What Video / Sound Card to get???

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Shawn Keeler, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. Shawn Keeler

    Shawn Keeler Stunt Coordinator

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    i am in the process of building a HTPC and was wondering what Video Card to get. My projector doesn't have a DVI input so I am limited to VGA output. Radeon 9800XT maybe? Also curious on what sound card to get. I would like a digital coaxial or Toslink output to my pre/pro. Any ideas??? Let me what I need or don't need for my HTPC!!!
     
  2. DeepakJR

    DeepakJR Second Unit

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    Any of the current gaming cards would be overkill if you are only using the HTPC for watching DVD's. A Radeon 7000 which can be had for around $30-40 is a great DVD decoder. Check to see if your motherboard has already SPDIF out, most modern motherboards have it built in. Dont spend more than you have to.

    L8rz,
    Deepak Jr.
     
  3. PhillJones

    PhillJones Second Unit

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    Is the 7000 series capable of custom resolutions via something like powerstrip? It seems to me that you need this, especially if you have a fixed pixel display as you can match the resolution to the native resolution of the TV.

    I'm also looking to build an HTPC and am looking into the same issues.
     
  4. Shawn Keeler

    Shawn Keeler Stunt Coordinator

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    Phill,
    Looks like we are in the same boat!!! There are so many cards out there, how do you decided?? Does anyone know if the AIW Radeon 9600 Pro come with a component or vga breakout on it? This is the card I am considering.

    New question for everyone. My HTPC will be 99.9% used for DVD Playback with occasional TV viewing, thus needing the tuner capabilities. Which card for the money would you buy??????

    Thanks,
    Shawn
     
  5. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Supporting Actor

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    id go with the 9600 aiw or 9800 aiw myself.
     
  6. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

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    No it doesn't, it comes with a breakout box for inputs. Depending on your budget, an 8500, 9500, 9600(AIW) would be great performing cards for DVD playback, TV watching, etc. The VGA-Componant adapter would have to be bought separately from Ati. It's $44 shipped and can only be ordered from them. It doesn't work on all cards so make sure you get a compatable card. I personally have the 8500 with the componant adapter and it is ten times better than an s-video out. For sound, the M-Audio Revolution has a coaxial out and has excellent sound quality.
     
  7. BrianShort

    BrianShort Supporting Actor

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    I had a related video card question, though rather than start a completely new thread, I'll just piggy back it here, if that's alright.

    I'm looking at new video cards. I currently have a 32 meg GeForce2 GTS, which obviously wont cut it for the newest games (although I must say I was surprised at how well the UT2004 demo runs)... I'm looking at at least the Radeon 9600 Pro, but I'm wondering how much of a performance boost I would see gaming wise if I went with a 9700 Pro or 9800 Pro instead (about $50 and $70 more respectively)...
     
  8. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    If he was not going to use it for gaming, does he really need a 9600 or 9800 aiw? Wouldnt a 7000AIW do fine?

    Im just askni coz im thinkin of building a HTPC as well...
     
  9. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

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    There will be a very noticeable improvement from the 9600Pro to the 9700Pro. I recently upgraded from the 9700Pro to the 9800Pro and I've seen barely any real world performance gains, only benchmarks. Just as a note, if it had actually cost me to upgrade, I wouldn't have done it. Personally, I would spend the extra $70 and get to the 9800Pro, since it's only $20 more than the 9700Pro. It's performance advantage may not show up with all the current games over the 9700, but it might show itself in the future. It's certainly with the extra $20, since they are priced so close now. A couple of months ago, I woulda said get the 9700Pro, but we know how quick technology can move and prices drop.
     
  10. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

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    The slower older card might lack some larger resolution support that the newer faster cards have. I had a 9000PRo AIW and it was definately struggling a little sometimes compared to the older but faster 8500 I replaced it with just running wimamp visualizations during music playback. I did this because the 9000 doesn't support the VGA to component dongle and the picture is soooo much better with component than s-video.
     
  11. DaveB

    DaveB Stunt Coordinator

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    BrianShort,

    I upgraded last summer from an Elsa GF2 GTS 32MB to a Radeon 9700 Pro AIW and was blown away by the leap in IQ + performance! I run the UT2004 demo with all settings max'd at 1280x1024x32 with 4x FSAA and 16x AF! Absolutely awesome.

    I obviously totally reccommend the upgrade. At this point in time I would go for the 9800pro. It has 2nd generation iterations of many of the features introduced on the 9700 and will be worth the extra $20.

    David
     
  12. DaveB

    DaveB Stunt Coordinator

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    Shawn Keeler,

    The 9600 AIW is an excellent choice for your current needs and has some nice features, such as dual monitor support, that may influence your decision. I personally prefer a product with more features over one with less so as not to limit myself when future needs/wants arise.

    David
     
  13. PhillJones

    PhillJones Second Unit

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    I've been thinking that the AIW cards aren't worth the extra, rather it would be better to get a video capture card as you can then replace either componant as need be.

    I want to watch TV through the PC ideally but have digital cable and will be upgrading to HD digital cable. The problem is that there is no way to capture HD from an external box. Mostly because the PCI bus doen't have the bandwidth. I'd settle for being able to capture at a lower resolution but most options involve using S-video. I know that the PDI card has composite inputs which would be great for capturing or scaling SD content but then you loose the higher resolution when you want to watch HD. I think maybe the Holo3dGraph with the HD daugthercard might do the trick but that's extrememly expensive.

    I think I need to wait till I get the HD cable box and see what I can do with it. Maybe it has DVI and comonant and I can connect DVI to my TV and componant to the computer.

    Too confusing all this is.

    Phill
     
  14. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    For HTPC use your goals should be noise reduction and performance to meet the demands you will ask of it. Since games are not important to you there's no need to look any higher then the middle of the road cards and IMO I'd rather get seperate cards then the AIW's. So with that in mind I'd say get either the 9200 or the 9600 non pro models since they're fan less and yet offer quality DVD playback. The 9600 should easily do most current games as well should you ever feel the need. Note that when I say non pro I don't mean the SE cards which are even lower end.
     
  15. Chris White

    Chris White Second Unit

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    Is the 7000 series capable of custom resolutions via something like powerstrip?

    Yes, it is. I have a Radeon LE (a version of the 7500).

    Unless your projector has RGB input, one advantage of a 9000 series is that you can buy the cheaper ATI dongle instead of a transcoder.

    There will be a very noticeable improvement from the 9600Pro to the 9700Pro.

    I assume you're talking about speed/gaming performance. I'd be really surprised if there were a visable difference in the dvd picture quality.

    IMO, the best "bang for the buck" video card today (assuming you don't care about gaming) is the Sapphire 9600 Pro. It has the PRO speed without the noise (no fan) and produces an outstanding picture.
     
  16. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    My Radeon 7000 card worked just fine with Powerstrip. I was able to run 1920x1080i, too. I ended up liking 960x540p better, though. It just looked smoother on my Elite 510.

    Then, I decided the whole thing was too much bother, and bought a Panasonic RP-91.[​IMG] I'm reconsidering now, but we'll see how the WM9 scene unfolds.

    Todd
     
  17. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Todd did you see that WM9 is now part of the HD-DVD specs? That might change but its in for now (see AVS for the latest info as there's a thread there about it)
     
  18. Chris White

    Chris White Second Unit

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    It's funny you should say that Todd. I recently posted at AVS that the pq of my htpc was no better than, and maybe not as good as my RP91. I speculated that I might need better hardware thinking that upgrading my LE to the 9600 or my AA transcoder to a Key Digital (or dongle) would be the key. Virtually no one replied to my speculation about the hardware. All I got was a barrage of posts telling me that all I needed to do was switch resolution (from 1440*480p to 1920*1080). I did. It didn't make any difference.
     

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