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Old 2011-06-08, 03:25   Link #1
timgorden11
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Will these specs be able to run 720p anime ok?

Hello,

I'm looking to get a cheap spare computer for the family room and I'd like to know if people think the specs of one I've found will be able to play 720p (or maybe even 1080p) soft subbed .mkv anime smoothly (using mpc with coreavc or vlc)

Intel Dual Core - E5700 3.0Ghz - 4GB DDR3 RAM - Integrated (Onboard) Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator X4500

Thanks
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Old 2011-06-08, 08:43   Link #2
SeijiSensei
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I'd spring for an NVIDIA card myself. Intel's offerings are targeted more at the workplace and commodity markets where video and gaming performance doesn't matter so much.

Another good option for a family-room system are these little "nettop" devices that sport the NVIDIA ION platform. True, they only have Atom processors, but that won't matter if all you're interested in is video playback since you'll be using the hardware-accelerated graphics processor that's part of ION.

You might it instructive to browse this forum at AVSForum.
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Old 2011-06-08, 09:04   Link #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Submit=ENE&IsNodeId=1&Description=nettop&bop=And&O rder=PRICE&PageSize=20"]nettop[/URL]" devices that sport the NVIDIA ION platform. True, they only have Atom processors, but that won't matter if all you're interested in is video playback since you'll be using the hardware-accelerated graphics processor that's part of ION.[/URL].
I'd hold any investments in hardware acceleration only anime playback - fansubbers might switch to 10bit H.264 encoding this year, rendering all current DXVA solutions useless.
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Old 2011-06-08, 21:07   Link #4
Random32
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fansubbers switch encoding too fast imho. They seem to make assumptions like that everyone is obsessed with quality and is using a high end gaming desktop. Two assumptions that I think tend to be false more often than true.

Your computer is fast enough for CoreAVC according to what CoreAVC says from 1080p. I think its probably good enough for VLC as well.

I wouldn't buy an ION nettop since you can't rely solely on GPU acceleration working for everything and AMD Zacate is much better, if rather limited in supply.
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Old 2011-06-08, 21:20   Link #5
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Well ... I agree that upgrading your graphics card might not be a bad idea. The other specs of the desktop should be fine for viewing 720p though.
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Old 2011-06-09, 11:56   Link #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Random32 View Post
fansubbers switch encoding too fast imho. They seem to make assumptions like that everyone is obsessed with quality and is using a high end gaming desktop. Two assumptions that I think tend to be false more often than true.

Your computer is fast enough for CoreAVC according to what CoreAVC says from 1080p. I think its probably good enough for VLC as well.

I wouldn't buy an ION nettop since you can't rely solely on GPU acceleration working for everything and AMD Zacate is much better, if rather limited in supply.
If you cannot decode 720p h264 using only your CPU you're using a small plastic toy, not a computer. Any >= 2GHz desktop CPU (as in, not one of those VIA toys or an Atom) newer than ~2004 or so will be able to do it. I've personally managed to play 720p h264 using a 1.4 GHz Celeron laptop I bought in 2005 (but without softsubs, mind).

Of course, most people's computers are full of spyware, antivirus software, "internet security" suites and other funny background tasks, which is why they go complaining on the internet that their computer is slow.
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01:04:41 < Plorkyeran> it was annoying to typeset so it should be annoying to read
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Old 2011-06-09, 16:02   Link #7
cyberbeing
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It should be fine the majority of the time for 720p and the occasional 1080p fansub. The main issues you'll run into with non-modern CPUs (i.e. the E5700 is two generations old tech from 4 years ago) is slow soft-sub effects. VSFilter is single-threaded and can have some significant performance bottlenecks when too much is going on at the same time in a given frame.

[BeginRant]
Unfortunately, some groups don't take time to ensure that typesetting and karaoke is able to playback in real-time, with CPU-decoding, on slightly older hardware. Usually this isn't a problem 95%+ of the time, but you'll occasionally run into extremes with typesetting/kara which can only run in real-time on overclocked Intel Core i7 computers, as the result of massive stupidity. Attempting to avoid such issues, I personally wouldn't consider anything with lower single-thread performance than an Intel Core i3 (Sandy Bridge) for hassle-free anime playback. The just released Core i3-2105 looks like a good-bet for a budget machine without a discrete GPU. Of course that sets the bar to perfect 1080p playback, rather than acceptable 720p playback.
[/EndRant]
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Old 2011-06-10, 05:58   Link #8
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I'm just gonna say... most likely.

The Intel Pentium E5700 was released in August 2010 although it's old technology. That's plenty of RAM there (more than I have) with respect to the CPU and GPU. The graphics is apparently the weakest component. Integrated GPU's from Intel are... so not cool. You aren't gaming though so it may suffice for 720p video playback. I wouldn't bank on 1080p playback. If the Intel graphics solution is underperforming then adding a low-end video card should do the trick.
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Old 2011-06-11, 09:14   Link #9
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With the combo of CCCP and CoreAVC you should be easily able to play 1080p with those specs.
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Old 2011-06-14, 08:00   Link #10
timgorden11
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wow thanks for so many replys.

so basically it should easily be able to play 720p and some 1080p (although a dedicated graphics would help a lot)

About the cpu (which i no nothing about) would an intel dual core G620 with 2.6Ghz be better than the E5700 3.0Ghz?

Thanks again
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Old 2011-06-14, 11:43   Link #11
TurkeyPotPie
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You should be fine with the E5700. I use a couple of old PCs as media players. A Pentium 4 2.8GHz from 2002 with CoreAVC will play 720p videos with softsubs as long as there aren't any crazy karaoke effects. It just barely plays them though (CPU around 90%) so I have to run a really stripped down installation of XP with absolutely no crap running in the background. I also have an old 2.8GHz Pentium D from 2005 (still the same old Netburst architecture as the P4, not Core), and it runs 720p with softsubs just fine (uses up most of one core, but with two cores there's less need to worry about background processes interrupting playback).
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Old 2011-06-14, 14:07   Link #12
0utf0xZer0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sneaker View Post
I'd hold any investments in hardware acceleration only anime playback - fansubbers might switch to 10bit H.264 encoding this year, rendering all current DXVA solutions useless.
Not to mention, I have yet to find a DXVA solution that doesn't have at least some subtitle formatting bugs. You want to do it all on the CPU if you can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberbeing View Post
It should be fine the majority of the time for 720p and the occasional 1080p fansub. The main issues you'll run into with non-modern CPUs (i.e. the E5700 is two generations old tech from 4 years ago) is slow soft-sub effects. VSFilter is single-threaded and can have some significant performance bottlenecks when too much is going on at the same time in a given frame.
and

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberbeing View Post
Usually this isn't a problem 95%+ of the time, but you'll occasionally run into extremes with typesetting/kara which can only run in real-time on overclocked Intel Core i7 computers, as the result of massive stupidity.
QFT. I think its pretty clear right now that subtitles are the bane of anime watcher's existance when it comes to building/buying cheap HTPCs or laptops - basically anything where you're not going to have a super powerful CPU.

Some questions for Cyberbeing though:
-If VSfilter is single threaded, I take it sheer clock speed is very important?
-Is the i3 really that much better than the e5700? Again, aren't the clock speeds similar? I didn't think architecture improvements mattered much for decoding.
-Finally, any thoughts on what mobile chips are "fansub ready"? Been thinking of getting a Asus 1215B for school due to the price and weight, but given that my 2.2ghz AMD dual core desktop sometimes struggles with some encodes, I'm pretty sure the 1.6 AMD dual core in the 1215B would have trouble. I'm wondering if there's anything that would provide more substantial performance without making me spend too much.
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Old 2011-06-14, 15:33   Link #13
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Clockspeed alone means nothing. A modern 2GHz Sandy Bridge CPU is not slower than a 4GHz Pentium 4, obviously. What matters for single threaded apps is per-clock speed and modern Intel CPUs have dynamic overclocking through Turbo Boost when appropriate.

Unless there's some wonky issues with the softsubs themselves, a Core i3, Clarkdale or SNB, should be able to handle it without issue. The real problem comes when trying to build a fanless HTPC, where you're working with the P4-level performance of an Atom or Brazos CPU. The GPU decoding can be useful, but using DXVA means you're forced to use MPC's internal subtitle renderer, so you lose effects and stuff may not display properly.

If I were building an HTPC, I'd probably just forget going fanless and drop in an SNB Core i3 for the Quick Sync capability of Intel's new IGP.
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Old 2011-06-14, 21:31   Link #14
0utf0xZer0
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Yeah, I know P4s have terrible performance per clock, but I also remember hearing that Athlon X2s and Core 2 Duos had similar decoding performance at the same clocks despite the Core 2 being much faster at other tasks. Makes me wonder if Sandy Bridge actually has any benefit for CPU driven video playback.

There is turbo, but from what I can see that's not available on mobile i3s. (And weirdly, Lenovo doesn't mention any turbo for the i5-2410m varient of the X220 either, despite the fact the chip should have it and the fact that X220s with higher end i5s are advertised as having such.
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Old 2011-06-14, 23:07   Link #15
Random32
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Performance at various tasks can be very different. Generally per clock per core C2D is slightly better than Athlon II. i3 tends to be a bit faster than C2D, but I doubt it will do a noticeably better job a rendering heavy subs.

Intels naming scheme sucks. Some i5's indeed do not support turbo. The Xeon naming scheme was okay, but now it's this e3/5/7 bs just like the desktop/mobile. Hopefully Opty's won't suffer from poor naming, but AMD just did an Intel naming scheme for their desktop/mobile as well.

C2D is not related to i3 much. It's a huge uarch change going from Core2 to Nehalem. I would not base Nehalem/Westmere/SB/IB performance estimate in a specific task from Core2 performance in the same task.

btw, we have so many issues with vsfilter it seems...
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Old 2011-06-14, 23:36   Link #16
Stealthtank
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Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
If I were building an HTPC, I'd probably just forget going fanless and drop in an SNB Core i3 for the Quick Sync capability of Intel's new IGP.
The Quick Sync feature of Intel's Sandy Bridge CPU's can only be used when you're running your display from it's integrated HD Graphics if I have my info right. Unless you have the Z68 chipset that is. Even so, Quick Sync only accelerates video transcoding. I'm not entirely sure how that may be useful in an HTPC unless that's what they're used for.

I guess media players have a big impact on performance from what I'm reading. I use VLC (hah) myself and Media Player Classic with CCCP when I need to. I've never seen nor knew that subtitles could bring a modern PC to a crawl. Then again I spend more time on this forum than actually watching anime so I don't know why I'm here...
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Old 2011-06-15, 00:36   Link #17
0utf0xZer0
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Originally Posted by Random32 View Post
Intels naming scheme sucks.
Tell me about it. I prefer the really old schemes where you could tell the clock speed from the name, but that's going way back.

Quote:
Some i5's indeed do not support turbo.
Yeah, but what I'm running into is an i5 (the i5-2410m) which has turbo mode listed in Intel's chip identifier too, but not in descriptions of a Lenovo laptop that has the chip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealthtank View Post
I guess media players have a big impact on performance from what I'm reading. I use VLC (hah) myself and Media Player Classic with CCCP when I need to. I've never seen nor knew that subtitles could bring a modern PC to a crawl. Then again I spend more time on this forum than actually watching anime so I don't know why I'm here...
VLC's subtitle renderer is much faster than VSfilter (used in CCCP) in my experience. VSFilter's strength is compatibility but definitely not speed.

For the frequent VLC users out there, how is the player compatibility wise? In my (limited) experience, the subtitle rendering was quite good, even dealing with some stuff that didn't work right on MPC-HC's internal renderer (the one used when you select DXVA), but I did find that certain files had issues if I tried to skip past scenes. And of course, it still doesn't have ordered chapters support.
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Old 2011-06-15, 11:56   Link #18
Random32
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VLC plays most stuff you throw at it in my experience. Not always correctly, but it will play and it will work somewhat, which is better than not working at all. I use VLC as a backup for things that don't work in MPC + CCCP.

I don't really like the clockspeed naming schemes since clock isn't the only thing that matters. Its still better than the new naming schemes though.

It seems that Intel says that too. I was thinking about VT-d which the 2410M doesn't support according to Intel, but the other i5's do. I would fire Lenovo a email about that.

Most good groups don't do subtitles that are extremely heavy so thats why you haven't encountered subs that have trouble rendering yet.

On the topic of mobile chips that are fansub ready. I think someone should create a VSFilter benchmark.

On the topic of the ULV AMD chips. Turion Neo L625 is better than the newer Fusion E-350 at rendering heavy subs according to a friend with both a Thinkpad X100e and X120e which use those two chips. Neither of them do a good job at rendering really heavy stuff though. I think the Fusion E-450 which should be coming out by the end of summer does Turbo, so there should be a small improvement there. Standard Voltage parts of the next generation (Llano) are just coming out. The review chip which is 3rd fastest in AMD's lineup is high end i3 to low end i5 speed in most tasks.
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Old 2011-06-16, 09:59   Link #19
cyberbeing
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Quick re-hash of a couple points.

Slow soft-subs indeed aren't currently a significant problem, but there is a potential for it to get worse into the future as fansubber's hardware gets faster and faster. If you care about planning for such a thing it's up to you. For all we know, fansubbing could be even more on life-support in a few years.

Sandy Bridge CPUs are up to 50% faster clock for clock compared to Penryn. They are the king of single thread performance today. The E5700 would need to be overclocked to ~4.5Ghz to be comparable to a 3.0Ghz Sandy Bridge. Ivy Bridge set for release in 2012, will be another large leap and will supposedly be up to 37% faster clock for clock than Sandy Bridge. A 2.2Ghz Ivy Bridge may be equal to a 3.0Ghz Sandy Bridge which is equal to a 4.5Ghz Penryn. If a 1.6Ghz Ivy Bridge mobile chip ends up by chance having equal performance to the E5700 desktop chip, you are just asking for trouble in 2012.

libass (used in mplayer & vlc) is significantly faster at rendering complex subtitles compared to vsfilter. If you are running into issues and enabling pre-buffering in vsfilter doesn't help, try using libass. If libass also fails, extract the soft-subs, remove/fix the offending lines, and re-mux or use as external subs. A vsfilter benchmark wouldn't be very useful, since the soft-sub effects which can cause trouble are often unique creations.

If you're intent on buying low-cost budget hardware from previous generations, you should plan on upgrading your computer every 6 months to a year as needed. If you buy from the current generation of hardware, you can get away with upgrading less often. Beginning with Nehalem in late-2008, Intel has been maintaining a 1-2 generation lead ahead of AMD in terms of IPC on desktop chip, which is also something you need to keep in mind when doing upgrades. That is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. As for mobile chips, I have little experience watching fansubs on a laptop, and I only follow desktop tech advances, so I'm unable to offer recommendations.
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Last edited by cyberbeing; 2011-06-16 at 11:19.
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Old 2011-06-16, 10:26   Link #20
sneaker
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Originally Posted by cyberbeing View Post
libass (used in mplayer/vlc/ffdshow)
ffdshow uses its own renderer AFAIK.
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