graphics card for 1080p movies and streaming.

Dogmatix

Standard Member
morning all.

Been given a Kodi machine for Christmas, but its dog slow.
So thought I'd treat my tower to a decent card and use that instead.

Now, I know a graphics card isn't really essential but I want one.

Main thing I want, is HDMI output, and ideally self-powered.
I don't want to over-clock it, or strain it so something that can preform all day long, everyday.

Any suggestions?
Thanks.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Unless you're using MadVR or other demanding post-processing you're looking at two choices:

1. Something as cheap as possible with HDMI output.

2. Buying the latest implementation of hardware video decoding for the next generation of codecs (HEVC and VP9).

The former depends on what's on offer but basically it's £25-30, and it's not worth doing if your onboard graphics have an HDMI (or DisplayPort) output as there's a good chance it'll be slower than them.

The latter are incomplete, we should see hardware with full support appear next year, and only available on mid-range cards that are at least as expensive than the best dedicated media players. Right now your best bet is probably nVidia's GM206 chip found in the GTX 950 and GTX 960.
 

Dogmatix

Standard Member
Would something like THIS be a tad overkill?
Or even this?

As said, I won't be gaming - I have PS3 for that, and Blu-Ray. This will be for Kodi only really.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
I wouldn't buy from there if you're in the UK as that seller's a bit pricy and I'd avoid the old GT 610 entirely. I'd be looking at £30 delivered for a GT 720/R5 230 or £40 for a 240/730. Although I don't know that next step up would bring any benefit for watching videos.
 

nespresco

Active Member
R7 370 is the best option.

Why!?!...

The 950 beats the 370 at a similar price point in almost every area, the only advantage (besides a lower price) the 370 has is a 256bit ( vs 128bit) bus width, which is completely inconsequential at the resolutions these entry levels cards can obtain playable FPS at.

The newer Maxwell 2 architecture offers more efficient performance, HDMI 2.0 which allows 4k video at 60hz and HEVC decoding ideal for future proofing a HTPC. The GCN 1.0 architecture in the 370 is 4 years old!

As @EndlessWaves pointed out the best option is a GM206 card, the 950 and 960 are essentially the same, but the 950 has less CUDA cores due to some (2) SMMs being disabled. The 960 will offer better gaming performance although the 950 can be overclocked to a similar level. Given you want to stay at stock speeds the choice should be based on how much gaming performance you want. For a pure HTPC GPU the 950 is a decent choice.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
The 950 beats the 370 at a similar price point in almost every area, the only advantage (besides a lower price) the 370 has is a 256bit ( vs 128bit) bus width, which is completely inconsequential at the resolutions these entry levels cards can obtain playable FPS at.

Actually the 4GB of memory could well be an advantage if we're talking about gaming, I haven't seen any test on the 370/950 specifically but tests on the next model up (380/960) show that the card using those with 2GB stutter more even in current games.

It's also the same chip used in the consoles, so there may be some performance increase in games over time as things get optimised for that.

As an HTPC card it doesn't offer much though.
 

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