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Can I upgrade turn my computer into a capable media pc?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 24, 2009 3:45:43 AM

I'm using and old desktop as a media pc. I can play DVDs and other smaller videos fine. But if I try to play a 1080p video the frame rate goes to hell. Also I can play Hulu videos fine in a window, but if I try to go to full screen it starts skipping.

Here's my system specs:

MSI K7n2G Motherboard (nforce 2 chipset)
Athlon 1700+
2 GB Ram
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro

So would it be possible to upgrade one or more components so that this computer would be capable of playing HD video? I'm guessing that Hulu.com is more depended on the processor then anything. Am i right?

Or would i be better off just putting in a whole new motherboard/cpu/video card/memory combo. Keep in mind I'm not playing games or anything I just want to be able to watch HD video.





a b U Graphics card
October 24, 2009 4:31:26 AM

You are going to be severly limited by your CPU, whose upgrade is severly limited by your MOBO, so you'd be limited to natively a Mobile 3100+, and with the OC'ed FSB a standard 3200+.

Adding a little more graphics power will help, but you'll still likely suffer performance drop in high bit-rate content, and anything like the Hulu flash material that requires CPU power.

However, also make sure hardware acceleration is disable in the player when watching Hulu, it causes skipping even in capable systems.

You'd likely get the most mileage out of a CPU+memory+Mobo (preferable AMD 780G / 790G series) that with just adding an AGP card, only because of the limitations of your current setup. You could get a capable setup for about $120, and then it gives you expansion possibilities for later.

If you're not particularly price restricted I would simply go with a very good dual core sempron, with either a good intergrated graphics (or discrete if you want), or else a cheap intel setup with an HD4550 or GF9500 add-in card. All of which should be well under $200 US.
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October 24, 2009 5:31:32 AM

Yeah that's what I was thinking. I'd rather not spend $100 on an upgrade, when I could just spend $200 and upgrade everything. That's what I was afraid of.

Eric
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