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I am preparing to purchase a new laptop, with Ubuntu 10.04 built in, from System76 with 8.0 GB DDR3 1333 MHz RAM, ATI 4570 graphics with 512 MB GDDR2 memory, 500 GB 7200 RPM SATA II hard drive, and I get to choose a CPU. I am wondering:

1) Would I get better 1080p video playback performance with a dual core Core i7-620M or quad core Core i7-840QM CPU?

2) What is the best playback software in Ubuntu that takes full advantage of such a CPU, and also the GPU?

Thank you!

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

According to the Intel website regarding the new i7 processor:

The all new 2010 Intel® Core™ processor family is the first to integrate graphics into mainstream PC processors. With Intel® HD Graphics, the processors deliver stunning visuals and smooth high-definition (HD) video playback. It's also the industry's first integrated solution to deliver multi-channel Dolby* TrueHD and DTS* Premium Suite home theater audio. In addition, Intel HD Graphics support mainstream and casual 3-D gaming without the need for an add-in video card, and offer full support for the new Microsoft Windows* 7 operating system.

Meaning that either the dual core or the quad core should work just fine

  • As far as the hardware goes, I've used a Core two duo, on my HTPC setup and it works wonderfully with HD quality movies, even when streaming across the network over a wireless connection. The top priority, in my personal opinion is the memory that the HTPC has, the better the playback. The video card obviously has a great weight on how well the playback will be as well. I found a guide that recommends hardware for building a HTPC. They range in recommendations anywhere from building a low price system to monstrous 40 HDD ultra theatre. The highest CPU they recommend is a Core 2 Quad.

  • The software side I recommend using either XBMC or BOXEE. The XBMC (and maybe BOXEE too) has a guide on how to install the minimum amount of linux on the HTPC so that most resources are dedicated to the actual Media Playback. Here is their guide on how to do that.

Best of luck to you and hope that this helps.

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