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My PCI-E card is an 8400GS and my onboard video is an HD4200. They both play movies without any slowdown. Will the movies look different? Will one picture look sharper than the other? I suspect that if the video cards can play the movies at full speed, then the video quality should be the same. Am I right?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

You are correct. Assuming both can successfully play the files, the quality is determined by the file's encoding format, bitrate, resolution, etc, rather than by the video card. It's possible that color settings and such may differ card-to-card, but those should be adjustable by you.

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If your monitor has a high resolution, it is possible that a card can struggle and pixelate or skip frames.

But, there should be no difference with colors or anything else as this is codec related.

If this isn't what you want to hear, can you rephrase your question as I didn't completely understand.

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