Help me choose a GPU..........

PJD007

Standard Member
Ok so I'm in the process of buying a new PC and want to hook it up to a new Sony 46" screen for HD and Blu-ray playback.

First thing to say is that the LCD will playback at 24fps, so my first question is that something all the new GPU's can do or will I need a specific card ?

I'm looking to buy my PC from the computerplanet website (so if anyone's got any experiences with these guys let me know) and below is the list of cards I can have from them:

ASUS 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600GT SILENT HDCP PCI-E SLI + £ 69.00
XpertVision 256MB RADEON HD 3850 HDMI PCI-E 2.0 + £ 71.00
ASUS 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600GT OC GEAR PCI-E SLI + £ 74.00
ASUS 256MB RADEON X1950PRO TV/DVI PCI-E RET + £ 78.00
XpertVision 384MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800GS PCI-E 2.0 HDMI + £ 80.00
XpertVision 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600GTS SUPER HDMI PCI-E + £ 86.00
ASUS 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9600GT PCI-E 2.0 GLACIATOR + £ 91.00
ASUS 512MB RADEON HD 3850 COMPANY OF HEROES + £ 96.00
XpertVision NVIDIA GeForce 9600GT SONIC 512MB PCI-E 2.0 + £ 97.00
XpertVision 1GB NVIDIA GeForce 9600GT SONIC PCI-E 2.0 + £ 100.00ASUS 1GB NVIDIA GeForce 9600GT GLACIATOR FAN + £ 108.00XFX NVIDIA GeForce 9600GT 512MB DDR3 XT 2xDVI/HDMI + £ 109.00


So should I choose one of these or go for something else, I can choose not to purchase the card from them and buy one elsewhere.

As said my primary use will be for movie playback but I would like to have the option to have good quality gaming.

Also if the GPU uses DDR3 RAM do I need a motherboard that supports DDR3 ?

Thanks for your replies.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Graphics card memory and system memory are completely seperate.

You didn't mention what CPU you've got so it's hard to say whether or not it needs assistance from the graphics card to decode HD, although everything in that list apart from the X1950 will provide it so it shouldn't be a problem.

Do you need HDMI support, and do you want the sound to be handled over HDMI?

For gaming you'll want as fast as possible, an 8800GT/3870 for £100-120 would be ideal, but a 9600GT or 3850 would be a good second place.
 

Dragy2k

Active Member
or.....hold fire for a few weeks when the newer ati cards are out ....which i believe give better colours on screen than nvidia do ....well in my past experience anyhow...HD4*** on paper are looking good .
 

badbob

Banned
For a HTPC I'd look at a ATI card. Passive model, 2600 Pro or I think the 3xxx series has VC-1. No need to get a Nvidia GT/GTS, or 1GB GPU RAM.
 

PJD007

Standard Member
Thanks for the replies guys.

The PC will have an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (2 x 3.0 GHZ) 1333FSB - 6 MB and I'm going to stick 4GB of RAM in as it seems reasonably priced.

I'll need HDMI (or prefer to have it) to connect up to an amp\receiver but this is another area I'm unsure of.

I was looking to buy a Creative Xtreme music sound card (any other suggestions ?) then hook that and the HDMI output from the GPU into the amp\receiver, is this possible, I mean will the amp\receiver be able to channel the picture and the sound and output it together ?

Also the sound card enhances mp3 playback, will that enhancement be lost when connecting to an amp\receiver ?

This is becoming hard work !

Thanks.
 

badbob

Banned
8400 CPU is a bit OTT for a HTPC, unless you're doing Blu-Ray in software, but if you add a GPU with VC-1 acceleration don't need as fast CPU. As for soundcard, if your motherboard has digital out use that. The Creative "enhancments" are rubbish, got a Creative Extreme Music myself.

You don't need 4GB of RAM either. My HTPC has 2GB and RAM and with OE, Opera, Slimserver (130MB usage) torrent total peak is just over 1GB. If you install Vista 64 memory usage is more (800MB in windows), but still 4GB is a bit much. I would get 4GB of RAM for a new gaming rig, but not a HTPC.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
I would like to have the option to have good quality gaming.

As badbob said the specs are a lot for an HTPC system so if you're paying that much extra on CPU for gaming I'd pair it up with a good graphics card, a 9600GT or 3850 would probably be acceptable if nothing better is on offer.

Creative's crystaliser might reportedly be a bit rubbish sometimes but it's other enhancements like EAX and CMSS for headphones are supposed to be quite good when they're not causing problems. You could perhaps consider the Asus Xonar DX as well.
 

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