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  1. #1

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    Default Anyone else use an HTPC?

    I've always enjoyed using one of my PCs as an HTPC because of the large variety of music and video files that I have in my collection. Moving from SD to HD though, I've noticed a recurring trend in my videos, and I wanted to put it out there and see if it's something in my setup or just how HD works nowadays.

    Here are the relevant specs of my current HTPC (which doubles as my gaming rig too at the moment)

    Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
    Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready (handles the audio as well, since I don't have my system anymore)

    My TV is in my sig below. I have a single HDMI cable going from my video card into my TV.

    Here's the issue - In scenes with fast-moving action or transitions (especially noticeable in animated movies), it looks like the movie is skipping every other frame. I'm pretty sure that's not what's actually happening, since the overall movie and sound don't seem to be effected by the "skipping". I'm just trying to provide a visual as to what it looks like.

    This has persisted through different computers, hard drives, and video cards...and maybe 1 other TV...Although it could have been this same tv.

    Ideas? Suggestions?
    Quote Originally Posted by MrNightly View Post
    "Dr Dunn admitted that his research could also be interpreted as evidence that women are shallower than men. He said: "Let's face it - there's evidence to support it."
    Quote Originally Posted by mystik610 View Post
    Best Buy is for people who don't know any better. Magnolia is for people who don't know any better and have more money to spend.
    My System:


    Blu-Ray player: Samsung BD-P1600
    TV: SAMSUNG UN55B7000 55" 1080p LED HDTV

  2. #2

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    What FPS is your video card out putting? 24fps or 30fps or 60fps?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drenis View Post
    What FPS is your video card out putting? 24fps or 30fps or 60fps?
    Now THAT is something I never thought to find out...
    Quote Originally Posted by MrNightly View Post
    "Dr Dunn admitted that his research could also be interpreted as evidence that women are shallower than men. He said: "Let's face it - there's evidence to support it."
    Quote Originally Posted by mystik610 View Post
    Best Buy is for people who don't know any better. Magnolia is for people who don't know any better and have more money to spend.
    My System:


    Blu-Ray player: Samsung BD-P1600
    TV: SAMSUNG UN55B7000 55" 1080p LED HDTV

  4. #4

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    That SHOULDN'T be happening with that hardware, sounds software related.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Face View Post
    That SHOULDN'T be happening with that hardware, sounds software related.
    +1

    What software are you using to play your video, and what video standard are you using mostly? You'd be amazed at how many frames you can drop without coming out of sync with the audio.
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  6. #6

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    Check out what you have running in the background, disable anything you don't need, anti-virus, etc...
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Face View Post
    That SHOULDN'T be happening with that hardware, sounds software related.
    That was my first thought.
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

  8. #8

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    Are you running Win 7 64bit?

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  9. #9

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    I don't have any help for you, but i just wanted to voice the fact that I have used a HTPC before, and i will be building a nice new one within the next year.

    There are some awesome video cards out now that can output 1080p HD video as well has the new hi-res lossless audio formats via HDMI. Pretty awesome. Add a BR drive and you're done.

    I've seen some cool cases that are horizontally oriented and have a volume control knob and other DVD type buttons on the front. In a rack they just look like a thick BR player.
    2-Channel:

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    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
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    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  10. #10

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    Not trying to thread jack... and if someone thinks that I am then I will simply start another thread.

    I have 2 Tivo's and would buy a 3rd newer version but their cost is too high for me. At that price I would rather look into a HTPC that I have more control of. Can I get some general feedback on setup such as:
    - what software is the most user friendly (Tivo like, has most WAF)? MythTV, SageTV? Freevo?
    - Is a quiet, low energy consuming setup possible? An Intel Core i5-2500K which consumes 60-90W by itself doesn't seem energy efficient.
    - Is channel listing a paid or free service?
    - Any options of a pre-made HTPC or standalone DVR that is not tied to a particular service company. Something like a WD TV Live with recording abilities?

    Thanks for your initial feedback.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by disneyjoe7 View Post
    Are you running Win 7 64bit?
    Great question. Known issues with Win 7 x64 and video stuttering.

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  12. #12

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    I am running Win 7 x64, and I've always ran the 64-bit version of every OS since XP.

    As for software, I've used many different programs for playing back video: VLC, WMP, MPC, KMP.
    Usually I have the k-lite codec pack installed as well, but I'm using VLC now and it has all the necessary codecs built-in.
    Quote Originally Posted by MrNightly View Post
    "Dr Dunn admitted that his research could also be interpreted as evidence that women are shallower than men. He said: "Let's face it - there's evidence to support it."
    Quote Originally Posted by mystik610 View Post
    Best Buy is for people who don't know any better. Magnolia is for people who don't know any better and have more money to spend.
    My System:


    Blu-Ray player: Samsung BD-P1600
    TV: SAMSUNG UN55B7000 55" 1080p LED HDTV

  13. #13

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    For Win 7 x64, it is recommended that you use the Haali Matroska video splitter and ffdshow for the smoothest playback. Not sure what is included in the K-Lite pack, but those are really the only two you should need.

    RT-12, CS350-LS, PSW-300, Infinity Overture 1, Monoprice RC-65i
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    Monster AVL-300, HTS-2500 MKII

  14. #14

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    I believe the k-lite pack includes both of those...I'm not sure what VLC has built-in though.
    Quote Originally Posted by MrNightly View Post
    "Dr Dunn admitted that his research could also be interpreted as evidence that women are shallower than men. He said: "Let's face it - there's evidence to support it."
    Quote Originally Posted by mystik610 View Post
    Best Buy is for people who don't know any better. Magnolia is for people who don't know any better and have more money to spend.
    My System:


    Blu-Ray player: Samsung BD-P1600
    TV: SAMSUNG UN55B7000 55" 1080p LED HDTV

  15. #15

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    Wouldn't hurt to install the latest updates of each, just in case.

    RT-12, CS350-LS, PSW-300, Infinity Overture 1, Monoprice RC-65i
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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Syndil View Post
    For Win 7 x64, it is recommended that you use the Haali Matroska video splitter and ffdshow for the smoothest playback. Not sure what is included in the K-Lite pack, but those are really the only two you should need.
    That has been my experience. VLC isn't nearly as smooth on my x64 box as haali/ffdshow. The K-lite pack has it, but I actually prefer CCCP (Combined Community Codec Pack), which also has it.
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  17. #17

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    Should I switch to MPC or KMP then? VLC doesn't make use of any codecs installed besides those built into the program.
    Quote Originally Posted by MrNightly View Post
    "Dr Dunn admitted that his research could also be interpreted as evidence that women are shallower than men. He said: "Let's face it - there's evidence to support it."
    Quote Originally Posted by mystik610 View Post
    Best Buy is for people who don't know any better. Magnolia is for people who don't know any better and have more money to spend.
    My System:


    Blu-Ray player: Samsung BD-P1600
    TV: SAMSUNG UN55B7000 55" 1080p LED HDTV

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanjoachim View Post
    Here's the issue - In scenes with fast-moving action or transitions (especially noticeable in animated movies), it looks like the movie is skipping every other frame. I'm pretty sure that's not what's actually happening, since the overall movie and sound don't seem to be effected by the "skipping". I'm just trying to provide a visual as to what it looks like.

    This has persisted through different computers, hard drives, and video cards...and maybe 1 other TV...Although it could have been this same tv.

    Ideas? Suggestions?
    It sounds like a typical 3:2 pulldown issue. This is what happens when you try to output a 24fps video to a 30/60hz device. Many blu-ray players are able to get around this by outputting at 24hz to a 24hz capable TV. See if your video card can handle outputting a 24hz signal if your TV supports it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Syndil View Post
    Great question. Known issues with Win 7 x64 and video stuttering.
    I'd like to know where you heard that. I run Win7 x64 on a Dell Precision M6300 laptop with nVidia Quadro 1600M GPU and a Dell Precision M6600 laptop with nVidia Quadro 3000M GPU. I get no video stuttering at all on either system. On the M6600, I've played video through both the Quadro GPU and the on-chip Intel HD3000 graphics (this system uses Optimus technology). This includes both on the built-in screens, as well as output via VGA and HDMI to an LCD TV, and including very high bitrate 1080p videos.

    Quote Originally Posted by Syndil View Post
    For Win 7 x64, it is recommended that you use the Haali Matroska video splitter and ffdshow for the smoothest playback. Not sure what is included in the K-Lite pack, but those are really the only two you should need.
    I agree with using Haali and ffdshow, but I wouldn't recommend installing a codec pack. Codec packs tend to cause more problems than they fix. As for the player, I like Zoom Player.
    Last edited by BeefJerky; 12-08-2011 at 04:40 PM.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by BeefJerky View Post
    It sounds like a typical 3:2 pulldown issue. This is what happens when you try to output a 24fps video to a 30/60hz device. Many blu-ray players are able to get around this by outputting at 24hz to a 24hz capable TV. See if your video card can handle outputting a 24hz signal if your TV supports it.


    I'd like to know where you heard that. I run Win7 x64 on a Dell Precision M6300 laptop with nVidia Quadro 1600M GPU and a Dell Precision M6600 laptop with nVidia Quadro 3000M GPU. I get no video stuttering at all on either system. On the M6600, I've played video through both the Quadro GPU and the on-chip Intel HD3000 graphics (this system uses Optimus technology). This includes both on the built-in screens, as well as output via VGA and HDMI to an LCD TV, and including very high bitrate 1080p videos.


    I agree with using Haali and ffdshow, but I wouldn't recommend installing a codec pack. Codec packs tend to cause more problems than they fix. As for the player, I like Zoom Player.
    Some great info there, and I'll have to remember to check on the Hz settings tonight. I've never heard of Zoom player though, I'll have to check it out.
    Quote Originally Posted by MrNightly View Post
    "Dr Dunn admitted that his research could also be interpreted as evidence that women are shallower than men. He said: "Let's face it - there's evidence to support it."
    Quote Originally Posted by mystik610 View Post
    Best Buy is for people who don't know any better. Magnolia is for people who don't know any better and have more money to spend.
    My System:


    Blu-Ray player: Samsung BD-P1600
    TV: SAMSUNG UN55B7000 55" 1080p LED HDTV

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by BeefJerky View Post
    I'd like to know where you heard that. I run Win7 x64 on a Dell Precision M6300 laptop with nVidia Quadro 1600M GPU and a Dell Precision M6600 laptop with nVidia Quadro 3000M GPU. I get no video stuttering at all on either system. On the M6600, I've played video through both the Quadro GPU and the on-chip Intel HD3000 graphics (this system uses Optimus technology), and neither have that problem.
    Search the Googles... Lots of people have problems with video stuttering running Win 7 x64. Probably something to do with the default codecs that come with Win 7 x64, so if you've installed Haali and ffdshow, then that should take care of it. But it's nothing to do with the hardware.

    There's also apparently some settings you can change for the specific codecs that may help:

    http://www.gollyjer.com/2011/01/4-st...tter-free.html

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  21. #21

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    Also if running a Raid drive setup could cause stuttering issues. For the record I run 32 bit Win 7 home, I read some where myself that 64bit could cause problems, and WMC is 32bit program anyway.

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  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanjoachim View Post
    Should I switch to MPC or KMP then? VLC doesn't make use of any codecs installed besides those built into the program.
    I would suggest using Media Player Classic - Homecinema. It comes with K-lite and CCCP. It's very simple, and has very little overhead.
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  23. #23

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    I installed Haali and ffdshow, and MPC-HC.

    I also checked the Hz my video card was outputting, and it appears to have been using 1920x1080p@60Hz...although it does support 24Hz. I switched between them to see what happened and it was really bad under 24Hz. I switched back to 60 and it seemed to fix the problem for a lot of movies...but not all of them.

    So I installed the codecs and tried a few videos in mPC-HC and VLC. VLC still stuttered on some movies, while MPC-HC played them back flawlessly. I'll stick with MPC-HC for now and keep an eye on which videos continue to cause issues...maybe it's a problem with the codec used in the ripping process.
    Quote Originally Posted by MrNightly View Post
    "Dr Dunn admitted that his research could also be interpreted as evidence that women are shallower than men. He said: "Let's face it - there's evidence to support it."
    Quote Originally Posted by mystik610 View Post
    Best Buy is for people who don't know any better. Magnolia is for people who don't know any better and have more money to spend.
    My System:


    Blu-Ray player: Samsung BD-P1600
    TV: SAMSUNG UN55B7000 55" 1080p LED HDTV

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanjoachim View Post
    I installed Haali and ffdshow, and MPC-HC.

    I also checked the Hz my video card was outputting, and it appears to have been using 1920x1080p@60Hz...although it does support 24Hz. I switched between them to see what happened and it was really bad under 24Hz. I switched back to 60 and it seemed to fix the problem for a lot of movies...but not all of them.

    So I installed the codecs and tried a few videos in mPC-HC and VLC. VLC still stuttered on some movies, while MPC-HC played them back flawlessly. I'll stick with MPC-HC for now and keep an eye on which videos continue to cause issues...maybe it's a problem with the codec used in the ripping process.
    If your converting your rips to mp4 or Divx etc.. This is most likely your problem especially if your doing the conversion as you rip them. I might suggest that you rip them unconverted to the hard drive first then convert them. This is the reasion I gave up converting my DVD's and bought a bunch of 2TB HD's now I just rip the DVD's in there original format to the HD and play them that way. BTW I'm using Vista Home Premium WMC 64 bit without a hitch.
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    All of my rips are MKV and most of them are xvid or x/h264. There's the occasional avi mixed in, but besides that they're ALL MKV.

    What can I say? I like the container.
    Quote Originally Posted by MrNightly View Post
    "Dr Dunn admitted that his research could also be interpreted as evidence that women are shallower than men. He said: "Let's face it - there's evidence to support it."
    Quote Originally Posted by mystik610 View Post
    Best Buy is for people who don't know any better. Magnolia is for people who don't know any better and have more money to spend.
    My System:


    Blu-Ray player: Samsung BD-P1600
    TV: SAMSUNG UN55B7000 55" 1080p LED HDTV

  26. #26

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    Load this...
    http://shark007.net/win7codecs.html

    Then load the 64bit fix.
    http://shark007.net/x64components1.html

    Best installed after a clean install to prevent prior codecs from interfering but you might get lucky. I hate chasing down codec issues so best of luck to you because I'm going to run and hide now.

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Syndil View Post
    Search the Googles... Lots of people have problems with video stuttering running Win 7 x64. Probably something to do with the default codecs that come with Win 7 x64, so if you've installed Haali and ffdshow, then that should take care of it. But it's nothing to do with the hardware.

    There's also apparently some settings you can change for the specific codecs that may help:

    http://www.gollyjer.com/2011/01/4-st...tter-free.html
    I did a search, and discovered that there are just as many people who have these issues with the x86 version of Windows 7 as the x64 version. In addition, there are a ton of people who had these issues with Windows XP. This certainly doesn't seem like something even remotely isolated to Windows 7 x64.

    Quote Originally Posted by disneyjoe7 View Post
    Also if running a Raid drive setup could cause stuttering issues. For the record I run 32 bit Win 7 home, I read some where myself that 64bit could cause problems, and WMC is 32bit program anyway.
    This sounds like a load of misinformation to me. I have used many RAID setups over the years, including hardware, software and fakeRAID. I also used levels 0, 1 and 5.

    To put it bluntly, I have never experienced a problem like you are describing with any of the RAID setups. Truthfully, something would have to be *very* wrong to cause these problems.

    In fact, I currently have a combination of RAID 0 and RAID 1 in my media server - zero problems. I also have a RAID 0 setup in my laptop - again, no problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by ryanjoachim View Post
    I installed Haali and ffdshow, and MPC-HC.

    I also checked the Hz my video card was outputting, and it appears to have been using 1920x1080p@60Hz...although it does support 24Hz. I switched between them to see what happened and it was really bad under 24Hz. I switched back to 60 and it seemed to fix the problem for a lot of movies...but not all of them.

    So I installed the codecs and tried a few videos in mPC-HC and VLC. VLC still stuttered on some movies, while MPC-HC played them back flawlessly. I'll stick with MPC-HC for now and keep an eye on which videos continue to cause issues...maybe it's a problem with the codec used in the ripping process.
    I remember I had a card that would support 24hz output, but never did work well with it. I didn't ever bother figuring out whether it was hardware or software related. Have you tried updated to the latest video card drivers?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BeefJerky View Post

    This sounds like a load of misinformation to me. I have used many RAID setups over the years, including hardware, software and fakeRAID. I also used levels 0, 1 and 5.

    To put it bluntly, I have never experienced a problem like you are describing with any of the RAID setups. Truthfully, something would have to be *very* wrong to cause these problems.

    In fact, I currently have a combination of RAID 0 and RAID 1 in my media server - zero problems. I also have a RAID 0 setup in my laptop - again, no problems.



    To add some background to my HTPC and the RAID issues.


    When I built this HTPC I googled it and these equipment was recommend.

    P7H55-M LX (I got a P7H55-M PRO, store didn't have a LX board)

    i3 530 CPU (I forget why something about video output on that MoBo)

    Got a video card because I couldn't get the TV to work with the HDMI out on the MoBo.*

    ATI Radeon HD 5670 1GB

    Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 tuner

    Windows 7 32bit Home (Since WMC is 32bit and 64bit could cause problems for this)


    Ok fear enough I built it, with a 1.5t drive to store shows, and 300gig for OS. One month later 1.5t drive was fulled Gee ONE MONTH!

    Added another 1.5t drive that should fix it. I use one for 1.5t drive for TV, and use the other 1.5t for Movies. Sounded cool..... But Windows 7 WMC doesn't like more then 3 drives, it gets confused. Then it states it doesn't have space to recorded that show. So back to one 1.5t drive with the 300gig drive for the OS. Then I understood I could RAID some drives call it for 1 drive Windows WMC shouldn't be confused. Cool idea but.... Motherboard doesn't do RAID anything.

    So I rebuilt the HTPC and got some other 1.5t drives, and another Motherboard P7P55D-E LX.... Had problems with it looked really cool with 4 1.5t drives RAID 5 with a 300gig OS drive got C:/, D:/ dvd, and E:/ TV cool loved it. Windows 7 WMC didn't like it.... Stuttering problems.


    I think either the parts didn't work together well for WMC... The processor was too little? Not sure but could
    n't get the WMC to work nice even if I did RAID 0 or 1. So in the end rebuilt it again using the P7H55 MoBo. With 2 1.5t drives the first one partition 100gig for OS and rest for TV, the other drive is for Movies. It works WMC doesn't get confused everything works.



    * Note.

    I think my problem was that my Plasma TV doesn't like anything that is not 720p or 1080i and the computer liked to have 1078x768 TV doesn't do anything I found out later.

    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
    Sub Paradigm Servo 15

    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
    Parasound Halo A23
    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR



  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by disneyjoe7 View Post
    To add some background to my HTPC and the RAID issues.


    When I built this HTPC I googled it and these equipment was recommend.

    P7H55-M LX (I got a P7H55-M PRO, store didn't have a LX board)

    i3 530 CPU (I forget why something about video output on that MoBo)

    Got a video card because I couldn't get the TV to work with the HDMI out on the MoBo.*

    ATI Radeon HD 5670 1GB

    Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 tuner

    Windows 7 32bit Home (Since WMC is 32bit and 64bit could cause problems for this)
    I still don't understand this fear of 64-bit Vista or Win7; even a Google search turned up just as many problems with the 32-bit versions. Yes, WinXP x64 had a lot of issues, mainly driver related, but that is no longer the case. By the way, your CD key will work with the 64-bit edition of the OS as well; don't be afraid to try it.


    Ok fear enough I built it, with a 1.5t drive to store shows, and 300gig for OS. One month later 1.5t drive was fulled Gee ONE MONTH!

    Added another 1.5t drive that should fix it. I use one for 1.5t drive for TV, and use the other 1.5t for Movies. Sounded cool..... But Windows 7 WMC doesn't like more then 3 drives, it gets confused. Then it states it doesn't have space to recorded that show. So back to one 1.5t drive with the 300gig drive for the OS. Then I understood I could RAID some drives call it for 1 drive Windows WMC shouldn't be confused. Cool idea but.... Motherboard doesn't do RAID anything.

    So I rebuilt the HTPC and got some other 1.5t drives, and another Motherboard P7P55D-E LX.... Had problems with it looked really cool with 4 1.5t drives RAID 5 with a 300gig OS drive got C:/, D:/ dvd, and E:/ TV cool loved it. Windows 7 WMC didn't like it.... Stuttering problems.
    Okay, that is probably the primary issue. RAID 5 is very CPU intensive unlike RAID 0 or RAID 1, and this is something I failed to mention in my prior post. I've used it successfully with a hardware-accelerated RAID card, but I wouldn't try it with a software/fakeRAID solution. I stick with RAID 0 or 1 (or combinations thereof) for software/fakeRAID solutions; haven't had a problem yet.

    I think either the parts didn't work together well for WMC...
    That could be, but I think your problem was more your choice of RAID 5. However, sometimes there are compatibility issues that are run into with home-built systems. If you want to avoid those, buy a pre-built system; there's nothing wrong with going that route.

    The processor was too little?
    With software RAID 5? Probably. With RAID 0, RAID 1 or spanned volume? Absolutely not. Even the base i3 is more powerful than the Celeron 430 I have in my media server, and it does just fine with software RAID 0 and RAID 1.

    Not sure but couldn't get the WMC to work nice even if I did RAID 0 or 1. So in the end rebuilt it again using the P7H55 MoBo. With 2 1.5t drives the first one partition 100gig for OS and rest for TV, the other drive is for Movies. It works WMC doesn't get confused everything works.
    That is weird, but I've never been a fan of any of Microsoft's Media Center solutions. As you noticed, WMC can be rather picky and senseless. I would recommend trying another solution; I've heard good things about MythTV, but have no personal experience with it.



    * Note.

    I think my problem was that my Plasma TV doesn't like anything that is not 720p or 1080i and the computer liked to have 1078x768 TV doesn't do anything I found out later.
    Yes, some TV's are very picky about what resolutions they get. I always recommend getting a TV that is designed to support a computer, especially if you want to use it with a HTPC or as a computer monitor. Even if you don't use the VGA port, they still handle different resolutions and inputs on the HDMI/DVI ports better.
    Last edited by BeefJerky; 12-10-2011 at 01:35 PM.

  30. #30

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    I don't have a fear of Win 7 x64 as I run x64 Ultimate on my own machine. But in my experience, I have found that one common factor with stuttering issues is Win 7 x64. You say you found just as many with x86 versions, but that has not been my experience. Anyway it's something that can be fixed with the right codecs, it's just something you're more likely to need to fix if you run x64.

    RT-12, CS350-LS, PSW-300, Infinity Overture 1, Monoprice RC-65i
    Adcom GFA-545II, GFA-6000, Outlaw Audio 990, Netgear NeoTV
    Denon DCM-460, DMD-1000, Sony BDP-360, Bravia KDL-40Z4100/S
    Monster AVL-300, HTS-2500 MKII

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