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bad Divx playback on 550 Athlon

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February 5, 2001 5:29:34 PM

I recently started converting my DVD movies to DivX so I can watch them on my computer without getting up and getting the DVD (lazy, I know). I originally tried this a while ago with Windows 98, and it was dog slow, I couldn't even get normal size playback to run smoothly. I now run Win2k (advanced server), and the normal size playback runs ok. Trying to make it run full-screen is impossible though, as the skips re-appear. From what I've read at Tom's, my system should be adequate. Maybe someone can explain the quality problems.

Athlon Classic 550
Asus K7 mobo (I forget the letter, but it's the first athlon mobo from asus)
192MB RAM
27GB 7200 RPM maxtor HDD for the OS
61GB 5400 RPM maxtor HDD for the movies
Guillemot 32mb DDR GeForce
SB Live Value
Sigma Designs Hollywood+ DVD Decoder card (sadly does no good for DivX playback)

that's all the relevant hardware.

Also, I did a few tests with the CPU util graph, in windowed playback, it's using about 80-90%, and in full-screen it's using 100%. That can't be right.

Thanks!

~Crapple0
Anonymous
February 6, 2001 1:17:53 AM

That sounds right actually. DIVX requires a lot of processor. If you are running the K7M motherboard (The first Athlon Mobo that ASUS brought out) then you are running 100MHz RAM at who knows what latency. Wouldn't hurt you to get a T-Bird with on die L2, PC133 CAS2 Memory and a A7V or A7V133. Don't know if I would do the DDR memory thing yet. I would go at least 1GHz just because they are so darn cheap. I don't have problems at 1144MHz on T-Bird chip. (1100 T-Bird at 104 Buss.) My CPU utilization is high running full screen. I run the memory at 133 CAS 2.

Good luck with your situation. No fun having speed problems with such a fast chip.
Anonymous
February 8, 2001 1:39:50 PM

That Hollywood card doesn't help becuase you converted movies are MPEG4 now and the cards firmware is only MPEG2.

Those numbers seem just about right and the last guy is right, you will have to up grade again or wait for a MPEG4 decoder board, should be seeing some next year, maybe.

Good luck.

Take Care.
Yes,I know I'm immature, but my goal is insanity!
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February 14, 2001 1:40:59 PM

I fixed my problem by getting another divx player. Apparently Winders Media Player is a whore when it comes to using CPU power. I got BSPlay from divx-digest.com and it works like a charm.

~Crapple0

"intel inside, idiot outside"
Anonymous
February 15, 2001 8:15:15 AM

If you have a processor of speed above 400-500 MHz, you should be able to play DivX Movies perfectly. Just follow these guidelines:

Use 25 Frames/s (Do not use NTSC at 29.93 F/s, that format tough to process)
Use resolution of no higher than 320 on the smallest side
Do not use a bitrate higher than about 1200 Kbit/s
And most important : Change screen resolution to 640X480 before starting the movie.

Keep in mind that action movies with fast moving cameras, demands a very high bitrate, hence a fast processor. I can see some of the movies i convert to DivX on my 333MhZ quite well, and they all run perfectly on my 666 MHz.
February 15, 2001 1:00:51 PM

I disagree with Bjorn's statement about making the movies small. From what I understand, if you make the movie big to begin with, the computer will have to do less work to scale it up to full-screen. Also, 640x480 looks like crap...BSPlay runs fine now, with my 720x576 (or something close to that) movies at a screen res of 1280x1024.

~Crapple0

"intel inside, idiot outside"
February 16, 2001 11:22:53 PM

I realize that the problem has been taken care of to your satisfaction but I have a few questions and comments. When you were using M$'s player did you find the CPU quality slider? I have not found this feature on the new media player but on the old one it really helped the smoothness of playback to set the CPU quality down to zero when playing on a marginal system. I have a cel400 laptop with 64MB ram that plays divx movies perfect. I built a cheap desktop with a cel400 and 96MB ram and it playes divx movies like crap even with the CPU quality at zero. During most of a movie it is hard to tell the difference between CPU quality settings but during heavy action a low CPU quality setting will produce blocky video.

Someone earlier suggested lowering the frame rate from 29 to 25 or so. This is a good idea but in some cases it does not work. Sometimes doing this will cause studdering and you will need to match the input framerate in these cases. A quick way to tell if you need to match framerates is to play the movie with flask's player. If the playback is jumping back and forth between progressive and interlaced then lowering the framerate will not work and you will need to match the input framerate.
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