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Lost in a jungle of graphics cards

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by SimonMW, Mar 3, 2005.

  1. SimonMW

    SimonMW
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    I've just bought myself a JVC HV32P37SJE television. Finding out it could be connected to display a 1080i signal via the component connection was a pretty nice thing to discover. Now I'm bitten. I'd like to try out that Terminator 2 Extreme Edition high def WMV version that is on the DVD. Now getting the film itself to work will be one thing but that has been discussed elsewhere on the forums. But what I'd like to know is what card to get to output a high def signal from the computer to the tv.

    I've heard that the ATI cards are pretty good. But I don't want a TV tuner and they seem a bit consumer orientated. I'd like something with a bit of oomph. Some of the new Matrox cards look interesting, particularly a new version of the Parhelia that has been announced. I'm a video cameraman and editor by trade so I'd like something that would give me a workflow advantage where this is concerned if possible. But what I have found is that many of the manufacturers don't specify whether their cards can output a 1080i signal, or whether they have component outputs (my TV only accepts 1080i through component).

    It's a little embarrassing asking about this considering my profession, but I'd rather hear from people who are viewing their movies every day with this kind of equipment and I haven't had to delve into high def analogue output from the PC until now..
     
  2. KraGorn

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    Any reason why uore interested in 1080i from a PC? The most common PC hidef format is 1280x720p. What sort of source material will you be playing?

    Two main choices of graphics cards for an HTPC: ATI Radeon 9600 or better or NVidia 6600. Either will happily output 1270x720p (which is what the WMV is AFAIK), the 6600 has hardware decoding support, not sure which if any ATIs do, but it's an ATI can handle it perfectly okay on a PC with a 3.0GHz P4 or better.

    If you want more graphics power then an ATI XT series or NVidia 6800 would fit the bill, few HTPC users employ Matrox cards.

    Not sure what you mean about not wanting a TV tuner and implying that dissuades you from going ATI, only one product line includes a TV tuner, and as for 'consumer orientated', the only other orientation I can see is professional workstation graphics, in which case you'll be after an NVidia Quadro at a 4-digit price tag. ;)

    Both manufacturers supply cards capable of component output, though what resolutions and refresh rates they support I can't say.
     
  3. SimonMW

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    The TV in question will only accept a 1080i source from what I have read about it due to the horizontal rate of 720p being too high. So the card would possibly need to be able to upscale to 1080. But since I'm not all that up on HD I could be wrong.

    4 figure sums are fine. I'm a freelance cameraman working with broadcast spec cameras so if I get HD SDI in as well it would suit me just grand (pardon the pun).

    But really I am just interested in trying to output HD to this set to see what it's like. I just want to see what might be possible. So a dirt cheap card for me to play around with would be fine. But I need to know if it would output a signal that my TV can accept, and from what I am reading that is 1080i through component.
     
  4. SimonMW

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    Just to clarify, although I do work with broadcast spec cameras, HD is new to me. If I ever do go HD it will be via a high end camera, something that is waaaay out of my range at the moment for the type of work I do. So my foray into HD watching is not serious at the moment. I'm just curious as to what my TV can do. But if I did decide to get a high end card it would be because I want to future proof my system somewhat to be prepared,
     
  5. DaveP

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    If your tele hasn't got a DVI input then I'd recommend you get yourself something like an ATI 9800 and one of these

    That should match nicely at 1080i

    Dave
     
  6. Razor

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    It all depends on how much you are willing to spend, Steve in the dlp forums has tried the ATI 9600 and x800 pro and he says the differnce is noticable with the x800pro being slightly better (10%). I havent seen the 6600gt but as kragorn says it has HD pure video built in to it. The x800 series also have their own version of HD processing. I wouldnt go for a Matrox as they dont seem to be used by many people and I would suspect they dont support the card as well as ATI or NVIDIA would. Its really a 2 horse race ATI & NVIDIA.

    The only card with tv recievers are the all-in-wonder ati cards if you stick to the x800xtpe, x800 pro or the flagship x850xt pe. The only real benifit between the 850 xt pe and the 800xt pe over the 800 pro is for game play and you shouldnt notice any difference in HD playback performance.

    1080i is obtained through 720 x 1280 and I have a few trailers and films in this format and use it quiet happly on my Optoma RD65 DLP HD2+ display.

    All the new Nvida and ATI cards have a DVI and VGA out and you can convert this to comoponent quite easly. You can also use VGA if your display has an input.

    You can also use a program called powerstrip obtain any screen resoluion refresh rate. It s a free download.

    I hope this help you a bit.
     
  7. SimonMW

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    Just realised one little snag. The MB only has one AGP slot. I'm currently using a dual monitor card for my video editing.

    Will a PCI card be able to cope with the throughput of high def footage?
     
  8. SimonMW

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    One other thing. If I connect the ATI card via the component adaptor to my TV in addition to my current card will Windows recognise my TV as a third monitor?
     
  9. Razor

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    ATI and NVIDA cards all have two outputs, the x800xt pe has a vga and a dvi out and I think the NVIDA cards have 2 DVI outputs. Both cards have no problem in supporting dual screens.
     
  10. Razor

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    PCI cards are ment to be quicker and supperior to AGP. I would go for the PCI route if you can.
     
  11. SimonMW

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    This new card would have to be an addition to my current one as I already have a dual monitor video editing setup. So I need to know if I add an additional ATI card with the component adaptor whether it will behave like a third monitor,

    I've been looking around but cannot find an ATI 9800 card that goes in a PCI slot.
     
  12. SimonMW

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    Matrox has a quad head card available that outputs 1080i, but only through DVI. I wonder why ATI are the only people to make a DVI to Component adaptor.
     
  13. Razor

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    9800 is an older card only the newer cards are pci. You can get a vga to component adapter from places like maplin etc. Have a look on the NVida and ATI site for more details. The 6600gt can be picked up for under £150 and the x800xt pe for around £350. Both will do what you need. The ATI would be a better card for games as its a more powerfull card.
     
  14. SimonMW

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    Well games aren't a problem as I never play them. The computer is a video editing zone only. Problem with PCI cards that I've been looking at is that while some of them such as the ATI X300 do exactly what I want, they require a PCI Express slot! Arrrrrrrggghhhh!!! :-(
     
  15. KoThreads

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    I thought pci cards died years ago the only ones now are pci-e and by this time next year that's probably all there will be. They are already cheaper than the agp equivalents at most places.
     
  16. KraGorn

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    NVidia produce cards with a component output as well, they're often labelled "Home Theater" variants, I remember getting a leaflet about the converter in the box of an FX 5900 I once had, and I've seen mention of at least one 6600 card that comes with component output.
     
  17. St_ve

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    :blush: Have to own up to being the Steve in Razors post ; i was testing my graphics cards to see if there was any difference in quality & found the X800 to be better at the time i later on found out my video codecs were screwed up after deleting theatre tec & ffdshow from my computer. I repeated the test after i had repaired the damage & found there to be no difference in quality if i had to choose one for best quality it would have been the 9800 but it was so close i called it a draw :oops:
     
  18. Razor

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    You can run two cards at once some high end systems (alienware) have both nvida and ati cards in their systmes at the same time. The reason behind this is some games run better on different cards. ie half life ati, doom 3 nvidia.

    You can run also run 2 cards of the same type (nvidia) in SLI mode which enhances graphic performance. therfore you would have 4 dvi outputs.

    Is it important to have 3 screens running at the same time? If not a switcher to send the signals between 2 displays would do the job.

    With regards to the x300 I can not comment on its playback performace. I have read that the Nforce motherboards are ment to be good at dvd play back.

    BTW you can get most cards in either AGP or PCI Express so this shouldnt be an issue.

    :thumbsup:

    Cheers for update steve :)
     
  19. SimonMW

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    I think that the way things are if I can't get a PCI card I will have to replace my current one. I cannot justify replacing the mobo with all the Windows reactivation rigmarole that goes with it just to get PCI-Express ability, especially as I only built the system in the summer. If I do replace it it's going to have to be a monster capable of dual DVI and component out simultaneously.

    I will have a look around as suggested however at some of the NVIDIA cards to see if they do one that suits.
     
  20. Razor

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    Concerning ATI's HD support:

    Cutting Edge Video Technology
    RADEON® X800 graphics technology gives you more than just a great gaming experience. It also has sophisticated video processing, filtering and acceleration features that make multimedia applications more efficient, inspiring and fun. With VIDEOSHADER™ HD, RADEON® X800 graphics technology takes advantage of its advanced shader processing engine for user programmable video effects, video quality enhancement, and encoding and decoding of many video standards, including MPEG1/2/4, Real Media, DivX and WMV9. RADEON® X800 Graphics Technology also supports the latest high-definition and wide display formats, giving users bigger and more vivid movie, gaming and Internet experiences.

    VIDEOSHADER™ HD
    VIDEOSHADER HD is a key feature of the video processing engine that allows it to tap into the power of the programmable pixel shader units of the RADEON X800 3D core. This allows shaders to be used to accelerate many different video processing tasks, including noise removal (VIDEOSOAP), de-blocking (FULLSTREAM), adaptive de-interlacing, frame rate conversion, color space conversion, and much more. VIDEOSHADER HD also provides the flexibility required to support all of the latest video formats, including MPEG1/2/4, Real, DivX, and WMV9.
     
  21. MikeTV

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    I have a 1080i capable display and use a humble ATI 9200 AGP card (cost £40!), with dual VGA outputs (no DVI). I don't think you need anything powerful to display hi-def material at 1080i in terms of graphics cards. But you do need a powerful CPU (+3ghz, probably). I'm using an AMD 2.6, and it struggles with high bitrate material. (incidentally some the latest top-end PCI express cards probably have onboard hidef/wmvhd decoding, etc., but it's not, by any means, essential for HD playback.)

    And I would avoid the "All in wonder" cards, because I don't want the extra functionality they have. I'd also probably avoid any cards that had "extra features", for reliability reasons.

    The ATI 9800 is probably what I'd recommend, for a non gamer. I'm not sure if there are many differences between the various card manufacturers, but there may be. If in doubt, go ATI.

    Incidentally, my preferred HD resolution is 1776x1000 (which is actually a "fake" resolution inside a 1080i signal). You will need powerstrip to do this trick, but it removes any overscan on my display.
     
  22. Ken

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    I have a MSI 6600GT which has DVI, VGA and a dongle with component out, s-video in/out; I've never used the dongle though, except to check that capture worked.

    Ken
     

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