What is the role if any of the video card and sound card with regards to HTPCs? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 08-25-2012, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay after buying access to Assassin's blogs on servers and htpc I have had my mind blown.

The sections on hardware go against what I assumed I would need (which was more power/bigger stats etc)

Anyways, I notice that video cards outside of the cpu are only discussed in the context of if you want to game.

And I see no mention of sound cards outside of the cpu.

So my question is this.

Let's say you are an audiophile would a sound card help? What features would you want in a sound card that would out do the cpu?

Same goes for video, if you were a videophile at what point if any does a vid card become helpful?

My goal is a server with uncompressed music and movies but my question was on the htpc side of things are there things one can do to make the pic and sound better?

Also, does the sound go through the hdmi cable like cable boxes or vid game consoles?
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post #2 of 25 Old 08-25-2012, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
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OR do I just let my marantz av7005 do it's thing? In which case is the audio signal sent via hdmi, toslink or other?

Sorry I'm just not well versed in computers.
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post #3 of 25 Old 08-27-2012, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Let's say you are an audiophile would a sound card help? What features would you want in a sound card that would out do the cpu?

Video cards with HDMI outputs also output sound, so there is no reason to have a dedicated sound card anymore. And since the audio is digital, there really isn't any difference in cards.
Quote:
Same goes for video, if you were a videophile at what point if any does a vid card become helpful?

For just video, most of the cards out now will be fine for any video, including 1080p. More expensive cards will have better video processing features, such as de-interlacing on the fly and things like that. But if you are an average user, just wanting to watch blu-rays for example, any card out now will be fine.
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post #4 of 25 Old 08-27-2012, 08:58 AM
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I am using a 2009 motherboard and a 2011 GT440 1GBDDR5 graphics card. I have greatly extended the lifespan of my computer by offloading video and audio functiions to a graphics card.
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post #5 of 25 Old 08-27-2012, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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So it would seem that the movement towards less cables is now in the computer world as well (okay it's probably been a long while I just live under a rock).

So are sound cards really meant for people who want to record music and thus need
a) certain inputs
b) the ability to choose betweel 16/24 bit and the various resolutions
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post #6 of 25 Old 08-27-2012, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sitlet View Post

Video cards with HDMI outputs also output sound, so there is no reason to have a dedicated sound card anymore. And since the audio is digital, there really isn't any difference in cards.
For just video, most of the cards out now will be fine for any video, including 1080p. More expensive cards will have better video processing features, such as de-interlacing on the fly and things like that. But if you are an average user, just wanting to watch blu-rays for example, any card out now will be fine.

Would I be correct in saying that de interlacing is the process of converting analog video signals to a different format?

Who would need this feature?
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post #7 of 25 Old 08-27-2012, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankcastle1975 View Post

So it would seem that the movement towards less cables is now in the computer world as well (okay it's probably been a long while I just live under a rock).
So are sound cards really meant for people who want to record music and thus need
a) certain inputs
b) the ability to choose betweel 16/24 bit and the various resolutions

Most all motherboards have sound cards built into them. They offer analog connections some will also have a spdif connection.

Some people with higher end equipment and don't have a hdmi connection, will choose to upgrade the sound card, because the digital to analog conversion will be done at the computer. You also need to know that spdif can not carry the newer HD audio formats. And depending on your equipment sometimes it is better to go analog.

Most of us go digital all the way to the receiver or processor with hdmi or spdif.

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post #8 of 25 Old 08-27-2012, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankcastle1975 View Post

Would I be correct in saying that de interlacing is the process of converting analog video signals to a different format?
Who would need this feature?

De-interlacing is a little hard to explain.

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_7_4/dvd-benchmark-part-5-progressive-10-2000.html


Basically we set our computers up for 1080p (720p for some) and the video card will have to re-size and De-interlace the material to fit the screen. Bluray is already at 1080p so no conversion is needed.

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post #9 of 25 Old 08-27-2012, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm in the process of saving up for a server but after that is a htpc.

Is a sound card necessary to enhance sound for movies or cds?

my ht at this point has
marantz av7005 pre pro
emotiva xpa 5
mits 5500 projector
5.1 speakers (Europa Max L/R, Focal Utopia C, Cheap pawnshop Technics rears, DIY 12" sub)

Goal of my htpc would be for blu ray, streaming uncompressed blu ray and dvds and CDs from the server (in addition to compressed vids and music), some gaming (or at least leave the option open for gaming), stream netflix

Below is the shopping list

Case
http://ncix.ca/products/?sku=45041&vpn=VL52021N2U&manufacture=Thermaltake
Thermaltake Element Q mITX Case Black 1X5.25 1X3.5 1X3.5INT Front USB Audio With 200W PSU
Ncix $75

CPU
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4_65&item_id=039887
Intel Core i3-2120 Dual-Core Socket LGA1155, 3.30Ghz, 3MB L3 Cache, 32nm (Retail Boxed) (BX80623I32120)
$135

Mobo
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=26_722&item_id=041377
ASRock Z68M/USB3 Socket 1155 Intel Z68 Chipset Dual-Channel DDR3 DDR3 2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066Mhz 2x SATAIII 6.0 Gb/s 2x USB 3.0 Micro ATX $90

Ram
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=24_311_312_612&item_id=039987
Corsair Vengeance Low Profile 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz CL9 DIMMs (CML8GX3M2A1600C9) $55

HDD
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=179_1088&item_id=042973
Corsair Force Series 3 180GB 2.5" SATA 6Gb/s Solid State Drive (SSD), Read: 550MB/s Write: 490MB/s, includes 2.5" to 3.5" bracket (CSSD-F180GB3-BK $165

Graphics card
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=43_557_558&item_id=034447
Sapphire (11180-00-20R) AMD Radeon HD 6850 1GB GDDR5 AMD Radeon HD 6850 Chipset (775Mhz) 1GB GDDR5 (4000Mhz) Memory HD Audio Triple Display (Dual DVI) /HDMI/Display Port PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card $160

Probably won't get a tv tuner as I think my cable provider encrypts the information
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post #10 of 25 Old 08-27-2012, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankcastle1975 View Post

Would I be correct in saying that de interlacing is the process of converting analog video signals to a different format?
Who would need this feature?

No. Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deinterlacing

What is the role of a video card? Why have a sound card?

Lets take a few steps back before we answer that.

A basic computer consists of: Motherboard, memory, HD, CPU. All computers in existence have these basic components. Over the past few years, motherboards have grown to include additional features to differentiate themselves from the competition. In addition, the major chipset manufacturers (Intel/AMD) have been one-upping eachother.

The result is: consumer motherboards that can be used in a HTPC with some really great/advanced features. Solid integrated video, 8channel audio, onboard RAID controllers, etc. These used to be additional hardware you'd HAVE to purchase.

If you're building a HTPC today with the latest generation of parts, integrated audio and video (meaning - they're built into the motherboard) are good and will work for 90% of all HTPC builds.

What you gain when adding a video card:

Ability to play graphics intensive games on your HTPC
Offloads video related tasks (in programs that have hardware acceleration) from your CPU

What you gain when adding a sound card:

The ability to output multichannel analog audio, if your motherboard doesn't support such a feature
Better Digital-to-Analogue processing
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post #11 of 25 Old 08-27-2012, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankcastle1975 View Post

I'm in the process of saving up for a server but after that is a htpc.
Is a sound card necessary to enhance sound for movies or cds?
my ht at this point has
marantz av7005 pre pro
emotiva xpa 5
mits 5500 projector
5.1 speakers (Europa Max L/R, Focal Utopia C, Cheap pawnshop Technics rears, DIY 12" sub)
Goal of my htpc would be for blu ray, streaming uncompressed blu ray and dvds and CDs from the server (in addition to compressed vids and music), some gaming (or at least leave the option open for gaming), stream netflix
Below is the shopping list
Case
http://ncix.ca/products/?sku=45041&vpn=VL52021N2U&manufacture=Thermaltake
Thermaltake Element Q mITX Case Black 1X5.25 1X3.5 1X3.5INT Front USB Audio With 200W PSU
Ncix $75
CPU
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4_65&item_id=039887
Intel Core i3-2120 Dual-Core Socket LGA1155, 3.30Ghz, 3MB L3 Cache, 32nm (Retail Boxed) (BX80623I32120)
$135
Mobo
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=26_722&item_id=041377
ASRock Z68M/USB3 Socket 1155 Intel Z68 Chipset Dual-Channel DDR3 DDR3 2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066Mhz 2x SATAIII 6.0 Gb/s 2x USB 3.0 Micro ATX $90
Ram
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=24_311_312_612&item_id=039987
Corsair Vengeance Low Profile 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz CL9 DIMMs (CML8GX3M2A1600C9) $55
HDD
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=179_1088&item_id=042973
Corsair Force Series 3 180GB 2.5" SATA 6Gb/s Solid State Drive (SSD), Read: 550MB/s Write: 490MB/s, includes 2.5" to 3.5" bracket (CSSD-F180GB3-BK $165
Graphics card
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=43_557_558&item_id=034447
Sapphire (11180-00-20R) AMD Radeon HD 6850 1GB GDDR5 AMD Radeon HD 6850 Chipset (775Mhz) 1GB GDDR5 (4000Mhz) Memory HD Audio Triple Display (Dual DVI) /HDMI/Display Port PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card $160
Probably won't get a tv tuner as I think my cable provider encrypts the information

With this setup, you will not need an external sound card. Your Marantz 7005 will decode HD audio from your motherboard's HDMI connection.

In fact, you will not likely NEED a video card either.

What bluray disk drive will you be using?
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post #12 of 25 Old 08-27-2012, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
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http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=3_54&item_id=050277

MAybe something like this

LiteOn iHBS312-98 Black 12x Blu-ray Writer, Internal SATA, Retail Box
-- 16x DVD+/-R/RW Write Drive

Really doesn'\t cost more for bd writer even though I'm not interested in that feature

Do you have any suggetions on brand or feature that I should be looking for? Do they make a different for picture and sound quality?
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post #13 of 25 Old 08-27-2012, 09:01 PM
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I think you might want an H77 based motherboard and an i3-3110M processor (assuming you can get one in desktop packaging) unless you are interested in upgrading to an i5. The idea is to get HD4000 graphics core on the processor.

Use on-board graphics and audio.
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post #14 of 25 Old 08-27-2012, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lespurgeon View Post

I think you might want an H77 based motherboard and an i3-3110M processor (assuming you can get one in desktop packaging) unless you are interested in upgrading to an i5. The idea is to get HD4000 graphics core on the processor.
Use on-board graphics and audio.

Check a few places around me for the i3 you were talking about one had a computer that came with it. But as a standalone custom part no dice. Most places only carry i3 2xxx.

Are you suggesting that by finding a cpu with hd4000 I can game reasonably well without the need of a graphics card?

What is the rationale for the h77 mobo?

I thought part of the idea of building a htpc was too keep it running cool and quiet will moving up to i5 be a problem for that? What about power consumption?

Sorry I'm new to this and madethe shopping list reading various websites
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post #15 of 25 Old 08-27-2012, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
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OKay did some quick reading h77 seems to be a newer motherboard..... what is the advantage?

So looking at a h77 like this one

Asus P8H77-M/CSM Socket 1155 Intel H77 Chipset Dual channel DDR3 1x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 1x PCI-Express 2.0 x4 GLAN 8-CH High Definition Audio 4x SATA 3.0Gb/s 2x SATA 6.0Gb/s 4x USB 3.0 10x USB 2.0 DVI/VGA/HDMI Micro ATX

looks like more sata than the one I chose and the 8 ch hd audio

then when combined with

Intel Core i5-3570 Quad-Core Socket LGA1155, 3.4Ghz, 6MB L3 Cache, 22nm (Retail Boxed) Gen3 (BX80637I53570)

I now have hd4000 and 3d capability?

Is it fair to say that my original build minus the graphics card would be a htpc for a non gamer and that subbing in this mobo and cpu would be a better build for a htpc with up to date gaming abilities (and no need for the extra graphics card)?

Does going up in power like this affect the power supply or cooling of the computer?
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post #16 of 25 Old 08-28-2012, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
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After reading some comments online I found a few things about hd4000 vs hd3000 vs graphics cards

one comment that sticks in my mind is that entry level graphics cards are still better than these integrated gpus

but on the other hand moving up from hd3000 to 4000 I am getting a more advanced cpu

admittedly I am a light gamer into games like WoW, Diablo 3, Starcraft 2 and hate first person shooters so my graphics need are pretty low.

So maybe I take the money set aside for the graphics card earlier and upgrade mobo and cpu to a h77/hd4000 set up and look for a g card a few years doewn the line if the integrated gpu can no longer keep up.

But this brings me back to the question does moving up to this mobo and hd4000 have any impact on the htpc that I had started to outline. Will I need more cooling? more power? will it be noiser? etc Or is there no real significant change?
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post #17 of 25 Old 08-28-2012, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankcastle1975 View Post

Will I need more cooling? more power? will it be noiser? etc Or is there no real significant change?

No. No. No. Yes.

smile.gif
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post #18 of 25 Old 08-28-2012, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCalJason View Post

No. No. No. Yes.
smile.gif

Brevity! I love it. biggrin.gif

I may have to go back and scrap the vid card on the original list and add the h77/hd4000 combo and in the future if my gaming needs go up get a g card afterwards. I think the cost should be close as the saving from the g card can slide over to mobo/cpu.

Thanks
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post #19 of 25 Old 08-28-2012, 02:35 PM
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You need to re-think your case or mobo, the case needs a miniITX mobo but your mobo is microATX.

David
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post #20 of 25 Old 08-28-2012, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidT99 View Post

You need to re-think your case or mobo, the case needs a miniITX mobo but your mobo is microATX.
David

Good eye! I didn't catch that, thank you!
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post #21 of 25 Old 08-28-2012, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay so to recap as the shopping list has been revised a number of times

Goals
.... stream uncompressed CDs, DVDs, Blu Rays, internet media and compressed material via ethernet/gigabit routers/hi spd cable modem
..... some gaming WoW, Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, no FPShooters
.... option to play discs

Will pass through Marantz av7005 pre/pro

How much memory will some sort of nice looking interface for my movie collection take up? Would that info be on the server or on the front end? I removed any large storage device as the plan is for a server to do the heavy storage.

Case is bough with space so that in the future if a graphics card or hdd is needed it can be installed

Should I think about a case without a psu so that I can look for a more efficient or higher power one? How much power do I need I tried on of those online predictors and the numbers come back higher than what people seem to suggest on this site

My Gaming HTPC

case
http://ncix.ca/products/?sku=45041&vpn=VL52021N2U&manufacture=Thermaltake
Thermaltake Element Q mITX Case Black 1X5.25 1X3.5 1X3.5INT Front USB Audio With 200W PSU
Ncix $75

mobo
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=26_722&item_id=049013
Asus P8H77-I Socket 1155 Intel H77 Chipset Dual channel DDR3 2200(O.C.)/2133(O.C.)/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz 1x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 GLAN 8-CH High Definition Audio 4x SATA 3.0Gb/s 2x SATA 6.0Gb/s 4x USB 3.0 8x USB 2.0 DVI/VGA/HDMI Mini ITX $105

cpu
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4_65&item_id=050256
Intel Core i5-3570 Quad-Core Socket LGA1155, 3.4Ghz, 6MB L3 Cache, 22nm (Retail Boxed) Gen3 (BX80637I53570)$220

ram
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=24_311_312_612&item_id=039987
Corsair Vengeance Low Profile 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz CL9 DIMMs (CML8GX3M2A1600C9) $55

ssd
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=179_1088&item_id=042973
Corsair Force Series 3 180GB 2.5" SATA 6Gb/s Solid State Drive (SSD), Read: 550MB/s Write: 490MB/s, includes 2.5" to 3.5" bracket (CSSD-F180GB3-BK $165

disc drive
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=3_54&item_id=050277
LiteOn iHBS312-98 Black 12x Blu-ray Writer, Internal SATA, Retail Box -- 16x DVD+/-R/RW Write Drive $69
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post #22 of 25 Old 08-28-2012, 09:31 PM
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Now that is looking like a real computer. I'd say pretty solid.
My thought is get at least a 400 Watt 80+ rated power supply. Mostly so you have clean power and to avoid troubleshooting weird shut-downs and bad behaviour. I recently got an Antec Eco on a deal. Many good choices available, find a good price then google for a review.
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post #23 of 25 Old 08-29-2012, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lespurgeon View Post

Now that is looking like a real computer. I'd say pretty solid.
My thought is get at least a 400 Watt 80+ rated power supply. Mostly so you have clean power and to avoid troubleshooting weird shut-downs and bad behaviour. I recently got an Antec Eco on a deal. Many good choices available, find a good price then google for a review.

Hmmm maybe something like this?


http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=33_443&item_id=045160

Antec HCG-400M High Current Gamer 400W 80PLUS Certified Modular Power Supply

Only prob is that the case I chose specifies the max depth of the power supply and this thing exceeds it.

Guess I will need to find a new case. Back to the drawing board.

Ideally I want it to have a lower height 6" or less.... width and depth no restriction ability to hold one optical drive and 2 hdd
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post #24 of 25 Old 08-29-2012, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Slept on it and now I'm wondering do I really need 400W of power? I mean cpu, mobo, ssd, blu ray drive, ram that doesn't sound like more than a laptop. Not sure if they pack that much power in their source.

Tried this and came up with 182 w

http://www.thermaltake.outervision.com/Power

So maybe I'd bump it up to 250 or 300 just to be sure as well as leave room for some expansion in the future (also that number includes having one usb device connected (just in case)
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post #25 of 25 Old 08-29-2012, 07:57 AM
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No, you don't need that much unless you are loading it with a bunch of 7200RPM HDD's. Otherwise, you can probably get away with 300 or even 250.

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