Will Graphics Card upgrade help me avoid a complete PC upgrade?

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by BB2008, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. BB2008

    BB2008
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    Hi Folks:

    Recently I purchased a 1080p 42" HDTV, and hooked up my aging HTPC to it. This is a 6 year old amd athlon 2200+ build, with a NVIDIA EVGA 6200 AGP card in it, which was more than perfect for my previous setup. But now with the new TV, I want to watch some x264 encoded media, but the playback is full of stutters, lagging video and all kinds of troubles. I have 1 GIG of RAM on this system. I do notice that when I play HD encoded media on the HTPC, the CPU is maxed out at a 100%.

    So my question to you folks is - will a graphics card upgrade help in my situation? I am looking at this card - Newegg.com - ASUS AH3650 SILENT/HTDI/512M Radeon HD 3650 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 AGP 4X/8X HDCP Ready Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards. Will I be able to play x264 encoded media, and put a Bluray dive on this PC and watch Bluray movies as well? I do have a PCI SATA card in this box, so hook up is not a problem.

    Your advice is very appreciated.

    Thanks for looking!
     
  2. Delvey

    Delvey
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    It would certainly improve playback alot, but you can never guarantee it will improve playback to 100% stutter free. I would try and get an extra gig of ram in there, tho it is expensive now for DDR memory. That card will certainly take alot of strain off the cpu, which seems to be doing all the video encoding.
     
  3. Knyght_byte

    Knyght_byte
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    If the CPU is maxing at 100% then I'd also consider upgrading the CPU, I'm assuming your slot can take a faster chip, look around second hand places and forums and see if you can pick one up for a score or thereabouts. Get the fastest your slot can handle. And yes, upping the GPU wont hurt certainly, I wouldnt spend a fortune though. Most basic cards in the last 2 years ranges can handle HD video, its as much CPU involvement as it is GPU involvement.
     
  4. BB2008

    BB2008
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    Thanks for the reply. I forgot to add in my original post that memory is not th bottle neck in this system, it shows about half or more memory available while playing back the x264 content. Its only the CPU that it max'ed out. And that is what worries me - I do not know how the graphics processing is split between CPU and GPU. Does the CPU do only spill over processing that the GPU is not ablt to handle, or is there a clear line between which processor processes what? If former is the case, then a newer, faster, stronger card will help. But if latter, then I guess not...

    Some more information on the build though - it is a windows 2000 system. Will switching to ubuntu help?
     
  5. zamall.miah

    zamall.miah
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    Definite cpu upgrade! A bog standard Core2duo combined with that card should ease all your playback worries. Also have you checked all your codecs? Coreavc codec is a must!
     
  6. Knyght_byte

    Knyght_byte
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    um, I think the guy wants to avoid a whole new computer which is what your suggestion means.

    Depending on his mobo he should be able to fit a better processor and GPU which will happily handle HD quality.
     
  7. BB2008

    BB2008
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    Thanks Knyght_byte, u are right, that is exactly what I want - upgrade my existing rig and avoid a new build.

    So it looks like I need to upgrade both CPU and GPU, right. Upgrading just CPU or GPU alone will not be enough, right? In that case, here's the deal - my Motherboard is a KM266 chipset board. It supports a amd Socket 462, or Socket A cpu. Current cpu is a amd athlon 2200+. Wil a upgrade to a amd athlon 2700+, coupled with a GPU upgrade to ATI Radeon HD 3650 be sufficient for my purposes?

    Thanx again to all of you folks for looking!
     
  8. zamall.miah

    zamall.miah
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    oops, yes of course. I'd go for graphics card upgrade first and see how that works out. GPU should be make or break, the processing power difference between xp2200 and xp2700 won't be much when it comes to HD decoding:)
     
  9. whysoserious

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    i'm in a similar situation and close to ordering a Ati HD4550/HD4350 which i've been told offloads some of the processing from the cpu to the gpu on some codec's plus has the added benefit of a native hdmi port to send both my video and sound from the pc to my panny.
     
  10. Delvey

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    try the gpu 1st, as you may be surprised
     
  11. MGRayd

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    Upgrading your GPU will not give significant playback performance because it will be bottlenecked by your CPU.

    Your CPU is not good enough for a Blu-Ray player and upgrading CPU and GPU will still give poor performance on your system and although were talking cheap upgrades in terms of aged hardware its really not worth the effort.

    Your best bet is a full system upgrade, not what you want to hear but tbh any upgrades you make on this system are going to be in vain.
     
  12. Razor

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    Stop skinning a turd and upgrade your whole system, there is no way a 6 year old rig will play back modern day HD media.
     
  13. hossacd

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    I would replace the cpu/gpu/motherboard, you can pick up a motherboard with built in graphics card and a new CPU and two gigs of ram for around £135 which will playback any HD media.

    I run a bedroom HTPC with a 8200 chipset motherboard which had onboard graphics & 4850e AMD CPU and it plays backup everything including blu-ray/hd-dvd and can output hd audio via LPCM out of it HDMI port it cost me £135 for the memory/cpu/motherboard about 6 months ago unsure if the price may have increased due to the current poor value of the pound.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  14. Theydon Bois

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    Eloquent as always Razor but right as well.

    To the OP - You will spend money on something that will just perform poorly - grab a cheap board and a core2duo chip and cheap GPU, or a slightly more expensive 780G based solution with a 5050e CPU that does not require a GPU to playback HiDef material.

    Check the HTPC forum - there are tons of people building on a budget, but nearly all of them are centered around the 780G chipset and a xxxxe AMD CPU.
     
  15. BB2008

    BB2008
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    Thanks all for your replies. After doing some calculations and thinking this through, I too decided upon the same thing - spend about $250 and build a new rig. Better that way and future proof for at least a couple of years.

    Thanks again!
     
  16. Razor

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    Good choice :smashin:
     

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