Looking For Significantly-Faster Setup

Discussion in 'Gigabyte' started by (PeteCresswell), Feb 17, 2012.

  1. Windows XP Pro SP3
    EP45-UD3L with 4 gigs
    Intel Quad CPU Q8400 @2.66GHz

    With a media server and a 4 security cameras hanging on this
    thing, it is about maxed out: 80-100% CPU usage.

    The Question:

    Is there anything I can do to get, say, 20+ percent more
    horsepower?

    I'm willing to buy a new mobo/CPU if the cost isn't crazy-high.
    --
    Pete Cresswell
     
    (PeteCresswell), Feb 17, 2012
    #1
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  2. (PeteCresswell)

    Paul Guest

    (PeteCresswell) wrote:
    > Windows XP Pro SP3
    > EP45-UD3L with 4 gigs
    > Intel Quad CPU Q8400 @2.66GHz
    >
    > With a media server and a 4 security cameras hanging on this
    > thing, it is about maxed out: 80-100% CPU usage.
    >
    > The Question:
    >
    > Is there anything I can do to get, say, 20+ percent more
    > horsepower?
    >
    > I'm willing to buy a new mobo/CPU if the cost isn't crazy-high.


    Are you using a BT848/BT878 capture card with uncompressed
    data capture on this thing, for the cameras ?

    Perhaps you're capturing around 20MB/sec from a camera, then
    compressing to MPEG in software ? That could smother a processor.

    If the cameras produce their own MPEG compressed streams of some
    sort, that might be written out to disk with fairly
    light CPU loading.

    If you had incoming MPEG, and were doing scene extraction and
    searching for "activity", that too might chew up the cycles.

    *******

    The Gigabyte page lists compatible processors for your LGA775.

    http://www.gigabyte.com/support-downloads/cpu-support-popup.aspx?pid=3285

    For a ridiculous sum, you could get 3.2GHz. 3.2/2.66 = 1.2x
    That just barely meets your objective, without changing motherboards.

    Intel Core2 Extreme QX9770 3.20GHz 12MB Yorkfield 45nm C0 135W 1600 F2

    But for the price of one of those processors, you might be able to buy a
    2600K and new motherboard and new RAM, for less. 4GB of DDR3 RAM now,
    costs close to zero. A 2600K is around $330.

    2600K 3.4GHz
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115070

    Motherboard (picked to be similar in brand to your current one) ~$150
    You should sort through the LGA1155 ones, to find one with a
    good rep. You could probably spend up to $400 or so, for a bunch
    of gizmos you don't need, or look for one that has reasonably
    good reviews.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128512

    But before doing that, I'd want to review what features you need
    from the cameras, and whether the current setup is optimal. It's
    possible another piece of software, would remove the need
    to upgrade the processor.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Feb 17, 2012
    #2
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  3. Per Paul:
    >Are you using a BT848/BT878 capture card with uncompressed
    >data capture on this thing, for the cameras ?
    >
    >Perhaps you're capturing around 20MB/sec from a camera, then
    >compressing to MPEG in software ? That could smother a processor.
    >
    >If the cameras produce their own MPEG compressed streams of some
    >sort, that might be written out to disk with fairly
    >light CPU loading.
    >
    >If you had incoming MPEG, and were doing scene extraction and
    >searching for "activity", that too might chew up the cycles.


    I know next to nothing about surveillance cam stuff. Basically
    I'm fooling around with 4 cameras trying to learn enough to set
    up a surfcam for a guy who owns a windsurfing shop down on a
    local bay.

    What I do know, though, is that these are IP cams. One of them
    is sending h.264 and the other two are doing MJPEG.
    --
    Pete Cresswell
     
    (PeteCresswell), Feb 17, 2012
    #3
  4. Per Paul:
    >
    >But before doing that, I'd want to review what features you need
    >from the cameras, and whether the current setup is optimal. It's
    >possible another piece of software, would remove the need
    >to upgrade the processor.


    Sounds to me like I should drop this for now.

    To wit:

    - What I was trolling for was some super-new development
    in mobos/CPUs that rendered my current setup obsolete.

    Sounds like that hasn't happened and isn't about to
    happen soon.


    - The camera thing is dynamic. I'm just experimenting
    and that won't be forever. The immediate issue is
    butting heads with the media server as it records TV
    shows. But that's not exactly a big deal, since
    cameras can be selective shut down anytime... and even
    on a schedule.


    - The muy-expensivo upgrade cited for only 20% could probably
    be compared unfavorably with the additional electricity
    cost of just putting another PC online 24-7 to handle
    the cameras.

    In round approximate numbers: .18/KwHr.... 120 watts for a
    second 24-7 PC...
    ((120 * 24) / 1000) * .18 = approx fifty cents a day...
    365 days.... $180 per year...

    --
    Pete Cresswell
     
    (PeteCresswell), Feb 17, 2012
    #4
  5. (PeteCresswell)

    Paul Guest

    (PeteCresswell) wrote:
    > Per Paul:
    >> Are you using a BT848/BT878 capture card with uncompressed
    >> data capture on this thing, for the cameras ?
    >>
    >> Perhaps you're capturing around 20MB/sec from a camera, then
    >> compressing to MPEG in software ? That could smother a processor.
    >>
    >> If the cameras produce their own MPEG compressed streams of some
    >> sort, that might be written out to disk with fairly
    >> light CPU loading.
    >>
    >> If you had incoming MPEG, and were doing scene extraction and
    >> searching for "activity", that too might chew up the cycles.

    >
    > I know next to nothing about surveillance cam stuff. Basically
    > I'm fooling around with 4 cameras trying to learn enough to set
    > up a surfcam for a guy who owns a windsurfing shop down on a
    > local bay.
    >
    > What I do know, though, is that these are IP cams. One of them
    > is sending h.264 and the other two are doing MJPEG.


    I bet if you record the streams, without "previewing" them, the
    load would go down. But you already know that.

    *******

    With the BT878, and a non-IP camera, I can preview "for free". (The image
    comes across the PCI bus, in uncompressed form.) Because the feed on
    my camera isn't compressed, the preview doesn't cost anything,
    while the recording side does cost me something. Whereas, with the IP
    camera, the recording is free, while preview or playback require
    decompression (and CPU cycles).

    There are a number of options for video playback. You can use
    a software decoder (and CPU cycles). For some video standards,
    a new video card can decode virtually the whole stream, leaving
    little for the CPU to do. The video decoder in a video card,
    is a dedicated logic block. While the programmable
    shaders, can be used for additional things. The computer
    actually has a few tricks up its sleeve, if you have the
    right software to harness it.

    The 2600K processor, has enough internal horsepower, to decode
    five video streams at the same time, while using zero CPU cycles.
    That is done via the GPU built into the processor. The only caveat
    with that feature, is the GPU can only be used, if the processor
    is fooled into thinking you're actually using the GPU for driving
    the screen. The Z68 chipset/motherboard, for example, has DVI and HDMI
    connectors on the back, and is an example of a way to convince
    the software to allow you to use the 2600K GPU for functions like that.
    This feature is a gimmick, in the sense that you may need to find
    a brand new program, to make use of it. A lot of these acceleration
    features, if you own some older software, there may be no way to
    get the acceleration to be harnessed by the program.

    Even the little things can help. Video cards, for a number of years,
    have had IDCT (inverse discrete cosine transform), which can help
    with video decompression during playback. But the dedicated video
    block in the video card now, can do the whole thing, and IDCT ends
    up less used, because of the even better options available instead.

    The format most likely to benefit from stuff like this, is the
    H.264. I'm not sure what would help with MJPEG. The decoding
    functions tend to focus on things used for commercial movies,
    and not every format ends up accelerated (which is a shame).

    Paul
     
    Paul, Feb 18, 2012
    #5
  6. Per Paul:
    >
    >I bet if you record the streams, without "previewing" them, the
    >load would go down. But you already know that.


    I'm using a utility called "BlueIris" which, I guess, is
    continually previewing them looking for motion to trigger
    recording.

    Disabling cams one-by-one, I see that the biggest load comes from
    an EdiMax 1280x1024 that is sending MJPEG.

    The two FosCams at 640x480/MJPEG aren't nearly as intensive.

    Neither is the SONY SNC-CH260 that's sending 1920x1080 at h.264.

    Interesting stuff.

    I guess the end game for lots of cameras without a lot of
    dedicated computing power is figuring out how to use each
    camera's built-in motion detection and built-in ability to write
    to a LAN drive.
    --
    Pete Cresswell
     
    (PeteCresswell), Feb 18, 2012
    #6
  7. Per Paul:
    >There are a number of options for video playback. You can use
    >a software decoder (and CPU cycles). For some video standards,
    >a new video card can decode virtually the whole stream, leaving
    >little for the CPU to do. The video decoder in a video card,
    >is a dedicated logic block. While the programmable
    >shaders, can be used for additional things. The computer
    >actually has a few tricks up its sleeve, if you have the
    >right software to harness it.


    I'm still trying to digest this part.....

    So far, I've got "the right new video card = somebody to take
    over the decoding task"....

    Next thing I have is that, when buying multiple IP cams, h.264 is
    the way to go.
    --
    Pete Cresswell
     
    (PeteCresswell), Feb 18, 2012
    #7
  8. (PeteCresswell)

    Paul Guest

    (PeteCresswell) wrote:
    > Per Paul:
    >> There are a number of options for video playback. You can use
    >> a software decoder (and CPU cycles). For some video standards,
    >> a new video card can decode virtually the whole stream, leaving
    >> little for the CPU to do. The video decoder in a video card,
    >> is a dedicated logic block. While the programmable
    >> shaders, can be used for additional things. The computer
    >> actually has a few tricks up its sleeve, if you have the
    >> right software to harness it.

    >
    > I'm still trying to digest this part.....
    >
    > So far, I've got "the right new video card = somebody to take
    > over the decoding task"....
    >
    > Next thing I have is that, when buying multiple IP cams, h.264 is
    > the way to go.


    The point is, there are other computing resources in your computer,
    besides the CPU. The video card GPU has programmable shaders, as
    well as a dedicated video decoder (can do H.264). The video decoder
    seems to be fixed function, so you wouldn't expect an MJPEG acceleration
    feature to show up unannounced in a driver update.

    The programmable shaders can function to add processing power to your
    computer. An example, is BitCoin mining, which is a math function
    involving SHA256 hashing. The most expensive video card has a rating
    of around 600, compared to a $1000 processor being able to do about 20
    in equivalent units. So about a factor of 30x the performance. But
    a programmable shader, would have a simplified instruction set, and
    there are also going to be situations where not much of its power
    can be brought to bear. In this example of computing SHA256 on small
    messages, the problem is almost infinitely scalable, as each computation
    is independent of its neighbor (mainly compute bound, with little I/O).
    A good video card has 2048 programmable shaders inside it, compared
    to the 4 or 8 cores in the CPU. Massive parallelism only works, if
    the job can be sub-divided over many computing devices.

    The trick with all of this, is how do you harness it in your own system ?
    Windows video CODECS (coder/decoder) are arranged in a decoding tree,
    when a decoding job needs to be done. Graphedit is a tool for looking
    at such trees. But I wouldn't expect to find ready-made CODECs you could
    install, which would offload your CPU and magically fix this.

    If you were writing your own code, there would be many more possibilities
    for unloading the CPU, yet being able to record all the streams.

    Older video cards, aren't nearly as useful in this regard. The video
    card I've got, is a non-starter, so I can't play with this stuff. A
    modern low end card might have 80 programmable shaders, and at least allow
    using the SDK (software development kit) provided by the manufacturer.
    (You can play with code, even on cheaper cards.)

    Even some of AMDs high end processors can participate. The AMD Llano
    has a GPU inside the processor chip, with 400 programmable shaders running
    at a lower speed than on a video card. So even a motherboard with one
    of those processors, can do GPGPU computing, without a video card
    being present. (With AMD, their library is OpenCL, while with NVidia,
    the library is CUDA. So separate development paths for things like
    SDKs if you were a programmer.)

    Many programming problems, can't be broken down into 2048 pieces, for
    a large speedup. For example, when post-processing movie output from
    a video editor, some of these things when run through the GPGPU method,
    get a 3x speedup, which is still worthwhile, but not awe inspiring. There
    are also examples, where a computing algorithm is loaded onto programmable
    shaders in a video card, and runs slower than a CPU based algorithm.
    On average, hardly any problems see 30x speedup. It's like winning the
    lottery when it happens.

    Even if you only have a CPU to work with, some software decoders work
    better than others. Not many software developers spend the time to
    optimize stuff like this, perhaps rewrite the decoding loop in assembler.
    And it's much easier to get an extra 20% by fixing the code, than
    by buying another CPU for the machine. Well written packages, will detect
    the CPU type, and use different code for each CPU.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Feb 18, 2012
    #8
  9. (PeteCresswell)

    Fishface Guest

    PeteCresswell wrote:> Sounds to me like I should drop this for now.
    >
    > To wit:
    >
    > - What I was trolling for was some super-new development
    > in mobos/CPUs that rendered my current setup obsolete.
    >
    > Sounds like that hasn't happened and isn't about to
    > happen soon.
    >
    >
    > - The camera thing is dynamic. I'm just experimenting
    > and that won't be forever. The immediate issue is
    > butting heads with the media server as it records TV
    > shows. But that's not exactly a big deal, since
    > cameras can be selective shut down anytime... and even
    > on a schedule.
    >
    >
    > - The muy-expensivo upgrade cited for only 20% could probably
    > be compared unfavorably with the additional electricity
    > cost of just putting another PC online 24-7 to handle
    > the cameras.
    >
    > In round approximate numbers: .18/KwHr.... 120 watts for a
    > second 24-7 PC...
    > ((120 * 24) / 1000) * .18 = approx fifty cents a day...
    > 365 days.... $180 per year...


    That Q8400 can be overclocked to 400 x 8 = 3.2 GHz with a decent
    cpu cooler and willing RAM. That'd probably give you your 20%.
    Otherwise, maybe replace the least efficient camera?

    I had a Q9550 overclocked to 3.4 GHz which I handed-down to my son
    in favor of a new Z68 + 2600K system. I notice zero difference in my
    media encoding and occasional DVD shrinking, but the new system is
    much more power efficient.
     
    Fishface, Mar 8, 2012
    #9
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