[mythtv-users] Processor Minimum Specs

Blammo blammo.doh at gmail.com
Tue Jun 24 18:51:50 UTC 2008

On Tue, Jun 24, 2008 at 6:51 AM, John Williams <williamsbyron at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'd also like to hear about the AMD procs. I have been an AMD guy for a
> while and while I'm not totally loyal I have had good results and am pretty
> price sensitive at this point. I would expect to be using 2 - 3 Hard drives.
> all IDE. I have a 500 GB on my desk I never opened from a while back. and
> will use it and my main drive on my current machine for recordings in LVM.

In the search for the "holy grail" of frontends, I've gone through
probably a dozen different CPU's, and half a dozen video cards in the
last 5 years.

I've successfully played back OTA ATSC with an Athlon 1.4ghz and XvMC
on an NVidia card with fast RAM. That, however, to me, is the absolute
minimum, and even with that you'll get the occasional sound issue. My
primary frontend was, for almost 2 years, an Athlon 2600 clocked at
2600mhz, and that did a great job of keeping up with ATSC. MPEG4
content I could barely manage 720p, and 1080i/p stuff was completely

In all honesty, I'd consider 3.0 ghz dual-core to be the minimum for a
MythFrontend any more. While, with things like XvMC, and transcoding,
you CAN make it with less, you also inhert problems that come with
those.. ASTC is mpeg2, which isn't as hard on the CPU. If you start
throwing in xvid/x264, you'll be needing that 2nd core, and the extra

If I peek into my primary frontend right now, my SO is watching
Olympics trials (diving I think), which appears to be 720p. The CPU is
Cool&Quiet enabled (AMD Black Edition 6400), and is running at
2400mhz, with about 40% CPU usage on both cores. MythFrontend is on
one core, and xorg is on the other core.

Playing something back like the BBC 1080p HD Demos (Flowers in Full
Bloom - http://www.apple.com/quicktime/guide/hd/bbc-cfb.html) and the
CPU is sitting at 3200mhz, with about 40% usage on each CPU. Picking
from some of the 30-second clips on the MPLAYER site, you can find
things like the xmen-3-720p clip that is complex enough that even as
720p, it's still has the CPU at 3200mhz and 30-40% usage on both
cores. (Clip data at the end of this email if you're interested)

Even with that much horsepower in the Frontend, I still have a couple
things I can't play back. The CPU flatlines at 100%, and the audio
drops out every few seconds. These demos however, (40Mbps datarate
1080p mpeg-4 demos) are high enough tech that I'm not worried at the
moment, but it's still something to keep in mind.

Anyway, you asked about AMD, so there's my 2cents.

Input #0, mov,mp4,m4a,3gp,3g2,mj2, from 'bbc_1080p.mov':
  Duration: 00:01:33.2, start: 0.000000, bitrate: 8391 kb/s
    Stream #0.0(eng): Audio: mpeg4aac
    Stream #0.1(eng): Video: h264, yuv420p, 1920x1080 [PAR 0:1 DAR
0:1], 24.00 tb(r)

Input #0, matroska, from 'xmen.3-720p-x264-sample.mkv':
  Duration: 00:00:59.6, start: 0.000000, bitrate: N/A
    Stream #0.0: Video: h264, yuv420p, 1280x528 [PAR 1:1 DAR 80:33], 23.98 tb(r)
    Stream #0.1(eng): Audio: liba52, 48000 Hz, 5:1

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