to do. I don't want to watch 1080p Blu-ray rips on the netbook. I just want to be able to watch most releases without having to wait on an XviD or 480p version. They don't always come with a lot of groups releasing things in 720p by default now.

My current eee PC 900HD will play 720p h.264 video when on AC power without dropped frames or any issues, but only without softsubs. I've watched unsubbed content on it at 720p with no performance issues, but adding softsubs introduces all sorts of lovely problems. A/V desync, dropped frames, garbled audio and MPC just crashing and closing.

The problem I run into when looking for a solution is that most tests don't take softsubs into account. When I bought this one I went into the deal believing it'd handle 720p h.264 without issue, and it does, until softsubs are added.

I don't want a real laptop because they're big, heavy and expensive. I won't use it, it'll stay at home and collect dust since my desktop gets used. The netbook solution works for me, because it's cheap enough to shrug off the loss with only a slight wince if it's lost, damaged or stolen. But losing a 1k+ real laptop would seriously, seriously hurt.

It's frustrating because I want to be able to watch fansubs on it, and I'm fine as long as I stick to XviD or (most) 480p h.264, though some 480p softsubs seem cause problems as well.

I realize I'm asking an awful lot of a weak processor, but even so, unless there's another option I haven't thought of, I may be looking into importing the ION miniPC at rather high cost to me, which kind of defeats the purpose. ><

Edit: From what I've read, the newer Atom, the N280, has a slightly faster clock speed, but has a large upgrade to the bus speed. I wonder if anyone has experience with this, because I was already looking at picking up an eee PC 1000HE for the better keyboard and much longer battery life.
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Old 2009-08-06, 13:29   Link #19
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have you tried CoreAVC on it? it should speed up decoding a bit with hyperthreading, to leave some more headroom for softsub processing.

also, do the issues go away if you disable the subs on playback for the same file?
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Old 2009-08-06, 14:24   Link #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by npcomplete View Post
have you tried CoreAVC on it? it should speed up decoding a bit with hyperthreading, to leave some more headroom for softsub processing.
I downloaded the free trial of CoreAVC to see if it improved things any. It didn't--the same issues existed with or without CoreAVC.

The eee PC 900HD has the Celeron 353 M processor. Is it even capable of hyperthreading? I don't know.

Quote:
also, do the issues go away if you disable the subs on playback for the same file?
They do, completely. The file plays just fine. I was particularly having problems with [gg]'s releases of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, which aren't even 720p, they're 480p. A few other 480p releases have been difficult, but most play just fine--for instance, Chihiro's Haruhi Suzumiya releases, CoalGuys' K-On releases, all play just fine at 480p with softsubs.

But all 720p releases I've tried, regardless of particular release or file, the sound gets ahead of the video and there are considerable dropped frames and eventually, the audio gets distorted. This is using either CoreAVC or libavcodec to decode h.264.
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