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When Watching Streaming Videos Online

happy

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#1
Hi
When watching videos online (streaming or anything else) what (hardware) makes it lag or be able to play videos (HD or SD) without lag? Is it the CPU, GPU, Integrated GPU? I ask this question because when I watch videos on a old Pentium 4 laptop, it is super super super laggy and if watched in HD, lets say its like watching a photos moving. I understand that the internet speed plays a role during streaming videos, but how do you eliminate lag.

Thanks
 
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#2
A lot takes in to affect of video quality: Internet speed, Java version, web browser, processing power of the computer.
Probably many more I can't think of.
 

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#3
So, I take the only way to fix this problem is just to build or get a new computer rather than try to buy parts and hope it will fix the problem?
 
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#4
Not at all, but given that you're using a laptop, your upgrade options are extremely limited.

Here's the basics:
-Internet Bandwidth: This will affect your streaming video framerate, choppiness, buffer times, etc. If the movie often stops to buffer and allowing the entire movie to pre-load before watching it gives you smooth playback, then Bandwidth is your issue; get faster internet or pre-load all videos from now-on. If pre-loading the movie does not help, then bandwidth is not your problem.

Watching higher quality (resolution) requires more bandwidth. If your bandwith is a problem, then try to stop doing anything else that requires bandwidth when streaming videos (close down any downloads, torrents, or other P2P programs. Don't browse other websites while streaming. Or, let the whole movie load before you press play. ) If that's still not enough, you can try watching at a lower resolution (for example, on youtube instead of watching at HD you could set it to 480P, or lower. )

-Processor speed: The computer can only do so much at once. If you've got a bunch of programs running in the background, close them down and see if that helps. Try to be ONLY streaming video, not browsing the web, burning a disc, etc etc. The price to upgrade this will vary wildly because it's a laptop. The maximum power, heat, speed, and type of CPU is dictated by the motherboard. You may be able to gain something here, but it's hit or miss. Ebay would likely be your best bet.

-RAM: Like the processor. The more you do, the more ram you need. If you do upgrade something, the RAM is likely the easiest and cheapest option. However, increasing the size of your RAM will only help if you don't have enough. The speed and type of ram is dictated by the motherboard, so you may be able to buy slightly faster RAM but don't expect huge gains (unless you currently don't have enough RAM and the system is swapping to disc)

-Graphics: Modern GPUs do provide hardware assist to video decoding. If the streaming video is being played in adobe flash, right-click the video then click settings, then on the Display tab (usually the first tab) see if "enable hardware accelleration" is checked. Some older GPUs don't work well with hardware accell, so if it's on try turning it off, and if it's off, try turning it on. Use whatever works better. Upgrading the graphics on a laptop is expensive, and again limited by the motherboard. To be able to upgrade the graphics, the laptop must use an add-in card type graphics and not an on-board type. We might be able to figure that out if you provide detailed specifications and model number of your computer


Sometimes, windows will get slower over time as programs are added and removed, and a re-install of windows might gain you some speed back.

Upgrading anything or reinstalling windows isn't something you should do if you don't know what you're doing (unless you're prepared to do a lot of reading up on it and can tolerate the possibility of making the computer temporarily or permanently unusable). Furthermore, since it's a Pentium 4 based laptop, you'd likely get better value for money by just buying a new one (you might be able to find a cheap used one, but always try to test it out to see if it's fast enough for your uses before you buy), unless you can get a hold of compatible used parts for very cheap (eBay, an unused similar laptop, computer repair stores, etc. Sometimes schools or businesses will auction off or give away their old gear when they upgrade, and that can be a good source of free or very cheap older components or complete computers.)

EDIT - also don't forget to make sure that you're using the newest version of flash player, and an up-to-date web browser, and system drivers. If you have a lot of toolbars or addons running in your web browser, turning them off might help a little bit
 
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happy

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#5
Thanks for the thorough explanation.

But I know that my internet speed is definitely not the case of the problem as I have 12mbps download speed. When watching movies I do not do anything else. I only have one tab open on Chrome or Internet Explorer. I not only have problem with this in my laptop but the problem also persists on my Dell Optiplex GX270. When watching netflix on my GX270 in SD quality or watching from Hulu at 288p (the lowest) everything is fine. However if I watch in HD in netflix or 720p in Hulu or Youtube the video starts to lag until its unbearable to watch (I have nothing open expect for Youtube or Netflix or Hulu). The Dell Optiplex 270 is pentium 4 celeron.

Thanks
 

Solaris17

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#6
Thanks for the thorough explanation.

But I know that my internet speed is definitely not the case of the problem as I have 12mbps download speed. When watching movies I do not do anything else. I only have one tab open on Chrome or Internet Explorer. I not only have problem with this in my laptop but the problem also persists on my Dell Optiplex GX270. When watching netflix on my GX270 in SD quality or watching from Hulu at 288p (the lowest) everything is fine. However if I watch in HD in netflix or 720p in Hulu or Youtube the video starts to lag until its unbearable to watch (I have nothing open expect for Youtube or Netflix or Hulu). The Dell Optiplex 270 is pentium 4 celeron.

Thanks
then it may be the router or the internet card. one tab means nothing. its whats in the tab that can be an issue. watching youtube while streaming? mistake.

playing a flash game while straming? mistake.
Watching porn while streaming? mitake
Skype while streaming? mistake
windows updates while streaming? mistake
other pcs loading the network while streaming? mistake

cpu power ram etc could also be a problem. if you have a mixture of lowend devices such as but not limited to.

cheap router provided by isp
old processor
old harddrive (cache)
not enough ram

blah blah. then it may coast $$ to fix it. as almost everything at that point may need to be upgraded. then you get into conflicting codecs virus scanners network/bandwidth monitors programs that access the net, the list goes on.
 
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#7
It's Pentium 4, or it's Celeron? They're two different processors. (The Celeron is a cut-down pentium with less cache, small frequency differences and a few other differences)

If turning the video quality down makes it watchable, and you've got sufficent bandwidth as you've said... processor/GPU is the main culprit. RAM might help a bit, depending on how much you currently have.

Your Optiplex GX270 has integrated intel graphics, which were extremely poor back then, so buying even a low-end graphics card might help you there. I'm trying to find better specs for it to see what your options are.
 

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#8
Watching porn while streaming? mitake
LOL

Well, I know for a fact that when watching the HD contents in Hulu, Netflix, Youtube, etc.. on the GX270 and the laptop the CPU goes to 100% and stays at peak until I exit and the CPU goes back down. When watching Super HD Rips (10GB) movies on the laptop and GX270 using VLC player the stutter also persists and the CPU goes to 100%. I can only watch 1GB Shit Quality Rips and the video will play fine.
 

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#9
It's Pentium 4, or it's Celeron? They're two different processors. (The Celeron is a cut-down pentium with less cache, small frequency differences and a few other differences)

If turning the video quality down makes it watchable, and you've got sufficent bandwidth as you've said... processor/GPU is the main culprit. RAM might help a bit, depending on how much you currently have.

Your Optiplex GX270 has integrated intel graphics, which were extremely poor back then, so buying even a low-end graphics card might help you there. I'm trying to find better specs for it to see what your options are.
Actually I read incorrectly. It is Pentium 4. Here is the link Dell Optiplex Gx270.
I didn't see the "and".
 

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#10
then it may be the router or the internet card. one tab means nothing. its whats in the tab that can be an issue. watching youtube while streaming? mistake.

playing a flash game while straming? mistake.
Watching porn while streaming? mitake
Skype while streaming? mistake
windows updates while streaming? mistake
other pcs loading the network while streaming? mistake

cpu power ram etc could also be a problem. if you have a mixture of lowend devices such as but not limited to.

cheap router provided by isp
old processor
old harddrive (cache)
not enough ram

blah blah. then it may coast $$ to fix it. as almost everything at that point may need to be upgraded. then you get into conflicting codecs virus scanners network/bandwidth monitors programs that access the net, the list goes on.
Actually its not really streaming. My internet is fast so the line that moves before the actual video I am watching goes faster. So essentially I think I am not streaming for Youtube and all the other providers that allow content to be downloaded and then watched. As for Netflix and Hulu, I believe that is streaming right? Because it doesn't allow cache to be downloaded rather it is solely streaming.
 

Solaris17

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#11
LOL

Well, I know for a fact that when watching the HD contents in Hulu, Netflix, Youtube, etc.. on the GX270 and the laptop the CPU goes to 100% and stays at peak until I exit and the CPU goes back down. When watching Super HD Rips (10GB) movies on the laptop and GX270 using VLC player the stutter also persists and the CPU goes to 100%. I can only watch 1GB Shit Quality Rips and the video will play fine.
you think im kidding but im not. you have 12mb down right? when i stream HD movies to my PS3 my network pushes 32mbs average depending on movie. That isnt downspeed but thats an idea of the maount of traffic. However the CPU is a good place to start. If your noticing 100% usage then that means that is probably the problem. now in this case you can do 2 diffirent things off the bat to help. a graphics card with decoding capability can take a load off the CPU. This will help stuttering. the problem? well first if its an online stream idk if a card will make a diffirence. I do not it will help for content played from the PC. no idea if it applies to streamed. the second issue. if you get a new card you will need to look at the PSU. also if its a 270 iirc they run AGP. that could be an issue. moving past that. you can get a CPU upgrade. problem...well if its a dell board and an old celeron CPU upgrades are probably few and far between. not to mention dual core upgrades which would be a big help probably arent supported on the board. Is their a way around it? yes kinda. you can look for a chip that will work on that mobo (this information might be hard to get.) the next problem is if it supports hyper threading. which would be your way around dual core+ problems.

basically. we need to know alot more about this rig.
 
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#12
Well the GX270 has an AGP port, so you could look for a Radeon HD 3850 AGP, and that would help but if the CPU is weak enough you'll still lag.

Do me a favor: Go here.

Download an run CPU-z to detailed specs of what's currently in your computer. Let us know what it says for CPU Name, and Package. Also post what it says on the Memory tab for Type, Size, and DRAM Frequency.

EDIT - Yeah, Solaris, the GPU helps for online streams. At least streams which utilize Flash player. Adobe Flash has had GPU assist since 10.0 for most types of video.
 
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#13
you think im kidding but im not. you have 12mb down right? when i stream HD movies to my PS3 my network pushes 32mbs average depending on movie. That isnt downspeed but thats an idea of the maount of traffic. However the CPU is a good place to start. If your noticing 100% usage then that means that is probably the problem. now in this case you can do 2 diffirent things off the bat to help. a graphics card with decoding capability can take a load off the CPU. This will help stuttering. the problem? well first if its an online stream idk if a card will make a diffirence. I do not it will help for content played from the PC. no idea if it applies to streamed. the second issue. if you get a new card you will need to look at the PSU. also if its a 270 iirc they run AGP. that could be an issue. moving past that. you can get a CPU upgrade. problem...well if its a dell board and an old celeron CPU upgrades are probably few and far between. not to mention dual core upgrades which would be a big help probably arent supported on the board. Is their a way around it? yes kinda. you can look for a chip that will work on that mobo (this information might be hard to get.) the next problem is if it supports hyper threading. which would be your way around dual core+ problems.

basically. we need to know alot more about this rig.
I looked into the HIS 2Gb 6950 (not for this build for another build) I read that the GPU enhances the video content streaming meaning no lag when streaming. I understand that it is not all about the GPU that provides the lag free stutter. But what does it serve if I had a i5 2500 (HD 2000) why would i also need the lag free stutter. Isn't the integrated HD 2000 fast enough that it will not have any lag? Im pretty sure the i3 can stream without lag but just wanted to compare the i5 which I have right now.
 
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#14
With old comp it could be anything. You need to start by listing all your hardware Before you ask these questions. And BTW a Dell Optiplex GX270 is not going to play 720p well at all

Your correct about the i3, i5 they will play any HD content with the integrated GPU
 
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#15
The i3 would likely be fast enough to brute-force its way through video (except MAYBE full HD video or high-compression HD formats) even without any GPU assist. Modern GPUs make a big difference though. With a decent card you'll get close to 0% CPU usage (3-4% depending on CPU and GPU) while watching video if the decoding is being done on the GPU. That also means the CPU fan won't be screaming away in the case.
 

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#16
Well the GX270 has an AGP port, so you could look for a Radeon HD 3850 AGP, and that would help but if the CPU is weak enough you'll still lag.

Do me a favor: Go here.

Download an run CPU-z to detailed specs of what's currently in your computer. Let us know what it says for CPU Name, and Package. Also post what it says on the Memory tab for Type, Size, and DRAM Frequency.

EDIT - Yeah, Solaris, the GPU helps for online streams. At least streams which utilize Flash player. Adobe Flash has had GPU assist since 10.0 for most types of video.
I asked this on another thread but I'll give you a brief explanation of my situation right now.
So I have two computers Dell Dimensions E310 and Dell Optiplex GX270. I guess I came to a conclusion of which to keep, the E310. So I just purchased this card for the E310 but I guess after opening the GX270 I could also use it for both -->Diamond Products S60PCI Radeon 7000 32MB DDR SDRAM PCI Graphics Card. You suggested HD3850. So should I return that one and go for the HD3850? But I have decided to keep the E310 which does not have an AGP slot. I really don't plan to game on these two computers just want to restore so that both can watch HD or SD streaming content or watch HD ripped without lag.
I also plan to give one away of course keeping the better one.
Which one should I keep? The GX270 has alot of connectivity inside but is quite outdated in terms of the hardware I see. It is using IDE rather than SATA.
The reason for getting that video card is because the computer I am giving away; the person wants to be able to use it in his tube tv (s-video).
 
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#17
Well the E310 definitely has less options. It doesn't have a graphics card port. (AGP or PCIe x8/x16)
It does support PCIe (x1) so you might be able to fit a more modern gpu in there by cutting the slot. The CPU will be decently faster, and supports hyperthreading. The RAM is DDR2 as opposed to the DDR in the GX.

Newer hardware, less expansion options. Probably I would go with the E310. You'll have an easier time finding parts for it.

As for the graphics card: do you already have it? If so, install it and see if it's enough.

OH! what size cases do these computers have? Mid-tower? Smaller?
 

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Motherboard ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3
Cooling CORSAIR CAFA50 (CPU)
Memory 4GB 1333mhz
Video Card(s) GIGABYTE GV-N460OC-1GI
Storage HITACHI 160GB 7200RPM HDT721016SLA380 & 5 IDE 250GB WD HDD
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Software Windows 7 Ultimate x64
#18
Ok so I don't know how to insert image so I'm going to type it out.
CPU
Name: Intel Pentium 4
Code Name: Northwood
Brand ID: 9
Package Socket 478 mPGA
Technology 0.13 um
Specification: Pentium 4 CPU 2.60 GHz
Family: F
Ext. Family: F
Model: 2
Ext. Model: 2
Stepping: 9
Revision: D1
Core Speed: 2593.x MHZ
Multiplier: x 13.0
Bus Speed: 199.5 MHz
Rated FSB: 798.x
L1 Data: 8 KBytes 4-way
Trace: 12 Kuops 8-way
Level 2: 512 KBytes 8-way
Core: 1
Threads: 1

Caches
L1 D-Cache
Size: 8KBytes
Descriptor: 4-way set associative, 64 byte line size

Trace Cache
Size: 12 Kuops
Descriptor: 8-way set associatve

L2 Cache
Size : 512 KBytes
Descriptor : 8-way set associative, 64-byte line size

Memory
DDR
512MBytes
Dual Channel
DRAM Frequency: 159.6mhz
Cas latency 2.5 clocks

Graphics
Intel 82865G Graphics Controller
Revision 2
Memory SizeL 96 MBytes
 
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happy

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#19
Well the E310 definitely has less options. It doesn't have a graphics card port. (AGP or PCIe x8/x16)
It does support PCIe (x1) so you might be able to fit a more modern gpu in there by cutting the slot. The CPU will be decently faster, and supports hyperthreading. The RAM is DDR2 as opposed to the DDR in the GX.

Newer hardware, less expansion options. Probably I would go with the E310. You'll have an easier time finding parts for it.

As for the graphics card: do you already have it? If so, install it and see if it's enough.

OH! what size cases do these computers have? Mid-tower? Smaller?
I'd say mid-tower. Definitely not small though quite huge and heavy for mid-towers.
I am not really sure what you mean by installing a modern GPU (you mean pic 2.0 x16 GPUs?) into a PCIe x1 slot? That's possible? I already purchased the specified card, but it has not shipped, so I still or think I have time to cancel or proceed with the order.
 
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#20
okay, well you gave me way more detail than needed about the CPU and noting about the memory :laugh:

That CPU would be enough to drive a decent graphics card and get smooth video playback. Maybe not full-HD but most stuff would be fine.

I'd say mid-tower. Definitely not small though quite huge and heavy for mid-towers.
I am not really sure what you mean by installing a modern GPU (you mean pic 2.0 x16 GPUs?) into a PCIe x1 slot? That's possible? I already purchased the specified card, but it has not shipped, so I still or think I have time to cancel or proceed with the order.


Memory
DDR
512MBytes
Dual Channel
DRAM Frequency: 159.6mhz
Cas latency 2.5 clocks

Graphics
Intel 82865G Graphics Controller
Revision 2
Memory SizeL 96 MBytes
The 7000 is a really old GPU. It won't have a lot of the modern video decoding abilities that you'll want. Cards that old are good mainly for really basic stuff. Web browsing, office apps. It might help a bit but I don't think it'll make you happy.

PCIe will auto-negotiate to the highest speed that both the device (card) and host (slot) support. PCIe x16 devices will run in an x1 slot, but at x1 speed. Also, since the x1 slot is much too short for the x16 connector, you have to cut out the end of the slot so it will physically fit. Then you have to be sure there's nothing behind the slot that the x16 connector will hit.

You only have 512MB RAM. It's running at DDR320 (160Mhz). Upgrading to 2GB of DDR400 (200Mhz) memory will gain you a decent amount of responsiveness and some speed but it might not be enough.
 
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happy

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#21
okay, well you gave me way more detail than needed about the CPU and noting about the memory :laugh:

That CPU would be enough to drive a decent graphics card and get smooth video playback. Maybe not full-HD but most stuff would be fine.
Forgot the other tabs, but I just added them.
 

Solaris17

Creator Solaris Utility DVD
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#22
I looked into the HIS 2Gb 6950 (not for this build for another build) I read that the GPU enhances the video content streaming meaning no lag when streaming. I understand that it is not all about the GPU that provides the lag free stutter. But what does it serve if I had a i5 2500 (HD 2000) why would i also need the lag free stutter. Isn't the integrated HD 2000 fast enough that it will not have any lag? Im pretty sure the i3 can stream without lag but just wanted to compare the i5 which I have right now.
you should read a little better. Iv never seen an ad say that. a graphics card will not cure streaming problems. they lighten the load but that doesnt mean it weighs less, if you know what i mean.
 
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#23
Edited my last post since you added the mem info
 

happy

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Video Card(s) GIGABYTE GV-N460OC-1GI
Storage HITACHI 160GB 7200RPM HDT721016SLA380 & 5 IDE 250GB WD HDD
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Software Windows 7 Ultimate x64
#24
you should read a little better. Iv never seen an ad say that. a graphics card will not cure streaming problems. they lighten the load but that doesnt mean it weighs less, if you know what i mean.
Here is the place I read it at Newegg just scroll down to AMD Eyespeed Technology. It states "With AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) technology and third-generation UVD (Unified Video Decoder) dedicated video playback accelerator, enjoy beautifully rich and clear video playback when streaming from the web. Take in your favorite movies in stunning, stutter-free HD quality and run multiple applications smoothly at maximum speed. Enjoy lightning fast game play and realistic physics effects with enhanced Video Quality features such as advanced post-processing and scaling, dynamic contrast enhancement and color correction, and independent video gamma control."
 

happy

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#25
The 7000 is a really old GPU. It won't have a lot of the modern video decoding abilities that you'll want. Cards that old are good mainly for really basic stuff. Web browsing, office apps. It might help a bit but I don't think it'll make you happy.

PCIe will auto-negotiate to the highest speed that both the device (card) and host (slot) support. PCIe x16 devices will run in an x1 slot, but at x1 speed. Also, since the x1 slot is much too short for the x16 connector, you have to cut out the end of the slot so it will physically fit. Then you have to be sure there's nothing behind the slot that the x16 connector will hit.

You only have 512MB RAM. It's running at DDR320 (160Mhz). Upgrading to 2GB of DDR400 (200Mhz) memory will gain you a decent amount of responsiveness and some speed but it might not be enough.
I think cutting the end of the slot is quite to crazy for me:banghead: LOL.
But I guess if I give the GX270 away without restoring it and just adding the Diamond 7000; it will have no problem displaying to a TV using S-video right? Or should I get a AGP card instead of the PCI DIamond 7000. As for the Dimensions E310, I haven't had time to fix that one up yet but just reinstalled WinXP and didn't install drivers or anything yet.