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nofam
03-09-2009, 10:28 AM
Chill's thread on mint linux has got me thinking about using an old P4 3.0 as a media centre (I've got a few ones from work lying round gathering dust), and I started thinking about ways that I could do this cheaply.

Obviously, decoding/playing hi-def on old hardware is fraught with problems, so I thought something like this (http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentview.asp?partid=7471) would be good to decode hi-def, but then I started wondering

- Can Mint unload decoding to GPU hardware (and do 9400GT's work fully under Linux?)

- And if you want to encode to h.264, can you unload this to your GPU?

Just found a link to this (http://www.everythingusb.com/elgato-turbo-264-hd-usb-accelerator-16316.html), which is a cool concept, but is only for Mac :mad:

Blam
03-09-2009, 10:44 AM
Linux Nvidia supports is pretty decent so I would say yes for both.

And you should be able to unload h.264 decoding to it too.

Blam

Chilling_Silence
03-09-2009, 04:46 PM
h.264 encoding on the other hand is another matter entirely ;)

Yes, Mint can do it, but try a LiveCD of XBMC from xbmc.org and see how you go -- It's much sexier and more suited for that purpose...

Also, yes, Mint will in fact prompt you (Just as Ubuntu will) to install the 'restricted' binary drivers from nVidia. Its literally 2-3 clicks :)

nofam
03-09-2009, 05:02 PM
h.264 encoding on the other hand is another matter entirely ;)

Yes, Mint can do it, but try a LiveCD of XBMC from xbmc.org and see how you go -- It's much sexier and more suited for that purpose...

Also, yes, Mint will in fact prompt you (Just as Ubuntu will) to install the 'restricted' binary drivers from nVidia. Its literally 2-3 clicks :)

I've tried XBMC before, and while it IS pretty sexy, I actually found it pretty awkward to use - and it's quite laggy on older hardware IMHO.

All I really care about is how well it plays media; all that eye candy can wait until I have a couple thousand to build a proper HTPC!! ;)

So is there any known way of using a GPU to transcode to h.264?

gary67
03-09-2009, 05:54 PM
I'm interested in this too as will have a spare Athlon machine in a few weeks time

Chilling_Silence
04-09-2009, 08:09 AM
Depends on the hardware you buy, if it's supported by PureVideo (Windows):
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2977
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia_PureVideo
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=nvidia_180_vdpau&num=1

nofam
04-09-2009, 09:59 AM
Depends on the hardware you buy, if it's supported by PureVideo (Windows):
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2977
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia_PureVideo
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=nvidia_180_vdpau&num=1

Sorry if I'm being thick here Chill, but aren't these all about offloading the decoding of H.264 from your CPU to your GPU while watching movies etc?

What I'm wondering about is the possibility of offloading encoding to your GPU; i.e. an app/driver combination that allows you to encode an .iso into an H.264/AC3 .mkv container?

On my P4 3.0, doing this using Handbrake takes 4 - 6 hours, so if I could use a graphics card, I'd be sweet - reviews for the USB accelerator I linked to in an earlier post said the results were quite amazing.

Just curious. . . . :D

utopian201
04-09-2009, 11:18 AM
Yes, there is nvidia's Badaboom and ATi's AVIVO encoder, but it is still being improved.
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3578

As you can see from the results you need to use the special programs, not any video encoding program. At any rate, I think it is still best to use the CPU to transcode; even if it takes 2-3x as long, the results will always be at least as good as GPU. In that link, I think the CPU result is slightly sharper than the nvidia result. The ATi result still needs some work.

And since you only encode once but watch many times, I think theres nothing wrong with spending 2-3x more time to encode something once but have it archived in the best quality possible.

I really hate it when someone asks "what parts do I need for a computer that will be used for video encoding/graphic design/photo editing and not gaming" and some stupid dumbarse suggests a discrete graphics card because "its for graphics". Posts like that subtract from the sum of all human knowledge.