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Low Profile Graphics Card???

Discussion in 'Microsoft Windows' started by sachmo, May 24, 2005.

  1. sachmo

    sachmo
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    Hi there,

    I am currently looking into building my own MCE 2005 box and have pretty much worked out what I will need to buy to get it up and running. However, i'm having a little trouble finding an appropriate graphics card that will work - the reason being i'm using a Dell GX270 which has only got a "low profile" AGP slot (slightly shorter than standard AGP) The requirements i need are as follows:

    Type - Low Profile

    Slot - AGP

    Memory - pref. 256Mb (if not 128)

    Compatible with MCE 2005(!)

    DirectX 9 compatible (is this true?)

    TV Out

    Best possible performance with MCE (i understand the o/s is rather picky when it comes to hardware!!!)

    I have a budget of around £150 but at the moment I can't seem to find a card that meets all of the above. Does anybody else use or know of a low profile card that they could recommend? Any help on this would be much appreciated.

    Cheers

    Dave.
     
  2. Skunkpipe

    Skunkpipe
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  3. sachmo

    sachmo
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    Thanks for the reply

    I'm not sure that would work as I have a physical limitation on card height (ie i wouldn't be able to close the lid of my computer!) The layout of GX270 means the AGP slot is no where near the PCI slots. Also, do you use this card successfully yourself as I don't see it on the MS compatibility list?

    Just had a thought - do I need an AGP graphics card? Would I be able to get away with a PCI type (not xpress)? Do such cards exsist? If so is there any noticeable difference in performance between the two? (soooooo many questions - sorry!)

    Dave.
     
  4. Skunkpipe

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    The card is physically 1/2 height of a srd card. Do you have a full sized opening on the back of the case?
    the Radeon 9550 will work with MCE - the drivers are available from www.ati.com

    You can get PCI graphics cards - you'll be limited by choice though, and performance would be restricted somewhat due to the relatively slow speed of the PCI bus Vs AGP
     
  5. sachmo

    sachmo
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    alas no - the blanking plate is only just over half the size of a normal one.

    Any other suggestions? Will proabaly rule out PCI type due to your metioned lack of performance....
     
  6. Skunkpipe

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    I know of nothing with a 1/2 height blanking plate - however with the card shown you could remove teh blanking plate and have a 1/2 height card - you'd just loose the DVI connector which os connected to the card via ribbon cable IYSWIM - the other alternative is to get a motherboard that has s-Video out...
     
  7. Sandman

    Sandman
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    I had the axact same problem trying to turn a dell gx260 into a HTPC with MCE2005. I bought a low profile nvidia 5200. It is only 128MB but is on the recomended hadware list. It worked perfectly when set to single display but when on duel display its performance was poor (jerky TV / freezes). It was running on a P4 1.8 so maybe with a better CPU it would have worked better. I have now changed my entire machine as I couldnt find a suitable solution.
     
  8. sachmo

    sachmo
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  9. Da_Rude_Baboon

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    It might be easier to buy a new case and move everything across. Doesn't replacing the GPU yourself invailidate any warranty?
     
  10. Big Adam

    Big Adam
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    Like many manufacturers, Powercolor make a range of low-profile cards which ship with both full size and half-height brackets.

    I would highly recommend this Radeon 9600SE for your application:
    Powercolor 9600SE

    Scroll to the bottom of the link to see the little bracket.
     
  11. MrFawlty

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    I would recommend an ATI based card - will you playing games (i.e. Far Cry, Half Life 2 etc, not Solitaire!)? Because if you won't, there is no need to spend any more than £40-£50, you may even get by with a £30 card - I did and it works a treat. I have Radeon 9200 with 128Mb and it is a half height card, although it didn't come with a half height plate. Here are a couple of ones you could use:

    http://www.microdirect.co.uk/productinfo.aspx?ProductID=5820&GroupID=330

    http://www.aria.co.uk/ProductsList.asp?Name=GCD-ATI-9250V
     
  12. Slinkoff

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    Hi Sachmo

    Sounds like you're going to be going down the same road as me as I too have built a MCE PC using a GX270. Big Adam has linked you right and the Powercolor 9600SE is indeed what I have in my system, it was a struggle to get hold of one though as the UK supplier I found only had one in stock and I had to get the nice lady on the phone to open the box to make sure it was exactly what I needed. You might have to keep an eye on eBay to get one.

    Bear in mind, the low-profile bracket removes the VGA and not the DVI of the card! So if you're thinking of connecting via VGA, think again. To make things even harder for myself I don't even have a plasma or TV with a DVI input, just plain old CRT, so DVI to DVI wasn't an option for me. Instead, I went for ATI's DVI-Component dongle, imported from the US for about £20. I figured I'd try that first before getting a VGA to Scart cable and trying DVI-VGA converter with VGA-Scart cable plugged in. After much Powerstripping I've get myself a nice steady well-fitted desktop albeit in the ridiculously low-res of 640x400P. But, it works. And it looks good. I can only get 3 columns of music albums and the XP desktop is large but video is great, crisp and now I've got it all up and running MCE is brilliant.

    Also bear in mind with the 270 the limited PCI slots. There's only 2 and you'll need both of these so PCI gfx isn't what you want to do. I'm currently waiting for Black Gold to release their dual DVB-T card so I can have dual tuner functionality at the cost of only 1 PC slot. Their customer services say that it's not far off and they're in the driver testing stage. The other PCI slot it soon to be used for an X-Mystique card so that I can have Dolby Digital Live encoding/decoding with the added bonus of a single digital connection to my amp and therfore passthru of DD/DTS audio streams from DVDs.

    As you'll know, it's not simply a case of getting a different case and avoiding all these problems as the 270 is pretty much a custom interior. It is possible to get a very decent MCE PC on a 270 but it ain't straightforward so if an alternative machine is an option for you, you may want to consider it.

    Get in touch if you want any further advice.

    sLiNk
     
  13. DaveJ-UK

    DaveJ-UK
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    Funnily enough, I've literally just bought a Dell Optiplex GX270 to turn in to a Media Centre box. Actually, I also bought a GX280 and an SX260 when I saw the bargain prices these were goingfor.

    It sounds like your question has already been answered, but just to let you know what route I'm going down.

    I'm probably going to use the GX280 with it's slightly faster CPU and memory. Both GX boxes have an AGP slot and one PCI slot. The SX is the smallest and most attractive but unfortunately doesn't have a DVI out and no AGP/PCI slots. It also uses laptop hard drives, which get real expensive above ~80GB.

    I've bought a low profile AGP GeForce 6200 256MB with DVI out (plus VGA with full height fitting) for £40. A Microsoft remote control cost me £30. The PC's were £100, £130, and £150. I also intend on buying "aFusion HDTV DVB-T Dual Digital Tuner", unless anyone can recommend a better one? I've been told by a lot of people that this is the dogs dangly bits though.

    For me, DVI out was anabsolute must as I'll be hooking up to a HDTV via. a DVI to HDMI cable (£10, 5 metre). This is the only way I expect I'll be watching high definition content in the UK in the next 12 months at least.

    If your struggling to get HDTV content, there's loads of good stuff posted regularly at a.b.hdtv (although it's worth noting that a 40 minute episode of Lost, for example, is almost 5GB!!)
     
  14. Slinkoff

    Slinkoff
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    A post of old. DaveJ, where are you getting the Fusion HDTV DVB-T Dual Digital Tuner card from? Importing from the US or France?

    My GX280 is still trundling along nicely, and silently but I'm still without a dual tuner card. The Blackgold card never appeared, the Terratec card is PCIx (and also hasn't appeared) and the rumoured Hauppage card may never matrerialise either. Looks like the Fusion card is the way to go if I can get hold of one in the UK.
     
  15. sniffer66

    sniffer66
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    Its interesting, I have a GX270 as an HTPC also but need both DVI and VGA out concurrently as I have a Projector and a plasma

    I endded buying a fanless ATI 9600 full height with both outputs and dropped it in the case, as it is a hinged lid I just left the lid raised at the back to cover the extra height. Once the PC is in my AV rack then you can only see the front so you arent aware the lid is raised. There is some additional fan noise with the case slightly open but thats hidden by my rack
    Not particularly elegant but it works and was cheap :)
     
  16. bashtage

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    Nvidia wants to sell higher cost parts. 6200s work fine in MCE, just nvidia won't pay to get them certified.
     
  17. DaveJ-UK

    DaveJ-UK
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    They all use the same driver so I'm sure it will befine.

    I intend on importing the TV card from the US. I didn't know it had been released in France though so that might be an option if it comes with English manual and software.

    I just received my graphics card today but it had a 128MB 5200 in the 256MB 6200 box, so I'll be sending it back for a refund and getting another. Suckage.

    I've seen a 512MB 6200 for £90 which might be worth a look.

    Are there any low profile 6600 or anything above 6200? I need at least 256MB on board memory.
     
  18. Slinkoff

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  19. Slinkoff

    Slinkoff
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    I've just remembered we're talking about Dell GX270s here, which have AGP not PCI-E so that card is no use to you I'm afraid.
     
  20. Slinkoff

    Slinkoff
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    I'd be interested in doing this and maybe a few other forum members would be too, particularly those in the "twin DVB-T tuners" thread who don't have PCI-E and are currently waiting on a possibly distant Hauppage PCI card.

    Perhaps a group of us could get together and order a batch and split the costs of importing the cards between us?
     
  21. bashtage

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    Why? Unless you are running at high res with textures all the way up, 128 seems to be more than adequate from what I've seen
     
  22. DaveJ-UK

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    I have a GX270 (AGP) and a GX280 (PCI-X) on the way so either will do. I don't care whether it's ATI or nVidia but just one of their mid range / high end cards in low profile, as opposed to the low end / budget cards that seem to be my only choice at present.

    I have an address in the US so I'd just get it shipped there and then pick it up when I'm out there in Jan/Feb. Or if I was desperate for it I'd get someone to ship it back, which would cost 10 or $12.

    Do you think it would be worth buying a dozen of them and knocking them out on eBay at a small profit? Is there that much demand for them?

    I don't want the GPU to be held back by a lack of memory when the 256MB version only cost a little more than the 128MB model. And it would be nice to have textures all the way up. That's why I'm considering the 512MB version for another £30.

    I'm also mainly going to be using this box for HDTV playback which I gather needs quite a wedge of video memory - .ts files jump a little on my P4 2.8 / 512MB / FX 5200 128MB rig
     
  23. Slinkoff

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    I had a look and couldn't see any US stores selling the DVB-T version of the card, which isn't surprising as DVB-T is only used in Australia and Europe. All the Australian stockists have it though. If you can find a US stockist and collect it in Jan/Feb could I buy one off you? I'm sure you'd be able to shift them on eBay as well as there currently aren't any PCI dual tuner options available other than this card and it appears it's not currently available anywhere except Australia.

    If you can't find a US stockist, I've found an Australian place that will do 5+ cards for AUS$250 each, which is just over £100 each. I've emailed them to see if they'll ship to the UK.
     
  24. DaveJ-UK

    DaveJ-UK
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    I've just checked and the store I found is in Autralia. I assumed all (or at least most) tuner cards supported both NTSC and PAL. Is this not the case? I'm also assuming DVB-T is the UK high def standard?

    This is the store I was looking at; http://www.nintek.com.au/x/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=3672

    Is this the site you're looking at; http://www.citysoftware.com.au/Browse/07942980f8a143959f82221b6a31c67c001ItemDetail.aspx

    If I bought a dozen and had to get them mailed I'd almost certainly have to pay some duty on them and that would make it much less attractive as a money spinner.
     
  25. bashtage

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    I think you are way, way overrating the role of onboard memory. A full res RGB HD frame at 1080p only takes about 2Megapixels * 24 bits-per-pixel * 1/8 bits-per-byte = 6MB. So if you need to buffer 2 of these then you need 12MB on memory. Of course, this require you to be running at 1080p resolution. Lower res, like 1376 would only require about 1/2 of that amount. The videos aren't stuttering because of your vid card.
     
  26. Slinkoff

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    I don't think PAL/NTSC matters to a TV card but I might be wrong. DVB-T is the UK digital-through-an-aerial transport standard, nothing to do with HD.

    Yes. Seems the cheapest.

    That's true, but if you want to join up and order one with me so that we can split the postage costs from there I'm happy to do that. I got a reply from them saying they will ship to the UK and he's getting back to me with the exact cost.
     
  27. DaveJ-UK

    DaveJ-UK
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    That's odd. I e-mailed them and this is the response I got;

    From: Joshua McCarthy [mailto:josh<at their domain>csw.com.au]
    Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 11:49 PM
    To: <my e-mail address>
    Subject: RE: Shipping to the UK

    Hi Dave,

    Sorry, we don't sell or deliver outside of Australia.

    Regards
    Josh McCarthy
     
  28. Slinkoff

    Slinkoff
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    Odd, I got this:

    which implies that they will do it. Will have to wait to see what their next response is.
     

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