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Computer having trouble decoding 720p videos

By pyromaster114 ยท 13 replies
Sep 27, 2009
  1. I have here a Dell Dimension 2400 which I have upgraded the CPU in it to a 2.2GHz Pentium 4 as opposed to the 2.4Ghz Celeron. It runs much better actually, boots faster than any computer I've ever had, and overall functions beautifully... however I still have one problem with it:
    It lags when playing 720p or higher resolution video files.

    It doesn't seem to matter what kind of compression or container they are, it just lags. The sound continues ahead of the video, and the video is basically in slow motion.

    My question is: What, other than buying another computer or upgrading the processor and/or motherboard, could I do to help the situation?

    A friend of mine suggested putting in a video card, as that may help with the video decoding and playback. I know that when I put in a really shitty PCI video card, it made it worse, so therefore if I do the opposite (put in a really good PCI video card) it may help, or so I'd think.
    Before I go buying the most expensive and fancy PCI card I can find, I wanted to know what other people think, and if anyone has any more detailed information.
  2. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,191   +208

    Video cards do improve video quality through hardware accelaration, Though i would try to find and borrow a decent one before you invest in your own, just to be sure you get the results you are after.

    Check here:


    For an idea of what pci cards are best.

    Hope this helps :)
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,545   +429

    Try using different software to play. What card do you have now? Do you have an AGP slot or only PCI?

    It may be worth looking into CoreAVC and seeing if that might help, it is supposed to be an extremely efficient decoder. Unfortunately it costs money. But probably less than a video card.
  4. pyromaster114

    pyromaster114 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 243

    fimbles, thanks for the suggestions. I'm going to see if I can go borrow a video card from a friend today and see if it helps. If it does I might try and buy one from a store around here... and besides I can always return it if it doesn't help enough I guess ^_^.:haha:

    SNGX1275, I've tried using VLC and Media Player Classic, as well as Windows Media Player, but none of them will play the files without any lag.
    Do you have another player you would suggest?
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,545   +429

  6. pyromaster114

    pyromaster114 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 243

    Dude, is linking to google really the best sarcastic comment you can come up with?
    And uh... did you notice you spelled (or at least if I figured out what you're trying to say correctly) 'know' wrong?
  7. pyromaster114

    pyromaster114 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 243

    I got a chance to try the CoreAVC codec package today. It made a small improvement... however still the computer just doesn't have the power to decode the 720p h.264 video. :(
    Though seeing some improvement does make me think that my end goal is within reach.

    I have ordered a relatively inexpensive PCI video card with an Nvidia chipset that supports Nvidia's GPU H.264 video decoding, so hopefully that will improve things.
    I noticed that the CoreAVC package makes a big deal of supporting Nvidia's GPU h.264 decoding, so if I still have trouble with the computer after I install the video card, I'll try the CoreAVC software again.

    EDIT: This is the card I ordered off Newegg, it should get here within the next few days. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814187042
    Hopefully it's going to make a difference.
    (Yeah before anyone says anything I should have bothered to get the more expensive cards with the 128-bit memory interface but I'm trying to stay on a tight budget, as if I don't the whole experiment becomes slightly worthless in that I could just buy a new motherboard and/or processor and solve the problem that way if I was going to spend more money... this card seems to be right in the price range that I'd be willing to spend on this thing... if it still doesn't do what I want, I'll probably put the computer on ebay and build a whole new system, or at least use a new motherboard and CPU combined with other parts laying around here.)
  8. pyromaster114

    pyromaster114 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 243

    Okay so I got the video card today and I put it in and excitedly booted the machine. I had some weird setback with the thing still thinking the integrated graphics chipset was primary, but I switched that and disabled the integrated chip in Device Manager.

    So I go install the Nvidia drivers, and I reboot the machine, and it comes up in 4-bit color as soon as I enter windows (after the windows XP loading screen.).
    I uninstalled the driver, and it goes back to 32 bit color, but the device manager says it has no driver for it, and videos don't play right, etc. etc. Standard stuff for when your video card's driver isn't installed correctly.

    The computer is running Windows XP Service Pack 2. I just installed it recently, so it might not be fully updated, but Nvidia claims their drivers need only up to service pack 2 to function.

    Anyone have any ideas?
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,545   +429

    Without the nvidia drivers it is in 32bit color, still using the card? I'd say try a different version driver then, guru3d has all the older drivers. I'd still try to get something modern, just maybe not the newest.
  10. pyromaster114

    pyromaster114 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 243

    It would seem that the card works with the Omega drivers for Nvidia cards I downloaded, but the card doesn't seem to be helping at all with the h264 video decoding, so maybe the drivers aren't working quite right.

    And yes, without the drivers, it's in 32-bit color.
    I guess I'll try and see if I can find an old version of the official Nvidia driver.
  11. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,545   +429

    The cd should have drivers, I know this generally isn't the recommended choice for drivers since they are often pretty outdated, but they will be newer than the default XP ones, and they should enable the proper hardware acceleration.
  12. pyromaster114

    pyromaster114 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 243

    The drivers on the CD are the ones that I tried first.
    I figured I'd update them later if needed. Unfortunately none of the Nvidia drivers I've tried worked at all, they switch it to 640 x 480 4-bit color and nothing else is available. Only the Omega drivers allow somewhat normal function.
  13. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,545   +429

    Call the card manufacturer? That can't be normal behavior for the card.
  14. pyromaster114

    pyromaster114 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 243

    Actually, in several reviews, it appears that with some combinations of hardware, this card tends to do this. Since I've looked I've read several reviews that said the card has a driver problem, and no one seems to claim Nvidia has fixed it. :(
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