HTPC conversion - new graphics card? or everything else?

I am interested in making an old computer I have into an HTPC, but I do not know exactly what needs to be upgraded. It is an old P4 3.0 (I am looking at upgrading this to a cheap wolfdale chip) Gigabyte P35 mobo, I think, it could be the p31. EVGA 7600 GT graphics. It has 1 gig of ram, but I have a spare 4 laying around I can put in it. Running on Windows XP with 80 gb. I am just wanting to dabble a little with HULU and do not need to download movies at this time, so I do not care too much about the hard drive.

I connected the computer to try it out using the DVI connectors. It looked pretty darn good. It even played the hulu movie at low resolution decently (not great). But when I went for the higher resolution, it became choppy and unwatchable. So.... do I need to get a new graphics card for this? or is there some really spiffy driver that will fix all my woes. Oh... the TV is a 47 inch 1080i rear projection. I think I included everything... Thanks for any advice!
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  1. a few things to try: add the extra RAM you have, 3GB should be all you need. Also, I haven't messed around with hulu much, but it may be a buffering issue. Is Hulu adobe flash based, or is it something else? if it's flash, there's a way to increase the buffer size. Also, I'm assuming you're connecting the HTPC through it's wired connection? If you aren't, definitely switch to wired.
  2. on hulu, you can pause it and fill the buffer - which still did not do much for me. I am fairly sure it is flash. And yes, i am going through the wired connection.
  3. try this setting change described at adobe:

    Another question, are you using firefox or IE? I remember seeing a fix for stuttering in certain versions of firefox, but it doesn't apply to everyone who uses it.
  4. well you could just change you mobo to a g41
  5. yeah, that would probably fix it for sure, but trying fixes that don't cost money first.
  6. Thanks for the input, I will try upping the buffer when I get home - I am using IE. When I used this rig on my regular 20" screen, it does run it fine. I will try it in Firefox and see if that helps matters at all.

    Obsidian - is the G41 really going to have better graphics than the 7600 gt? It wasn't a slouch 2-3 years ago. I am willing to upgrade a few things, but I still don't want to go overboard on this - it just needs to stream video. I was planning on a new cpu and quieter fan, buying a few cables (I have to steal from my new computer to use the dvi outputs), and maybe a new graphics card. All in all, I didn't want to crack $200, and aiming at $150.
  7. the g41 is roughly on par with a 8500gt the newer g45 is on par with a 9300gt
  8. huh... i guess things have changed since I started putting computers together. integrated graphics were about as fun as a base model chevy cavalier. I may be looking for a new graphics card then - I started adding things together on newegg, and it looks like I will have ~80 - 100 to spend on graphics. I was thinking about the 9600 gt or the 4670.

    This is one of the best charts Tom's does every month as part of the regular "Best cards for the money" review.
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