Video Card Choice?

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Joined: 2 Mar 2007
Video Card Choice?

Hi everyone, hoping for a quick and dirty answer since I'm very confused. Some places say high-end $400+ video cards for HTPC and other places mention integrated as the way to go.

All I need the HTPC to do is play ripped DVD's (no blu-ray or HD DVD needed yet) to the TV from the hdd. My current setup is just a basic tube tv that has s-video and component inputs but I'll be upgrading to a 1080p set in the near future so it needs to have outputs suitable for that as well.

I'm not too familiar with scaling requirements and options but I'd like the HTPC to be able to do this without problem as well.

I have ZERO preference - I just want it to WORK without problems. If you could throw some suggestions to me for a video card that lets me do good DVD playback and scaling and deinterlacing, that would be very, very, very appreciated. Very little gaming intended - I'll build a new rig for that later.

- Jason

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Joined: 6 Aug 2006

http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1071342

Have a gander at that.. A lot of the newer generation video cards are HDCP enabled, which will allow you to play Blu-ray or HD DVD when you go that route..

Do you plan on gaming? Both ATI and Nvidia offer good options for DVD playback. They score about the same for DVD playback

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Joined: 2 Mar 2007

Gaming will be a seperate rig down the line more than likely - I'll check out the hard forum tonight (leaving work now). Thanks for the response though (one of very, very few i've gotten on many forums I assure you!)

My biggest question is how much "stuff" does the video card do with regards to taking the DVD from the disc, putting it to the HD, matching resolutions with the TV then playing that in the highest quality to the tv (whether that be 480i or upscaled, etc..)

Like I was looking at the x1650 compared with the x1950 (for example). I have no clue what is required or where the GPU-intensive processing comes from. Is it simple playback that eats the cycles, the encoding or the upscaling/deinterlacing? Would the x1650 run everything I need studder-free or would it be a little sluggish?

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Joined: 30 Sep 2006

TannerJ wrote:

Gaming will be a seperate rig down the line more than likely - I'll check out the hard forum tonight (leaving work now). Thanks for the response though (one of very, very few i've gotten on many forums I assure you!)

My biggest question is how much "stuff" does the video card do with regards to taking the DVD from the disc, putting it to the HD, matching resolutions with the TV then playing that in the highest quality to the tv (whether that be 480i or upscaled, etc..)

Like I was looking at the x1650 compared with the x1950 (for example). I have no clue what is required or where the GPU-intensive processing comes from. Is it simple playback that eats the cycles, the encoding or the upscaling/deinterlacing? Would the x1650 run everything I need studder-free or would it be a little sluggish?

For standard definition either card has more then enough power. However I would caution you against ATI currently, their acceleration of the next generation codecs used in HD DVD and Blu-ray is worse then NVIDIA's.

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Joined: 1 Oct 2006

another question you should consider is what software will you be running? If Vista MCE, there should be a list somewhere around about MCE compatible cards. but no way you need more than a $200 card unless you do plan to game or need some obscene scaling/decoding.

Mike Garcen (shadymg) MissingRemote Editor-in-Chief Windows Entertainment and Connected Home MVP (formerly Media Center MVP) Twitter @mikegarcen MissingRemote on Facebook

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Joined: 27 Dec 2006

Well, you could go with an integrated board now and then add on a graphics card when you decide you need more GPU power. You'll spend a couple extra dollars on the board now and probably save yourself a couple hundred on the graphics card (or get that much more performance) when you're ready to go HD-disc.

My Home Theater, XLobbyMC
To Do: Finish Re-ripping my music collection - While Playing FF XIV

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Joined: 30 Sep 2006

Naylia wrote:

Well, you could go with an integrated board now and then add on a graphics card when you decide you need more GPU power. You'll spend a couple extra dollars on the board now and probably save yourself a couple hundred on the graphics card (or get that much more performance) when you're ready to go HD-disc.

There ya go! something like a GeForce 6150 motherboard could be a great transition, pretty decent for now, and when things make sense to move into the next generatio optical disc platforms (Blu-ray and HD DVD) then you can drop in a more appropriate card with H.264 and VC-1 acceleration and HDCP support, etc.

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Joined: 3 Mar 2007

Basically, any ATI or Nvidia video card (or third party based on their chips) should play back DVD fine.  You don't need an expensive video card for DVD playback.  Something in $100 to $200 dollar range is fine.  
if you go with integrated video try to stay away from the Intel video.  The video output options may be fewer with the integrated video as well (no S-Video out).

I currently have an aging ATI 9600 (AIW) AGP (I believe that relates to x1050 now).  Any issues I have with playback are due to HDD fragmentation, background programs (anti-virus or spyware) , or poor quality DVD source (dirty or scratched).

FYI- when dealing with large video files it helps to format the data drive or partition using a 64K block (cluster) size

 

Unencumbered by the thought process!

 

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