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nofam
11-12-2008, 11:47 AM
Or specifically, which features?

I'm looking at this (http://www.nzoczone.com/product_info.php?products_id=7737) (knowing booger all about graphics cards! :D)

I think passive cooling would be great from a noise point-of-view, and would also like HDMI output (does DVI-to-HDMI cause any quality loss, and does it prevent HDCP?)

Sorry if this is going over old ground, but graphics cards seem to come and go so quickly, I thought it would be good to ask again.

:thumbs:

stormdragon
11-12-2008, 11:53 AM
Can't help you in terms of HTPC.

But if you go with a passively cooled graphics card make sure your case has decent airflow.

Speedy Gonzales
11-12-2008, 11:55 AM
If you use DVI-HDMI it should be the same as HDMI, (since DVI and HDMI pins are identical), but you'll have to use separate sound if you want it.

Since DVI doesnt carry sound

BUT to use HDCP, the card and your monitor (I think) have to support it

I was going to get a Nvidia card, for a similar thing.

BUT in the end, I got an ATI card (NOT that I love ATI :p) with HDMI and 5:1 audio on it.

Previous Nvidia cards / drivers I did have, (esp the drivers), did nothing but crash.

wratterus
11-12-2008, 12:22 PM
Mate has a 4870 with a DVI to HDMI adaptor going to a 40" Sony LCD TV. Sound works great.

WarNox
11-12-2008, 12:26 PM
Hey,

DVI and HDMI are the same quality except HDMI carries sound. Here is the confusing part :D If you get the ATI Radeo 4850 or 4870 they will carry sound through DVI, not sure how but it does it :)

I thought just the monitor needed to be HDCP compatible?

---

As for OC Zone -> They're crap!!! They'll try and sell you some 'pirated' versions of graphic cards, like they did to me. Half the items on their site aren't even in stock. If I was you I'd go to PlayTech, they're cool.

I got the Sapphire 4850 from them, toxic (OC'd) edition and its mint, no problems so far. Monitor always running 1920x1024.

Good luck,



Gregor

Thebananamonkey
11-12-2008, 12:33 PM
Toms Hardware have just released their graphics card comparison. (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-graphics,2086-2.html)

They suggest an ATI 4650 for HTPC's. You can pick one up for $132 at C1, or $150 at Ascent.

Not passively cooled, but hopefully shouldn't be too loud.

pctek
11-12-2008, 01:55 PM
I think passive cooling would be great from a noise point-of-view,
:

Bad idea. Is it one if those piddly cramped space cases? It would fry. AIrflow, cooling, airflow, cooling...........you get the idea,

wratterus
11-12-2008, 02:01 PM
Bad idea. Is it one if those piddly cramped space cases? It would fry. AIrflow, cooling, airflow, cooling...........you get the idea,

Agreed. You don't notice the noise from the fan too much, it's like living with a heat pump. You don't even notice the noise after a few weeks. I have seen many a fanless graphics card cooked.

It's either get a card with a fan, or soup up the case cooling to a point where it more than likely would be louder than the graphics card anyway. :)

nofam
11-12-2008, 02:39 PM
Bad idea. Is it one if those piddly cramped space cases? It would fry. AIrflow, cooling, airflow, cooling...........you get the idea,

Cool - thanks guys. . . just the sort of info I need!! :thumbs:

How about this (http://www.pcworks.co.nz/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=210&products_id=1907) then? Has a good range of outputs, and DDR3, which is good right?

pctek
11-12-2008, 03:17 PM
SHOPS:

Computer Lounge
Ascent
Playtech
Me

BRANDS:
Asus
Gigabyte

kersonan
11-12-2008, 07:32 PM
mines an Amd X2 2gb ram +bluray drive +GF8600GS in an Antec fusion v2 case, connected to a Samsung 42" Plasma TV. Xifi sound, logitech 5.1 speaker system arranged around the couch.

Nice and cheap to build and runs like a dream.

The Antec Fusion does a great job of muffling any fan noise from inside the case and will keep it running at low temps for hours and hours.

the only consideration is that the side vents limit the spaces you can place the case into e.g. tv cabinet. I've not quite been able to distract the other half long enough to get stuck into ours with a skillsaw to improve airflow.

I use a logitech harmony remote, which learns others and allows macro building. One button press starts the media box, turns on the tv, puts tv on correct input.

OS wise I run a very stripped down version of XP pro (disclaimer the machine came with XP Pro, I simply don't need the full install), Used Nlite to remove browsers, email, and all the office and legacy stuff. It boots up nice and fast into Media Portal RC4.

All my DVD's (god bless you JBhifi) are stored as files on the server upstairs, cause i hate getting off the couch to change discs etc, the media box simply sees the movie stash as a mapped drive.

nofam
11-12-2008, 08:46 PM
mines an Amd X2 2gb ram +bluray drive +GF8600GS in an Antec fusion v2 case, connected to a Samsung 42" Plasma TV. Xifi sound, logitech 5.1 speaker system arranged around the couch.

Nice and cheap to build and runs like a dream.

The Antec Fusion does a great job of muffling any fan noise from inside the case and will keep it running at low temps for hours and hours.

the only consideration is that the side vents limit the spaces you can place the case into e.g. tv cabinet. I've not quite been able to distract the other half long enough to get stuck into ours with a skillsaw to improve airflow.

I use a logitech harmony remote, which learns others and allows macro building. One button press starts the media box, turns on the tv, puts tv on correct input.

OS wise I run a very stripped down version of XP pro (disclaimer the machine came with XP Pro, I simply don't need the full install), Used Nlite to remove browsers, email, and all the office and legacy stuff. It boots up nice and fast into Media Portal RC4.

All my DVD's (god bless you JBhifi) are stored as files on the server upstairs, cause i hate getting off the couch to change discs etc, the media box simply sees the movie stash as a mapped drive.

Yup that's pretty much the scenario I'm aiming for. Currently I have:

- Old P4 3.0 running as a server with 80Gb seagate, partitioned for O/S (XP Pro, stripped back to bare essentials) and apps, and a 650Gb seagate for media.

- Currently just watching dvd's etc streamed wirelessly on laptop. Will replace my dodgy old Belkin 54G router with a Linksys WRT310N (has a gigabit switch built in), and also upgrade the NIC in the server box to gigabit.

- Will get a mate to install a UHF antenna for Freeview HD, and will build a HTPC cabled back to the Linksys router. My specs at this stage are:


Case Silverstone LC03 HTPC Silver
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 Processor 2.66Ghz
MoBo Asus P5QL-E Motherboard
HDD Seagate 80Gb or maybe Solid State/CF card-to-IDE etc
TV Card Hauppauge Nova T 500HD
Video Card GIGABYTE R465OC-1GI HD4650 1GB GDDR2
PSU ?????


Does this look ok? I've thought pretty hard about both cards, as they're the back-bone of the system.

- Long-term plan is to get a 46" V-Series Bravia, but that can wait!!

kersonan
11-12-2008, 09:13 PM
I did consider SSD but even with write leveling I just think Windows thrashes the disk so bad due to the way its designed to make SSD value for money at this time.

For my purposes with all the media stored elsewhere, i only need the bare minimum for the OS and HTPC software, and small sata2 drives are cheap as.

I'm not sure of the noise level of that ATI card your speccing, trust me there's nothing more annoying than a loud media box. I've gone for HSF thats quiet, and the case muffles the rest. and to be honest I have a blu-ray drive installed and the GF8600GS (cost 100 bucks) does a great job at playing the discs and anything else i throw at it. its none too impressed if i try and play Assassins creed on it, but i can live with that.

I've also disabled the onboard sound, and used a Xifi (yes theres no windows xp drivers for the card but the laptop PCMCIA xp driver works fine). made quite a difference with the 5.1 speaker set.

I typically remote control this machine (for windows stuff like file copying etc) from my EEEPC using TightVNC but when i need more direct control I'm using a Logitech Dinovo Mini, don't look out of place on the coffee table with the remote and does a good job for any windows tasks i need to do outside the Media Portal GUI.

Chilling_Silence
11-12-2008, 10:55 PM
Oh nofam mate, you hafta give XBMC a whirl!!! :D http://xbmc.org/

kersonan, IIRC the 8600GS uses shared system memory? That's probably why it'd play movies / BluRay fine (Though your CPU can decode on its own without offloading to the GPU) but crumble under Assassins Creed ... Good game that is thou! :)

All this talk about HTPC's has got me wanting a BluRay drive :(

kersonan
12-12-2008, 06:35 AM
Oh nofam mate, you hafta give XBMC a whirl!!! :D http://xbmc.org/

kersonan, IIRC the 8600GS uses shared system memory? That's probably why it'd play movies / BluRay fine (Though your CPU can decode on its own without offloading to the GPU) but crumble under Assassins Creed ... Good game that is thou! :)

All this talk about HTPC's has got me wanting a BluRay drive :(

Yup indeed it does, but thats on top of the 512mb it has itself. its just not suited for gaming, poor lil thing works its ass off, fans screaming, hot card smell filling the room. not good times for mr 8600GS.

nofam
12-12-2008, 09:16 AM
Oh nofam mate, you hafta give XBMC a whirl!!! :D http://xbmc.org/



Yeah, CYaBro suggested that in a previous post.

Got it
Tried it.
Loved it. :D

The only problem I can see is that it doesn't (currently) function as a PVR, so I'd be looking to run XBMC and MythTV on the same box. . . . .Not sure how this would work though??

I hadn't really considered the noise of the card to be honest - it has such good features/price otherwise that I might just live with it - I was looking at passively cooled cards, but pctek suggested it might cook itself, and I'd certainly defer to her knowledge on these things.

Q man
12-12-2008, 09:35 AM
+1 XBMC is great got it on my media centre too.

Maybe they will bring out a mod for PVR and EPG

sroby
12-12-2008, 10:17 AM
Do a bit of searching on google before you buy, some vid card fans are just far too noisey for HTPC(even the OEM Zalman fans).

If you plan on using HDMI (or DVI to HDMI) then make sure that the vid card
you get has a option to pass the digital audio though hdmi. I think this is may be alot easier if using Vista.
This can be a nightmare otherwise(was for me):nice 1080 HDMI :no audio......
Some TV's wont allow you to you use analogue audio with HDMI vid input(or is do-able, just doesnt actually work in my case)
My Asus 8600 has a connector that is probably for audio passthrough to
hdmi, but this connector is totally undocmented, even on their website. Obviously this connector on my card doesnt exist:mad::mad: I expected better
from Asus (I wont even mention how noisey the fan is)

nofam
12-12-2008, 10:37 AM
Do a bit of searching on google before you buy, some vid card fans are just far too noisey for HTPC(even the OEM Zalman fans).

If you plan on using HDMI (or DVI to HDMI) then make sure that the vid card
you get has a option to pass the digital audio though hdmi. I think this is may be alot easier if using Vista.
This can be a nightmare otherwise(was for me):nice 1080 HDMI :no audio......
Some TV's wont allow you to you use analogue audio with HDMI vid input(or is do-able, just doesnt actually work in my case)
My Asus 8600 has a connector that is probably for audio passthrough to
hdmi, but this connector is totally undocmented, even on their website. Obviously this connector on my card doesnt exist:mad::mad: I expected better
from Asus (I wont even mention how noisey the fan is)

So if I have my facts straight, not all graphics cards can pass audio through the HDMI port, but ATI cards can if you disable the onboard sound?? And the Mobo I've chosen has s/pdif onboard (coaxial & optical) as well as an internal header, so I'm hoping I have all the options covered??

kersonan
12-12-2008, 07:50 PM
The choice to move to a passively cooled card means your choice of case and location in the room where you watch your media becomes even more important.

Though there's a lot to be said for the aesthetics of a desktop type form factor a lot of the cheaper ones have very little in the way of cooling. its well worth checking them out in person on display.

Tower type cases will often give better cooling but part of the appeal is building something that doesn't look to be a pc.

regarding the sound, I ran into some problems with the sound via HDMI, in the end I went with a nice set of speakers and a subwoofer. turned out well as the speakers in the TV werent as good as the logitech set i went with. If you have a stereo in the room hook your sound up into that.

Speedy Gonzales
12-12-2008, 08:05 PM
Not all videocards have connectors for SPDIF either, to get HDMI audio.

The 5:1 is onboard the card. So, depending on WHAT card you get, it wouldnt / doesnt matter if it (the mobo hasnt got SPDIF, digital, or not), because it doesnt need it. And cant use it anyway.

Because there's no connector on the videocard to connect anything to (ie: The videocard I'm using). So, all you need is the card the monitor and the cable to get HDMI Audio.

The only thing with this card, is even tho I'm using the HDMI cable and get the sound. The tuner / program I'm using for it cant use it, (it has the option for it, but it does jack) to get HDMI audio.

But if I connect something to the onboard line out, I get sound (from the program, for the tuner)