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I built an HTPC built on a Zotac ion mobo, and i put a 1core conroe chip in it. the 9300 video chip onboard is supposed to accelerate video decoding, but it doesnt seem to be working all the time. im thinking im missing some drivers/hardware accelerated codecs for the video types that slow it down.

the biggest problem comes when playing some mkv files. the CPU pops up to 100%, and the video gets choppy. so, my question is, what codec is being used inside the mkv to encode the video? as i understand it, mkv is just a container format, so it could be anything. how do i find out what its using under the hood?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

MediaInfo will show that for you.

What is MediaInfo?

MediaInfo supplies technical and tag information about a video or audio file. It is free software (free of charge and free access to source code: GPL or LGPL licence)

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As an answer to the second part of your question, most GPU's will accelerate mpeg-4/Xvid/DivX as well as standard MPEG-2 codecs.

Most modern GPU's(9300 included) also accelerate h.264. However, BluRay can use either h.264(MPEG-4 AVC), MPEG-2, or VC-1. Often, when a BluRay disk gets ripped, the ripper will directly copy the streams and re-wrap them in a container such as matroska, without any other encoding, so your PC is forced to handle the VC-1 decoding.

No guarantees thats what's happening in your situation, but whether you are decoding VC-1 or something else, that's your likely problem.

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ive verified that it is h.264 inside my file. if i understand you correctly, since its wrapped up in an mkv file, the hardware decoder doesnt get used. is there a way to 'detour' the stream to the GPU so i can get adequate performance? if i need to recode the file thats fine, but i dont know what format id need to put it in. –  Jeff Shattock Aug 4 '09 at 14:11
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As far as I'm aware, it should be hardware accelerating. If your concerned about the container giving you issues, check out "GotSent". It is software that will convert mkv containers to mp4 containers without reencoding the video assets. –  Keck Aug 4 '09 at 15:04

My understanding is that you need mkv files encoded in the 4.1 profile in order for the hardware to accelerate them. That may well be specific to my motherboard/GPU though. I have a gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H with on-board Radeon HD3200 GPU. It will play back some 1080p mkv files that I have at under 5% CPU usage, but other files struggle to play back smoothly at all. But, that is probably down to my AMD BE-2350 CPU, which is quite slow for video decoding.

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The MKV file standard can be found here.

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