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101 Question: Will adding a video card lower CPU usage?

Posted on 2006-11-21
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
I have an Asus MB with an integrated graphics chipset. I have a 2.8Ghz Socket 478 Celeron and 512MB of RAM.  I connect the integrated VGA output to my monitor. Here is the link to my motherboard: http://www.asus.com/products4.aspx?l1=3&l2=12&l3=42&model=199&modelmenu=1

When I run my media player (WinAmp) and play video at nearly full-screen, my CPU usage is 50-100%. I'm experiencing some stutters and some heat problems because of this. The file format I am using is Divx. I am running a clean machine with 26 running processes and 0% usage at idle.

This might be a silly question, but will adding a Video Card reduce the processor usage?
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Question by:djlurch
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 17988876
Yes - onboard video is known to be weak in displaying compressed video, and even a cheap AGP or PCI-e video card will provided accelerated video display.  PCI video cards are limited by the bus, so they will not be much help.  A Radeon X600 or nVidia 6600GT will be more than enough for this.
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by:djlurch
ID: 17989001
This is for an HTPC system. I will be adding the Hauppauge 150 at a later date.

I don't use this PC for games at all (I would probably have to upgrade the Celeron to a full P4 for that) and I'm doing this project on the cheap. However, since this will be hooked to my HDTV 42" Plasma, I do want it to look the best given a heavily compressed file. It looks like the motherboard does have an AGP slot.

Are there some specific models you can suggest?

My frame of reference is: $400 graphics cards are ridiculous. For my high end workstation, I paid $100 for my dual head Matrox.

I'm willing to be "schooled" on graphics cards.

Thanks!
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Author Comment

by:djlurch
ID: 17989048
OK, another question, will using an AGP card disable the onboard graphics card? Can I, or should I disable it if I install an AGP card?
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Author Comment

by:djlurch
ID: 17989079
The MB manual says AGP 8x/4x (1.5V only)  
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 17989130
Most motherboards will automatically disable the onboard video if an AGP card is installed.  Either the Radeon X700 or the nVidia 6600GT I mentioned before will not cost a lot but still handle high resolution video files.  For example, the 6600GT http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814130059 and the Radeon X700 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814103168
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 17989143
Oops - you need the AGP versions of these, not the PCI-e.
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