For me to truly replace my laptop with the HP Mini-Note it must, and I mean must, be able to run Skype. I sign into Skype daily to talk to my old colleagues and I periodically video call with my sister in California and my friend in China. So when I read jkOnTheRun’s review of the Mini-Note and that the system struggled to make video calls I was less than thrilled. The Mini-Note handles chatting and audio calls over Skype just fine. A Skype to Skype call to my uncle in Denver, Colorado was very clear; he complained about an echo on my end, but when I plugged in a headset that disappeared. However, when we both enabled video calling, the VIA C7-M processor and the system’s 1GB of RAM just couldn’t produce. The system was very sluggish and and video was extremely choppy. In a few instances Skype simply just disabled video all together. Figuring that the integrated webcam is built-in for some reason, I have been trying to improve the poor video quality. Closing all other applications running on the system helps. Going into the task manager and exiting all tasks takes care of making sure they aren’t running any more. Changing the screen resolution through HP’s preinstalled S3TrayPlus utility also improved video. Dropping down from the native resolution (1280 x 768) to 1024 x 600 loosens the processing demands on the VIA CPU. Tweaking the color-depth also seemed to work. In Display Properties on the Colors drop-down menu, I changed it from 32-bit to 16-bit. What helped the most was changing the virtual memory to 8084MB which increases RAM by assigning part of the hard drive as virtual memory. You can do this too if you:
These tweaks still produced pixelated video, however, the video rarely paused and audio was also able to come through. In a video chat with my uncle I was sending video at 8 FPS, and receiving 12 FPS. It isn’t the most ideal situation, but it is at least some what of a video experience. Is there anything else I can do to improve video calling on the Mini-Note, besides getting a new graphics card?