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Minimum CPU to play ALL kinds of video WITHOUT GPU

Last response: in CPUs
February 15, 2011 12:53:47 PM

Hi there,

What is the minimum CPU that I need to play all kinds of videos (1080p, blu-ray mkvs etc.) WITHOUT any GPU assistance? In other words, can I pick a powerful CPU and pair it with the cheapest motherboard around and still be able to play everything under the sun?

Will an AMD Athlon II X4 640 3.0 GHz fulfill all my needs? Paired with a cheap mobo with just D-sub (no hdmi/dvi)?

You can leave out Blu ray 3D...but normal Blu ray is on my list...

a c 133 à CPUs
February 15, 2011 12:57:51 PM

Yes the Athlon II 640 is way more then you need to play 1080P.

Minimum Configuration
(to play 720p video)

Windows XP
Windows Media Player 9 Series
2.4 GHz processor or equivalent
384 MB of RAM
64 MB video card
DVD drive
1024 x 768 screen resolution
16-bit sound card

Optimum Configuration
(to play 1080p video with 5.1 surround sound)

Windows XP
Windows Media Player 9 Series
DirectX 9.0
3.0 GHz processor or equivalent
512 MB of RAM
128 MB video card
DVD drive
1920 x 1440 screen resolution
24-bit 96 kHz multichannel sound card
5.1 surround sound speaker system

These requirements were from the P4 days so anything that is faster then a P4 3 GHz will play it fine.
February 15, 2011 1:09:10 PM

Are you sure? Please note that I will NOT be adding any graphics card...and WON'T be choosing any motherboard with a powerful integrated graphics like 780G/785G/880G etc. I would be using the cheapest mobo that is not capable of bluray playback etc.

I remember reading on a forum that a user with a quadcore couldn't play a high-definition AVCHD file from his FullHD camcorder (an mts or m2ts file with a very high frame rate) on his PC.

Thanks for your reassuring n informative response..

On another note...will an Athlon II X2 245 ALSO suffice? Whats the MINIMUM processor I need (Intel or AMD)?

I'm a bit tight on budget.. :) 


Someone on TomsHardware said "No CPU will play 1080p unassisted" here
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a c 133 à CPUs
February 15, 2011 1:22:09 PM

First off you can't get 1080P from a D-Sub you can however get it from a Dual Link DVI. A D-Sub will handle max 720P and that is it. I was assuming that you would be using at least a decent integrated video. You do know you can however get a video card for around $30 to $40 that will play 1080P no problem.

So basically if you want 1080P you will need an available Dual Link DVI and in your case you will need a cheap video card. I am sorry I must have read over you will only be using a D-Sub.

Best solution

a b à CPUs
February 15, 2011 1:26:06 PM

Depends how cheap the motherboard is. When you say you won't be choosing one with good integrated graphics, which one are you going to choose? Then we can tell you if it'll play. Most newer integrated graphics chips will decode h263 and h264, and they will take the load off the CPU anyways. If you want to play high definition FLASH files, then you need a good CPU because most flash files use the CPU more than the graphics processor.

When picking a motherboard, just make sure it says it supports 1080p. Give you an example... my desktop board does not have integrated graphics and requires a PCI-e graphics card. My new graphics card crapped out on me and I used an old standard PCI nVidia 5500 FX with 256MB of video memory. Even though my CPU is a Core 2 Quad at 3GHz... I could play DVDs, but when I opened a 1080p file, it would get stuck, especially if I loaded subtitles on top of the video. As soon as I installed a better graphics card (9800GTX), there is no problem playing anything.

So for DVDs it doesn't matter which integrated graphics you get, but if you want full 1080p decoding, don't completely rely on the CPU... make sure the board you want supports HD decoding.
February 15, 2011 1:37:09 PM

Man...even a Core 2 Quad can't play 1080p properly! Well ok..that answers my question..I guess I would NEED a decent the form of a video card/integrated graphics..

More views on this are surely welcome...
a c 133 à CPUs
February 15, 2011 1:44:45 PM

And remeber you need to go threw DVI not D-Sub if you want true 1080P.
a b à CPUs
February 15, 2011 1:53:11 PM

I tried 1080p on the D-Sub before, whenever there is fast action scenes, the picture will get choppy and tear. You want DVI or HDMI for proper HD playback. You don't need a killer graphics card though, even Intel chipsets with the 4500HD integrated graphics will play full HD fine. With the AMD boards, just try to get one with an integrated HD 4250 or something. If not, a cheapo $30-40 add on PCI-e graphics card will do the trick. Just pay attention that it has DVI or HDMI. D-Sub is an analog signal, DVI and HDMI are digital all the way.
a c 133 à CPUs
February 15, 2011 1:57:34 PM

Most new LCD screens won't even let you set the resolution to 1920x1080 when connected via D-Sup my Samsung 32 in will only let me do 1366x768.
a b à CPUs
February 15, 2011 2:01:17 PM

I have a 32" TCL (Chinese brand) and it'll let you do 1080p through the D-sub, but it looks terrible. The picture doesn't fit the screen scaling, and the colors look like puke. My particular set requires the D-sub to be 1360x768 or 1280x720 to get proper scaling and colors. But I can do 1080p through the HDMI perfectly with a cheap Radeon HD 5550, just had to adjust the colorspace.

Also with HDMI, your audio signal can be carried with the same wire. Only need one cable for sound and picture. It's the best way to go and most AMD boards with integrated HD 4250 will already accommodate you, so a $65 or so mainboard with a decent CPU will be fine for most video types...
February 18, 2011 7:44:07 AM

Best answer selected by melvyn.