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Videos skip. Will a new card help?

  • Graphics Cards
  • Video
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
June 16, 2009 7:25:06 PM

This is probably not the type of question you are used to receiving considering the mediocre hardware I am dealing with. I volunteer at church in assisting with the operation of our audio video equipment. A while back, we decided to set up dual monitors on our pc (one monitor, one projector). The problem was, our mediocre dell only had pci ports. I had an ancient pci video card (voodoo 3) lying around, so we threw that in. We don't really need much in the lines of graphics power, our projector runs at a resolution of 800x600. However, we have began using more videos in our services. Its strange because, usually the video displays okay, but the audio will skip. Occasionally the video might drop a few frames, but audio is the main issue. We can play mpegs alright, but just about anything else gives issues. Videos seem to play fine on the monitor, just not the project (which is using the voodoo 3). The computer is certainly no powerhouse either. It has a hyperthreaded pentium (single core) running at a clock rate of 3.2 ghz, but that's all I can remember offhand. Would replacing the video card help, or is the pc likely the problem? Thanks ahead of time!

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a b U Graphics card
June 16, 2009 7:49:46 PM

Well, as you probably suspect, a newer system would probably rule out all your problems. LOL Of course, that costs money, and I'm sure your church isn't interesting in spending it's tithe income on upgrades that may not be needed.

Sometimes issues like this can be as simple as the system being plugged with garbage on the hard drive, or the need for more RAM (memory). You'd be surprised with a little extra RAM can do for most systems.

You may also try formatting the hard drive, and reinstalling everything if you're able. That alone might make things a bit speedier.

Also, especially on an older machine, you may check internally and see if that thing need blown out. If it's got lots of dust bunny build up, it's going to run hotter than normal, and that alone can cause this kind of problem. :) 
a b U Graphics card
June 16, 2009 8:04:59 PM

If you have donations and an extra pci slot, get a sound card
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June 16, 2009 8:09:42 PM

Thanks for the reply old hand. A new system is certainly out of the question at this point. I'll try to find out how much ram is in the system and post back (may be a few days until I can find out). I believe it has 512mb, although it may only be 256. I don't think software garbage is the issue because we re-installed windows not too long ago and the problem persisted. I also try to do disk cleanups and defragement regularly. There are two programs that I usually use to play video, the first is mediashout and the second is zoomplayer. Both seem to have the audio problem. Zoomplayer plays fine on the default monitor but not the projector. Mediashout can only play on the projector. This is why I suspected the old card. Thanks again for your tips. Will open the case and see if there's dust buildup. If ram is the issue, we could certainly upgrade that.
June 16, 2009 8:12:26 PM

jaydeejohn, I had thought the internal sound might be an issue, but as I said above this problem is only on the second monitor (projector). Is it still possible the soundcard is the problem? Thanks for the reply.
a b U Graphics card
June 16, 2009 8:14:11 PM

Very possible, as the card will relieve the cpu from doing extra duty. Audio is very demanding, especially on older rigs
a b U Graphics card
June 16, 2009 8:16:24 PM

One way to check is, if you can, check your task manager for cpu usage. If its maxxed out running what you desire (the cpu), then its probably the audio, and a sound card would/should resolve it
June 16, 2009 8:20:56 PM

So the problem then isn't that the internal sound is not sufficient, just that it is putting extra strain on the cpu? I have a spare sound card. Its nothing great, but should relieve the cpu of some of its duties. Will give it a shot if I have an open pci slot. In the mean time, other thoughts are welcome. Thanks again!
a b U Graphics card
June 16, 2009 8:40:32 PM

Have you tried a fresh Windows installation or at least some driver cleanup? Have you tried some sort of Linux LiveCD? Linux is often much friendlier to old crappy PCs.
June 18, 2009 1:24:51 AM

a fresh windows install and installing the programs that you are going to use will probably solve your problem. installing extra stuff often times creates more things to be processed and slow things down a bit
July 5, 2009 2:16:26 PM

Sorry to bump up an old thread. We have had some audio related issues lately and our computer took second chair. I did, however, do some testing this morning with task manager. When playing a video, cpu usage stayed mostly around 60 to 70 percent, sometimes jumping as high as 90. The sound freezing, however, would occur even when usage was around 60 percent. Is the internal sound still likely the issue, or could it be the video card. Also, this unit has 1gb of ram. We basically have a fresh windows install on this unit. It has the bare minmum programs we need, although we could trim out some windows updates. Linux is, unfortunitely, not an option because we use windows only software. Thanks for the posts though guys.
July 5, 2009 2:16:56 PM

Sorry about the double post. I was getting a site unavailable message.
a b U Graphics card
July 5, 2009 6:03:16 PM

Having either a newer (from the 2xxx series for ATI, or 8xxx series for nVidia) gfx card will help in video playback, as will a soundcard. The gfx card can be seen helping here
Check the link, it should help you, just make sure you get a compatable gfx card, and 1 that has the video chip onboard