Best HTPC Video Card - No Gaming - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 10-15-2010, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Wondering what the best video card is right now (or coming up shortly) for an HTPC without an gaming. I don't want something really noisy either, but a quiet fan is ok.

Really just use the HTPC for recording OTA HD (4 tuners), Streaming Video (hulu, boxee, others) and DVD/Blu-ray. Also some video conversion/ripping.

Right now I have a Diamond fanless Radeon HR 5450 512mb DDR2. I'm in the process of rebuilding some things in it, so I thought it would be a good time to get a video card, if it even makes sense to change anything. I don't plan on doing 3D.

Would I notice a difference or would it be worthwhile in any way to get something different?

I need something that only takes one slot.

Things I am considering:
Radeon 5570
Radeon 5670
Nvidia GT430
I have a Silverstone 400w power supply in my HTPC? Any issue with these with that type of power supply? Seems like the 5570 or GT430 would use less power, but not sure if any of them would really be an issue.

Any suggestions? Anyone upgrade from a 5450 to something like this and notice anything different? What about the 29/59 bug, is that any better with these cards?
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post #2 of 28 Old 10-15-2010, 08:10 AM
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Is there a problem with your 5450?
If its working fine then I don't think you need to replace it, unless you are not happy with its post-processing capabilities.
If are set on upgrading then I would lean towards the 5670 rather than the 5570.
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post #3 of 28 Old 10-15-2010, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Really..the only thing I notice is a hiccup once in a while.. I think this is due to the 29/59hz bug... Otherwise there isn't anything I notice.. Although wondering if a better/faster card would help lower CPU utilization or maybe something else? clearer video?

I don't think showanalyzer does anything with the video card..
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post #4 of 28 Old 10-15-2010, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone? Wanted to order something if it's worthwhile today.. so I can get it next week.

If there is no point, with what I'm doing.. I'll just stick with the 5450...
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post #5 of 28 Old 10-15-2010, 12:41 PM
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I would just stick with what you have if it's working and not giving you any trouble.
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post #6 of 28 Old 10-15-2010, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks!
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post #7 of 28 Old 10-15-2010, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mogulman1 View Post

Anyone? Wanted to order something if it's worthwhile today.. so I can get it next week.

If there is no point, with what I'm doing.. I'll just stick with the 5450...


Given "no gaming" get an Nvidia 240. I own both a 240 and a Radeon 5450, so I'm confident on that. Search newegg for "nvidia 240" and sort by lowest price. While my 240 is mildly noisy during bootup, it otherwise always runs quiet enough even with an occasional game.

I've both a Radeon 5450 and 5770 (3/4 new PC's I'm slowly building); don't plan to ditch the 5770 just yet, but the Nvidia 240 is an OK upgrade over the 5450 and only cost me $43 (3 week $27 rebate from Gigabyte).

If not that or you need/want DX 11, consider an Nvidia fermi 460 card (search "nvidia 460") for roughly $120. They've been around long enough to be sorted out, whereas the still newer fermi cards (e.g. slightly less expensive 450) may (?) still be too new and have issue(s).

FWIW, I'm neither a Radeon nor an Nvidia fan, but my recent experience is that software support (Windows and especially Linux) is generally better with Nvidia cards. Don't want to start a war, but shields up!!


Cheers

The best is the enemy of the good. Voltaire (1694-1778)

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post #8 of 28 Old 10-16-2010, 01:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OtherSongs View Post

Given "no gaming" get an Nvidia 240. I own both a 240 and a Radeon 5450, so I'm confident on that. Search newegg for "nvidia 240" and sort by lowest price. While my 240 is mildly noisy during bootup, it otherwise always runs quiet enough even with an occasional game.

I've both a Radeon 5450 and 5770 (3/4 new PC's I'm slowly building); don't plan to ditch the 5770 just yet, but the Nvidia 240 is an OK upgrade over the 5450 and only cost me $43 (3 week $27 rebate from Gigabyte).

If not that or you need/want DX 11, consider an Nvidia fermi 460 card (search "nvidia 460") for roughly $120. They've been around long enough to be sorted out, whereas the still newer fermi cards (e.g. slightly less expensive 450) may (?) still be too new and have issue(s).

FWIW, I'm neither a Radeon nor an Nvidia fan, but my recent experience is that software support (Windows and especially Linux) is generally better with Nvidia cards. Don't want to start a war, but shields up!!


Cheers

If one needs to bistream HD Audio the 240 doesn't cut the mustard. I am not pro one or the other and will be switching from a 5450 to a GT430 but I am trying to do 3d, other wise I just don't understand the value of a change. My 5450 works great an it cost $39 before a $10 rebate. I tired PowerDVD and 3d with it, but even on an i3 it just doesn't run smoothly so I need hardware 3d BD decode. Even now people with TMT3 still can't bitstream HD codecs with any of the Nvidia cards, sure it will get fixed but again unless you have some real specific reason to make the switch I would suggest you stay with what works.

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post #9 of 28 Old 10-16-2010, 11:40 AM
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The GT240 and above does video acceleration for H.264 MVC (used in 3D) but no audio bitstream.
The 5670 (my suggestion among ATI) does bitstream but doesn't decoded H.264 MVC!

If you want both, wait for the 6000 series lower end cards. Otherwise pick between the two. However the 5670 has a single slot passive cooler option. The GT 240 doesn't.
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post #10 of 28 Old 10-16-2010, 10:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah.. I wouldn't consider a GT240. I want the Bitstreaming support.

So.. I tried an XFX 1GB DDR5 Radeon 5670 today. Got some artifacts and video driver shutdown. When just browsing the web and using Zinc TV.

I'm thinking it either needs more power then my 400w Silverstone PS can supply, flaky card or maybe heat.....But my case is pretty well ventilated. Also, I wasn't doing anything that requires a lot of power....

hmmmm...


Anyway.. going to return that tomorrow

Maybe I'll try a 5570....

I do have 8GB ram in my HTPC, just because I had the extra ram sitting around and had 2 more slots. (I had 4 before). Anyone know if the RAM uses a lot of extra power. I was thinking maybe taking some ram out might make things run cooler or use less power, but if it won't make much difference I'll just leave it in.

My current setup btw:

Silverstone HTPC Case and 400W PSU
Intel DG43GT Motherboard
2 x Hauppauge 2250 Dual Tuner Cards (4 tuners total)
Intel E8400 3.0GHz CPU
8GB DDR2 PC6400 RAM
120gb OCZ Vertex 2 SSD
2TB WD EARS HD
Diamond Radeon 5450 512MB DDR2

I'm thinking of trying the MSI 5570 1GB DDR3. I'm kind of limited in space because of the 2 Hauppauge dual tuner cards. So I can't use a video card that takes up more than 1 slot.

I really didn't think the 5670 would overdraw my power supply. Anyway.. Hopefully the 5570 will be better, otherwise I'll stick with the 5450.
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post #11 of 28 Old 10-22-2010, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
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I bought the MSI 5570 from Mwave for $69. Seems to be working well so far. No crashes or anything. Seems a little snappier then the 5450. Otherwise I can't tell anything so far. I'll have to see if I notice the 29/59 bug....
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post #12 of 28 Old 10-22-2010, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mogulman1 View Post

Yeah.. I wouldn't consider a GT240. I want the Bitstreaming support.

So.. I tried an XFX 1GB DDR5 Radeon 5670 today. Got some artifacts and video driver shutdown. When just browsing the web and using Zinc TV.

I'm thinking it either needs more power then my 400w Silverstone PS can supply, flaky card or maybe heat.....But my case is pretty well ventilated. Also, I wasn't doing anything that requires a lot of power....

hmmmm...


Anyway.. going to return that tomorrow

Maybe I'll try a 5570....

I do have 8GB ram in my HTPC, just because I had the extra ram sitting around and had 2 more slots. (I had 4 before). Anyone know if the RAM uses a lot of extra power. I was thinking maybe taking some ram out might make things run cooler or use less power, but if it won't make much difference I'll just leave it in.

My current setup btw:

Silverstone HTPC Case and 400W PSU
Intel DG43GT Motherboard
2 x Hauppauge 2250 Dual Tuner Cards (4 tuners total)
Intel E8400 3.0GHz CPU
8GB DDR2 PC6400 RAM
120gb OCZ Vertex 2 SSD
2TB WD EARS HD
Diamond Radeon 5450 512MB DDR2

I'm thinking of trying the MSI 5570 1GB DDR3. I'm kind of limited in space because of the 2 Hauppauge dual tuner cards. So I can't use a video card that takes up more than 1 slot.

I really didn't think the 5670 would overdraw my power supply. Anyway.. Hopefully the 5570 will be better, otherwise I'll stick with the 5450.

Is the 5450 lacking for you? Is there a reason to upgrade? Just got the itch? I am very happy with my 5450.
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post #13 of 28 Old 10-22-2010, 08:20 PM
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Happy with my 5670 512mb.

Anyone else generally hate ATI's catalyst software? Seems like it just never is as simple and bullet proof as Nvida's. Nvida just works. May not perform as powerful for $, but it works...going back to the geforce2gts... if only we could get the best of both worlds I wish. Great software, with good hardware. ok. I'm finished.
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post #14 of 28 Old 10-23-2010, 05:23 AM
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The HD 5550 is one step up from the HD 5450, the question is, are the htpc related improvements worth it to you:

Quote:


OP this article compares your typical HTPC video cards and how they would work with videos and power consumption: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/vid...ics-cards.html

Note the great results for the HD5550, then check the prices on the passive units at Newegg.com.

1GB DDR2 version: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814161341

512mb DDR5 version: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814161343

Note that the card is bottlenecked by default, so 1TB of (slower) memory would mean nearly nothing with that card, whereas the DDR5 card has more memory bandwidth and faster memory chips, which "may" come in handy with certain use. <--- someone please correct me if i'm missing something with these statements.

^^^^ That's a quote from this related thread: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1276897

And the comments were based upon this HTPC video card review: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/vid...ics-cards.html
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post #15 of 28 Old 10-23-2010, 07:47 AM
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According to Anandtech 5570 still is the best HTPC card, perfect balance between power and efficiency, the only reason to go with Geforce 430 is HDMI 1.4a, but if you already have a 5450 you might just hold on to that untill AMDs 63xx comes out next year.


http://www.anandtech.com/show/3973/n...orce-gt-430/18
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post #16 of 28 Old 10-23-2010, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zicoz View Post

According to Anandtech 5570 still is the best HTPC card, perfect balance between power and efficiency, the only reason to go with Geforce 430 is HDMI 1.4a, but if you already have a 5450 you might just hold on to that untill AMDs 63xx comes out next year.


http://www.anandtech.com/show/3973/n...orce-gt-430/18

I still dont understand what the 5450 can't do. I guess people say post processinmg but with HD does anyone really use that stuff. I use my 5450 for 1080i and the VA works great.
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post #17 of 28 Old 10-23-2010, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Tommyboy10 View Post

Happy with my 5670 512mb.

Anyone else generally hate ATI's catalyst software? Seems like it just never is as simple and bullet proof as Nvida's. Nvida just works. May not perform as powerful for $, but it works...going back to the geforce2gts... if only we could get the best of both worlds I wish. Great software, with good hardware. ok. I'm finished.

I made up my mind in 2000 that I would never touch another ATI card again. It made me a little sick when I had to get one a few years back for my HTPC in order to do what I wanted.
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post #18 of 28 Old 10-23-2010, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by brettvdi View Post

I made up my mind in 2000 that I would never touch another ATI card again. It made me a little sick when I had to get one a few years back for my HTPC in order to do what I wanted.

With the fast pace of change in the video card market a decision like that makes no sense. I hate ATI as much as anyone but every 6 months is a different landscape in the video card scenery. I've bought 2 ATI cards since 2000 and both were either dead within a month or DOA, the most recent was last year with a DOA card.

The above is anecdotal evidence in the grand scheme of things but I certainly seemed to have bad luck with AMD. I'll try again in another year or 3 when the AMD cards appear to be the better buy. Still haven't tried my "luck" with an AMD CPU.
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post #19 of 28 Old 10-23-2010, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubster View Post

With the fast pace of change in the video card market a decision like that makes no sense. I hate ATI as much as anyone but every 6 months is a different landscape in the video card scenery. I've bought 2 ATI cards since 2000 and both were either dead within a month or DOA, the most recent was last year with a DOA card.

The above is anecdotal evidence in the grand scheme of things but I certainly seemed to have bad luck with AMD. I'll try again in another year or 3 when the AMD cards appear to be the better buy. Still haven't tried my "luck" with an AMD CPU.

It makes perfect sense to me - I left ATI because I didn't like it and switched to Nvidia and was much happier. I had no reason to switch back until recently. Same is true with Asus for me. I haven't touched a mobo made by them in years because I was sick of RMAs and I've had no reason to reconsider. I would definitely reconsider should it stand in the way of a project. I'm not quite that stubborn

If it makes any difference, I still can't stand the ATI software (I didn't have an issue with the hardware) and am waiting to go back to Nvidia. I've never built a box with an intel cpu aside from a server and my lucks been great but if you don't have a reason to try AMD, why would you?
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post #20 of 28 Old 10-23-2010, 12:46 PM
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Another vote for the fanless 5450.

I have one and it does everything that I ask it to.

And it was cheap.

Perfect.
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post #21 of 28 Old 10-23-2010, 10:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok... Well. I officially can't tell the difference between the 5450 and the 5570.


I ended up selling my 5450 because the 5570 is a more powerful card, but if I had to do it again I would have just kept the 5450.

Issues I had with the 5450 that I was hoping would be better with the 5570:
- 29/59 bug. Same on both cards
- loud buzzing sound when turning on my Onkyo Receiver and sharp aquos tv. Same on both.

Picture quality looks the same on both

The only the that I've notice is my windows score went up, otherwise nothing else. Ahhh well. It was an interesting experiment anyway.
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post #22 of 28 Old 10-24-2010, 12:24 AM
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I am back to my HD5450 fanless card. The GT430 is sitting in the box. It and its drivers are not ready for primetime. The GT430 is not fanless, and it makes a surpising amount of noise. I would need to recalibrate my color and possible grayscale just for it. That won't work as my HTPC is not yet anything but a project. Getting one to actually match up to the best CE devices is a goal but no matter what I try that goal seems as elusive as ever. In any case until I get my hands on cable card tuner, the HTPC is just an ongoing experiment. When I want the best video and painless operation I use my BD Player and the Tivo HD as sources.

I will try the GT430 again later with another driver and see if there is some way to slow the fan down. But for right now the HD5450 is the better solution. For the $29.99 it was after rebate it really is a winner. I hate the ATI driver ware as much as anybody. Once I tried the GT430 in the PC I broke HD audo bitstreaming, even a fresh operating system load on a new SSD hasn't made it work. PCs are a pain in the but. Any $70 Blu-Ray player can bitstream these days, day in day out, and works everytime.

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post #23 of 28 Old 10-24-2010, 05:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtgray View Post

Any $70 Blu-Ray player can bitstream these days, day in day out, and works everytime.

My 5450 bitstreams. And it works everytime!

I think I am in a good spot as far as hardware goes. No tinkering left to do other than the occasional Shark007 update.
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post #24 of 28 Old 10-24-2010, 08:21 AM
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Another vote to wait a couple more months for the new lower end AMD HD 6xxx cards (fanless HD 6360?).
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post #25 of 28 Old 11-10-2010, 06:58 AM
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If you don't game or bitstream is the integrated video found in a 785G good enough? Would you see a better quality picture with a 5450 or similar?
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post #26 of 28 Old 11-10-2010, 07:46 AM
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I have a XFX Radeon 5450, fanless. Got it for $29.99 shipped after rebate, and it plays Blu Rays as good as my PS3, I couldn't ask for more. It is dead silent as well and doesn't get overly hot. I just wish AMD/ATI wouldn't keep messing with the drivers (overscan issue in the past).
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post #27 of 28 Old 11-10-2010, 07:50 AM
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My Athlon X2 5400+ paired with the onboard 780G chipset was too weak to handle live HD TV with menu overlay in 7MC. I was told to upgrade CPU or upgrade video. I went 5450 and everything has been smooth sailing. Depending on your CPU, the 785G might be able to handle most video. Not sure how big of a jump up HD4200 is from HD3200 either. 5450 can't really handle all optional video enhancement and deinterlacing options, but I don't use any of that stuff so it's fine for my purposes. Also keep in mind that onboard ATI video cannot bitstream HD audio over HDMI, where the dedicated 5xxx cards can.

As to your actual question concerning picture quality, unless you are using the image enhancement stuff in CCC, if you can get the video to play without stuttering, it will look identical between chipsets/dedicated cards. So there is no "image quality" improvement, per se, between options, outside of CCC enhancements.
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post #28 of 28 Old 11-10-2010, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlachowin View Post

I have a XFX Radeon 5450, fanless. Got it for $29.99 shipped after rebate, and it plays Blu Rays as good as my PS3, I couldn't ask for more. It is dead silent as well and doesn't get overly hot. I just wish AMD/ATI wouldn't keep messing with the drivers (overscan issue in the past).

I don't like the ATI/AMD cards because of the problems with drivers, but if you find one that works, just don't ever update unless you're also a gamer, which takes you out of the topic of this thread.
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