I’ve recently been able to upgrade the RAM on my laptop to an amazing 256MB, which is the absolute maximum it can take. Yes, this is an old laptop. So, first thing I did after that was install Windows 2000, to see if that would actually run fast enough, and I must say the speed surprised me. As a matter of fact, it almost feels fast enough for everyday use. And bearing in mind that this is only a 400Mhz Pentium II laptop, that’s saying something.
But one thing I’ve never been able to do very well with this laptop, is play movies. Even the lightweight VLC player, which was my first choice, delivered choppy playback during scenes with a lot of action. Then I downloaded MPlayer, which is pretty much the most efficient mediaplayer on earth. Still no good. Not even after tweaking the playback options a bit, such as increasing cache to 8192 kilobytes. Of course, I could install Arch Linux again, which is optimised for i686 CPU’s, such as this pentium II specimen I’m using. But really, it all seems a lot of work just to play a movie.
Thus began my quest in search of the most lightweight mediaplayer I could find for Windows. I ditched MPlayer and openend up the Gooooogle page in my browser. And after much searching and gnashing of teeth, I simply ended up installing MPlayer again. That’s because some individual who calls himself “MuldeR” has been kind enough to put together an optimised version of MPlayer, and create an installer for it as well. It’s aptly called MPlayer for Windows, and all I can say is that it’s absolutely brilliant! After installing this player using the “full package” version, which includes the binary codecs, I opened up a movie and it played back perfectly.
In other words: “MPlayer for Windows” is faster than the ‘official’ MPlayer (which doesn’t even include an installer). So if you’re on a slow system that’s running Windows, and you enjoy watching movies, then I highly recommend trying MPlayer for Windows.