written by: Daniel Barros•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 8/13/2009
Been having slow video? Slow audio got you down? This article is sure to help you out. We take a comprehensive look at what does and doesn't work in terms of fixing your performance issues in Windows.
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With a Little Help...
Assuming you’re using Windows, you’ve probably run into the problem once or twice – you have a video you’re just dying to watch and the thing won’t work. You’ve tried every way you can think of, but it’s still choppy and you’re losing your patience. Try our guide for getting rid of those pesky audio/visual problems before you toss the PC out the window:
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It could be a Hardware Issue
Videos, especially HD videos can be pesky if your PC is a bit older. These tend to demand more out of the video card than the card is ready to provide. If you’re sporting an older card, don’t expect to be able to run much. 720p? Maybe if you have a good processor. 1080p? It’s time for an upgrade.
If you’re running anything below a GeForce 8000 series card, it has never been more affordable to upgrade, and the reasons couldn’t be any better. Aside from increased performance in video, you can also get into PC gaming, which may be down on its luck but still has plenty to give in the form of Left 4 Dead 2, Crysis 2, and several other new properties coming to the PC.
But then again, it might not be the video card, it might be the RAM. Lack of RAM can cause videos to stutter and crash. If you’re running a 1 Gb setup, it’s time to upgrade for sure. Most modern Operating Systems and programs require at the very least 2 Gb of RAM. However, since RAM is so cheap these days, just go for broke and install 4 Gb to clear your conscience.
If it’s neither the RAM nor the video card, it could be the processor. An underwhelming processor can be a fatal cause of video slowdown. Today, a dual-core setup is integral to great High-def quality video. The lower GHz processors can’t seem to handle the intricacies of playing an MKV file or a Blu-ray disc without stuttering.
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It could be a Software issue
Suppose you’re running a beast of a machine. Quad core, 8 Gb of RAM, the latest video card, and the video is still choppy. Clearly, your hardware isn’t the issue, so what is?
The software you’re running may be the problem. Could be some missing files in your Windows install, but that’s a rare case, in most cases, the media player you’re using has an improper or slow codec or isn’t equipped to play what you want it to.
The codec issue is usually solved by an upgrade - the easiest of which would be to use the CCCP codec pack. Using CCCP, a self-contained installer will give you all the codec-y goodness you could ever want. After installation, not only should your movies and music run better, but there should be expanded compatibility for new formats that you couldn’t play before.
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It could be neither!
Sometimes technology has what we could call…ghosts. Occasionally, for no reason, your computer will start acting up, like a child wanting attention. Try rebooting, or shutting the PC down for a while or even removing the CMOS battery in the most extreme of cases.
I can’t really give you too much advice there. Once, my iTunes started acting up. I decided to reinstall it to see if I could fix the problem. After a week of work, 5 re-partitions, 6 windows re-installs, I finally discovered that my hard drive was somehow corrupting my files. Run antivirus scanners, check the hard drive for integrity, do what you can to narrow down the problem.