HTPC video cards

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ceraf
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2004 6:39 pm

HTPC video cards

Post by ceraf » Mon Sep 19, 2005 12:38 pm

I am planning to build an HTPC. I am looking for a low-profile AGP video card that can be cooled passively in a low-airflow case. I only need to play videos off of it; rarely any games.

so far, I've only seen Radeon 9200/9250s, and Geforce FX 5200s. Any recommendations for a <$70 CAD budget?

Mr_Smartepants
Posts: 539
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2003 6:35 am
Location: Cambridgeshire, England

Post by Mr_Smartepants » Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:48 pm

Since you won't be playing games, the ones you mentioned would suffice. IIRC, ATI has the best display on a TV (I remember reading an article online somewhere about nVidia vs ATI on TV, can't remember where though).
I've only owned ATI cards though.
I know if you plan to run linux, nVidia would be a better bet for driver support (ATI only supports RH/Fedora, possibly SuSe though I couldn't get 3d enabled on my Suse 9.2 partition).

Hope this helps.
[size=75][url=http://homepage.ntlworld.com/erik.hansen/files/pics/Sonata/index.htm]Sonata (foamed)Bezel mod[/url]
Seasonic S12-330, 2x120mm Yate Loon D12SL-12@1000RPM, P4-2.6C w/PAL8942 80mm L1A@10v, 1GB Mushkin DDR400, ATI 9800Pro 128MB w/ZM80A, Samsung SATA 160Gb
[/size]

autoboy
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Location: San Jose, California

Post by autoboy » Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:57 pm

My 5200 had trouble with VMR9. I got some tearing during high motion video. It works fine with Overlay. Try to get a card with at least a 128bit memory interface. I think there are some radeon 9600s that are low profile and they use very little power. I upgraded to a 9600xt and am cooling it passively. Seems to work great so far.

freka586
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2004 11:04 pm

Post by freka586 » Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:01 am

If you haven't already purchased your mobo you might start to glance at PCI-E ones.

Both Nvidia and ATI have/will soon have low-end, passive PCI-E boards that feature HW-improvements for many HTPC-imaging related things.
With upcoming drivers HD-format such as H.264 acceleration will be added.

This would probably delay the next graphics upgrade at least a bit.
There might be 6200 (or eqivalent) cards for AGP as well, but cards from now and further on (7200) will most likely be PCI-E only.

To conclude:

* AGP: 6200 (if available)
* PCI-E: 6200/6600 or wait a while for ATI/Nvidia generation 7 entry level card.

tempoct
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 4:16 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Post by tempoct » Wed Sep 21, 2005 9:07 am

I heard differently that nVidia is better on TV :)
Anyway, I don't quote me on this. I don't think it will be much different or you could notice it though. IMHO, you should choose card that has HDTV ready and relatively low power consumption. Passive card is fine but it would run quite a bit hotter. Make sure you airflow is good.

Here's a forum donated for this;
http://htpcnews.com/forums/index.php?showforum=7
Mr_Smartepants wrote:Since you won't be playing games, the ones you mentioned would suffice. IIRC, ATI has the best display on a TV (I remember reading an article online somewhere about nVidia vs ATI on TV, can't remember where though).
I've only owned ATI cards though.
I know if you plan to run linux, nVidia would be a better bet for driver support (ATI only supports RH/Fedora, possibly SuSe though I couldn't get 3d enabled on my Suse 9.2 partition).

Hope this helps.

atomidude
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 3:53 am
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Post by atomidude » Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:52 pm

i have the same dilema: just built a HTPC with a S3 crap video chip onboard. it wouldn't display properly at 1280 X 768 on my 32" LCD, so I need a VGA card. after reading a lot of reviews and comments on forums, my decision was nvidia 6200 128MB RAM with 128bit bus. why? because is a new chip, it handles well HDTV and HD WM9 video.
TV quality not an issue for me, I am using the D_SUB vga input on my monitor. but another interesting thing about 6200: it can support component output with an adaptor, so if yout TV, HD or not, has one of those, you're in business!
don't settle down for 2-3 years old technology when you can have the brand new for the same money! the 6200/128bit comes in AGP version, too. that's the one i would recommend for HTPC. especially after a guy from Micro$oft said nvidia is the way to go now for HDTV and HD video.
i should get the card in a few days, I will tell you guys how it goes.

atomidude
Posts: 99
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Location: Adelaide, Australia

Post by atomidude » Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:46 am

the e-shop i ordered the card at has no stock for the 6200/128bit, so i got a Abit Radeon 9250 with 128MB RAM/64bit. will get the 6200 later. my HTPC works great with the slower 9250: great HDTV, beautiful DVD playback, DivX great, too. for now is enough for my needs. i should try a WMHD (Step Into Liquid) to see how it goes. No games to play on the small rig, so why bother getting something much faster?! ;)

*update 1
ATI drivers are crap when comes to dealing with my 32" TFT... after each restart i have to adjust the image position, during DTV playback i get narrow black edges and so on. i jumped in the car a few hours ago and went to the nearest PC shop and bought an Xpertivision 6600 vanilla. works a treat! the only bad thing about it is the active cooling, but i plan to replace that tiny fan with a silent 80mm, after i figure out how to mount it on the gpu's hsf. passive vga cooling is not an option, the card won't fit between the PCI slots and the PSU in my Antec Aria.

*update 2
using the nvidia 6600 for the last 48 hours, i have to say is a ripper! i've got the purevideo decoders from nvidia, they work great with my Twinhan Visionplus DTV card. HDTV is absolutely stunning, the decoding is being done in the gpu so the cpu is only at 44% at most. and all that while processing video stream that goes up to 18 MB/s :)

Mr_Smartepants
Posts: 539
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2003 6:35 am
Location: Cambridgeshire, England

Post by Mr_Smartepants » Mon Oct 03, 2005 2:59 am

I can't wait to see how nvidia's 61X0 series mobo chipsets fair. I'm itching to build my own HTPC and I don't want to get stuck with an ATI xpress200 chipset (which are nice) when I can have something better.
[size=75][url=http://homepage.ntlworld.com/erik.hansen/files/pics/Sonata/index.htm]Sonata (foamed)Bezel mod[/url]
Seasonic S12-330, 2x120mm Yate Loon D12SL-12@1000RPM, P4-2.6C w/PAL8942 80mm L1A@10v, 1GB Mushkin DDR400, ATI 9800Pro 128MB w/ZM80A, Samsung SATA 160Gb
[/size]

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