Jerky DVD playback

  ken59 11:59 05 Jun 2003

I have a problem on an old computer running XP Pro and Power DVD 4. The computer is a P2 450 with 256M, Voodoo3 16M graphics card and Sound Blaster 128 sound card. The video stream is jerky. On looking at Windows Task Manager Performance it shows CPU usage at 100%. I have DMA enabled on both Primary and Secondary IDE channels. The hard disc is freshly formatted under NTFS and the only thing running which takes resources is the wireless LAN adapter. If that is disabled the video improves slightly and CPU usage hovers between 90 to 100%. If I remove the sound card and have the LAN disabled, then I get smooth video with CPU usage down to about 60 to 70%. I have tried swapping the DVD drive from Secondary Master to Primary Slave.

I have a lesser computer, with the same configuration, Windows XP Pro, a P2 350 with 128M with an ATI 32M graphics card, same sound card, same wireless LAN adapter, and it runs Power DVD 4 perfectly showing CPU usage hovering between 50 to 60%. I have swapped the graphics cards over, the RAM, the Pentium processors, the DVD drives, and still cannot get the DVD to run smoothly on the higher spec computer. I have dropped the screen resolution from a normal 1024 x 768, 32 bit colour, 75hz refresh, down to 800 x 600, 16 bit colour, 60hz refresh, and still poor video. The hard discs are identical. Both computers run the same version of DirectX.

The only fundamental difference between the two computers is the mother board, both are PC Partner BX boards using VIA chipsets, the lesser spec computer has the older board. I have flashed the Bios ROM with the latest Bios and still no difference. I have fiddled endless with the Bios settings, enabling and disabling the various cache settings. The one that makes the big difference is disabling CPU internal cache which slows the machine down to a crawl. Other cache settings seem to make no difference what so ever. I have checked the jumper settings on the board and they are set properly. The board is supporting the P2 450 and running the RAM at 100hz.

Any suggestions to make the P2 450 computer work to its full potential? Is it that I have a freak P2 350 showing DVDs picture perfect?

  DieSse 12:32 05 Jun 2003

I would have thought it must be to do with the software environment, after all you have tried with the hardware. Have you gone through and disabled every piece of software you can think of?

Also, have you got the DVD drive set to DMA on both systems, and have you got the Via 4-in-1 drivers up to revision? - these make big difference to IDE performance. Have you got the DVD on a seperate IDE channel to the main HDD?

  ken59 13:48 09 Jun 2003

Thanks DieSse. I downloaded the latest Via drivers and still no difference. Found another PC Partner BX motherboard, just like the one the P2 350 is on, and slotted my P2 450 in, fired it up and it runs perfectly. I don't know what the difference is, possibly something to do with the Bios or the IDE controller chip. Anyway I now can run DVDs with other programs running and still have resources to spare.

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