Ageing HTPC Struggles With 1080p HVEC H265 1080p?


Active Member
I have quite an old AM3 AMD based HTPC. The cpu is a Phenom 2 X4 955 3.2 Ghz, 4 GB ram, a cheap nvidia fanless graphics card, which I can't remember off the top of my head without looking when I get home.

I use Windows 7 64 Bit and use Kodi 17.6. I've tried VLC and this is similar. I like the Kodi interface. I have hardware acceleration disabled, as this was causing issues with 720p HVEC files when it was enabled. They play fine with it disabled with CPU usage between 40 - 50% during playback with KODI. When I play 1080p HVEC H265 files, the CPU usage is around 70%, but occasionally it will spike to a 100%, this causes the playback to go jerky and slow right down.

I am not interested in 4K playback at the moment. Just wondered if there was a fix that might extend the life of the PC until I decide to upgrade to a higher resolution. I think I'm about as fast as I can go CPU wise for AM3, my motherboard does not support CPU's above 95 watts, the one I have is a 95 watt version.

Would a better graphics card help at all? Or is everything just done by the CPU?

Currently I re-encode 1080p HVEC H265 files to H264 at the same resolution and frame rate using Vidcoder to get round this issue. The CPU usage then drops to around 30% with no issues at all.

Thanks for any help.


Distinguished Member
A newer graphics card would be the obvious fix. Best to check exactly what card you have now to compare any performance improvement.


Well-known Member
Do you need to run Windows on this PC? It might play HEVC files better if you install a lighter OS.

you could try running Libreelec running on a usb, just to see if it plays better. or, just install on the htpc hard drive itself


Active Member
I ended up getting a used quad core Phenom CPU, the fastest one at the wattage applicable for my motherboard. I also changed to Windows 10, even though I'm not keen on it. I also did a cheap used memory upgrade from 4GB to 8GB. It now plays these files faultlessly at 1080p using Kodi. I have a feeling that maybe the windows change is the main reason. The CPU usage is fine now.

It will do until I want to watch 4K content. I think I will have to change everything then, I don't think that a graphics card would be enough with my cpu, but I really haven't a clue..


Standard Member
If you're using Kodi, adding a GT1030 would have done the job with your old CPU - I ran a setup with an Athlon 405e which was able to play pretty much anything thrown at it.

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