I have a Thinkpad R500 running Ubuntu 14.04 with a Radeon HD3470 and it seems like it isn't able to play HD videos without stuttering.

I tried watching this demo video (setting Youtube to 1080p) in all major browsers (Opera/Chromium/Firefox) the video is only playing with massive stuttering.

Downloading the 1440p and 1080p version of this video via youtube-dl and playing it via VLCplayer is somewhat more fluent, but still with sporadic stuttering.

As load immediately goes up and CPU usage is 100% as soon as trying to play this video, I guess, that the system lacks hardware accelaration for video decoding.

Is a Core2Duo not capable of decoding HD videos without help of the GPU?

If not, I would assume that the GPU should be more then capable to play HD videos - is there any chance I can get hardware video decoding in Ubuntu with this setup?

Hardware/software info:

cat /proc/cpuinfo

processor   : 0
vendor_id   : GenuineIntel
cpu family  : 6
model       : 23
model name  : Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU     P8700  @ 2.53GHz
stepping    : 10
microcode   : 0xa07
cpu MHz     : 800.000
cache size  : 3072 KB

cat /proc/meminfo

MemTotal:        8105560 kB
MemFree:         3979600 kB
Buffers:          152896 kB
Cached:          1893088 kB
SwapCached:            0 kB

sudo lshw -c video

       Beschreibung: VGA compatible controller
       Produkt: RV620/M82 [Mobility Radeon HD 3450/3470]
       Hersteller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI]
       Physische ID: 0
       Bus-Informationen: pci@0000:01:00.0
       Version: 00
       Breite: 32 bits
       Takt: 33MHz
       Fähigkeiten: pm pciexpress msi vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom
       Konfiguration: driver=radeon latency=0
       Ressourcen: irq:49 memory:f0000000-f7ffffff ioport:2000(Größe=256) memory:f8000000-f800ffff memory:f8020000-f803ffff

dpkg -s xserver-xorg-video-ati

Package: xserver-xorg-video-ati
Status: install ok installed
Priority: optional
Section: x11
Installed-Size: 92
Maintainer: Ubuntu Developers <[email protected]>
Architecture: amd64
Version: 1:7.3.0-1ubuntu3.1

1 Answer 1


Yes, as your system is slightly more capable than mine, you should be able to watch full HD video using VLC without problems even if VLC decodes H.264 in software.

I own a Lenovo Thinkpad R500 with P8400 @ 2.26 GHz and Radeon HD3450 graphics adapter running Windows 10. It's a system with slightly lower performance than your system and it plays H.264 encoded full HD video without recognizable frame loss. The CPU utilization is at 40% on average. I assume VLC is decoding video in software.

I watched the YouTube video you referenced using VLC 2.2.1. Its media information window provides the following statistics:

  • Decoded : 2639 blocks
  • Displayed: 2613 frames
  • Lost : 1 frames

That being said, the full HD video playback using any browser as well as Microsoft's video app provide a stuttering and lagging video playback. Very unsatisfying.

If you are only asking how to enable hardware-supported video decoding on Ubuntu, I don't know the answer.

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