Poor MPEG-4/ITunes video performance. Is this typical?

Todd Hochard

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 24, 1999
Messages
2,312
All,

I've got a PC that I put together about two years ago, and I'm having a heck of a time getting it to play Itunes video smoothly.

Here's the setup-

Athlon XP2600+, Abit AN7 mobo, 1GB Crucial PC3200, Geforce 6200 8xAGP, 160GB hard drive, less than half full.

I've been trying to get ITunes downloads to play (Handy Manny
) but the CPU utilization is in the high 70s to near 100%. Similarly, I can't even get the 480p Quicktime HD trailers to play smooth- 100% load pegged.

I've done the latest drivers. I installed Nvidia's PureVideo download, that was supposed to add MPEG-4 Hardware acceleration, but seems to have done nothing for CPU load.

I can play WMV9 HD files at 720p with no issue- roughly 45-50% CPU load.

By comparison, my wife's laptop (Core Duo 1.6Ghz, 1GB RAM, Intel 945 integrated graphics) can play the 480p trailers with under 40% CPU load. Hers plays the 720p Quicktime trailers lickety split! On the battery, over a wireless connection. Oh, the shame!


Am I doomed to being forced to upgrade the CPU/Mobo? I didn't really want to right now, but this is driving me insane.

Thanks,

Todd
 

Ted Todorov

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2000
Messages
3,500
Keep in mind that iTunes Store video isn't MPEG4 -- it is H.264 which is a more CPU intensive codec. I would think also that iTunes is optimized for Intel's Core processors, as Core 2 Duos are in current Apple MacBooks & iMacs.

Ted
 

Todd Hochard

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 24, 1999
Messages
2,312
Well, I solved the problem. The 2600+ disappeared and a Core 2 Duo 1.86Ghz showed up in its place.
I'm under 50% load in nearly all cases now- some of the really intensive 720p stuff from Apple's HD gallery pushes above 70%, but no problems.

Still not getting Nvidia's PureVideo (supposed H.264 acceleration) to have any effect on CPU load. None, nada. Oh, well.
 

Kimmo Jaskari

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Messages
1,528
A 2600+ is a lot less than 2 real GHz, so I don't wonder at all that your computer was choking.

Getting H.264 acceleration working is difficult, and I'm not sure how effective your card will be at it even if you do.
 

Todd Hochard

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 24, 1999
Messages
2,312
The Athlon was running at 1.92Ghz, IIRC. I was underwhelmed from the time I bought it, to be honest.

If you have any pointers on H.264 acceleration, I'd be glad to have them.

Todd
 

Ken Chan

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 11, 1999
Messages
3,301
Reading around, PureVideo functions are exposed generically through DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA), but unlike MPEG-2, H.264 support is defined starting with DXVA 2.0, and 2.0 is in Vista. There is also a specific API that programs can use, and there are at least three that do, from Cyberlink, InterVideo, and Nero. Also, Cyberlink then makes its decoder available through DirectShow, meaning that a program like Windows Media Player can then play H.264 with PureVideo.

The QuickTime Player, perhaps because of its cross-platform nature, does not use DXVA, and is a pure software decoder (at least on Windows). However, there are better software decoders. Check out this comparo.
 

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