I am trying to avoid having to do an extensive upgrade to an old system that I am converting into a HTPC. The system specs follow:
ECS nForce3-A 250 (Socket 754)
Athlon 64 3400+ (no OC)
1.5 GB DDR 400
ATI Radeon 9250 AGP
+other mandatory parts
My goal is to make this box plays 1080p h264 HD .mkv files, which it can not handle due to the CPU being underpowered. There seems to be no software currently that can decode a 1080p h264 .mkv file with hardware acceleration, which would be a Radeon HD 3650. This is within my budget and not too power hungry. It is HDCP ready for BD and HD-DVD play back.
Problem is that there is no guarantee that I can use the Radeon HD 3650 for hardware acceleration of 1080p h264 HD .mkv files. From two days of reading, it seems that the best bet is MPC-HC + CoreAVC for hardware acceleration of HD .mkv files. But this is not a sure thing.
So, my choices:
1. Buy a Sapphire Radeon HD 3650 AGP for $80 and see if I can get it to work.
2. Upgrade the Mobo + CPU + RAM to software accelerate 1080p h264 HD .mkv files. This would be in the form of M3A78-EM + Athlon 64 X2 6000+.
I want to keep this old system and just add the video card, but I don't see how it will play said .mkv files.
Thanks for your time.