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Hardware Mpeg Assist/Radeon/AIW/TV wonder pro

Discussion in 'ATI' started by jeff, Jul 10, 2005.

  1. jeff

    jeff Guest

    Question for the experts:

    Will a radeon 9800Pro with a companion tv wonder pro yield the same quality
    as an AIW9800?

    My question is where the hardware mpeg assist comes into play and what I
    might be loosing without it.


    jeff, Jul 10, 2005
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  2. jeff

    Paul Murphy Guest

    I'm hardly an expert but I can tell you that neither the AIW 9800 nor the TV
    Wonder Pro have hardware for MPEG encoding - this is done fully through ATIs
    MMC software. I've never tried the TV Wonder Pro (its not available in a PAL
    version here in the UK) but I have used the TV Wonder and my All in Wonder
    cards (which all use the Rage Theatre Chipset do better than the TV Wonder.
    The new TV Wonder Elite is supposed to be the bees knees in terms of picture
    quality but the current software lets it down. Personally I'd go with both
    and have mulTView (check out ATIs website for an explanation of this if you
    don't already know). If only TV Wonder Pros were available here!

    Hardware MPEG encoding is SUPPOSED to be lighter on your CPU usage but
    having said that, Windows MCE which uses predominantly hardware MPEG
    encoding tuners has very high demands on CPUs. As long as you have a fast P4
    or Athlon XP/MP or better your machine should be able to fully cope with
    ATIs software demands. I use MMC 9.08 on my PIII 933 MHz machine and it even
    manages to cope with native VCR encoding.

    Paul Murphy, Jul 10, 2005
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  3. jeff

    jeff Guest

    Thank you paul, good analysis!

    jeff, Jul 10, 2005
  4. jeff

    J. Clarke Guest

    No, they have accelerated _de_coding.
    The demand is during playback, not recording. Remember also that it can
    have three streams going simultaneously, two being recorded and one being
    played back--even with low utilization in any one stream, that can add up.

    Under MCE, I see at most 10% or so on an Athlon 2800+ during single-channel
    recording, whether HD (which comes encoded) or hardware-accelerated analog.
    On the other hand I see 40% during HD playback on an Athlon 64 3200+, using
    the nvidia decoder. Using any other decoder I get dropouts during HD
    playback even on the 64--it sits at 100% utilization and that's not quite

    The big trouble with hardware encoding is that the chips that do it are a
    generation or so behind the non-encoding chips in terms of capture quality.
    J. Clarke, Jul 10, 2005
  5. jeff

    Roger Guest

    How are you measuring the CPU utilization? I have an ATI HDTV Wonder and
    a Saphire card with an ATI 9600 chip and playing back a recorded clip I
    am getting total CPU utilization in the low 40's on an AMD XP 2200 under
    W/XP Home.

    I checked CPU utilization by doing a ctl-alt-delete and took the total
    from the bottom. To get this I had to pay the clip at 50% resolution
    because ctl-alt-delete does not display the pop-up window properly when
    displaying the clip full screen. I have a 1280 x 1024 monitor if that
    makes a difference.

    ATI docs seem to say an XP 1300 is sufficient for the HDTV Wonder, but I
    have read elsewhere that that is not enough. In my limited experience
    so far it an XP 1300 would seem to be enough. (I should add that the ATI
    software, particulary EasyLook, seems to be a bit flakey).

    I am trying to put together a parts list for a media PC and was thinking
    of getting the 35 watt version of the AMD Mobile 2200 while dumping the
    ATI software for W/MCE. Bad idea?

    Roger, Jul 10, 2005
  6. jeff

    Paul Murphy Guest

    Well with my AMD 1600+ machine capturing at the best possible MPEG2
    settings, MMC 9.08 uses around 29% of CPU resources - only but is that its a
    dual CPU machine but in task manager it shows the 2nd CPU as contributing
    about two thirds as much resources as the first. Playing back that same file
    only uses about 7% resources. This is NOT because the ATI card has Hardware
    MPEG2 decoding - it does NOT. The card does have some features that assist
    with this however and thats why way back in the pre Radeon days ATI card
    equipped machines could play DVDs with much lower CPU requirements that
    machines equipped with other cards.

    I'm looking to build an MCE machine when finances permit and will likely go
    with an Athlon 64 -certainly not a P4 anyway as I don't want a lounge heater
    built in. Windows XP MCE 2005 is great only problem last time I tried was
    that ONLY the tuners channels could be used as an input source on the TV -
    ie you cant play your VCR back though the Composite or S-Video input as with

    Paul Murphy, Jul 10, 2005
  7. jeff

    J. Clarke Guest

    Using what player? I was using Media Player 10 for playback of a stream
    recorded under MCE.
    I just right-clicked the taskbar--in full screen if you move the mouse Media
    Player 10 lets you do that.
    With an HDTV Wonder I have no idea--it's almost identical to the current
    Dvico I understand and the Dvico works fine with that combination, using
    the nvidia codec. But you're going to see a lot of CPU utilization during
    HD playback.
    J. Clarke, Jul 10, 2005
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