Graphics cards and video outputs?

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by thepurser, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. thepurser

    Standard Member

    Dec 7, 2008
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    Hello all.
    I am building / renovating a PC for work to be used to display Full HD graphics and video for projection onto a 10m x 6m screen as a performance backdrop.
    We are using Screenmonkey and looking at having the following setup.
    PC with system monitor.
    Output (1) to the onstage projector.
    Output (2) to the front of house projector.

    Ideally we would want to be able to split both outputs (1) and (2) to have their output mirrored on to separate preview monitors but that is another question!! ( )

    Currently we have the following:

    Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R Rev2 Intel X58 S1366 Mobo

    Intel i7 950 Bloomfield 45nm CPU
    Corsair 24GB Dominator DDR3 PC3-12800 (1600) RAM + CMXAF2 Airflow Fan
    Asus GT 220 1GB Graphics Card
    2x HP 432899 Blu-ray DVD Combo drives

    Corsair CMPSU-850TXUK 850 W PSU

    I like the flexibility that the GT series of cards has with VGA, DVI and HDMI outputs as this helps us with the range of projectors we may encounter etc.

    What Graphics card / cards would people recommend we install to enable us to provide two simultaneous streams of HD video, (different content) with a possible overlay layer on each via Screenmonkey?

    Will GT 210's cope as they are dirt cheap and easy to get passively cooled or will they struggle to cope?

    Should we stick with Nvidia cards as they have the CUDA cores or are ATI cards better for video?

    Would 2gb cards do anything for us or are 1gb cards more than adequate?

    We don't need anything too overpowered at the moment as we are not going to be doing complex video mapping simply straight projection.

    Basically we want the cheapest most suitable product that we can rely on to do the job.

    Should we expand into that area we will obviously upgrade the cards to something a lot meatier.

    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  2. EndlessWaves

    Distinguished Member

    Apr 7, 2008
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    The GT is refering to the graphics chip, not the card as a whole. While the graphics chip does determine which and how many ports are supported the specific card may only have a subset of them. Two GT220s can have different ports.

    Many DVI ports on graphics cards are DVI-I ports and will happily output VGA via a simple (and cheap) plug adapter.

    Basically the answer is 'check the software you're using'. CUDA, memory use and whether it uses the graphics processor at all are strongly dependant on the particular video playback software and what sort of overlaying your screenmonkey is doing.

    Generally speaking video playback is very undemanding and any card will do it. If you want to do video processing on the fly (deinterlacing etc.) then you may need a slightly more powerful card. It usually makes little use of video memory and doesn't use CUDA.

    Graphics cards have largely been improving as 3d rendering devices (CAD/Gaming/Etc.), in those fields the performance difference is so big they're vital. Outside those fields there's much less reason to use them, other graphical applications like image editing can do just as well with the CPU (which is easier to program for) and generally haven't used the graphics card, other than for the final stage output of converting pixels to an electrical signal of course.

    Video playback is a kind of half way house. Graphics cards are better at it but video formats tend to only be pushed when there is, or about to be, a large user base. Ten years ago decoding two 1920x1080 streams would have been demanding, but hardware has moved on to the point where even a fairly cheap CPU can do it with no graphics card assistance. Most graphics cards these days do support decoding assistance for videos encoded in H.264 and VC-1 formats, although I've no idea what the situation is with playing two at once.

    It is the decoding of the highly compressed video file and the reconstructing of the video stream that's the difficult bit. Output is easy enough.

    In short, I think it's likely that your current hardware is capable of it and I'd definitely try it before buying any more.

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