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Laptop - Lenovo T61P, laggy video at 1080p

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  • Nvidia
  • Lenovo
  • Video
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 11, 2010 6:11:18 AM

the problem is, essentially, that my computer can't play 1080p video (in VLC) from a .mkv file without lagging under either windows or linux, 32 or 64 bit.

System Specs:

Lenovo T61p
graphics card: Quadro FX 570M, 512 MB ram
CPU: Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2 GHz
memory: 2 GB DDR2 667
Screen: 1920x1200
Hard drive: 7200 RPM internal

my screen should display 1080p video easily, as the screen width matches perfectly, and the GPU and CPU are both decent. My hard drive is also fairly fast for a laptop. Where do you think the bottleneck is and what would the best solution be? 720p video plays fine.

More about : laptop lenovo t61p laggy video 1080p

February 11, 2010 10:01:23 AM

Slade,

It's likely a mix between your CPU and GPU struggling to decode the codecs and play the 1080p video properly.

One free option to do is check and make sure you have all necessary codecs installed.

The ones I generally install are Divx, ffdshow, AC3filter, Haali Media Splitter, Core AVC Pro, and I generally use MPC to playback my video files.

My desktop plays 1080p and 720p no issues, but again my laptop lacks in the playback ability for 1080p.

I suggest trying to play a 1080p video and watching your CPU usage. It's likely destroying one core which is causing the laggy playback


Edit: Just to clarify; When you say that your computer can't play 1080p video in VLC from a .mkv file, does this mean you've successfully played 1080p on this laptop when using a different media player and/or video container?

Also, should note that although your screen resolution can support the 1080 resolution, it doesn't mean the laptop can play 1080p video's.
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a b Î Nvidia
February 11, 2010 3:34:50 PM

^+1
also make sure all of the drivers are properly installed.
:) 
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February 11, 2010 4:11:40 PM

Solor said:
Slade,

It's likely a mix between your CPU and GPU struggling to decode the codecs and play the 1080p video properly.

One free option to do is check and make sure you have all necessary codecs installed.

The ones I generally install are Divx, ffdshow, AC3filter, Haali Media Splitter, Core AVC Pro, and I generally use MPC to playback my video files.

My desktop plays 1080p and 720p no issues, but again my laptop lacks in the playback ability for 1080p.

I suggest trying to play a 1080p video and watching your CPU usage. It's likely destroying one core which is causing the laggy playback


Edit: Just to clarify; When you say that your computer can't play 1080p video in VLC from a .mkv file, does this mean you've successfully played 1080p on this laptop when using a different media player and/or video container?

Also, should note that although your screen resolution can support the 1080 resolution, it doesn't mean the laptop can play 1080p video's.

No, it can't play in any player. The reason I noted I'm using VLC is in my experience it's always been the best and lightest player, and come with all the necessary drivers to decode any video I've tried playing. It's playing, so it already has the necessary codecs - you really think I'd get better performance from a different player/different codecs?

while debugging this I tried starting up a fresh boot and running *only* VLC playing a video directly from the internal hard drive. it still lags just as much. it does put a heavy load on one core, but doesn't max it out at 50% constant - I guess MKV's have variable bitrate, VLC isn't buffering the data, and the occasional 50% load is causing lag?

Yeah, I know that having a 1080p screen doesn't mean it can play 1080p video, but it helps - my computer displays the resolution natively, instead of having to do another encoding to scale the video down to my screen res.

So essentially, you think the bottleneck is my CPU, while my GPU still has plenty of power left.
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February 11, 2010 5:00:36 PM

Slade it could be a bit of both, but ultimately laptop CPU's aren't as powerful as desktop CPU's. The clock speed may be comparible to that of a desktop, but the raw power just isn't there in a laptop.

If you haven't installed any codecs at all, then I highly recommend going through and installing the ones I listed above.

The media players and codec packs (CCCP, etc.) that are out there aren't optimized for HD playback. HD playback can be a bit picky as if you get bloated packs and so forth, they've simply grouped together the most codecs possible so you can play the most formats, but then you have issues with optimization as these packs haven't had any optimization.

As for VLC, it is a good program, however Media Player Classic is completely stripped down and requires these external codecs to play.

I do suggest at least trying the codecs out and trying something like MPC (standalone player, no install needed) and seeing if it increases your performance.

My experience in the past I installed the CCCP codec pack and used MPC for media playback, and found half the movies were pixelated, etc. I uninstalled the pack and installed just the main codecs and it played back flawlessly.

ffdshow - http://sourceforge.net/projects/ffdshow/
ac3filter - http://ac3filter.net/releases/ac3filter_1_63b - I suggest the full
divx - http://www.divx.com/en/software/windows/divx

Recently divx now supports h.264 and MKV, etc. I believe you could get away with HD playback without installing CoreAVC Pro or Haali Media splitter, however if you do have issues.

Haali Media Splitter - http://haali.su/mkv/MatroskaSplitter.exe
Core AVC Pro - http://corecodec.com/products/coreavc

Now Core AVC Pro, I know you have to pay for, however I do believe if you get the installer you're allowed a 30 day trial with it. Of course there are other methods to obtaining Core AVC, but I assume if you're playing .mkv files and such you're well aware of how to find the Core AVC codec you're looking for :) 

Anyways, give the codecs a shot, and try out MPC in conjuction with these codecs and see how your playback fairs. The codecs are fairly lightweight so it won't hinder any performance on your machine, it should hopefully just boost the performance with playback on your laptop.

Edit: Just as a note. the .mkv container and HD playback is still fairly new, so there isn't alot of packages that offer out of the box decoding for the .mkv container. It's possible that VLC has some codecs for HD playback, but may not have all the recommended ones.. But you can play 720p, so again it could simply just be an issue with the CPU lacking the raw power needed to decode a 1080p video, and the GPU lacking in the power to display a 1080p video
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February 11, 2010 9:24:39 PM

You're laptop is underpowered, not broken.
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February 11, 2010 10:47:53 PM

builderbobftw said:
You're laptop is underpowered, not broken.

well yeah, it's 3 years old. that's why I asked where the bottleneck is and what I'd need to upgrade.

Thanks for the replies. I'll do what you said and install those codecs. Unfortunately I mostly watch video on linux though - any recommendations there?

I'm already planning on upgrading my ram. If I was going to upgrade my CPU and GPU too (I'm debating whether to upgrade or wait a few years and buy a new computer altogether) what would you recommend I purchase? My use of my laptop averages about 40% web browsing/word processing/spreadsheets/etc., 40% engineering (3D modeling) and 20% video. I also have an external 1280x1024 monitor that uses a VGA D-sub connector.
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February 11, 2010 11:00:27 PM

Slade,

The costs of upgrading the CPU and a video card in a laptop are fairly high, and there is also the concern of installing it.

Alot of video cards on a laptop are simply integrated graphics cards (built into the motherboard), and offer very little in terms of upgrading for them. Whether the motherboard can support an upgraded video card is one thing, but you also need to have an available PCMCIA slot on the laptop. The PCMCIA graphics cards can be somewhat hard to come by, and don't necessarily run cheap.

Ultimately if you're looking to upgrade multiple components in your laptop, especially when it comes down to the CPU and video card, I would recommend looking into purchasing a new laptop altogether that already has these extra components installed.

Desktops are one thing as alot of the parts are interchangeable and there is almost always the extra room available for your upgrades, however laptop shells are very small and confined, so they offer very little room for upgrades. Personally when looking to upgrade my laptop, the only thing I even consider upgrading is the RAM or the HDD as these two items are very easily swapped out. Anything above and beyond that, you may as well start looking into a new laptop.

Should note as well, it's not only the cost of the parts, but you also need to be very comfortable installing it yourself, or expect to pay out a fairly large chunk of money to have a certified technician rip open the laptop and install the new CPU / video card. Each model of laptop has different ways to open (most of which start with the keyboard), and there is numerous screws involved. For a first timer, even under the watchful eye of a certified technician, it can be a pretty intimidating task when doing a complete tear down of a laptop.. That is of course if your plan is to rebuild the laptop with all screws and all panels secured without breaking any clips :p 
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