Refresh Rate Handling - 23.976 Hz Works!

Readers following our HTPC reviews know by now that Intel's 23 Hz issue was left unresolved in Ivy Bridge. It is definitely better than the Clarkdale days, as users no longer get 24 Hz when setting the display refresh rate to 23 Hz (23.976 Hz intended). However, the accuracy is not enough to prevent a frame drop every 4 minutes or so (the 23 Hz setting results in a display refresh rate of 23.972 Hz in Ivy Bridge). One of the first things I checked after building the Haswell HTPC was the 23 Hz setting. The good news is that the display refresh rate accuracy is excellent.

Even better news is that the set of display refresh rates obtained with the Haswell system is more accurate than anything I had obtained before with AMD or NVIDIA cards. The gallery below presents some of the other refresh rates that we tested out. madVR reports frame drops / repeats only once every 6 hours or more in the quiescent state.

Unfortunately, Intel still doesn't provide a way to easily configure custom resolutions (in fact, the latest driver release seems to have removed that option completely. Update: A reader pointed out that the feature is still available as CustomModeApp.exe in the drivers folder, but long time users still miss access to it from the main control panel). I know for a fact that my Sony display (KDL46EX720) does support 25 Hz and 50 Hz refresh rates, but Intel doesn't allow those to be configured. We are willing to cut Intel some slack this time around because they have finally resolved a bug that was reported way back in 2008.

Video Post Processing and HTPC Configuration Options Decoding and Rendering Benchmarks


View All Comments

  • Penti - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    Plus old hardware is old and not available anymore. Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    Quad-core Athlon-II, CPU fan configured to spin down as needed, case fan unplugged, SSD, nVidia 210 GPU (fanless) running Linux + XBMC. Sub-$300 CDN.

    Why would you need an i7 for an HTPC? Why would you need a skookum dGPU? And why would you be transcoding on the HTPC? The HTPC should just play the movies on the screen that's attached to it, nothing more. The movies shouldn't reside on the HTPC, and you should be plugging in mobile devices to transfer movies to/from them. That's what the skookum "server" in the other room is for. :)
  • solnyshok - Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - link

    This is quite old thread, but I wanted to add, that it strikes me that my htpc usage model is totally different from the one you described. I use Atom based htpc (dualcore 2.1GHz) which is on 24x7, doing playback to HDMI 1080p tv and torrents and file serving for home network. it is up to 10w and fanless. No MadVR though. Reply
  • benamoo - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    I'm wondering why no one mentioned the upcoming Ouya console and possibly many more ARM based media player boxes coming to the market next year.

    I've been an HTPC user for years now, but it's not worth it anymore to invest in such a costly/bulky/noisy system simply for HTPC tasks. Sure, repurposing an old system is great, actually that's what I've been doing, but building a new one from scratch (especially with a Core i7) seems to be a huge waste of money IMO.

    I have high hopes for Ouya (and similar ARM/Android powered boxes). Hopefully the experience would be so good that we can finally rid ourselves of this Wintel duopoly.

    Don't get me wrong. I still believe an HTPC is the best media center box out there. But these boxes can offer very similar results with a fraction of the cost.
  • rennya - Wednesday, June 05, 2013 - link

    Mainly because those ARM players has crappy GUI and limited support for file formats and containers? Try playing a Matroska file that used segment linking, has a 10-bit H.264 1080p24 video stream with at least 10Mb bitrate, a DTS-HD MA 7.1 track and also a fully-styled SSA subtitle track and you will see that Ouya console crashed and burned while doing so. Reply
  • sireangelus - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    Can someone explain to me why they don't get themselves a laptop with some remote functionality and use that as an htpc? shouldn't it be less expensive, have a lower tdp and be more useful? Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    I sincerely hope they fixed the 23.976 bug in the IGP that is included with Bay Trail. If they did, there's your HTPC of choice for anyone not obsessed with MadVR. Reply
  • halbhh2 - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    Such a careful review makes me want to have the new A10 6700 put through the same paces. Reply
  • majorleague - Wednesday, June 05, 2013 - link

    Here is a youtube link showing 3dmark11 and windows index rating for the 4770k 3.5ghz Haswell. Not overclocked.

    Youtube link:
  • eio - Saturday, June 22, 2013 - link

    according to the snapshots, to my eyes, the QSV quality of HD4600 is significantly better than HD4000 & x264... Reply

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