General Question

tptptp111's avatar

VLC movies play extremely choppy on my slow computer. Anything I can temporarily adjust on my computer so it will play smoothly?

Asked by tptptp111 (12 points ) April 2nd, 2011

I’ve tried closing unneeded processes, I’ve tried turning down the screen resolution…what can I do to make these high quality movies run normally? Even if it means temporarily changing settings on my (windows xp) computer for watching the movie and changing it back when it’s over?

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8 Answers

Symbeline's avatar

I’m no expert at all and I hope someone comes in here to help, but I might suggest your graphic card, in the meanwhile. It may be old, and maybe your computer needs a better one. I got XP and an ancient graphic card myself, but everything plays fine, so it might be something else…but you might want to consider that. But don’t mess with the monitor settings, this isn’t going to help, I know that much.

the100thmonkey's avatar

We need to know:

1. the specifications of the computer (you say it’s slow; how slow?)

2. the properties of the file: format, resolution, encoding

We might be able to help you then.

tptptp111's avatar

2005 Dell Inspiron, Intel Pentium processor 1.6 GHZ, 512 MB of Ram. So pretty old school.

The file format that has a difficult time running is usually .mp4 or .flv….avi or wmv runs fine.

BeeVomit's avatar

Not too old school. I had a computer built by my brother with about the same specs in 2003. It was good then, and I always used VLC. I’ve more recently had a Windows7 64 bit laptop (stolen) that would play choppy movies as well. VLC is the player I trust best, and I know from much experience that it’s more likely the encoding on the video than the player what’s responsible for your problem. Check to see if you have the Combined Community Codec pack, or FFDshow, or one of those other media codec packages. If you want to check if it’s actually VLC try dling another media player (or just use wmp.) to play the movie. If it’s still choppy, it’s probably your codec.

Good luck.

mrentropy's avatar

512MB of RAM? I’m surprised you can do anything at all. Bump it up to at least 1GB, preferably 2GB, and see how it works for you after that.

koanhead's avatar

Have you played around with the preferences within VLC? There are a lot of settings you can modify to possibly speed things up. Starting at Tools -> Preferences:
Under “Audio” you could try turning off visualizations if you don’t need them;
Under “Video” check “skip frames” and “accelerated video output”;
Under “Input and Codecs” there is a drop-down labeled “Caching”. Adjusting the cache is likely to address your problem IMO. Unfortunately the labels aren’t very clear. I recommend trying “Highest Latency” and then “Lowest Latency” with the same video and see if you notice a difference.
That’s just a few basic suggestions from the regular settings, there are lots more in the Advanced settings.
If messing around with the app does not help, I second @mrentropy‘s advice. Of all upgrades, adding RAM offers the greatest “bang for the buck” (to a point, of course.)

jerv's avatar

Only 512MB RAM? WinXP generally takes close to 600MB of that, so you are already using Virtual Memory before you even fire up VLC.

The last time I ran on that little, I had issues with choppiness even on my desktop; issues that disappeared when I went to 768MB (¾ GB) and never had on my 1GB netbook. Those systems only got choppy when I ran applications. So you really need at least 1GB to do much of anything with WinXP, especially anything time-dependent like video playback.

I have run older computers with slower CPUs and a few modern low-powered ones without the problems you’re having because I made sure to give it plenty of RAM. The issue isn’t your CPU.

@koanhead Unless you are running hefty editing apps like Photoshop or AutoCAD, I find the sweet spot to be around 2GB with WinXP. 1GB will give you good performance for light work (net-surfing and stuff) while less RAM will cause problems before you are even done booting. With 2GB, you can run most apps great and the hefty ones reasonably well without passing the point of diminishing returns.

BeeVomit's avatar

If you’d rather not open up for new ram right away (though having over a gig is a good idea), go change your virtual memory setting. Set it to a gig or higher, reboot the computer, and try the movie again. I recall having issue with mp4s being choppy even on my new laptop, so that might really be the heart of the issue. No doubt, though, more ram would help loads. Can’t believe I didn’t think of that earlier..

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