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Cluster Display not be able to play more than 4 videos together

Diego Consul

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This is my first post. Hi to all!


We have 11 projectors 1920x1200 60Hz and we need to show 11 diferents videos. One per projector.


The display clusters are 2 computer with 6 outputs. The hardware specifications are:

i7-5930K CPU 3,5Ghz (6 cores) with Corsair Hydro H60

16GB RAM Kingston HyperX Predator DDR4 4x4GB 2133Mhz

Main board Asus X99-Pro

Graphic Card: Sapphire FirePro W9100 (FireGL V)


HDD 1TB ST1000DM03

Power supply Tuniq 950W 80+

Windows 7 64bits

Watchout 6


All outputs from FirePro are forced edid to 1920x1200 60p.

The resolutions of the each video are:

Projector10 (Out 1 Cluster1): 1766x1200px (video10)

Projector11 (Out 2 Cluster1): 1248x1200px (video11)

Projector1 (Out 3 Cluster1): 1508x1200px (video1)

Projector2 (Out 4 Cluster1): 824x1200px (video2)

Projector3 (Out 5 Cluster1): 1270x1200px (video3)

Projector4 (Out 6 Cluster1): 864x1200px (video4)


Projector5 (Out 1 Cluster2): 1564x1200px (video5)

Projector6 (Out 2 Cluster2): 1244x1200px (video6)

Projector7 (Out 3 Cluster2): 1720x1200px (video7)

Projector8 (Out 4 Cluster2): 860x1200px (video8)

Projector9 (Out 5 Cluster2): 1858x1200px (video9)


The problem is that the display clusters are not able to play all videos smoothly.

We are codec the videos in some formats. 25Fps/30fps; 4:2:0/4:2:2; baudrates of 2Mbps,5Mbps, 15Mbps; in mpeg2/mp4/h264 but it can't play six videos per cluster.


We are only able to play 3 or 4 videos ok.


For example: mpeg2 30fps 4:2:0 5Mbps the cluster1 is be able to play smoothly video10, 2, 3 & 4 on it's projector. If we show the video10 on projector11 & 1, the system play smoothly too. If I change the video of projector 1 from video10 to video1; the cluster1 not play smoothly. The videos are playing with breaks.


At the same conditions the cluster2 is be able to play smoothly video5 on projector5, video8 on projector 8 and video 9 on proyector 5, 6 ,7 & 9.


Anybody can help us. What's is the problem? Any suggestion?


Thanks in advance.

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I'll have a stab at an answer. But first a question: on which hdd are the videos stored/playing from?


If from the Samsung EVO SSD, perhaps the EVO is not up to the task at hand.

If from the Seagate 7200rpm 1TB ST1000DM03, this is more likely definitely not up to the task of playing 5 or 6 videos of 1200pixel height resolution simultaneously.


The X99-Pro has a 32Gb/s M.2 slot (though using this disables the last PCIe x16 slot). I'm quite sure a Samsung SM951 will be up to the task with its 2150Mb/s sequential read speed, or if available now from retail shops, the new Samsung 950 Pro M.2. Stepping down a bit, perhaps even the older Samsung XP941 M.2 might do it with its sequential read speed of about 1100+Mb/s.


An alternative is to first try 1 unit of Samsung 850 Pro Sata3 SSD as the playback SSD for the videos, and if this is not sufficient, then add another 850 Pro SSD and RAID 0 the two. In RAID 0 mode (even with software RAID 0 via Windows), the sequential read speed should exceed 1,000Mb/s and this should be enough to play 6 videos simultaneously.


That's my best guess as to where your problem lies: hd throughput.


Thomas Leong

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Thanks Thomas, you are confirmed ours suspicions. Samsung EVO SSD is where are stored the videos,  windows and Watchout software.

Specifications about EVO SSD are "Sequential Read Up to 540 MB/sec" so is lower than 1.000Mb/s.  (http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/minisite/SSD/global/html/ssd850evo/specifications.html)

Could you said me how to calculate the speed that I need?


Other solution could be reduce the resolucion of the videos and scale it with watchout. What you think?


Diego Cónsul

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540Mb/s is not far from the the 850 Pro's rated 550Mb/s so adding one 850 Pro will not help. You would need to stripe 2 SSDs as RAID 0 with Windows Disk Manager for a quick solution. Uninstall Watchout from Drive C: and re-install into the striped disks, and transfer all the videos there.


Reducing the resolution should help, but scaling up to fit thereafter will put more strain on the W9100. It might do the trick, but it means re-coding all the videos the you have.


Sorry, failed my maths...so not sure how to calculate the speed you need. Maybe someone else around here can help with the maths.

But logic tells me that if one SSD can play 4 videos and not more, then a striped pair should play 6.



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scaling up to fit thereafter will put more strain on the W9100.


Scaling should really have no effect on performance.


Tomas, do you really think those drives will have trouble reading six videos at "2Mbps,5Mbps, 15Mbps"? At most, this should require 6 x 15 = 90Mb/s (that is megaBIT/second, not megaBYTE).

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This may be counter-intuitive, but you may try encoding the videos at higher bit rates.

When video is heavily compressed, you will hit the threshold of the CPU.

Compressing them less (higher bit rate) eases the load on the CPU,

while increasing the demands on throughput.

But I do not think you have come anywhere near the throughput threshold.

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I would second Jim's thoughts.  We have some older machines that run Watchout on a separate EVO SSD from the Windows system.  Those machines can play up to 9 full HD videos simultaneously.  We do encode the videos at higher bit rates (best results with MPEG2), so the cpu load is reduced.  Our bottleneck is throughput off of the drive, but the SSD is capable of quite a bit.


I would definitely make sure Watchout is on it's own drive and doesn't share with the system.  The system doesn't really need an SSD.  Our old machines used to have the system on a rotational drive. Updating to an SSD for the system made the machines boot faster, but didn't really impact Watchout performance.  Key is having Watchout on it's own SSD.

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Overlooked the datarates tried, Mike! At 2 & 5Mbps, there should not be a problem. Perhaps at 15Mbps for 6 x X x 1200pixels???


Other areas I would look at are -

1. Reset the motherboard's BIOS to Default settings. Then step through the BIOS to ensure settings are what it should be for the cpu and devices attached. Though obvious, the assumption here is that the W9100 is in PCIe16_1 or PCIe16_3 (preferably PCIe16_1) and not inadvertently occupying PCIe16_2.


2. Ensure the XMP Profile for the RAM is enabled if the RAM has a XMP Profile (if available, usually it is XMP Profile 1 rather than Profile 2 if there are two profiles). Alternatively, enable the EZ_XMP switch on the motherboard per page 1-20 of manual.


3. Take a reading of the EVO with, say, CrystalDiskMark to ensure it's sequential read speed is close to specs.


4. Try the encoded videos with Windows Media Player or Quicktime Player to ensure there are no coding errors that could prevent it from playing smoothly. Note: Disable hardware assistance in both players to emulate playback conditions in Watchout per -



5. Lastly, a shot-in-the-dark: since a SSD is in use, disable the paging file (set to 0), reboot, and try the playback conditions again.


That's all I can think of at this time of the night (3:30am morning).



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I attach a log picture from CPU and HDD recurses. First part is playing 6 diferents videos. Second part is playing 4 diferents videos. 


Red is % CPU

Green/Pink read operations



 I will test to change ssd HDD , reduce 20% video resolutions and increment bit rates to 30Mbps. 

 I will keep you informed.



Diego Cónsul

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys,


The issue is solved!!

We install a Watchout software in a new Samsung 950 PRO Series 256GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal (2Gb/s secuential read), change the power supply to ones with 1200W, update the bios and review all the points Thomas said.

Now the display is able to play the six h264 videos a 30fps, 15Mbps and CPU use is  about 20%-60%.


Thanks to everyone

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