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HTPC conversion - new graphics card? or everything else?

Last response: in Systems
October 13, 2009 3:02:16 PM

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!
a b B Homebuilt system
October 13, 2009 3:19:16 PM

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.
October 13, 2009 3:29:54 PM

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.
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
October 13, 2009 3:39:33 PM

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.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 13, 2009 3:41:54 PM

well you could just change you mobo to a g41
a b B Homebuilt system
October 13, 2009 3:44:37 PM

yeah, that would probably fix it for sure, but trying fixes that don't cost money first.
October 13, 2009 3:51:42 PM

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.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 13, 2009 4:06:52 PM

the g41 is roughly on par with a 8500gt the newer g45 is on par with a 9300gt
October 13, 2009 4:15:21 PM

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.