Choppy playing hd/x264/mkv with 9600gt?

i'm in a dilemma here. here are the stats for my comp:
optiplex 755
intel core 2 quad q6600 kentsfield socket 775
motherboard dell inc. 0gm819 intel q35 rev. a2
memory 4 gigs dual DDR2 333mhz
powersupply - corsair 550W

i had an ati x1300 pci card in the system, and when i had that card, i was able to play 1080p mkv files, converted 1080p .x264 files (with mkv2ob), any type of video without a problem and no choppiness. my computer would be working full time but it would play the video smooth. i decided to upgrade to a nvidia 9600GT so i can handle some of big games coming out in the future (modern warfare2, starcraft 2). After installing, everything is fine, the card runs hot, but it's nothing too ridiculous. however, when i play my 1080p mkv files and my converted 1080p hd files with windows classic media (like i always do), it's choppy and becomes unwatchable. i was absolutely stumped. i installed communicty pack codec again, checked if there was something wrong with the card and everything was fine. and yet when i play 1080p (720p plays fine) it doesn't work. and this is where it get strange: i installed the newest powerdvd on my computer and it doesn't play mkv files, however it plays my converted 1080p (mkv2ob) files and it plays those smoothly. what's going on here, am i missing something or is there some setting that i need to turn off in the video decoder? so basically -

using windows classic mediaplayer - mkv is choppy, converted 1080p is choppy, anything that is 1080p is choppy
when using powerdvd - converted 1080p runs fine and perfect but it doesn't read mkv files so i don't know.

i would like to be able to play mkv files on my windows media player so i can use it for subtitles and stuff. is there a reason why powerdvd seems to be able to handle my 1080p fine and not windows media classic? If anybody can help or offer any tips to my problem, i really appreciate it. thanks again for taking the time out to read my post.
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  1. I know it isn't really a solution to your problem, but I highly recommend that you take a look at the latest version of VLC. It is a great media player and supports just every major video and audio codec out there without having to install loads of extra codec packs. I use it all the time on my Mac and PC.
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