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Laggy HD Movies

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  • Laptops
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March 3, 2009 1:58:15 PM

Hi,

I have a Compaq NX9420 laptop with a core duo t2400 1.83ghz cpu, 2gb of ram, & x1600 radeon video card. I have been trying to watch dark knight in 1080p on it and the video is verry choppy and laggy. I have come to the conclusion that I probably need to upgrade my hardware. Could anyone tell me what I should do and what upgrades I should get specifically? Thanks

More about : laggy movies

a b D Laptop
March 3, 2009 4:15:31 PM

Before we start, make sure your notebook is on 'high performance' mode. Don't be trying to do heavy tasking on power saver profiles.
March 3, 2009 4:22:50 PM

Where do I check which power mode I am using? The laptop is also plugged in to the wall outlet so it isnt using battery power but Im not sure whether this matters.
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March 3, 2009 6:05:12 PM

There should be a battery icon on the traybar right next to the clock on the bottom-right side of the screen. if you click it a window with the battery options should appear. There you can choose Power saving ot high performance. BUT i belive that if the laptop is plugged in to the wall it's like automatic "high performance setting"
Still you should try the settings. Hope this helps
March 4, 2009 1:16:16 AM

It isn't on any power saver mode. It is running on a normal mode and is plugged into the wall. HD movies are still very laggy.
March 4, 2009 1:47:16 AM

You should try to acces graphic properties. right click on the desktop and you should find Graphics Properties. adjust the settings there.
a b D Laptop
March 4, 2009 3:56:24 AM

The only reason I could think of is it being on a power saver mode. I'm pretty sure you've got the power to play the movie. Try playing it in fullscreen mode if you haven't already.

And get CPU-Z to check that your clockspeed is actually 1.8 and not something else.
March 4, 2009 11:43:51 AM

Ive checked my graphics properties and adobe catalyst control panel. I dont see anything that needs to be adjusted. I dont think my computer is in any power saving mode. I have tried playing in full screen mode. Regualr videos play fine but when I try to watch HD it just lags and gets all choppy. Here are my cpu-z results: http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/3605/cpuz.jpg
a b D Laptop
March 4, 2009 5:35:37 PM

As I suspected. Your core speed is not 1.8GHz, it's 1.3.

Did you take that screenshot while playing the movie? I suggest you do that to read the core speed under load.
March 5, 2009 1:34:46 AM

Before playing the movie it was fluctuating from 997.6mhz to 1.8ghz every few seconds. Then I played the movie and under load it was the same as that screenshot. Now ive stoped the movie and it looks to be staying at around 997.6 and every once in a while it spikes up to 1828 for a little.
a b D Laptop
March 5, 2009 3:48:37 PM

That's your problem then. Something is not enabling your processor to throttle all the way to it's full clockspeed. Run a different intensive application (like prime 95) and see if you can get the full clock of 1.8GHz to appear and stay there. I know you already said it before, but make sure you're on high performance/home/desk power profile.
March 5, 2009 7:00:30 PM

speedstep on laptops? =\
March 6, 2009 11:31:38 AM

Can the gpu maybe be overclocked or something to its proper speed? Im not sure what I should do to fix this problem.
March 6, 2009 11:40:05 AM

Im running prime 95 and cpu-z is showing it constantly at approx 1330mhz, fluctuatung only between approx 1330.0 - 1330.4. Somestimes it goes back down to 997mhz as well while prime 95 is running but most of the time its at 1330.
a b D Laptop
March 6, 2009 6:02:08 PM

Some sort of speedstep has to be enabled. The T2400 definitly runs at 1.8GHz. Your multiplied should be 11 at full speed, but something is throttling it to only 8. Use Core temp to find your processor temperature. Let's see if it's overheating.
March 7, 2009 8:29:30 PM

Ok ive posted the results in the image below. I ran prime 95 for about 20 mins and then i took these pictures showing the reults in cpu-z and coretemp. As you can see the temp fluctuates b/w 95C - 100C and the core speed stays at 1330mhz most of the time but sometimes goes back down to 997 for a second or two for some reason. Ive shown this all in the screenshot which I edited in paint.
http://img3.imageshack.us/img3/6927/cputemps.jpg
a b D Laptop
March 7, 2009 10:39:38 PM

Okay, your CPU is way too hot. Take your notebook out to the garage and clean out your fans and heatsinks with the air compressor.
March 7, 2009 10:55:55 PM

Im not really sure how to open this notebook up and take apart the fans and heatsinks. Ive never done it before so I dont really know what Im doing or where to even look for these parts.
a b D Laptop
March 9, 2009 12:01:55 AM

You don't need to open it. Just take it to the garage and blast air through the vents on the bottom and the sides. You should know where the fans are - that's where all the hot air comes from.
March 9, 2009 11:17:05 AM

I found out how to open the notebook and take out the fan. I've cleaned it and now the heat is not so high. When idle the cpu operates b/w 45C to 55C approx and it now can hit its proper clock speeds when it needs to. I played an hd movie again and while playing it the temp max out b/w78-80C with the clock speed hitting 1828mhz consistently. The movie plays much better than it did prior to cleaning the fan but it is still not very watchable. Its no longer choppy and super laggy but I still get a pretty poor framerate while watching it. In windows media player the sound plays smooth but fps is very low. In media player classic the fps is a bit better, but the sound becomes very choppy. Itll cut out the sound completely every few seconds and then cut back in for a few seconds repeatedly.
http://img523.imageshack.us/img523/4641/newtemp.jpg
a b D Laptop
March 9, 2009 1:47:19 PM

Okay. Glad to see the major problem was resolved.

Now we may be running into a processing power limit. Try playing the video with VLC media player.
March 9, 2009 2:24:10 PM

I just played it in vlc media player and the video is playing much smoother in it than any other player ive used. It still not as smooth as it should be and it lags every little while and I see some square artifacts show up when it lags(kinda like the squares you see on streaming videos) but it is a much better frame rate than the other players. I still wouldnt call this watchable framerate wise but its not far from it. However it is in wmv format and when I open it in vlc it says "No suitable decoder module:
VLC does not support the audio or video format "wmap". Unfortunately there is no way for you to fix this." Because of this there is no audio at all while playing it.
a b D Laptop
March 9, 2009 5:50:10 PM

Okay, so you'll lose some performance with other players - we've ruled out the player as a major problem point. Let's work on efficiency, now. What kinds of things do you have running in the background? I see on your idle CPU temp shot, you've got a good 20% each core in use. What's doing work, there?
March 9, 2009 7:11:08 PM

That wasnt my idle cpu shot. The was minor usage. I was recording a radio show using adobe audition. When Idle my cpu usage fluctuates from 0 - 5%. All i have running is kaspersky, pc tools spyware and the hp software that came with the system.
http://img408.imageshack.us/img408/3728/idle.jpg
a b D Laptop
March 9, 2009 9:06:29 PM

Consider shutting down some of your programs, and then run only a media player. See if that improves things a bit.
March 9, 2009 9:49:39 PM

Ive shut down everything and the performance in the media player hasnt changed. :/ 
a b D Laptop
March 10, 2009 9:12:07 PM

The only other possibility I can think of is that your notebook simply doesn't have enough power to get the job done.
March 11, 2009 11:49:43 AM

What kind of power does a system need in order to have good performance while playing hd video? What should I upgrade in my laptop to make it powerful enough, the video card or cpu? And do you know what my best options would be to do that in this laptop(ie. most powerful cpu/video card it supports)? Btw I really appreciate all the time you have put in to help me out. I wouldnt have gotten this far without you.
March 11, 2009 12:57:36 PM

i dont really think it is the "raw power" that is the issue here. i have a T7200 @ 2.00 Ghz with a NVIDIA Quadro NVS 120 graphics card and 1080p HD movies STILL frame ... and i did try everything from cleaning it, shutting down every program running in the background, all the known players. the only thing i found to be really helping is changing the drivers for the graphics card, which improved the performance just a little bit. Bottom line, i think some HD movies (1080p encoded ones at least) just cant be played on a laptop.
a b D Laptop
March 11, 2009 1:52:54 PM

Sharr, your argument is really saying that raw power is the issue.

I have a T8100 @ 2.1GHz and an 8800mGTX and I can play movies fine.

I'm not really sure how GPU dependent playing HD movies are - something I'll try and find on the ole' internet. I'll post when I find something.
a b D Laptop
March 11, 2009 2:08:02 PM

Yeah, I don't think it's raw power.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/graphics-blu-ray-vi...

Tom's gets an older Sempron to play back flawlessly with some ruddy graphics cards.


It's got to do something with the player or the compression codec. What player are you using and what are you trying to decode?
March 11, 2009 3:02:07 PM

Windows Media Player classic is my main player and the problems i am having are with all kinds of 1080p movies. for example, i cant watch the movie trailers from apple in 1080p. the trailers are laggy. i have no problem with 480p or 720p trailers thou. it isnt a LCD problem since i have 15.4" WUXGA (1920x1200) LCD Screen.
a b D Laptop
March 11, 2009 5:26:40 PM

From what I hear media player can't do certain kinds of HD playback - but I'm no expert in the matter, I've no blueray player myself - just HD video files.

Have you tried another commercial player (with a free trial)?
March 12, 2009 12:04:42 AM

same here, HD files. to be honest, i dont really know any other players besides the "classic" ones, windows media player 10, media player classic, vlc player, quick time. i never bothered with others because i never had any problems with the movies until the HD 1080p files came out.
May 24, 2010 1:01:37 AM

If anyone has this problem still vlc player does seem to go laggy and blocky on my acer 6920 with a 9500m gs graphics card after hours worth of messing around with codecs i figured out how to get around this issue, first install the CCCP codec pack once this is installed just open windows media player that comes with windows 7 then the movies work fine, its the VLC player that is the problem maybe due the the gfx card not being that powerfull because i have a 8800gt in my pc and it works straight off with just VLC player idont have to install the CCCP codec pack on my pc. I think that he CCCP codec pack gives movies better performance if you have a lower end card, these codecd performance packs dont seem to be needed on high end cards they just do all the work with their high rate bandwidth.
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