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Nvidia or ATI for high-end HTPC

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Pulsar, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hello.

    It is that time of year again where I look to upgrade my PC ready for the next wave of games due out. I have always used ATI cards in the past with great success, but am looking to switch to Nvidia this time. My choice of cards is either a Radeon X850 XT or a Geforce 7800 GT OC.

    Can anyone make any comments on the respective image quality of these cards, or just the brands as a whole? I mainly play high definition files (.TS, WMV9 etc) with TheaterTek and some DVD's. I can remember reading some time back about Nvidia cards having some extra MPEG processing on-board, but I am not sure if the Radeons have the same.

    For those who do have either of these cards, how noisy are they?

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  2. MikeKay1976

    MikeKay1976
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    7800GT out of the 2. shader 3.0, a quicker card & generally a newer generation.

    Now if you were to compare it to an X1800 thats a tougher call but since thats a paper launch.......

    X850XT is more comparable to a 6800 Ultra
     
  3. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hi Mike,

    Can you make any comment on the respective image quality of the cards?

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  4. Jim_Fear

    Jim_Fear
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    Although the 7800GT is a magnificent card I prefer the overall clarity of ATi when it comes to 3d rendering, for video playback nVidia paired with Purevideo is a teeny bit better and ATi's. Its a tough call really, the X1800 series are rather tasty but a little pricey too.
     
  5. Mr.D

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    Ati seem a little bit more flexible with forcing odd resolutions with certain displays.
     
  6. Jim_Fear

    Jim_Fear
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    Yeah, they are a step ahead in the HDTV section, you can do some nifty reolution changes if you know where to poke about
     
  7. MikeKay1976

    MikeKay1976
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    i cant sorry...... i have a 6 series card myself which looks great to me, & have only seen the 7 series fleetingly.
     
  8. BadAss

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    It also depends on if you want PCI-E or AGP. Overclockers dont seem to have a 7800GT using AGP.
     
  9. Jim_Fear

    Jim_Fear
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    I find the my X800XL looked more clear in qutie a few games I played when i was reviewing a 7800GTX, dont get me wrong though, the 7800 series are fantastic
     
  10. Jim_Fear

    Jim_Fear
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    The 7800 series are PCIe only. infact I think the 7x00 series are going to be entirely PCIe, I know of no plans to release any AGP cards in the 7x00 family as of yet.
     
  11. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    I have a7800GT (the ASUS HDTV one), gotta say it looks great to me. Plus good connectivity and software bundle not too bad. (card noisy till the drivers kick in they it goes down to a whisper, this is by design).
    Haven't compared it directly to the Radeon I have to say.
    Stuck it in am A8N-SLI premium and my geexbox cd ran straight away without the need for a rebuild and looked great. Much better than the free ASUS DVD player that came with the card. The top end cards can all pretty much do the business - software choice and setup the key I think. Nvidia codec highly regarded by many.
    Would be guided by software support especially if you will also run Linux.
    Probs with my Mobo/disks and multi boot - using all SATA disks (no raid). If you go that way with multi systems/booting check out the linux support closely first. ASUS not that good at supporting Linux.
    If you are mixing SATA and IDE disks (Samsung sata disks very quiet and very quick btw) there are known problems about the BIOS and Windows (which tries to impose restrictions) and Linux and disks being reported in different orders resulting in mismatched partition tables etc. The net full of stuff about this - I know cos I have had to read loads of them. My data sharing scheme drops me right in the middle of them. Good job I like puzzles..

    Have wandered slightly OT but HTTH
     
  12. meansizzler

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    For playback of Video/HD content it really does not matter on the card you have, as I said many times, it depends on your CPU speed, make sure you have at least a P4 3.4GHZ or Athlon XP 3400, even with intergrated motherboard graphcis like an Intel Extreme graphics, you won't notice any difference playing 1080P content compared to using a high end radeon card, it's all down to CPU, the trick is not to use any hardware decoding on the card, so DXVA is a big no no, when playing back video, it does more harm than good I shoud know been using Ati cards since the rage pro, and to me that pure video is a marketing scam, just like the Xfi's 24bit crystalizer, little or no improvement, only reason of getting a decent card is for 3D applications...if you just want HD Video back, then simply get a Radeon X550 if you have PCI-E or a Radeon X700 if you have AGP, get the latest drivers and a copy of WinDVD 7 and make sure you have DXVA turned off, then send me a PM and I will give you the Registry Settings for Media Center...there is no perfect DVD deocer out there, they all have there strength and weakeness's...if anyone wants ot debate any info I have given, then feel free to PM me...if oyu want a good gaming card hold back and get the Radeon X1800..also note the amount of RAm n your PC needs to be at least 4 times the RAM on your graphics card, so if your have a 256MB card then lideally you need 1GB minimum..or your sytems gaming performance will be let down...those of you wanting to upgrades to cards like the 7800 or the x1800 better make sure you have at least 1.5GB of RAM, but ideally 2GB of RAM
     
  13. Mr.D

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    Purevideo is handy to have to detect 3:2 pulldown on US HD material.
    Ati tend to handle custom resolutions a little more reliably in my experience.
     
  14. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hi.

    Thanks for the great input. I shall try to answer a few of the posts made.

    I am only looking to use the standard 1280*720 resolution at 50 and 60 hz, so I don't think the GeForce would limit me there.

    I do understand that the graphics card isn't the most important aspect of hd video playback. I am looking for a powerful card as I shall be also playing games on the machine.

    Just to confirm, I am looking at PCI-e cards, not AGP.

    It seems that my question has now been answered; there is no real difference between the two brands of cards as far as video playback quality is concerned. Thanks for your help with this.

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  15. Welwynnick

    Welwynnick
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    Meansizzler, that was an eye-opening post. Are you saying that the CPU should do any de-interlacing or scaling, rather than the GPU?

    Nick
     
  16. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    Well I just don't use the Hardware decoding of it "DXVA", that's what I meant, so to me what ever card you have does not matter, it's down to the CPU...but a card with a bit of ram like 64MB at least seems to be the only thing you need to look for when getting a card...
     
  17. Jim_Fear

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    The new ATi X1000 series have built in hardware H.246 encoding/decoding. That takes ALOT of the processing away from the CPU.
     
  18. rmask

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    7800 also :)
    and

    The subjective numbers add up to pretty much summarize our experience with ATI's Avivo at this point. While neither ATI nor NVIDIA produced a perfect solution, at this point Avivo is definitely a step behind NVIDIA's PureVideo in terms of de-interlacing quality.
    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2551

    and
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    and uber huge minus for ATI
    reduced waranty (although not appliable to some partners)
     
  19. springtide

    springtide
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    Out of the two (ATI or NVidia) which one would you say is better for Widescreen SVideo output? (PCI-E based)

    Thanks
     
  20. dejongj

    dejongj
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    Does anyone know about a fanless 7800? Or a mod for it?

    I didn't realised it did h.264 decoding and after watching the trailers I want it ;-) I just trialled the trailers on my notebook which was still very impressive, but a light stutter in panning scenes....Love the BBC stuff....
     
  21. Welwynnick

    Welwynnick
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    I think the context of this thread has been high quality, high resolution video. S-video is a standard definition interconnection for TVs only, that will probably not show the sort of differences being discussed.

    Nick
     
  22. Jim_Fear

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    Yeah AVIVO is a but poo, and you'd have to be a fool to buy a built by ATi card now, other manufacturers should have their own warranties.

    As for H.246, nVidia added this in as software routing H.246 through the graphics card for processing in their new drivers, R520 has the decoding as part of the hardware and has been a feature from the start of development.
     
  23. Mr.D

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    In practical terms the HQV scores are somewhat misleading.

    Both cards do well at 3:2 pulldown detection.
    Both cards don't do that great on 2:2 pulldown.

    3:2 pulldown detection is required to get the best out of unflagged US material ( like hidef recordings for example) . Lack of good 2:2 detection ( something that smacks of the US centric attitude of both ati and nvidia coders) is easily handled by manually selecting a weave deinterlace.

    In theory with UK hidef we'll only need the one deinterlace : a simple weave..which is essentially no deinterlacing anyway.

    When it comes to field material both cards now supposedly support motion estimated switching deinterlacing which is actually very simple in practice anyway (weave on little motion ....bob on motion) Dscaler effectively does this in software.

    In practical terms I suspect there is very little to choose between the two cards with regard to hardware deinterlace capabilities.
     
  24. Mandarin Man

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  25. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    The deinterlacing isn't handled by the decoder. Its either done in hardware or software. For example...

    With Theatertek you can either use an nvidia card with purevideo to handle the deinterlacing or if the card doesn't have great deinterlacing you can do it in software using the nvpp (nvida post processor...essentially purevideo in software..I think).

    And if you are like me and want to use ffdshow then the graphics card does nothing and you rely on flag reading to detect the cadence. (as I'm not convinced that there is a problem with the flags on the majority of major releases).

    I've not used the nvpp on hidef material either but I'll probably give it a whirl when I get the time.
     
  26. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Thanks to Keith and everyone else for the extended input into this thread. I am going to give the 7800 GT a whirl, I shall let you know how I get on.

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  27. rmask

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    yes purevidio is nvidia only (one of nv trademarks I believe)
     

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