notebook questions / recommendation

Do you have a question? Post it now! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

Threaded View

On my current laptop - 5 years old, I have a problem with playing
video content (among other things) - it runs for a few minutes and
then freezes for a bit, runs some more, etc.  The audio continues
uninterrupted.  I am suspecting that the video card (or lack thereof)
may be the problem.  (Or is it something else - happens whether or not
I use an external hard drive or copy the file to hard disk and run it
from there).

I have read that a video card should have dedicated RAM for smooth
viewing - is this a 'must' for video playing and how much dedicated
RAM should a card have.  There seem to be many systems available with
shared RAM (and no dedicated RAM).

I need a recommendation for a new laptop.  Basically, I want it to
have the following features:

     Decent battery - my current battery lasts about 20 minutes/
replacement battery wasn't any better.

     Video Card with dedicated RAM if necessary for smooth video

     Able to handle speech recognition at a natural pace - I don't
know if this is basically a software issue or a combination of
hardware and software.  Any software recommendations would be

    Built in DVD - RW

    Built in wireless broadband capable modem

    60+ GB hard drive storage

    PC based operating system (I use XP now, don't see any reason to
go to Vista)

    Light weight

    And, of course, reasonably priced.

Thanks in advance,


Re: notebook questions / recommendation wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it
What program do you use for video?  I'm referring to DVD playback.  Try
different ones.
A video card with hardware acceleration will lower the work of the CPU.
Try Media Player Classic, it doesn't seem to allow use with hardware
acceleration, and is probably the most dependable DVD playback program.
I have something resembling your problem with PowerDVD, though the
computer easily handles it, about 18months old.  It's a lot milder and
might only show up rarely or depending on some mysterious reason on the
DVD itself.
WinDVD uses less CPU power than PowerDVD.  The picture with it isn't
good enough without hardware acceleration.
There's something imperfect about DVD playback on computers that isn't
addressed enough.
Certainly make sure DMA is on.  DVDIdlePro gives a way to make sure it
is on.  I've had odd experiences with DMA and was only sure it was on
with this program.
There doesn't seem great hardware requirements for DVD playback.
I have a TV program and using hardware acceleration, HDTV with VMR7 or 9
on exceeds the capability of my computer.  Otherwise there is only
moderate demand on the CPU. (Centrino Duo 1.83 GHz).
My inclination for smoother video is increase of main RAM from 1Gb to
2Gb.  There is no demanding reason for it.  It doesn't seem that it gets
used up, it seems it gets 'crowded'. Any use of virtual memory is a
worry and I would hope to increase RAM to eliminate it.

Double monitors can seem lead to similar types of problems too similar
to what you describe.

Re: notebook questions / recommendation

DVD playback should not be an issue.  The threshold for DVD playback
with PURE SOFTWARE DVD decoding was about 350 to 600 MHz on a Pentium
II/III.  All modern laptops are SO far above that as to make this just
not an issue.  If DVD playback is jerky, something else is going on.

Barrabas wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: notebook questions / recommendation

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Thanks for all the information.  I tried the "media player classic".
That resolved almost all of the freezing problem - it appears it must
have an algorithm which slows down the video and audio jointly should
memory get overloaded.  Windows media player would continue the audio
and let the video freeze.

Any thoughts on a replacement notebook?



Re: notebook questions / recommendation

It's not absolutely true that dedicated video memory is necessary.  It's
a high-end feature, but there are shared memory video cards that work
just fine for everything except heavy gaming (whose issues involve more
than just the fact the memory is or isn't shared).  It absolutely isn't
necessary for "smooth" video, but it does impact performance for high
end gaming, but not much else.  VERY FEW notebooks have video systems
with dedicated video.  Probably 70% of laptops have chipset shared
video, and many of the rest, even when they have a dedicated ATI or
NVidia process, use shared memory or a combination of shared and
dedicated memory (e.g. 64 or 128MB of dedicated memory AND additional
shared memory).

Just about any current production notebook with an Intel Core Duo or
Core 2 Duo (not a Celeron) that will run Windows Vista with Aero will
meet your requirements if it has at least 1GB of system memory (2GB is
better, but, of course, a bit more expensive). wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Site Timeline