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HD Playback - More CPU or GPU dependent?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 14, 2009 7:43:41 PM

Hi, a friend passed his PC over to turn it into somthing that can play YouTube HD content and HD streaming content in general, without breaking the bank. My question here is will his CPU be able to manage HD playback without lag teamed with a decent GPU? His current rig is:

CPU: Pentium 4 - 3.06Ghz 1MB Cache 533FSB (SL8JA) No HT support.
RAM: 512MB DDR PC2100
GPU: N/A

Now, my idea was to upgrade the ram to a single 1GB DDR PC3200 (generic ram of ebay) and add a decent GPU in there. But again this will relate to my first question... Can this CPU handle it? If so, what GPU would be the best to go with for HD playback?

I had in mind the 8600GT but I think that may be to much of an overkill for HD content. What do you guys think?

Thanks!
November 14, 2009 7:44:30 PM

O... I forgot to mention, his board has PCI-e, not AGP.
a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2009 7:49:02 PM

MSI R4350-MD512H Radeon HD 4350 512MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail -- "Free HDMI cable w/ purchase, while supplies last"

Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 400 (PC2 3200) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model KVR400D2N3K2/2G - Retail

That'll handle HD nicely. The lowest price for 1GB DDR2 is like around $27... pay the $10 more for an extra GB. :/  What motherboard does he have? Really he could spend like $40 or so an get a much, much better CPU too. That's less important though as the HD content will be offloaded to the GPU.
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November 14, 2009 7:56:51 PM

A half decent videocard will take the decode load from the CPU, so that problem is largely resolved.
As you have said, the 8600 will do the job, and quite well, but I've just switched from an 8800GT to a HD5770 and the video playback is much improved. The previous cards in my rig were 7800GTX and HD4870 (it died a horrible death:(  )and the same playback results were obtained: The ATI card did a better job. I would suggest going ATI for HD playback, and the HD4550 is, in my limited opinion, the best choice.
November 14, 2009 8:06:20 PM

brockh said:
MSI R4350-MD512H Radeon HD 4350 512MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail -- "Free HDMI cable w/ purchase, while supplies last"

Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 400 (PC2 3200) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model KVR400D2N3K2/2G - Retail

That'll handle HD nicely. The lowest price for 1GB DDR2 is like around $27... pay the $10 more for an extra GB. :/  What motherboard does he have? Really he could spend like $40 or so an get a much, much better CPU too. That's less important though as the HD content will be offloaded to the GPU.


Hi,

He gave me 50 bucks and the PC. I promised him I'll squeze somthing out of the 50 bucks he gave me. So I had in mind a $35-$40 GPU and $15 on a 1GB DDR stick from ebay. It's a DDR motherboard that has PCI-e, not a DDR2.

The motherboard is a MS-7142 Version 2B.

He will be connecting to his 28" HDTV and will need a HDMI port so he can stream the video and audio through there. No idea about the resolution of the monitor. I wouldn't think that would matter when you play a movie on full screen?... Looks all the same on any monitor when on full screen.

But if not, then most probally 1024x**** (widescreen?)
a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2009 8:07:08 PM

The lower 8xxx series didnt handle HD playback very well.
November 14, 2009 8:08:15 PM

coozie7 said:
A half decent videocard will take the decode load from the CPU, so that problem is largely resolved.
As you have said, the 8600 will do the job, and quite well, but I've just switched from an 8800GT to a HD5770 and the video playback is much improved. The previous cards in my rig were 7800GTX and HD4870 (it died a horrible death:(  )and the same playback results were obtained: The ATI card did a better job. I would suggest going ATI for HD playback, and the HD4550 is, in my limited opinion, the best choice.


Wow, those GPU's are like... REALLY breaks the bank/mid ranged gaming GPU's. :)  Having a 4870 just for playing HD content is a waste of money and the GPU itself. I would get jelous of it :D 

Is the 8600GT an actuall overkill? Anything else you may suggest? 9400/500GT perhaps? Those seem to sell for cheaper on ebay.
November 14, 2009 8:09:52 PM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
The lower 8xxx series didnt handle HD playback very well.


Hmm, hill just need enough to watch basic HD contect. I mean, his not going to be rendering/converting on the setup, just watching, so nothing fancy will be needed. (his no gamer to either.)
a c 164 U Graphics card
a b à CPUs
November 14, 2009 8:14:39 PM

If you read my post more carefully, you will see I suggested the HD4550, not the HD4870, which would be , as you say, massive overkill;)
a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2009 8:17:34 PM

godbrother said:
Hi,

He gave me 50 bucks and the PC. I promised him I'll squeze somthing out of the 50 bucks he gave me. So I had in mind a $35-$40 GPU and $15 on a 1GB DDR stick from ebay. It's a DDR motherboard that has PCI-e, not a DDR2.

The motherboard is a MS-7142 Version 2B.

He will be connecting to his 28" HDTV and will need a HDMI port so he can stream the video and audio through there. No idea about the resolution of the monitor. I wouldn't think that would matter when you play a movie on full screen?... Looks all the same on any monitor when on full screen.

But if not, then most probally 1024x**** (widescreen?)


Okay, fair enough. That GPU is the best deal you're going to get, however. It's $24 (after mail-in rebate, $34 without which leaves you with ~$15-25 for memory) for the power of an 8500GT/9400GT with a free HDMI cable (and port), along with being completely silent. I can assure you it will handle HD better and provide better performance than any NVidia card in that price range even neglecting the extras...
November 14, 2009 8:34:27 PM

Hmm, 85GT or 94GT? Which one would be best?
November 14, 2009 8:36:47 PM

All of this might be a non issue....does the MB have an IGP? Even the most basic IGP can output 13x7 for his tv (i'm assuming its 720p) without an issue. Especially if you are talking about youtube videos and streaming video content from the web. The biggest problems you will have with that is your RAM and internet speeds. I have an old P4 Dell that I gave to my friend's kids for streaming netflix and youtube. It works great for that. Just be sure you have enough ram to deal with the video players and background task that will be running, and you should not have a problem with ANY video card.
a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2009 8:43:40 PM

G45 is Intel's first chipset to include support for full hardware H.264/MPEG-2/VC-1 decode acceleration, including the entire H.264 decode pipeline (CABAC/CAVLAC entropy decoding included). This support puts Intel's integrated graphics on-par with the feature set of ATI/NVIDIA IGPs as well.
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3417&p=5
a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2009 8:47:02 PM

And no, they still arent on par, as ATI and nVidia use less cpu than Intels IGPs
!