Graphics card recommendation - High spec HTPC

andyUK101

Well-known Member
Im in the process of building a new gaming/HTPC rig and im having trouble deciding on the graphics card, it will be used for a 50/50 gaming movie split with an X-Box HD drive for HD playback

I was considering a BFG 320MB 8800GTS OC which im sure would be fine for movie playback but several review conclude that its performance suffers greatly above 1600*1200 as the frame buffer runs out of memory, prices around £200

Or i thought about using a XFX 1950XTX 512MB (or flashing an XT to XTX) the concern with this is several people reported problems linking monitors, issue with refresh rates and pixel mapping seem to crop up a lot, the software for HD-DVD playback seems a lot better on the Nvidia graphics cards

Ill be using a Samsung 40F71 as a monitor which accepts 1080P over the VGA and HDMI for 1:1 Pixel mapping

Also would i be better using a HDMI-DVI to the TV or a DVI-VGA adpater and VGA to TV?

Any thoughts appreciated
 

ukaudiophile

Active Member
Hi Andy,

The only thing which strikes me about your suggestions is the noise which these cards will generate. I would suggest both these cards are going to howl like banshees when they're up and running, and this is going to be distracting during a movie.

I use a 1920 X 1080 Sony Pearl projector in my home cinema, and this is being fed by an XFX 7600GS, which is a passively cooled card. It's on board Purevideo algorithm allows it to process 1080p video no problem at all with a DVI-HDMI converter. I know both your cards would destroy the 7600GS on games, but as your machine is going to be a 50/50 split it seems as though the gaming is getting a rather higher priority here. Out of interest what are the rest of the specs for your machine?

Best wishes,

Dave
 

andyUK101

Well-known Member
Specs so far (some salvaged from current PC to keep costs down)

36GB raptor for OS
1 250 GB Samsung P120 for storage (and some sort of media storage kept elsewhere)
2BG Corsair TwinXMS
Intel XBX2 Badaxe 2 mobo
Intel 6600
either a terratec 7.1 or creative x-fi soundcard

I use a silent 256MB X1600 at the minute and its fine for movie playback (at 720p anyway) but gaming suffers on it at higher resolutions

Im edging towards the 8800 and disabling some of the advance graphic options to keep the framerates at decent levels, gaming is pretty important really and id also like to get the most out of my 1080p screen

Cheers
 

Mark Pitchford

Active Member
If got a 640Mb Palit 8800GTS in my machine and the loudest component is my Tagan Easyconn PSU!

As far as the connection goes I would have thought that the HDMI cable would give you a better picture. I've got LE40R74 and the best connection was via VGA where the benefits of being 1-to-1 pixel mapped outweighed the benefits of the HDMI digital connection.

As far as sound goes, the X-Meridian is getting some good reviews as well.

I hope this helps...
 
P

paulmcnally

Guest
Hi Andy, I just recently built myself a new HTPC, I opted for a MSI 7900GT, its a passively cooled card and therefore is silent in operation. A friend of mine who was building a HTPC at the same time opted for a XFX 7900GT Extreme, again a passively cooled card.
 

peskywinnets

Active Member
Hi Andy, I just recently built myself a new HTPC, I opted for a MSI 7900GT, its a passively cooled card and therefore is silent in operation. A friend of mine who was building a HTPC at the same time opted for a XFX 7900GT Extreme, again a passively cooled card.

A couple points worth factoring in....

Even if your graphics card is passive, the heat has to be sumped out of your PC chassis somewhere, else all you've done is impacted other stuff (CPU heat levels etc). Therefore, you're probably best going for a VGA with a quiet cooler that sumps heat out of the case too.

Re HDTV & graphics card. It's the CPU that's doing most of the work & if you've spec'ed your CPU high enough then even a relativley mediocre graphics card will be just fine. In my opinion, the benefits presently gained from h/w acceleration on graphics cards does not justify the extra cost (& heat) they bring to the table.
 

andyUK101

Well-known Member
A couple points worth factoring in....

Even if your graphics card is passive, the heat has to be sumped out of your PC chassis somewhere, else all you've done is impacted other stuff (CPU heat levels etc). Therefore, you're probably best going for a VGA with a quiet cooler that sumps heat out of the case too.

Re HDTV & graphics card. It's the CPU that's doing most of the work & if you've spec'ed your CPU high enough then even a relativley mediocre graphics card will be just fine. In my opinion, the benefits presently gained from h/w acceleration on graphics cards does not justify the extra cost (& heat) they bring to the table.

The rig will be used for gaming as well so im trying to find a balance between cost/heat/performance

I could for example go for a better processor and cut back on the graphics card but i feel this would negatively impact gaming performance

Ive decided on a ThermalTake Bach case which should hopefully be big enough to allow me to install a quieter fan onto whichever graphics card i decided on

If got a 640Mb Palit 8800GTS in my machine and the loudest component is my Tagan Easyconn PSU!

As far as the connection goes I would have thought that the HDMI cable would give you a better picture. I've got LE40R74 and the best connection was via VGA where the benefits of being 1-to-1 pixel mapped outweighed the benefits of the HDMI digital connection.

As far as sound goes, the X-Meridian is getting some good reviews as well.

I hope this helps...

I had a samsung LE40R51 before the F71 and the picture did look sharper and clearer over VGA than it did over HDMI as the TV didnt support 1:1 pixel mapping over HDMI

Using WinDVD HD means it will have to be HDMI though otherwise HDCP problems crop up (or so i hear)

Im still edging towards the 8800 and scaling back some of the advanced graphics options

All thoughts appreciated
 
D

Deleted member 51156

Guest
I have a bfg 640mb 880gts ,there is a difference in image quality from that and the 7 series card that i use to own .

The card is quite as a mouse ,although at the moment the cpu does most of the procesing for hi def ,eventually when the graphics drivers mature there will be definite improvement to film and video deinterlancing ,which only the new generation of card will be able to handle.
 
M

mjirvine

Guest
I have an ATI 1950XT - (Club3d) which came with the artic X2 cooler which is extremely quiet, much better than expected! (although obviously louder than my prev 6800 zalman passively cooled one).

It doesnt seem to get noisy even playing 3d games
(my silentx 80cm case exhaust fan at 5v is louder)

only problem is that it is very large and protrudes well above the edge of the card so you need a decent size case.

I have no problems connecting it to my HD DLP projector at 1080i or 720p alongside my 1280x1024 normal LCD monitor.

Hope you get something sorted soon

MJI
 

andyUK101

Well-known Member
I have an ATI 1950XT - (Club3d) which came with the artic X2 cooler which is extremely quiet, much better than expected! (although obviously louder than my prev 6800 zalman passively cooled one).

It doesnt seem to get noisy even playing 3d games
(my silentx 80cm case exhaust fan at 5v is louder)

only problem is that it is very large and protrudes well above the edge of the card so you need a decent size case.

I have no problems connecting it to my HD DLP projector at 1080i or 720p alongside my 1280x1024 normal LCD monitor.

Hope you get something sorted soon

MJI

I have a X1900XT (flashed to XTX) and it sounds like its trying to take off with the stock cooling and i doubt an X2 cooler would fit in the case (thermaltake Bach desktop style case)

I saw a good deal on a 7950GX2 which was a card i hadnt considered before, i imagine gaming performance would be stunning, possible better than the 8800 320MB 8800 i was going for

In terms of noise ive found some 3rd party coolers to be quieter but produce a higher pitched noise which is even more discernable than the louder stock cooling, the zalman i use for the CPU is a prime example of this

Any recommendations for ultra quiet cooling for a Core Duo 6400 and a high end GPU that is low profile?

Thanks
 

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