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I have a Ubuntu media PC. It's an older PC. I can watch most 720p quality videos without problems. However, some scenes (especially water scenes) get really choppy. Large squares of images seems to get stuck on the screen. This happens occasionally on lower definition videos too. 1080 is out of the question.

What I would like to know is what is the most important thing I should upgrade? I would think video card and then RAM. Specifically, for high-def videos, what is the most important piece of hardware?

Here are my current specs:

  • Motherboard: Intel DeskTop Board D945GTP
  • CPU: Pentium(R) D CPU 2.80GHz
  • RAM: 1GB 533MHz
  • Video card: ASUStek RV370 [Radeon X300SE]

My TV has HDMI and VGA ports. I am currently watching through the VGA port.

Thought I should add the fact that I use VLC.

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what you describe sounds like a bad encoded movie. does it happen with the same video all the time? can you copy the movie to another machine and try if it still sux? – akira Oct 9 '11 at 9:36
HDD is not a problem. Sure, it may read slow, but you can just adjust cache in 'smplayer', or 'vlc', or anywhere. Memory is ... well, if you cache, it'll go to the memory, but I think that still fits into the 1gig you have. CPU is fine, the GPU will totally off-load the CPU. – Shiki Oct 9 '11 at 9:46
It happens with just about any 720p video and quite a few low def ones too. It really only does it with the low def ones when the computer seems busy doing other things. – mhost Oct 9 '11 at 17:15
Since this would offload the CPU and the movie can be preloaded. But if you only think it's the machine, then use the cache settings. – Shiki Oct 9 '11 at 20:51

Video card. Get an nVidia card with the highest VDPAU set.
Check this table to find a card which fits your need. (You don't have to spend too much, even the newer, low-performance cards are perfect to play back the highest definition. Like GT240 at the moment.)

You will play your movies with vdpau this way.

(You may need this PPA later, when you install the card, in order to install the necessary software support. PPAs are for Ubuntu, they stand for a personal package archive. However, I used many Linux distributions, and every distro ships with vdpau support nowadays.)

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