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BluRay & mobo/graphics question re Dell Inspiron 1526?

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November 30, 2009 12:29:17 AM

My Dell 1526 laptop seemed to come equipped to play backed-up, DRM-free BluRay titles from either ISOs or BluRay Folders on hard disk. For example, it includes HDMI audio and video output and the like. Here's Dell's online owners manual (note that it covers 4 different models: I have just the 1526 laptop without a BluRay-compatible DVD disc drive): Dell™ Inspiron™ 1525/1525se/1526/1526se Owner's Manual

The 1526 also includes something called a: "Broadcom BD Accelerator Solution", but for the life of me I can't find any information about that at all other than driver download links! The implication, obviously, is that it somehow accelerates BluRay Disc (BD?) playback, but who the heck knows? Do any of you?

The thing is, although everything -- audio and video -- basically works when I play BluRay ISOs on my HDTV at 1080i resolution through the laptop's HDMI output, the video playback is just a little slow. It looks to the viewer as if it's playing the material at 0.9x speed, which is close, but no cigar.

I've researched the issue, but the best I can come up with is that the problem may be related to the ATI Radeon X1270 graphics card. Although I can't find anything that explicitly states that the Radeon X1270 isn't capable of playing BluRay at 1080i resolution, CyberLink's BluRay compatibility checker says that it's not compatible with BluRay (but it says that about my desktop graphics cards too, but I can playback BluRay discs perfectly on them!)

Which leaves the question of what the heck the "Broadcom BD Accelerator Solution" does! Is it supposed to somehow compensate for the relatively limited capability of the Radeon X1270? There's also a product called a "Broadcom Media PC card", which seems to be a PC card that you can plug into a laptop to provide high-def video playback, but I couldn't find any information on that product either, or where to buy one. Again, does anyone know?

Assuming that I'd have to have a more capable graphics card, I found this page: Is it possible to upgrade Inspiron 1526 laptop graphics card?. So, since the graphics card is integrated into the motherboard, it can't be upgraded separately. Which leads me to the next question in this post: Can I replace the motherboard in order to get full BluRay playback capability?

I've never opened a laptop, but it seems to me one major difficulty would be finding a replacement mobo that had all the connectors in the exactly right positions to match the external case. Or are cables used to wire them, leaving some flexibility in that regard?

The Dell 1526 has a CD/DVD drive and two USB connectors on the right side, none in the back, two USB connectors, a VGA connector (which I never use), an RJ45 Ethernet connector (which I do use), a phone jack (which I never use), a HDMI connector, and a FireWire port (which I use very often) on the left side, and headphone and microphone jacks on the front.

Any comments, advice, or suggestions appreciated.
a b D Laptop
November 30, 2009 2:03:25 AM

It seems to me that like you stated in your post that it has something to do with the graphics card. If it cannot fully play bluray, you're going to get that type of effect, i.e. it cannot handle the high bandwith of bluray's. You can replace the motherboard, but like you said, it would be a major PITA to find the correct one. Your best bet is to save a bit and buy a new laptop of desktop. It's less of a headache.
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November 30, 2009 2:59:40 AM

Thanks, buwish. That may be my only real option in the end, but then there's this business about the "Broadcom Media PC Card", which to the best of my limited knowledge seems to be a card you can plug into a laptop's PC card slot that allows the laptop to play high-def video. Perhaps it includes the "Broadcom BD Accelerator" such that the graphics card doesn't have to do all the work itself.

If Broadcom or other manufacturers offer such a thing, that could well solve my problem and keep me from having to buy a new laptop, which is something I very much don't want to do because of affordability issues. It sounds like the perfect solution.

The Broadcom Media PC Card was an optional component that came with the BluRay DVD disc drive for the Dell 1526, but I can't seem to find a way to buy that upgrade now. Dell's website hasn't allowed me to find that upgrade option anymore, possibly because the Inspiron 1526 is no longer an active product. Any suggestions?

Does anyone know anything about such high-def media laptop PC cards or where to buy them?
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