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Probably not.

.mkv, or Matroska, is a container. It's like a can or a jar into which you can put some kinds of things. What you can put in are video streams, audio streams, subtitle streams and the like.

The important part, then, is not what sort of container it's in, but what the content of the stream is -- how it is encoded. Indeed, knowing what the container is, doesn't help at all. AVI is just a container too, after all. AVI doesn't have provision for subtitle streams, or multiple language streams, so there's not much question that mkv is generally better as a container. It's just that most of the time, most people, don't want or need subtitles or multiple languages. Most of the time avi is plenty good enough, ancient though it be.

Most people tend to use older video encoding schemes with avi, and newer ones with mkv. THere's no rule requiring that, it's just what people generally tend to do.

It is the newer video encoding scheme, called .X264, which is likely giving you difficulties. X264 is better at compression, but places an enormously heavier burden on the processor to decode. Many, many older systems -- indeed many systems that are not cutting-edge, have difficulty handling X264, and this manifests as the lag and stalling that you are seeing.

X264 tends to be used with mkv, but there are no rules, That means that you CAN find XVid and DivX video encoding in .mkv files, and you can find x264 encoding in AVI files.

When you are looking at a torrent you want to download, be alert for this encoding. The video encoding is usually specified somewhere in the filename. It's also called AVC< or Advanced Video Codec. Test this to satisfy yourself that x264 is the problem, that video streams encoded that way are what's causing your lag regardless of container, then pay attention to the encoding and try to avoid torrents encoded this way.

It is possible to convert x264 encoding to XVid, but will take your computer hours to do so if you need to. It's almost always easier to look for a different torrent that uses DivX or XVid or something older, than to download and convert x264.

There are few, if any standalone DVD players that can handle x264, while there are many that can handle DivX, so if you want to play this movie on your DVD player, you need the older format anyway.

Sites like MVGroup, the documentary people, typically make most of their downloads available in both versions since their core ed2K audience tends to have older, less powerful equipment and a strong demand for the DVD-playable.

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That depends on the resolution of the encoded video and the encoding parameters used.

For instance, my dual core TK55 @ 2GHz manages to play seamlessly video at 720p and below, encoded with High profile, with CABAC, deblocking and B-frames enabled, but stutters constantly when it comes to 1080p videos.

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