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Full Version: New htpc lagging playback. What to do?
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I recently put together a new htpc from some old and new hardware:

MB: Gigabyte MA78GPM-DS2H with integrated ATI HD 3200 graphics.
HD: 2.5" 5400 SATA 160GB
PSU: 550W
RAM: 4GB DDR2 6400 (2x2GB)
CPU: AMD 4850e (2.5GHz x2)
OS: WinXP/WinVista

My htpc is connected to a Denon AVR-2309 with HDMI and Optical cabel.
The Denon reciever is then connected to my Samsung 46" LCD TV (LE46A557)
Im using 9.04.1 XBMC and I get my movies from a Win2003 fileserver by 1Gb network.

When I play low quality movies, its no lagg in the picture, but if I start a 720 or 1080p movie the picture starts lagging every .5 sec or so. Mostly when the image changes completely or is moving from one side to the other.
Ive tried clocking my cpu to 3.1Ghz without big improvements, Ive also tried adding a ATI 4850 GPU, no change.
Using latest available drivers and Ive also tried storing some movies locally without any improvement. Changing to vsync, playing with tribbel buffer and other driver settings, no improvement.
No frames are being dropt and there are no lagg in the sound.

So I would greatly appreciate any suggestions to new hardware, new settings or anything I could do to make the picture move smoothly.
I'm not saying this is your problem but is your ram in dual channel mode ?
The RAM is running in Dual Channel mode and is running at the right speed.
You might want to check that the cpu is not being "underclocked" by "cool&quiet" (I think that's the name for AMD cpu; I'm on intel+linux). Your best option, though, would be to use an unexpensive VDPAU capable NVIDIA card.
Ive checked the CnQ and its turned off.
What would be the recommended Nvidia GPU? I'm ready to spend a good amount of money to finally get this box running smooth...
VDPAU is only optional under Linux.

From what I hear, it would not be surprising if your CPU lagged a little on 1080p content, but the fact that it's lagging with 720p stuff doesn't make much sense. You should post a debug log.
Debug Log

Might be some audio errors in the log, recent changes by me in the ati config killed the audio when movies are playing. In the xbmc menu and winamp etc its just fine however...

Im a experienced Ubuntu user and Ive tried installing on this hardware before, but the GPU just wont work the way it should for some reason...

Thanks for all help so far Smile
Alright, so it looks like XBMC is having trouble getting audio data, which probably means that it's getting hung up somewhere, and that "somewhere" is probably with the video data. The thing is your CPU is certainly good enough for at least 720p stuff, which means the problem is probably elsewhere. The fact that it also doesn't work with a newer video card makes figuring out the issue even trickier.

Just to pull at straws a bit, when you installed the new video card, did you fully uninstall XBMC, then reinstall it?

Edit: Also, after installing the new card, disable the old card in the BIOS.

Edit 2: Also, allow ATI and AMD to give up the ghost, and buy Intel and NVIDIA.
DEBUG: Surface::CSurface::Flip - missed requested swap


WARNING: CDVDMessageQueue(audio)::Get - retrieved last data packet of queue

if you type 'o' during playback, I bet aq is zero while vq is not. SVN:20672 is pretty old now. I would try one of the nightly builds.
aq stays at 0% and vq is stable at 99%

So Ive got a few things to try then, Ill buy a new Nvidia GPU if you guys just could recommend me one...
Ill try reinstall Win XP / install Ubuntu and install latest xbmc build.
If new GPU and reinstall / ubuntu install doesn't work Ill try OC the cpu once more and if that doesn't work Ill switch motherboard and CPU with my Intel gaming pc.
Hi, Im back with more problems!

Ive done as recomended and installed a new GPU in my HTPC and installed Ubuntu 9.04.

The GPU is a NVIDIA 9500GT 1GB (found it laying around at work..).
Ive installed Ubuntu 9.04 and the latest nvidia drivers. Installed XBMC and activated the VDAPU feature.

Debug Log

Still get bad performance when running 720 and 1080p movies.
Some movies are smoother now but others are eaven worse then before I installed the GPU and installed Ubuntu.
aq now mostly stays at 99% but vq often drop to 40%...
CPU hovers around 5-20%

I also got some new weird problems, when I install xbmc all stereo sound get muted... I can se the receiver activates stereo output but theres no sound at all. Stereo sound both from firefox and other desktop applications stops working and movies played with xbmc that only have stereo audio also play silent.

I also got problems with wmv movies... All my wmv movies with 5.1 sound dont give me any sound anymore. If I run one of the wmv movies with mplayer the sound works fine...

Really appriciate any help here... lagging movies are driving me insane !
I believe we are looking at a Linux problem. Not a windows problem. Is that accurate? If so, I can move this thread for you.
Im using ubuntu now so ye it might be good to move it.
Almost the same hardware and TV setup - I have an Athlon XP 4400.

The issue seems similar to the one where I had Smooth video on - disabling it fixed the lag with HD video - even 1080p content is fine.

My GFX card is an ATI HD 4350 so you need to turn off triple buffering and enable vsync.
I tried Linux originally but performance was far worse on my setup than XP.
Hi, back again...
Just started in a new job so htpc have been at low pri for some time... but I want to try again.

Im thinking in a rather different direction this time.

My old fileserver could need a upgrade so Im thinking:
Convert my current htpc to a new server and as a new htpc Im thinking of buying a "Asrock NetTop ION 330, Intel Atom Dual Core 330, 2GB, 320GB, BluRay, HDMI, Full HD"

So I would like to know if the Asrock NetTop ion 330 is enough for 1080p playback?

And what about blueray support in linux? Is it possible or would a dualboot Vista/ Win7 be requiered?