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aria today - Radeon 9700 Pro 256-bit 128MB

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Rob.Screene, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    http://www.aria.co.uk/specials.asp#2802

    The 9700 Pro is the lowestspec ATI Radeon card featuring double-bandwidth 256-bit on-board memory, which I understand may help get smooth HDTV playback.

    £49.95+vat is an amazing price. Mine should arrive tomorrow, even though I'm using a RokuHD1000 set-top player for HDTV.

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  2. mrm3

    mrm3
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    sorry off topic but how do you find the roku?
     
  3. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    I generally only use the third-party MPlay app. The Roku is an amazing bit of kit if you've already a pc with reasonable hard disk space and network.

    The on-screen remote controlled navigation is great.

    This plays 1080i HDTV material off a shared server or DVD-ROM drive out through VGA 1080i beautifully. I can't get the HTPC to look anywhere near as good, because of the stuttering and poor 1080p de-interlacing that TheaterTek tries.

    MPlay will also play (and scale to 1080i/786p ot 720p) movie-only parts of DVD's and standard-def MPEG2 freeview recordings off my Nebula DigiTV card. Although the deinterlacing is not ideal, certainly Top Gear, etc look way better through the x-card/holo3d(faroudja) combination.

    I bought a £6 USB/serialRS232 cable which allows the HTPC/girder to control the Roku directly. This is useful to me as the HTPC IR receiver is at the front, where the Roku is in a rack at the back of the room. Using girder allows the HTPC to emulate the Roku's IR receiver.

    Hopefully the huge graphics ram bandwidth of the Radeon 9700 will help, where a 3.2GHz/800fsb cpu didn't. After all a few people report TheaterTek 1080i playback as good as a set-top box, it's just that I haven't managed that yet with the current Radeon 9500.

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  4. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Oh yeah.
    The 9700 Pro is a definite improvement to smoothness for 1080i HD material.

    I particularly like 720p/59.94 or 864p/59.94, where the Radeon's 1080i adaptive source deinterlacing really works well, before scaling down to the output resolution.

    Amazingly, movement often looks more fluid than the pure 1080i output from the Roku HD1000 set-top box.

    One downside is the occasional hickup or sound dropout, but that might settle down when not playing several short clips.

    I think it was the adaptive deinterlacing step that the Radeon 9500's internal 8.6GB/sec bandwidth struggled with for 1080i sources that the 9700 Pro manages because of it's 19.8GB/sec memory performance.

    I think this is mostly because of the 256-bit bus than due to the limited 620MHz/540MHz memory and 325MHz/275MHz gpu core increases over the Radeon 9500. Ref: http://techreport.com/reviews/2002q4/radeon-9700s/index.x?pg=1
     
  5. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Rob.

    Glad to see that you are having some success with the HTPC now. Would you know what bandwidth the 9600 uses? I get some stutter on certain .TS files on my HTPC and it uses this card, but I do have a 9700 pro I can swap over if necessary. I know that I am not out of system power as Win XP reports around 20% CPU usage during playback.

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  6. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Thanks Rob.

    I don't think you'll see the graphics card limits in the Windows CPU usage graph. It's definitely wirth trying the 9700 out for hdtv.

    The Radeon 9600 has 400MHz 128-bit memory and a 325MHz gpu core. Is calculate this to be about 6.4GB/sec bandwidth.
    The Radeon 9600SE has only 64-bit 325MHz memory, providing about 2.6GB/sec internally.
    Ref: http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20031229/index.html

    These low-heat, low-speed, solutions were ideal for DVD-Video but not HD sized Video.

    The 256-bit video memory bus seems to be the key, ia-is exceeding the Microsoft's 10GB/sec HDTV Media-Center recommendation.
    Ref: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/mce/expert/hdtv.mspx

    One thing with this ATI Radeon 9700 Pro is that while almost quiet, the on-board fan is going to have to go in place of the Zalman HP80A passive heatsink I have. I can just hear it in the HTPC which has a FDB hard disk, slow heatsock fan, silentx power-supply, pabst 80mm case-fan, etc.

    I think the HP80A should be just within spec for the 9700 Pro, unless I'm trying to run a 3D game on it or something, although Zalman now have two more variations on this heatsink now. At the moment the stock fan keeps the 9700 at about 55 degrees C.

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  7. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hi Rob.

    Thanks for the heads-up. I will give this a try and see how it goes.

    Cheers

    Rob
     

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