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Old 08-17-2006, 04:28 AM   #1
stabu
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experiences: minimum i386 processor for decent video?


What's the minimum i386 processor people have got (say) MPlayer running decently?

I expect that below clock speeds of 800MHz, it starts to be tricky.

Would it be true that because MPlayer can run in framebuffer, it can play on much lower spec processors than xine?

With lower spec processors, to what extent can more RAM or adding a better graphics card help?
 
Old 08-17-2006, 05:25 AM   #2
Oxagast
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People tend to think that just because hardware gets faster that you NEED faster hardware to do the same things. This in part is true, because as software desginers figure out that it's negligable in today's world to optimize their code because processors are so fast, they get lazy. Not that lazy though. I played movies on my 300MHz PII machine running linux and mplayer just fine. Note that I wasn't playing them at like 1600x1200 resolution or anything, but still.

Last edited by Oxagast; 08-17-2006 at 05:26 AM.
 
Old 08-17-2006, 07:25 AM   #3
theYinYeti
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Oxagast is right. My PII.350MHz displays Gnome @1024x768 through an ATI Rage128 (16MB ram) graphics card. I often view DVD on it with no problem using Xine on X11.

Yves.
 
Old 08-17-2006, 08:35 AM   #4
stabu
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Thanks.

16MB graphcard on a PII? That partly explains it, especially as your runnign a heavy WM.
BTW It has an AGP then?
 
Old 08-17-2006, 09:07 AM   #5
Oxagast
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Oh yeah, I did forget to mention that I had a 32MB ATI Rage 128 Pro in there. That probably helped alot, and it didn't come in there, I added it later. I believe the computer came with a Trident 975 4MB card... thing was really flakey from the day I got the computer, sometimes it would cause the computer not to boot at all at random times, then it would work fine for a few days, and do it again, and the 3D rendering was horrendous (if it worked at all), so I upgraded. A 32MB ATI Rage 128 Pro would cost nearly nothing on eBay these days though. Also, I don't believe you were talking to me, but incase it helps, my ATI card was an AGP.

Last edited by Oxagast; 08-17-2006 at 09:09 AM.
 
Old 08-18-2006, 03:37 AM   #6
theYinYeti
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Indeed, my ATI card is AGP.

Yves.
 
Old 08-18-2006, 06:42 PM   #7
litlmary
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All true, all true. Since the kernel depends on memory almost as much as it does CPU, you can often cut your losses on low-MHz machines by maxing out the RAM and using a fast HDD with huge swap.

I have an AMD K6-2 200MHz jalopy overclocked to 225MHz with 512MB of PC66 SDRAM, a PCI TNT2 16MB, and a 20GB 7200RPM ATA100 HDD connected to an ATA100 IDE controller in one of the PCI slots (the onboard IDE only goes up to ATA33). If the space is available, I usually create a 1GB swap, as in this case. It may be overkill, but its there if I need it. The computer will play any DVD or any type of media locally, over my network, or off the internet with crystal clarity and smoothness, as long as the rez is kept within reason. AND this is with a 2.6.X Kernel and KDE 3.5.X!!!

Other cool tricks for old machines:

Get a speedy HDD on an equally speedy controller all by itself (just master, no slave device to hog bandwidth) and use that disk for JUST swap (and /boot if you want, since it doesn't get used at the same time as swap). The bad thing about this is that most ATA66/7200RPM and above disks are way bigger than you will need for a 1GB swap partition and a 10MB /boot partition, so you end up with a lot of wasted space. Dropping back to a smaller disk loses the benefit of the configuration because the disk will be slow.

IDE controllers require a certain amount of CPU during operation. Even a decrepit old SCSI2 controller/disk that is strictly hardware controlled will make an old CPU sing like new once it has been relieved of the IDE controller load.

Each of these tricks by itself doesn't gain much, but the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, trust me. You can get all of this stuff for next to nothing these days on eBay.

HTH,

J
 
  


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