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aurgathor

join:2002-12-01
Lynnwood, WA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

Litmus test for obsolescence

Even if it was a bit slow at times, I thought my main PC (Dell GX280 with 3.2 GHz P4, 3Gig RAM, HD5670 video, XP SP3) was still usable for *my* everydays tasks such as watching movies, surfing web, do some programming or video encoding, etc.

Up until I tried to play a 1920x1080 mp4 video DL-d from youtube in VLC -- 100% CPU usage and occasionally scrambled screen.

Same video played just fine with under 25% CPU on my 2nd PC, a Dell Precision 490 with two 5160 Xeons, 16 Gig RAM, HD7770 video, Win7/64, but the problem with the latter PC is that while the GX280 is quiet enough that I can barely hear it (it's also my 135W space heater ), the Precision is a bit too noisy for my taste, although right now I wouldn't mind it's 200+ Watt power.

In any case, my point is that I just happened to find a very simple test to determine whether a given PC is fast enough for my use. Interestingly, said GX280 can play 1920x1080 mpegs just fine, indicating that decoding (the presumably h264 encoded) mp4's require much more CPU.
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Wacky Races 2012!


Octavean
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-31
New York, NY
kudos:1
My guess, off-hand, is that there is an offload at play in some but not all cases. Some video file types can be offloaded from the CPU onto the GPU. If a file type isn’t well suited to GPU offload its dumped on the CPU and will therefore result in poor playback.

BlitzenZeus
Burnt Out Cynic
Premium
join:2000-01-13
kudos:3
reply to aurgathor
I'd say anything less than a core 2 system can't play hd video, and some of those can't play hd video well. Even with a good video card in the system they are limited to pci express 1.0 bandwidth even if you do have a decent video card that system, and offloading to the gpu likely isn't enough. Some software these days won't run well on a core 2 system at all like newer games.

My latest system has an 3rd gen i5, and with the idle underclocking it almost never actually runs at the full speed of the processor. Even current onboard gpus have no problem with hd videos.

I want my father to get a new computer, but he insists on using some old 16-bit software on a single core system with xp so I would have to run it in a vm, or get him a 4GB system with a 32-bit version of the operating system so he could use around 3GB of the ram. That's assuming this software wouldn't have any conflicts with the latest operating systems. I'm just waiting for the system to stop working, and then figure out what his options are then.
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I distrust those people who know so well what god wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires- Susan B. Anthony
Yesterday we obeyed kings, and bent out necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to the truth- Kahlil G.


Octavean
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-31
New York, NY
kudos:1
I was only address the possible reason for inconsistencies in playback from file type to file type (and HD streaming). It is entirely possible that offload to the GPU isn’t enough with some file types given the CPU. However, I do recall my early experience with Blu-Ray playback (H.264 / AVCHD files can also be demanding) and Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra v6.5 / v7. Hardware requirements included support for Pentium D class and Pentium EE class processors in the P4 family with offload to GPU.

I’m not saying its an ideal configuration though and as the software progresses through its upgraded version the minimum requirements have likely gone up.


aurgathor

join:2002-12-01
Lynnwood, WA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
reply to aurgathor
I'm not sure about video offloading -- how much, if any can be done, or with what player. I can certainly try a couple of halfway decent cards and several video players. However I do know fior the fact that CPU requirement goes like this: mpeg -- that would've a good testbed for this.
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Wacky Races 2012!

n_w95482
Premium
join:2005-08-03
Ukiah, CA
reply to BlitzenZeus
said by BlitzenZeus:

I want my father to get a new computer, but he insists on using some old 16-bit software on a single core system with xp so I would have to run it in a vm, or get him a 4GB system with a 32-bit version of the operating system so he could use around 3GB of the ram. That's assuming this software wouldn't have any conflicts with the latest operating systems. I'm just waiting for the system to stop working, and then figure out what his options are then.

If you've got a copy of Windows 7 Pro, try that software with XP Mode. I've had good luck with using legacy software with it. One of my departments at work uses a DOS program in XP Mode, it works seamlessly with 7 64-bit.
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KI6RIT

n_w95482
Premium
join:2005-08-03
Ukiah, CA
reply to aurgathor
The 5670 should be able to offload a fair amount. I bet MPC-HC with some tweaking would run decently.

If you run GPU-Z while playing the video in VLC, what does it show for the GPU usage?
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KI6RIT

Da Man

join:2008-05-08
Hanover, PA
reply to aurgathor


aurgathor

join:2002-12-01
Lynnwood, WA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
Ouch, that may very well explain some of what I'm seeing.

Maybe I'll update it to Win7 32 bit some time, but definitely not in the near future.
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Wacky Races 2012!

Aranarth

join:2011-11-04
Stanwood, MI
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
reply to aurgathor
You may want to consider upgrading to win7 64bit, you can add 8gig of ram and be fine for quite a while, the video card is more than capable of playing most games at that resolution as well.

I highly doubt you could upgrade to cpu to a quad core but you could do some research to find out for sure.


aurgathor

join:2002-12-01
Lynnwood, WA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
I already checked the CPU -- 915 Express chipset, and so even the dual core Pentiums are not supported (I have one of those in a damaged SC440 mobo) The CPU in it does not support x64, so a 64 bit OS is not an option unless I upgrade the CPU -- but I'd rather just get some other PC that already has a Core 2 Duo or Quad.
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Wacky Races 2012!