[Scottish] DVD - decode in software or hardware

scottish@mailman.lug.org.uk scottish at mailman.lug.org.uk
Fri Jan 3 14:25:00 2003

i have one of those decoder cards, never had any problems with it, its 
in a celeron 333 system with 64 meg ram. a plus point of it is, you can 
disable region checking very easily, as well as disable macrovision,
however, i've never tried software decoding, the dvd drive came with 
the card. you might be cheaper getting the decoder card from infiniti, 
they are the same, rhey are both a realmagic hollywood +.
On Friday, January 3, 2003, at 12:24 PM, Gavin McCord wrote:

> I'm setting up DVD on my system (detailed below), but it's pushing the
> hardware to its limits by the look of it, and I want to know whether I
> should try a hardware decoder.
> Hardware
> --------
> Monitor: CTX 1451
> Mainboard: Soyo 5EHM/5EH5 V1.x
> CPU: AMD K6-2 533 (running at 500)
> Chipset: ETEQ82c663 (VIA)
> Sound: AWE64 Value ISA
> Video: Nvidia Geforce 2 MX
> Samsung DVD ROM drive
> Software
> ---------
> mplayer 0.90rc2, SDL 1.2.5
> From other newsgroup postings, and articles online I've read, my 
> hardware
> setup isn't the best for this sort of thing, given the combination of 
> CPU,
> motherboard chipset and soundcard.
> However, I've enabled "VIA82CXXX chipset support" and
> "Use PCI DMA by default when available" in the kernel, and made
> sure, using hdparm, that dma is on for the DVD drive.
> My 14'' monitor is limited for practical purposes to one resolution,
> 640 x 480 @ 75Hz, so to be watchable, the image has to be resized
> using the SDL video output option.
> Analysing with vmstat, mplayer runs as follows (using the "nosound" 
> option):
>   When vo=sdl and display is fullscreen, CPU usage is around 93.
>   When vo=sdl and display is windowed (it's larger than the physical
>   screen size), CPU usage is around 84.
>   When vo=sdl:dga CPU usage is about 96, and quality is lower.
>   I've tried vo options of xv, x11 and the CPU usage is about the same 
> as
>   SDL windowed.
> From what I've read a PCI soundcard should have less impact on CPU 
> usage
> than an ISA one, but even so, I'm not sure there'd be enough leeway, 
> given
> that the lowest CPU usage I've obtained with mplayer is in the mid 
> 80s. When
> I have tried the sound, using "ao=sdl" or "aop 
> list=resample:fout=44100" (it
> needs to be downsampled from 48khz) it won't sync at all with the 
> video.
> So, I'm tempted to buy a hardware decoder: the Creative Encore DXR2 
> (IIRC).
> But before I do, I just wonder if there's anything else I might try, 
> to lower
> the CPU usage and watch DVDs using only software decoding. (I've tried 
> low-latency
> patches with games, but I didn't notice any difference.)
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