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Newbie questions about Radeon cards

I'm just about to build my first HTPC, it will be used to watch DVDs, family photos, and record from a SkyDigital box ( and watch the recordings obviously )

I've already chosen a SweetSpot to get RGB in from the SkyBox and I am now considering the card I require for output to a CRT widescreen Panasonic telly.

I have read that you can rig-up a cable to allow RGB-out from the VGA port of Radeon 9000 series cards, so that is the way I want to go to get RGB all the way from the SkyBox to the telly.

1) My first question is a bit dumb, but I need to ask it -> will you get RGB with the modded cable with Radeon 9000 series cards from *any* manufacturer ? I can't seem to find info that says it has to be any particular manufacturer. Some people talk about "ATI cards" when doing the RGB output but I presume they mean the Radeon chipset rather than a Radeon card specifically manufactured by ATI. Or do I actually need an ATI manufactured card ?

2) My next question is should I go 9200 or 9600 -> I won't be playing PC games on the HTPC - it will just be for recording/watching
TV and DVD. Is there a significant difference between these two cards for those functions ? Can the 9200 cope with displaying fast pans and such ? I can't stand banding or blocking so do I need a 9600 or will a 9200 suffice ?

3) I want a card without a fan - the 9200s seem to not have fans but do all 9600s have fans ?

4) Is there any picture quality difference between the manufacturers ? Will a dabs own-brand card give the same quality as the same chipset Sapphire for instance ?

4) Finally what exactly is VIVO ? From what I can gather it seems to be a way to make the s-video port bi-directional. Is this true of all Radeon cards ? Does it need a special cable or special software ? If so, do these come with the card ? Can a VIVO card be used as another input capture device at the same time as displaying something else ? Can a VIVO input be used with ShowShifter for instance ?
 

stlic

Active Member
Originally posted by groovyclam
I'm just about to build my first HTPC, it will be used to watch DVDs, family photos, and record from a SkyDigital box ( and watch the recordings obviously )

I've already chosen a SweetSpot to get RGB in from the SkyBox and I am now considering the card I require for output to a CRT widescreen Panasonic telly.

I have read that you can rig-up a cable to allow RGB-out from the VGA port of Radeon 9000 series cards, so that is the way I want to go to get RGB all the way from the SkyBox to the telly.

1) My first question is a bit dumb, but I need to ask it -> will you get RGB with the modded cable with Radeon 9000 series cards from *any* manufacturer ? I can't seem to find info that says it has to be any particular manufacturer. Some people talk about "ATI cards" when doing the RGB output but I presume they mean the Radeon chipset rather than a Radeon card specifically manufactured by ATI. Or do I actually need an ATI manufactured card ?


Any Radeon based card should do fine. There is some inherent quality difference as far as image goes between manufacturers so the reknowned brands are recommended (Sapphire are well regarded)

2) My next question is should I go 9200 or 9600 -> I won't be playing PC games on the HTPC - it will just be for recording/watching
TV and DVD. Is there a significant difference between these two cards for those functions ? Can the 9200 cope with displaying fast pans and such ? I can't stand banding or blocking so do I need a 9600 or will a 9200 suffice ?
Borrowed form another thread:

http://oellerer.net/infinity_classics/!!!/Blocking.jpg

3) I want a card without a fan - the 9200s seem to not have fans but do all 9600s have fans ?
See this thread for links to 9600 without fans http://www.avforums.com/frame.html?....com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=125696[/url]

4) Is there any picture quality difference between the manufacturers ? Will a dabs own-brand card give the same quality as the same chipset Sapphire for instance ?
See above reply. There is a difference in 2D image output between cards but it's very minimal and only noticible on high end CRT monitors. Don't make it a deciding factor but try to stay away from the super budget no name jobbies. You probably won't notice when output to TV anyhow. The dabs "own brand" are usually just OEM products from larger companies.

4) Finally what exactly is VIVO ? From what I can gather it seems to be a way to make the s-video port bi-directional. Is this true of all Radeon cards ? Does it need a special cable or special software ? If so, do these come with the card ? Can a VIVO card be used as another input capture device at the same time as displaying something else ? Can a VIVO input be used with ShowShifter for instance ?
The VIVO function is just that, a video in option. Now this is where I'm a bit shaky. My understanding is that all XT cards are VIVO capable which a additional cable otherwise the card simply has another port to handle the input S-Video signal. Not true of all Radeon chips however and changes card ot card (except the XT which are all VIVO I think..:/). The VIVO would be fine as an additional capture device.. it should be as simple as selecting the card instead of showshifter. Now I don't know how Showshifter works but if it uses the overlay of the video card the input direct into the video card (which also uses overlay) may not work.
 
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