Which GPU for 4K HTPC?

neonplanet40

Active Member
Hi Folks,

I have a HTPC which i use to play 4k Bluray remuxes etc on kodi/mpc, as well as Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video. All on my 4k projector.

I need a gpu for this. I am not going to be using MadVR or anything to upscale older content. It just needs to output 4k video with HDR to my av receiver and projector. Maybe HEVC support would be good as well.

Can anyone tell me what GPU would suffice? My other HTPC specs for reference are: Ryzen 5 3600, Asus Strix B450, 16GB Ram, Corsair TX550

Thank you for your help. Happy to go with AMD or Nvidia. Also, what prices would these cards (that you recommend) normally go for? I know the market is a mess now. I am happy to buy used.
 

neonplanet40

Active Member
Thanks. I had looked, but many don't support HEVC and supposedly Netflix need a certain amount of onboard memory?
 

neonplanet40

Active Member
Is there a reason for needing HTPC. Nvidia shield pro seems like ideal box for this.
I've already got the machine and use it as a plex server too. Also love Dolby Atmos etc. Nvidia Shield had bugs etc with sound and I have a 7.1.4 setup. That's why I went down the htoc route back in april. So sticking with it for now.

I'm just keen to know which you models to focus on then I can try and source best prices.
 

Ruffuz

Well-known Member
I've already got the machine and use it as a plex server too. Also love Dolby Atmos etc. Nvidia Shield had bugs etc with sound and I have a 7.1.4 setup. That's why I went down the htoc route back in april. So sticking with it for now.

I'm just keen to know which you models to focus on then I can try and source best prices.

still big overkill if you ask me.

Nvidia GT 1030 should do the job.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
I've already got the machine

Shame. Swapping the 3600 for a 3400G would have been the easiest solution if you were building it.

What graphics card are you using currently? What you want has been present in new cards for several years.

Low end graphics cards don't tend to get updated much these days as integrated graphics is so good so you will need to go a couple of models up the range to get something new enough such an RX 550 or GT 1030.
 

neonplanet40

Active Member
It had a 1660 super in it which I have given to a member of the family that was making a gaming pc. The prices were horrendous and I didn't want them overpaying. I had bought it as I thought I'd use madvr. But never did.
 

Ruffuz

Well-known Member
I've already got the machine and use it as a plex server too. Also love Dolby Atmos etc. Nvidia Shield had bugs etc with sound and I have a 7.1.4 setup. That's why I went down the htoc route back in april. So sticking with it for now.

I'm just keen to know which you models to focus on then I can try and source best prices.

Maybe sell all of it and look into Intel NUC, Asrock Deskmini or Asus PN50. Much neater
 

AndreNewman

Active Member
Hi Folks,

I have a HTPC which i use to play 4k Bluray remuxes etc on kodi/mpc, as well as Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video. All on my 4k projector.

I need a gpu for this. I am not going to be using MadVR or anything to upscale older content. It just needs to output 4k video with HDR to my av receiver and projector. Maybe HEVC support would be good as well.

Can anyone tell me what GPU would suffice? My other HTPC specs for reference are: Ryzen 5 3600, Asus Strix B450, 16GB Ram, Corsair TX550

Thank you for your help. Happy to go with AMD or Nvidia. Also, what prices would these cards (that you recommend) normally go for? I know the market is a mess now. I am happy to buy used.
As you have a projector, you really need to look at MadVR, it's the biggest upgrade you can do for a projector for HDR.

Maybe wait until they have a proper release for HDR tone mapping but don't discount it.
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
I've already got the machine and use it as a plex server too. Also love Dolby Atmos etc. Nvidia Shield had bugs etc with sound and I have a 7.1.4 setup. That's why I went down the htoc route back in april. So sticking with it for now.

I'm just keen to know which you models to focus on then I can try and source best prices.
Hi
I regularly use the Shield and Kodi with Atmos. The bass is not quite the same as a proper player but that's probably Android. I have a HTPC but I don't use it for 4k. As others have said, most modern GPUs including iGPUs have HEVC hardware decoding built in.

Finally if you still want to use a PC and you like to tinker then you really ought to check out MadVR for projector forum as @AndreNewman said.
 

poisonborz

Novice Member
I just recently got a PN50 which has a 4300U processor with integrated Vega 7 GPU.
You just listed quite a lot of use cases, but as a rule of thumb, for 4k local media files, I'd say you certainly shouldn't invest in anything weaker than my config. This config plays up to 25Mb/s 4k content with 1-2 framedrops (this is the top bitrate of most 4k webrips), above than that (like 4k60fps HEVC) is choppy. But for most content out there this is good.

Note that local playback is what is power hungry - streaming services run on mostly anything, as they have lower bitrate and very efficient encoding.

Anything with Intel UHD600/Iris (so most of the NUCs): forget it.
The best bet is a dedicated GPU (GeForce 1050+) but that might be noisy and more power-hungry, which is not the best for a HTPC.

I think it will be much better in 1-2 year, when we get far stronger AMD/Intel integrated GPUs. Until then, I think Ryzen laptop chipsets are the best price/performance/efficiency choices.
 
Last edited:

Ruffuz

Well-known Member
I just recently got a PN50 which has a 4300U processor with integrated Vega 7 GPU.
You just listed quite a lot of use cases, but as a rule of thumb, for 4k local media files, I'd say you certainly shouldn't invest in anything weaker than my config. This config plays up to 25Mb/s 4k content with 1-2 framedrops (this is the top bitrate of most 4k webrips), above than that (like 4k60fps HEVC) is choppy. But for most content out there this is good.

Note that local playback is what is power hungry - streaming services run on mostly anything, as they have lower bitrate and very efficient encoding.

Anything with Intel UHD600/Iris (so most of the NUCs): forget it.
The best bet is a dedicated GPU (GeForce 1050+) but that might be noisy and more power-hungry, which is not the best for a HTPC.

I think it will be much better in 1-2 year, when we get far stronger AMD/Intel integrated GPUs. Until then, I think Ryzen laptop chipsets are the best price/performance/efficiency choices.

Intel Nuc/ UHD graphic doesn't have a problem playing 4k hevc since 7th gen...
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
I think it will be much better in 1-2 year, when we get far stronger AMD/Intel integrated GPUs. Until then, I think Ryzen laptop chipsets are the best price/performance/efficiency choices.

It rarely works like that

The vast majority of playback software will use the dedicated video playback hardware called Quicksync/VCN/PureVideo for supported formats (H.264, HEVC, VP9 and some older ones) which is the same across the range and will happily handle any bitrate you're likely to encounter as a viewer in those formats.

Almost everything that doesn't will use only the CPU for video playback, and not the general purpose GPU.

Your system should happily play far higher HEVC bitrates than 25Mbps, it's likely the problem if the software or configuration you're using for playback rather than the limits of the hardware.
 

poisonborz

Novice Member
Your system should happily play far higher HEVC bitrates than 25Mbps, it's likely the problem if the software or configuration you're using for playback rather than the limits of the hardware.

I tried quite a few configurations/renderers/players, but that's my result. I started another thread here about this exact topic (with some details on the setup) I'd be very thankful if you could share some recommendations there.
 

neonplanet40

Active Member
I've got a Shield Pro coming so I'll give that a whirl and see how I like it. If it doesn't do what I want, I'll return it.

What player should I use on the shield to watch my 4K Atmos HDR remuxes?
 

neonplanet40

Active Member
I currently have Kodi and Plex installed. I just wondered which one would be best between the 2 on the shield for UHD HDR and Atmos.

Thanks :)
 

THX1138UK

Well-known Member
Hi Folks,

I have a HTPC which i use to play 4k Bluray remuxes etc on kodi/mpc, as well as Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video. All on my 4k projector.

I need a gpu for this. I am not going to be using MadVR or anything to upscale older content. It just needs to output 4k video with HDR to my av receiver and projector. Maybe HEVC support would be good as well.

Can anyone tell me what GPU would suffice? My other HTPC specs for reference are: Ryzen 5 3600, Asus Strix B450, 16GB Ram, Corsair TX550

Thank you for your help. Happy to go with AMD or Nvidia. Also, what prices would these cards (that you recommend) normally go for? I know the market is a mess now. I am happy to buy used.

Anything with an Intel HD Graphics 620 or later integrated graphics card will do the job for anything up to 2160p at 60 Hz. This means Kaby Lake (i5 7200u for example) and better Intel CPUs.

On the AMD front RX Rega integrated graphics found on any AMD Ryzen 3 processor or better are fine for 2160p at 60 Hz.

All of the recent integrated graphics chips have the necessary hardware decoding support for H.264 and H.265.

Regards,
James.
 

sea surfer

Distinguished Member
Anything with an Intel HD Graphics 620 or later integrated graphics card will do the job for anything up to 2160p at 60 Hz. This means Kaby Lake (i5 7200u for example) and better Intel CPUs.

On the AMD front RX Rega integrated graphics found on any AMD Ryzen 3 processor or better are fine for 2160p at 60 Hz.

All of the recent integrated graphics chips have the necessary hardware decoding support for H.264 and H.265.

Regards,
James.

Should an Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770K CPU @ 3.50GHz, 3501 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 8 Logical Processor(s) be up for the job if I plan on using MadVR?
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
Should an Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770K CPU @ 3.50GHz, 3501 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 8 Logical Processor(s) be up for the job if I plan on using MadVR?
You need a decent GPU not a CPU for effective use of MadVR.
 

sea surfer

Distinguished Member

Coulson

Distinguished Member
So, you can't use onboard graphics?
"Maybe" if you use it for renderering only and even then you will have to turn on many of the performance options which can reduce quality even further. Don't even try to use its excellent scaling and other features. I struggled with a mobile 1060 dGPU and that is way better than most iGPUs.
 

sea surfer

Distinguished Member
"Maybe" if you use it for renderering only and even then you will have to turn on many of the performance options which can reduce quality even further. Don't even try to use its excellent scaling and other features. I struggled with a mobile 1060 dGPU and that is way better than most iGPUs.

What silent GPU card should I be looking at, just in case I want to venture into the world of MadVR?
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
What silent GPU card should I be looking at, just in case I want to venture into the world of MadVR?
With the current state of the PC parts market, does it really matter? Anything like a 2070 or above should be fine but I'm not sure about the 3060. As for a "silent" GPU, I had a quick google and for passively cooled GPUs I found this which is less than a 2070 but might do the trick.
 

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