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1080p Notebook components

Discussion in 'Notebook Dummy Guide Articles' started by Feodor_Petrovich, Aug 11, 2015.

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  1. Feodor_Petrovich

    Feodor_Petrovich Newbie

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    Hi there, I think I can get help here, cause many of you've been studying hardware market for the last 5 years or so. I need to know hardware configuration for notebook, which is capable of playing 1080p video smoothly and without problems. But that's the only purpose to buy it so the most cheapest configuration on the market is preferable.

    I whould like to see answers like: specific_cpu or better, specific_ram_quantaty or more, specific_video_card or better. Or maybe links for existing "solutions" on the market. If there are any other important components that I haven't mentioned - let me know.

    Thanks in advance, really waiting for your assistance)
     
  2. Jarhead

    Jarhead I Seek You

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    1080p video output is trivial for any modern hardware. Really, the only hardware component you need to pay attention to would be the display (make sure it's actually a 1080p display).

    Now, if you're trying to stream 1080p video from the Internet, you also need to make sure your ISP connection has enough bandwidth to do that smoothly and that you have a decent router/WiFi chip or are connected to the router directly via Ethernet.
     
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  3. Convel

    Convel Notebook Evangelist

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    Hi Feodor, and welcome to NotebookReview!

    Is playing back 1080p video really the only purpose of your purchase? What screen size do you prefer? Maybe a tablet or hardware you already own with the addition of an external PC monitor or TV would suit you better? If you're set on a laptop, ask for the best suited one here. The problem you're going to run into is that budget notebooks (under $400), which are not lacking in power for the task at hand, are more or less all confined to poor 768p displays. Chromebooks are exceptions here, if you can live without Windows.

    Where we are today, even low-end to mid-range mobile processors – that's processors you find in phones, tablets, and dedicated media players, are up to the task of playing back H.264/X.264 encoded (most popular, also known as DivX Plus HD) 1080p content, or streaming 1080p content from web services such as Netflix and outputting it at its native resolution. Re-scaling requires more power (typically very little), as do more demanding encoding techniques, but really, that's not something most people need concern themselves with.

    If you're looking at mainstream 1080p playback without turning to Blu-Rays and already own a display you're happy with, I'd suggest looking at a cheap dedicated media player, preferably containing a Rockship 3368 if not Intel, that runs Kodi. You could also look at using a device you already own – if you own a somewhat modern Android smartphone or tablet, chances are it supports USB host mode, which allows you to hook it up to an external hard drive containing your media and playing it on your big screen using an MHL to HDMI and USB adapter. Playback can be done through MX Player (best performance) or Kodi (more organised and effortlessly does network streaming).
     
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  4. Feodor_Petrovich

    Feodor_Petrovich Newbie

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    Guys, thanks, appreciate

    The general idea was to play any 1080p video on "any kind" of screen, cause notebook'll be used for work. It's needed just for being able to watch different videos (in general), that pupils may bring in. So resolution of screen is of secondary concern. If notebook can play video - it's ok, we can watch it and not use PC for that. The only thing, we will consider screens like 15.6 maybe bigger.

    Since my PC is relatively powerful, I haven't thought there may be difficulties in understading nedeed specifications for that task (at least for PC)
    But from the time of asking, I've found out that there are may be issues with playing 1080p 60fps video on relatively old APU's. And even on today's in-store models based on Celeron 2957U (for example).
    General recieved advice now is that I need at least i3 or A6 or higher. And probably models of 2013+ generations are also ok.

    In the begining I thought that will know exactly hardware configuration and will be able to buy maybe someone's used notebook. Because it's just an instrument for us, no need in spending extra money. Couple of years , like maybe 5 and it will be better to buy smth new and powerful.

    I understand that at least I can just go to the nearest shop, take couple of short videos of different quality on my usbflash, and test devices right in the shop, and in this way get answers about this possibilities) As I said, it's just a little wierd for me that I have to test them (to be sure) and haven't found the exact answer for that question) When I was building my pc configuration I was able to know almost every little thing that concerned me)

    Anyways, I'm thankful for any of your thoughts and advices, may help in adjacent areas)
     
  5. Jarhead

    Jarhead I Seek You

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    Just keep in mind that you can't play back 1080p video on a display that has a resolution less than 1080p. In general, you want at least as many pixels as the video has, if not more.
     
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  6. Convel

    Convel Notebook Evangelist

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    Ah, so you'll be playing videos on-screen. Where will these student videos typically originate from? If smartphones, 4K video is becoming a thing in those as well, so there's that to consider. I'll go back to recommending a Chromebook since you want to go cheap and their component costs are biased in a way that should favour your office and video tasks. Specifically, I'd suggest Acer's C910 as it's currently the only 15.6-inch Chromebook on the market, and the display it's equipped with is FHD with IPS for better viewing angles. You get to choose between a Celeron 3205U, Core i3-5005U, and Core i3-5200U. All Broadwell/Skylake Core processors should handle 4K H.265 decoding and encoding at up to 30 fps, so 1080p@60fps shouldn't be an issue. Problem is that the 5005U is $100 over the 3205U model, with the 5200U adding yet another fifty-dollar bill on top of the original $299 price tag. Perhaps you'll be able to get a deal on a used or refurbished one. I don't know. Maybe the 3205U would suffice. It's hard to tell without knowing the exact nature of the video you'll be playing (bitrate and codec), but I suppose those could vary and future proofing to a certain degree is usually wise, even when going cheap. If you're going to test various alternatives in-store with sample videos, remember that the efficiency of the video player is also part of the equation. VLC, for instance, is not the most efficient despite its wide adoption rate and long list of supported formats.

    If you're worried that Chrome OS might be a bit too limiting, Google unleashed The App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) not too long ago, which basically makes Android app-porting much easier, widening Chromebooks' potential usage scenarios significantly. Even if it is a project that runs in parallell with ARC Welder for the Chrome browser, it's still early days and the only current way to run, say, Kodi on a Chromebook is to run Kodibuntu or another Linux distro with Kodi alongside Chrome OS. Bottom line is, you'll be faced with limited functionaly, and the built in video player may proof insufficient, on any Chromebook for a while longer unless you're a power user that's comfortable messing with OS components. If you're not and feel that Chrome OS in its current state is too limiting, then choosing a notebook running a traditional, mature OS would obviously make more sense. In that case, I again urge you to make a thread in the WNSIB forums as it will expose your need of assistance in choosing an appropriate machine to a larger number of users. All you have to do is fill out the form and you'll generally have several users chime in with their suggestions within a short time.
     
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