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HTPC too low on processing power.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 2, 2009 4:24:08 AM

So I recently installed my HTPC and was starting to discover the fruits that Hulu has to offer. I went to watch an episode of the Simpsons, and when I went to full screen mode the video became all choppy with slow frame rates. Escaping the full screen mode the frame rate returned to normal (so it isn't my internet connection).

Basically my problem is that the computer I built is too weak to smoothly upconvert a Hulu video to 1920x1080. When the video is full screen the CPU is maxing out at 50% so that MAY be the issue. I'm not sure.

My vital equipment is this:
GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-US2H AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5050e
2x2 GB DDR2-800
Philips 1080p TV
Win 7 64-bit RC
Opera browser (would other browsers use both cores maybe?)

I am using onboard graphics to save power; I thought that the 780G chipset would be fine for non-gaming. What can I do to get better performance? Do I need to simply add a graphics card (4650ish) or do I need to get a better CPU? And if I need a new CPU, what would you suggest for low power on an AM2+ platform?
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August 2, 2009 6:30:06 AM

Maybe its vaseline=wienershliden
August 2, 2009 5:32:28 PM

If the CPU is only at 50% then it's hardly maxed out. Now if you were at 90+% that would be a different story. Anyway your CPU is more than enough for watching Hulu at 1080p. It may be that the onboard video is having trouble but that may be more of a driver issue as the 780G should be able to handle it. I'm sure it's not the CPU since I have no trouble even when running it at stock clocks, but of course I also have my 3850s. Even my backup computer has a 1950GT, but of course CPU utilization is like %100 when watching full screen Hulu on that poor old Athlon XP 3000 :D .

Anyway before you start throwing hardware at the problem I'd first try to use a different browser. I use firefox to watch Hulu but you may also want to try Chrome. If find that if you have more than one hulu tab on your browser then the flash and javascript ads in the background can slow things down. You may also want to try an updated driver to see if that solves the problem.

If you're still having trouble then it may just be your onboard video coping with Hulu and 1080p. If that's the case then you may as well go with a Radeon 4650 or 4670 so you can play some games on it too ^_^. The 4550 would work too if you don't want to spend too much money on it, but the 4350 is a slower version of the 4550 so you may get a little choppiness.
August 2, 2009 11:24:40 PM

You might also want to take a close look at core usage. If only 1 core is being maxed out, that'll still only be 50% overall use of your processor, and will definitely be a major hamper to something like full-screen Hulu.
August 3, 2009 2:26:36 PM

Yeah, the 50% CPU usage suggests to me that it is a single-threaded process that is using all that it can. So tossing more cores at the problem wouldn't do much.

I did have about 6 other tabs open in Opera, one was Youtube (not playing a video though). I'll try another browser and also cut down on the tabs. I'll also redownload the chipset drivers to make sure I'm utilizing the onboard graphics.

Thanks for the suggestions guys.
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