Which Radeon card for my HTPC ??

cosmic023

Novice Member
Hi All,

I'm into looking for a replacement GFX card to replace my current GF4 MX440 GFX Card.

After looking around i guess anything from the ATI Radeon series 9500 and up is very worthy for use in an HTPC. It seems that the Sapphire Radeon range look good.

My budget is around £100, so i was looking at a Sapphire Radeon 9600, but i'm confused by the different specs. SE, XT, Pro and any others ??

I will be using a Pioneer slot loading DVD Rom drive, and PowerDVD v5 in my HTPC, just need a suitable GFX card.

What do you lot recommend ??

Cheers

Cosmic023
 

sweetmate

Active Member
the 9600s go: 9600 SE < 9600 < 9600 PRO < 9600 XT

But this is in terms of gaming performance. For HTPC they would all perform the same so get the cheapest (and as I recall the standard 9600 has just a heatsink on it, and no fan, thus being silent and ideal for htpc, not sure if the SE is the same)
 

mij

Well-known Member
My Sapphire Radeon 9600SE Edition (128M DDR AGP, TV-OUT, DVI-I, Retail Lite) has no fan, just a big heatsink and is currently £51.70 at komplett.co.uk

mij
 

mij

Well-known Member
Yes it does have a seperate VGA & DVI connector, and a S-Video connector. It does not have the DVI to VGA converter though, you will have to buy this seperately if needed.

mij
 

cosmic023

Novice Member
I know the SE is a cutdown version of the 9600, so is the XT better than the Pro ??

Or does it read SE,XT, Pro ??

Does the DVI to VGA converter get included in the XT & Pro 9600 packages ??
 

Jeff

Distinguished Member
XT is better than the pro.
 

Jeff

Distinguished Member
I'd be a bit care here, the cheaper and lower end the graphics card, the lower the build quality and components used. This DOES translate into PQ differences.
 

tryingtimes

Well-known Member
Do you have any examples of good 9600 cards in terms of build?
Budget companies seem to be Hurcules, Sapphire, Asus and a few others
 

cosmic023

Novice Member
I'd be happy to go with the Sapphire Radeon 9600 XT 256mb GFX card, seem a few on ebay.......

......all i need now is someone to backup this info.

Because i did try a Xpert Vision Radeon 9200 SE in my Gigabyte GA6-IEML mainboard, and it refused to boot !! (I do realise i would only be able to run it @ x4 AGP as this is the fastest spec this board goes.)

Sometime in the future i's like to upgrade to a P4 system, but this system does ok for me at the moment.....i just need a better video card.
 

Jeff

Distinguished Member
The Sapphire 9600 non-pro is pretty good, but I'm sure you would find many of the high end Radeons produce a better , cleaner picture, but they are a) more expensive, b) produce more heat, c)usually have fans so noisy. It's the SE's that worry me, they will be cutting a lot of corners to keeping costs down.
 

cosmic023

Novice Member
I would prefer a non fan model, with a heatsink of some sort ??

Jeff:

I know what you mean about the SE versions, that's why i'm looking at the XT or Pro versions. I want the most performance vs money i can buy.

My HTPC is almost silent, well the PSU & CPU cooler are.....it's just the WD spindle noise that is all i can hear. I don't think they'd be suitable to fit into a QuietPC HD sleeve ?? As they so run quite hot.
 

Jeff

Distinguished Member
The Sapphire 9600 XT Ultimate looks very nice.
 

Zor

Standard Member
Sapphire 9600 XT has issues. Check out their forum.

Also has a fan.

Just got a Asus 9600xt myself for non HCPC duties. Bit noisy. Using smart doctor to wind down fan speed helps. Got a Arctic VGA cooler Rev 2 but does't fit straight out of the box. Still looking for solution....great cooler though.
 

Jeff

Distinguished Member
The 9600 XT Ultimate card I mentioned doesn't have a fan (thats why I mentioned it)

Re issues, Its very hard to tell from forums, Sapphires are very popular and forums are there to report issues rather than 3DMmark scores. At least Sapphire provide a forum.
 

mij

Well-known Member
I checked a few forums before buying my Sapphire 9600SE to find out about conflicts, and found many saying that it won’t boot with The Abit KT7A M/B, which is what I have, I decided to try it anyway and had no problems whatsoever.

Don’t believe everything you read.

mij
 

cosmic023

Novice Member
Would my Gigabyte GA6-IEML mainboard, have problems with the Radeon 9600XT 256MB GFX card ??

I know i'd only be able to run it at x4 AGP, rather that the x8 AGP is was designed for........otherwise i'd have to look into upgrading my mainboard ??
 
M

midlandswarrior

Guest
it all depends on what you use the HTPC for, if it is no games at all then a redeon 9200 will do fine

if you want to play games then that another matter ....
 

Jeff

Distinguished Member
The 9200's are old technology, Mpeg decoding isn't as good.
 

probedb

Banned
Originally posted by Jeff
The Sapphire 9600 non-pro is pretty good, but I'm sure you would find many of the high end Radeons produce a better , cleaner picture, but they are a) more expensive, b) produce more heat, c)usually have fans so noisy. It's the SE's that worry me, they will be cutting a lot of corners to keeping costs down.
I've never heard anything about build quality going down just because there's less features/clock speed on a card, in fact no-one has ever mentioned it over at AVS Forums when recommending cards ??

You don't need a Radeon 9800 XT to get the best picture quality, just gaming performance.
 

cosmic023

Novice Member
That's the other reason why i'm going for the 9600 series Radeon.

The 9200SE Radeon i tried isn't really much better than the Winfast A170 (GF4 MX440).

I'd love a Radeon 9800 series GFX card, but a small budget restricts this. That's why i'm going for a 9600 card, is the best technology for the money.
 

Jeff

Distinguished Member
Originally posted by pinkprobegt

You don't need a Radeon 9800 XT to get the best picture quality, just gaming performance.
No if you want best picture quality you would go for one of the pro cards like the X1, but you wouldn't because of cost, heat and noise.
 

probedb

Banned
Originally posted by Jeff
No if you want best picture quality you would go for one of the pro cards like the X1, but you wouldn't because of cost, heat and noise.
Very true.

I just meant that, the chipsets etc will be the same for all Radeon 9600s, the memory and clock speeds are different in each spec of card, or there might be no DVI out etc which is where the costs drop off. That's why you could turn a 9700 into a 9700 pro by soldering a couple of pins (or whatever it was), same board but bits missing.

Who am I to talk anyways I still have an 8500 :)
 

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