Best Graphic Card for HD Video 1080p - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 98 Old 11-29-2006, 06:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello

I just registered but reading here for a long time you guys are all incredible.

Im building a HTPC, but Im mostly stacked at GPU

I want to watch my old DVDs with ffdshow upconversion method at 1080p resolution.

As I read lots of documents, x1650pro seems very nice but it only supports 720p hardware. Im not sure if 1900 models supports 1080p, or nvidia chipsets since I couldnt find hardware support of 1080p on their manuals.

So, should I buy the newest graphic card for 600-700$ (yes it is also expensive in my country) or a Intel Core Duo E6600 can process 1080p with any low end graphic card?

Best!
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post #2 of 98 Old 11-29-2006, 06:43 AM
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If you're 1080p source is ffdshow, upconverted DVD, then you don't need anything terribly special graphics card wise, as all the hardware features of the card are bypassed in that configuration.

If you're talking accelleration/decoding of true 1080i/p sources (true HD), then you'll want something in the class of a 7600GT or better.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #3 of 98 Old 11-29-2006, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
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first, thanks a lot stanger, if I understand right, you saved me lots of money

so, if my source is standart DVD, and if I will use ffdshow method to upconvert my standart DVD's to 1080p, not my graphic card but the CPU do all the job, hence I dont need a gold made graphic card from nvidia or ati. this is great news

so, I change my question here:

- intel core 2 e6600 would be enough to do this job? since I tried on my laptop, frames skipping, u1300 1ghz cpu, 1.5 gb ram, vaio tx.
- for a quality TV output, and doing good job with my 720p or 1080p sources (even the card doesnt support directly 1080p) which card should I buy?

my tv is sony kds-55A2000, so with HDMI input. I found this card: SAPPHIRE RADEON X1600 PRO HDMI 256MB GDDR3, do you think it is the best fit? Or HDMI output is just a marketing tool, with DVI I can get the same quality (with an DVI HDMI adapter)

best!
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post #4 of 98 Old 11-29-2006, 08:46 AM
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The passive cooled XFX 7950GT is one of the top-end choices currently. The card is pretty awkward sized for HTPC so be sure it will fit.
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post #5 of 98 Old 11-29-2006, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlebuddha View Post

- for a quality TV output, and doing good job with my 720p or 1080p sources (even the card doesnt support directly 1080p) which card should I buy?

First, define "TV output", because if you mean S-Video (what's typically meant by the term TV out), then there's no point running ffdshow (IMO).

Quote:
my tv is sony kds-55A2000, so with HDMI input. I found this card: SAPPHIRE RADEON X1600 PRO HDMI 256MB GDDR3, do you think it is the best fit? Or HDMI output is just a marketing tool, with DVI I can get the same quality (with an DVI HDMI adapter)

HDMI out on current graphics cards, is really nothing but a DVI output with the HDMI plug. There's no added functionality*

Today, what you really want to look for is a card that offers HDCP output, that is more important than if the plug is DVI or HDMI. If you get a card with DVI, you can always get a DVI-HDMI adapter. That's what I'm doing at the moment. I ran an HDMI cable to my PJ, and have a DVI-HDMI adapter on the PC.

*Some HDMI cards provide the capability to passthrough S/PDIF over HDMI, but IMO it's pretty worthless, only saving one coaxial (or optical) cable. When they provide the ability to output/pass multichannel PCM over HDMI, then HDMI out will be worth something vs DVI.

-edit

And FWIW, I would seriously consider something on par with a 7600GT, that will last you much longer than if you were to get something with more limited capabilities.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #6 of 98 Old 11-29-2006, 09:50 AM - Thread Starter
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by output I meand dvi to hdmi input on my sony

thanks for detailed answer. so a graphic card with hdcp rom/approved will be ok for me, no need for hdmi output.

my last question is, would a geforce 7600gt enough for me for getting a good 1080p picture from my television, or should I go 7950gt as lstepnio adviced. (btw thanks lstepnio for the advice)

I dont do gaming, the only thing I want is

a) upscalling to 1080p (which will be solved (hopefully) with an e6600 cpu, do you think it is enough?)
b) watching true 1080p movies (if the pc will run it, I dont need hardware support for 1080p since those cards are very hot to touch)

best and thanks!
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post #7 of 98 Old 11-29-2006, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlebuddha View Post

my last question is, would a geforce 7600gt enough for me for getting a good 1080p picture from my television, or should I go 7950gt as lstepnio adviced. (btw thanks lstepnio for the advice)

I honestly don't know what all the fuss about the 7950GTX is, it doesn't provide anything for video/media you can't get on a 7600GT/7900.

The 7600GT fully supports "PureVideo" and all it's features, I don't see why you'd need more.

Quote:
a) upscalling to 1080p (which will be solved (hopefully) with an e6600 cpu, do you think it is enough?)

Don't know, I gave up on ffdshow and haven't followed Intel CPU's lately. I'd guess probably though.

Quote:
b) watching true 1080p movies (if the pc will run it, I dont need hardware support for 1080p since those cards are very hot to touch)

Oh, you want hardware support for helping with true 1080p content. I think there was a review/article on PureVideo HD that showed that even top of the line CPUs can't to 1080p H.264 at HD DVD/Blu-ray bitrates. If you want to play HD DVD or Blu-ray, you'll want at least a 7600GT with HDCP, and a stout CPU.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #8 of 98 Old 11-29-2006, 01:14 PM
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The reasons for the XFX 7950 GT (not GTX) suggestion include:

+ HDCP fully supported on both DVI ports.
+ passive cooling out of the box
+ single PCI-E slot solution
+ The abilty to play most modern games at native 1080p resolutions.
+ The hardware acceleration isn't even comparable to my 7600GS(overclocked) with 1080i.

I think if you're looking for quiet solution, with HDCP along with close to a promise of being able to playback HD/Blu this is the best choice out there. If you bundle in the ability of being able to play games at HD resolutions it's a no-brainer.

- The card is deep, can be an issue in many if not most HTPC cases.
- The cooling solution effectivness relies heavily on the design your cases airflow.

The card is under $300.00 which isn't that much more than a HDCP/passive 7600GT.

edit: In my experience I've found that ffdshow is 95% as waste of time to use as your primary mpeg filter. First, You'll loose all and any hardware acceleration when using ffdshow. I concluded with trial and error over the past year or so that the Purevideo decoder results in the best overall PQ. There are few one-off circumstances where ffdshow can make poor quality souces look better but overall the crown goes to Purevideo.
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post #9 of 98 Old 11-29-2006, 03:39 PM
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So why not the Saphire Pro X1600 HDMI?

And those E6300 cpus are extremely overclockable....
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post #10 of 98 Old 11-29-2006, 04:00 PM
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You'll get lots of answers from various points of view, so allow me to add mine.

I can upscale DVDs to 1080p on an old socket754 athlon system running at 2ghz. Core 2 Duo's won't have a problem at all with DVD content. This is for simple lanczos upscaling followed by a sharpening filter, with deinterlacing on/off as needed. I cant do limitedsharpen for example or denoise3d very well either.

Most likely you won't be able to ffdshow upscale HD-DVD or BD in the near future as ffdshow needs directshow.

As for 1080p content that isn't protected, you'll find most of them are geared to lower bitrates for online transmission. For these, playing these straight shouldn't be a problem with most systems bought today (excluding budget systems).

As far as HD-DVD and BD playback goes, hardware acceleration is still in the early stages and not much of the GPU is in use at this point in time, however for the same family of cards, the only determinant of performance it seems is the core clock speed. So a 7600GT does very well here as it's core clock of 560mhz vs the 7950gx2 at 500mhz (not sure if hardware assistance can make use of both cores but assume for now it doesn't).

As far as not using FFDShow, nVidia 7 series cards purevideo fared slightly lower than radeon x1xxx series cards in HQV tests, nVidia 8 series cards are better, but currently no midrange 8 series is out yet. In terms of MPEG2 decoding, ATI cards do a better job of hardware assistance and result in lower CPU usage. Not sure with regards to VC1 and AVC though.

With the price of the 7600GT so reasonable nowadays, you can probably afford to get that card and be happy with it until you need more juice. Get an HDCP card though as you never know how things will turn out. My guess is with a C2D 6600 and a 7600GT you should be able to do what you want, and should be reasonably safe with BD/HD-DVD until we know some more. If anything nVidia and ATI will be improving their hardware acceleration of AVC and VC1 anyway.

Cheers...
Duy-Khang Hoang
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post #11 of 98 Old 11-29-2006, 04:12 PM
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Does anyone have an opinion on the Asus EN7600GS Silent 512MB graphics card, I am considering it for my first attempt at bulding a HTPC.
My main concern also is 1080P and also what is HDCP?
Thanks JD
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post #12 of 98 Old 11-29-2006, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lstepnio View Post

The reasons for the XFX 7950 GT (not GTX) suggestion include:

Not as bad (hadn't looked/realized there was a GT and a GTX), but that's still a dual-GPU card right?

Seems like WAY overkill for video. Why is a 7950 GT better for video than a 7600GT, 7800* or 7900*?

Quote:


+ HDCP fully supported on both DVI ports.
+ passive cooling out of the box
+ single PCI-E slot solution

It can't be the only nVidia solution that's Passive and HDCP, surely there's a 7600GT or better out there with those same features.

Quote:


+ The abilty to play most modern games at native 1080p resolutions.

I was talking specifically about video, it seems like a lot of AVS'rs are buying a 7950 with no intention of gaming.

Quote:


+ The hardware acceleration isn't even comparable to my 7600GS(overclocked) with 1080i.

Note I specifically said a 7600GT, the 7600GS isn't on par with the "bigger" cards.

Quote:


I think if you're looking for quiet solution, with HDCP along with close to a promise of being able to playback HD/Blu this is the best choice out there. If you bundle in the ability of being able to play games at HD resolutions it's a no-brainer.

Yeah, if gaming's involved of course, but it seems unnecessary if you've got no intention of gaming. FWIW, I've been casually following because I'd like an HDCP card to go with my 360 HD DVD drive. But I'm not following too close, because I'd need to change motherboards (basically build a whole new HTPC) and HD DVD just isn't worth that at the moment.

Quote:


edit: In my experience I've found that ffdshow is 95% as waste of time to use as your primary mpeg filter. First, You'll loose all and any hardware acceleration when using ffdshow. I concluded with trial and error over the past year or so that the Purevideo decoder results in the best overall PQ. There are few one-off circumstances where ffdshow can make poor quality souces look better but overall the crown goes to Purevideo.

I agree completely, except I'll put it this way, ffdshow can make good sources (film DVDs) look "better" with the right settings, but it's far to limited in the circumstances it can be used effectively (can't handle film and video content). The, IMO small, quality boost isn't worth the effort, plus the denoise and especially sharpness/edge enhancement in the more recent nVidia drivers get you probably 90% of what ffdshow can do anyway.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #13 of 98 Old 11-29-2006, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

Not as bad (hadn't looked/realized there was a GT and a GTX), but that's still a dual-GPU card right?

Seems like WAY overkill for video. Why is a 7950 GT better for video than a 7600GT, 7800* or 7900*?

See this page on Anandtech. Basically, Nvidia's PureVideo HD offloading of decoding is tied directly to GPU speed (and architecture in the case of the 8800 series). The faster the card, the lower the CPU utilization (though none really go above 52%). ATI is a different story, where even an X1600 uses only 38%.

Baseline with no GPU offload was 51%.
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post #14 of 98 Old 11-29-2006, 08:02 PM
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Actually from that table it appears that asside from the 7600GS (which we acknowledge isn't as fully featured as the higher models, and the 8800s which are a different architecture) are all right at 45%, with some being slightly above, some slightly below, but they're all within a couple %, within the noise.

I don't see anything in that table that alone justifies a 7950 over a 7600GT. I mean a 7600GT gives about 45-46%, while a 7950 gives 44-45%. That's somewhere between a 0 and 2% difference, considering it's an environment with lots of other processes going, that's well within the margin of error, or insignificant at best.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #15 of 98 Old 11-30-2006, 01:52 PM
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Anyone know if the XFX 7950 GT will fit in an Antec Overture II case?
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post #16 of 98 Old 11-30-2006, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edrossy View Post

Anyone know if the XFX 7950 GT will fit in an Antec Overture II case?

Nope. The Overture II is 5.23" in height (133mm) whereas the XFX 7950GT is 5.5" high. That case is about 3/4" too low figuring the motherboard and PCI socket eat up 1/2".

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post #17 of 98 Old 11-30-2006, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post

Nope. The Overture II is 5.23" in height (133mm) whereas the XFX 7950GT is 5.5" high. That case is about 3/4" too low figuring the motherboard and PCI socket eat up 1/2".

Gary

Thanks.......I guess a 7600 GS Silent is my only choice???
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post #18 of 98 Old 11-30-2006, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlebuddha View Post

Hello

I just registered but reading here for a long time you guys are all incredible.

Im building a HTPC, but Im mostly stacked at GPU

I want to watch my old DVDs with ffdshow upconversion method at 1080p resolution.

FFDShow isn't the best choice to decode HD movies. If you want to decode WMV HD files, then the Microsoft codecs are the best and fastest ones. If you want H.264, so CoreAVC is the best option.

Try to focus on a good CPU, because GPU can't do so much (Purevideo is cool, but can't do miracles). An AMD with real 2.5 Ghz is good enough to play any video.

Good luck!
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post #19 of 98 Old 11-30-2006, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edrossy View Post

Thanks.......I guess a 7600 GS Silent is my only choice???

I would go with a X1600 HDMI from Sapphire, that has support for HDCP on the HDMI port and the X1600 series are better then the 7600GS (GS sucks at HD with Purevideo)...oh and you even get the Sapphire card in AGP or PCI-Express version

that can save you a lot of money if you are looking for HDCP and HD Playback....

Just dont use the latest dirvers on the X1600 (6.7 or 6.9 work fine)
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post #20 of 98 Old 12-01-2006, 09:12 AM
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Only problem with X1600 HDMI - its LOUD. And there are no 3rd party cooling solutions for that card (you could always make one yourself).

I'm going MSI 7600GT Diamond Plus for 2 main reasons - nice stock cooling system and 7600GT makes less heat than 7900GS, so you get lower temperature inside HTPC.

IMHO 7900GS is not worth it unless you plan on gaming on same PC - i doubt many of us here use HTPC for gaming.
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post #21 of 98 Old 12-01-2006, 12:50 PM
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i heard the XFX 7950 GT passive runs to darn hot for most HTPC case setups. Maybe better with a card with a fan and stick on a Zalman cooler.
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post #22 of 98 Old 12-01-2006, 01:48 PM
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I have the x1600 HDMI card and its not loud at all. Guess it could be the Ahanix case thats its in is preventing any noise from escaping
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post #23 of 98 Old 12-04-2006, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

...It can't be the only nVidia solution that's Passive and HDCP, surely there's a 7600GT or better out there with those same features...

One would think so but at this time, no there isn't.
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post #24 of 98 Old 12-04-2006, 12:12 PM
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I will be replacing my ASUS EN7600GT HDTI 256MB soon. It is far too loud and offers HDCP only on the HDMI port and not the DVI port.

It remains the only solution I know of with optical SPDIF passthrough for the HDMI. However I no longer reccomend it and will be replacing it with an XFX 7950GT 512MB which is a passively cooled dual DVI/HDCP card with no passthrough, for only about another $100 than I wanted to spend (sigh). I have the extra case height required for this board and have added a new speed-contolled low noise case fan for air circulation.

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post #25 of 98 Old 12-04-2006, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post

I will be replacing my ASUS EN7600GT HDTI 256MB soon. It is far too loud and offers HDCP only on the HDMI port and not the DVI port.

It remains the only solution I know of with optical SPDIF passthrough for the HDMI. However I no longer reccomend it and will be replacing it with an XFX 7950GT 512MB which is a passively cooled dual DVI/HDCP card with no passthrough, for only about another $100 than I wanted to spend (sigh). I have the extra case height required for this board and have added a new speed-contolled low noise case fan for air circulation.

Gary

Which case is it Gary? I'm looking at a Silverstone LC-20.
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post #26 of 98 Old 12-04-2006, 01:14 PM
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I recently upgraded to the Asus EN7600GT HDTI 256MB and so far I'm pretty disappointed, although for different reasons than Gary. Noise isn't an issue if you replace the stock fan with a Zalman VF900 (which I did), and I'm using the HDMI output so I'm not really worried about HDCP over DVI.

What disappoints me about this card is the crappy Nvidia drivers and decoders. I'm getting the stupid "frame pulse" problem with HD playback and no amount of settings changes have been able to completely eliminate it. I've also had an intermittent issue where the audio starts breaking up for HD playback and I have to reboot to fix the problem. The fact is, I was getting better OTA HD playback with my Radeon x1600 and the PowerDVD decoders in overlay mode. So at this point I'm about ready to put the x1600 back in my HTPC, and I won't be buying another NVidia card until the software is fixed.
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post #27 of 98 Old 12-04-2006, 01:37 PM
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I recently upgraded my HTPC to a 8800GTX. I had problems with the 7950GT - the top 2" of the screen were out of sync with the rest of the image - while watching DVDs, mostly apparent with fast action panning from side to side - I could see a tearing (similar to when you turn off vsync) of the image approximately 2" from the top. I tried 3 different 7950GT cards from diferent manufactureres - all had this issue.
So I got the 8800GTX. Couldn't be happier. Contrary to online reviews, the 8800GTX fan is very quiet, even quieter than the 7950GT from eVGA, MSI, and PNY. The 8800GTX fits perfectly in Silverstone LC-17 case!
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post #28 of 98 Old 12-04-2006, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chappy16775 View Post

Which case is it Gary? I'm looking at a Silverstone LC-20.

It's a generic MiniTower case for a uATX/ITX board, not sure the brand, but is has 2" space above the card slots.

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post #29 of 98 Old 12-04-2006, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKohn View Post

What disappoints me about this card is the crappy Nvidia drivers and decoders. I'm getting the stupid "frame pulse" problem with HD playback and no amount of settings changes have been able to completely eliminate it. I've also had an intermittent issue where the audio starts breaking up for HD playback and I have to reboot to fix the problem. The fact is, I was getting better OTA HD playback with my Radeon x1600 and the PowerDVD decoders in overlay mode. So at this point I'm about ready to put the x1600 back in my HTPC, and I won't be buying another NVidia card until the software is fixed.

Try the 84.43 drivers. These work great with the 7600GT I have.
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post #30 of 98 Old 12-04-2006, 07:41 PM
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I'd pick up a cheap 7600GT and buy a Zalman cooler for noise, or pick up an Asus or Gigabyte silent cooled model.

Then when a decent midrange HDCP 8X00 series card (8600?) comes out I'd switch to that. Finding a HDCP capable card is such a pain unless you want to go 7950 and up, and it seems a waste if you're not gaming - taking into consideration the price/performance ratio and noise/heat. BR and HD ROM drives aren't readily available yet anyways, aside from the 360 drive.
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