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 Post subject: need a upgrade for video playback
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:14 am 
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My parents have an old PC that's too slow to play 1080p .mov files from the cellphone. It's a Sempron, 1GB of memory, Win XP. I tried using a Geforce 8500 GT to accelerate the video but the video is still too choppy.

What would be the most cost effective way to get this done? If it's a CPU+mobo+memory upgrade, what combo? Or maybe a prebuilt PC or laptop?

Also, they need to be able to use a second LCD for productivity. I'm not sure if all prebuilt solutions can do multimonitor.


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 Post subject: Re: need a upgrade for video playback
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:42 am 
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Is your board AGP or PCI express for graphics?
Fitting a modern GPU will solve video playback issues (as well as take the load off for flash etc)
But it you're not on PCI express it's going to be harder to find something.


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 Post subject: Re: need a upgrade for video playback
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:27 am 
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If this is a Sempron with 1 GB RAM, then i suppose it's more than 5 years old. That would mean changing the whole mobo-cpu-RAM. But in keeping the rest of the old hardware you run the risk that another part i.e. the HDD will die some time in the future.

As you mention multi monitoring: Most Laptops can drive 1 additional display besides the built-in. Most IGP solutions can drive two monitors right out of the box, depending the right connectors are provided.

If it were my parents, i'd look for the cheapest suited PC, either AMD (any A4, A6 or A8) or Intel (any SandyBridge or IvyBridge CPU) powered. You won't need a GPU just for 1080p movies and multi monitoring, as long as there are no 3D games involved.


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 Post subject: Re: need a upgrade for video playback
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:54 am 
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AMD Sempron Manila is an AM2 part and came out mid 2006. An AM2 system might be upgradeable, I would replace older parts.
You should find out which one it is.

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 Post subject: Re: need a upgrade for video playback
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:43 pm 
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Mr Spocko wrote:
Is your board AGP or PCI express for graphics?
Fitting a modern GPU will solve video playback issues (as well as take the load off for flash etc)
But it you're not on PCI express it's going to be harder to find something.


I thought the Geforce 8500 GT supported video acceleration. Maybe I can try an newer video card.


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 Post subject: Re: need a upgrade for video playback
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:03 pm 
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I would just rebuild a new setup, an Intel Celeron G530 or Pentium G630 should handle video playback fine, grab a cheap H61 mobo (check for the outputs you need), 8gb ddr3 (whatever is cheaper).

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 Post subject: Re: need a upgrade for video playback
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:28 pm 
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shunx wrote:
I thought the Geforce 8500 GT supported video acceleration. Maybe I can try an newer video card.


The 8500 GT does support hardware offloading for MPEG2 and H.264, but only has partial support for VC-1. The most likely cause is your video player not using the hardware properly. Make sure your player supports using DXVA for playback. Also, some players (ex, VLC) can only use DXVA with Vista and above, not in XP.


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 Post subject: Re: need a upgrade for video playback
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:59 pm 
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Location: Vancouver
washu wrote:
shunx wrote:
I thought the Geforce 8500 GT supported video acceleration. Maybe I can try an newer video card.


The 8500 GT does support hardware offloading for MPEG2 and H.264, but only has partial support for VC-1. The most likely cause is your video player not using the hardware properly. Make sure your player supports using DXVA for playback. Also, some players (ex, VLC) can only use DXVA with Vista and above, not in XP.


Thanks for the information. Is there any player that supports XP?

I just tried a HD5450 and couldn't get it to work. The motherboard is AM2 based, which is too old. I'm learning toward getting a new prebuilt PC for them.


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 Post subject: Re: need a upgrade for video playback
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:18 pm 
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shunx wrote:
The motherboard is AM2 based, which is too old. I'm learning toward getting a new prebuilt PC for them.

If you upgrade the bios, the board could support a new processor, i.e. Phenom X3 or Athlon II. Add 4GB of ram and productivity apps should run smoothly. A new processor could even resolve playback issues, the old one might simply be too old.

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 Post subject: Re: need a upgrade for video playback
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:35 am 
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boost wrote:
shunx wrote:
The motherboard is AM2 based, which is too old. I'm learning toward getting a new prebuilt PC for them.

If you upgrade the bios, the board could support a new processor, i.e. Phenom X3 or Athlon II. Add 4GB of ram and productivity apps should run smoothly. A new processor could even resolve playback issues, the old one might simply be too old.


That's an interesting tip. I googled this and found the following about M57SLI, the board: "Most AM2 Motherboards Not Phenom Ready... we weren't able to run it [Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4] with the Phenom processor - despite official BIOS support. The pre-production motherboard revision 0.2 could be the issue, though."

I'm not sure what version my board is, but either way it seems quite iffy whether it supports newer CPUs or not.

Pappnaas wrote:
in keeping the rest of the old hardware you run the risk that another part i.e. the HDD will die some time in the future.


That was spot-on: I just checked the hard drives and one of them has indeed failed!


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 Post subject: Re: need a upgrade for video playback
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:22 am 
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shunx wrote:
That's an interesting tip. I googled this and found the following about M57SLI, the board: "Most AM2 Motherboards Not Phenom Ready... we weren't able to run it [Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4] with the Phenom processor - despite official BIOS support. The pre-production motherboard revision 0.2 could be the issue, though."

I'm not sure what version my board is, but either way it seems quite iffy whether it supports newer CPUs or not.

A pre-production board can behave differently. Official bios F13 adds AM2+ Phenom support and F14 AM2+ Phenom X3 support.
Just checked: newegg has a refurbished AM2 X4000+ for $35 including shipping. AM2 not AM2+ should be no problem it was supported in all bios versions. Add two sticks 2GB DDR2 $25 each and you're done, all for $85.

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 Post subject: Re: need a upgrade for video playback
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:39 pm 
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Location: Vancouver
boost wrote:
shunx wrote:
That's an interesting tip. I googled this and found the following about M57SLI, the board: "Most AM2 Motherboards Not Phenom Ready... we weren't able to run it [Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4] with the Phenom processor - despite official BIOS support. The pre-production motherboard revision 0.2 could be the issue, though."

I'm not sure what version my board is, but either way it seems quite iffy whether it supports newer CPUs or not.

A pre-production board can behave differently. Official bios F13 adds AM2+ Phenom support and F14 AM2+ Phenom X3 support.
Just checked: newegg has a refurbished AM2 X4000+ for $35 including shipping. AM2 not AM2+ should be no problem it was supported in all bios versions. Add two sticks 2GB DDR2 $25 each and you're done, all for $85.


Thanks. The Sempron 3400+ is playing video at less than 5 fps. In the following benchmark, an Athlon X2 4200+ is maybe 30% faster than a Sempron 3400+: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=a ... =483&num=5
So, I'm not sure the Athlon 64 X2 4000+ will be fast enough.

But I'm reading the motherboard info on Gigabyte's site: Support for Socket AM3/AM2+/ AM2 processors: AMD Phenom™FX processor/ AMD Phenom™ processor/ AMD Athlon™ 64 FX processor/AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual-Core processor/AMD Athlon™ 64 processor/AMD Sempron™ processor.

Still, questions on my mind are, is it safe to ignore reports about the pre-production BIOS regarding "not Phenom ready", and which compatible processors may be fast enough, if any.


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