G965 with Prolink HDMI ADD2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 518 Old 01-07-2007, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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I have an Intel DG965WH motherboard and just recently added the Prolink HDMI ADD2 card. Previously I was running a 30 foot VGA cable from the HTPC to my Sanyo PLV-Z4 projector. Now I'm using a 30 foot HDMI cable.

The HDMI picture is much brighter and sharper than the VGA picture. The colors are better too. Before, I was happy with the VGA picture. But now when I switch back from HDMI to VGA, the VGA picture is noticeably dimmer and blurrier -- like looking through smoke or a gray filter.

The ADD2 card was a snap to install. I ordered online from prolink-usa. It came with low-profile and standard brackets (I had to switch to the standard). It also came with a ribbon cable to connect to the card to the motherboard's audio connector (I'm still using SPDIF to my AV Receiver though). It also came with a dongle that has an S-Video-like connector at one end and component + audio RCA connectors at the other. In addition to the HDMI output, the card has an output labled "S-Video" but it has more pins than a typical S-Video connector and I don't think you can convert S-Video to component with a dongle so I don't think it is really S-Video. It may be component. I haven't tried that connector as I'm only interested in HDMI.

There were no special drivers to install. The Intel Graphics driver automatically recognized the ADD2 card and enabled some more options. Select the "Digital Television" output to output over HDMI. Select the "Monitor" output to output over VGA. Or choose the dual mode to output over both simultaneously. I'm using 720p (1280x720) resolution, which is the native resolution of my projector.

The graphics driver could use some improvements. Sometimes when I turn my system on the display comes up with a shrunken aspect ratio instead of filling the screen. I have to go into the graphics properties and move the aspect ratio sliders from the minimum to the maximum position to fill the screen again. This feature may be there to help with overscan issues but my projector allows me to control the amount of overscan so this feature is just a pain for me. Another problem is that sometimes when I turn on the system, the HDMI output is disabled. I'm suspicious that the computer doesn't enable the HDMI output if it doesn't detect the display device at the other end. And this might happen when the computer wakes itself up to record something while the projector remains off. So I've been tweaking my Harmony remote to try to get it to enable the HDMI output whenever I turn the system on. This involves wrestling the harmony website and learning the hot-key from my Microsoft MCE keyboard, which has been frustrating.

Another gripe about the graphics driver is that while it has predefined hotkeys and you can save a "scheme", you cannot associate a hotkey with your scheme. I hope Intel adds this feature at some point.

Occasionally my display does not update and I suspect this is a graphics driver issue too. For example, with Media Center running, sometimes when I pop in a DVD I hear the audio but just see a black screen instead of the DVD menu. I've found that if I minimize Media Center and then maximize it, the DVD menu will appear and everything will work smoothly from there. I used to occasionally have a similar issue when switching to an OTA HDTV picture -- the display would not show up and minimizing would cure it. But I thought I fixed that problem by adjusting the BIOS settings (Set DVMT to "fixed" instead of "dynamic" and give it 256 MB of memory).

Overall I'm glad I went this route with my HTPC. I think the combination of the G965 motherboard and the HDMI ADD2 card make for an affordable option for HD video. If Intel continues to improve the graphics driver then that will make it even better.

-- Kevin
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post #2 of 518 Old 01-07-2007, 12:01 PM
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One of my older HTPC's is an Intel D815 with onboard video and graphics and that is what I use. The newest one is an Intel D945GPM and I use onboard sound but with a video board (that machine is intended for 1080p output with HD-DVD and HDTV).

The connector you describe is called a "Mini DIN" and it was originally designed for professional audio, replacing a larger connector called a "DIN". The graphics card DIN output jack is a TV output. Use the supplied adapter to connect to a standard definition television. It might also be possible (depending upon software support) to use the component video with an HDTV video input at 720p or 1080i.

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post #3 of 518 Old 01-07-2007, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkrambo View Post

Overall I'm glad I went this route with my HTPC. I think the combination of the G965 motherboard and the HDMI ADD2 card make for an affordable option for HD video. If Intel continues to improve the graphics driver then that will make it even better.

-- Kevin

Thanks for the post. Intel's G965 driver is lacking. Where could I find the clear video option pad?

EDIT: I found the link. It is PV-CH7315 add2 card. MSRP $43

HDPLEX
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post #4 of 518 Old 01-07-2007, 11:39 PM
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Excellent news, Kevin, especially about the brackets, as the fact that Prolink only advertised it as low-profile was annoying me.

Sorry to see you're having driver problems. I highly recommend you send a list of the difficulties you're having and any suggestions to tech support. If you look at the Release Notes for the last several driver releases, there have been HDMI issues listed which have been resolved, so it's not like the developers aren't listening.

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post #5 of 518 Old 01-08-2007, 06:14 AM
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Anyone know if any of the 3 options from Prolink are HDCP compliant? I read all the info I could find on each of the 3 models and didn't see it mentioned.

I know Wintek has an HDCP version designed, but haven't seen it hit the distribution chain yet. I know these things are rather cheap compared to the overall system cost, but still would prefer not to buy a new one when the HDCP versions hit the shelves.
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post #6 of 518 Old 01-08-2007, 07:57 AM
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I wrote to the Prolink customer service guys about the HDMI model and was told it was HDCP 1.1 compliant.

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post #7 of 518 Old 01-08-2007, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael View Post

I wrote to the Prolink customer service guys about the HDMI model and was told it was HDCP 1.1 compliant.

Excellent Archibael.

Sadly, I've found I get better and faster answers asking a well represented enthusiast forum (such as AVS) than bothering with customer service/tech support, for most companies :P
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post #8 of 518 Old 01-08-2007, 10:26 AM
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You'll find no argument from me there. It's not like it's a requirement for customer service/tech support to have any passion for the topics they cover... and even if they do, it's likely the tedium gets to them after awhile. :|

Always go to the people who are nuttier about the topic than you are. In some cases that's difficult. I am just thankful we live in the age of the internet and can get this information relatively easily instead of off mimeographs of "service updates" handed out to dealers and repair shops.

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post #9 of 518 Old 01-09-2007, 04:41 AM
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That is good to hear.

I've got the same board and I'm running Vista on it with just the VGA connection. With the latest driver for the graphics chip I can run OTA HD programs in Vista MCE without problem on my 1600x1200 display... my Nvidia 6150 system couldn't handle HD playback with a monitor of that resolution (it handled 1280x720p just fine though).

I gotta say I'm impressed with this setup for a reasonably priced, fast, quiet HTPC system. Good to hear the Add2 cards work and are HDCP compliant. I do wonder how the GMA x3000 is going to handle HD-DVD and blu-ray playback (if it will at all).
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post #10 of 518 Old 01-09-2007, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigAl View Post

That is good to hear.

I've got the same board and I'm running Vista on it with just the VGA connection. With the latest driver for the graphics chip I can run OTA HD programs in Vista MCE without problem on my 1600x1200 display... my Nvidia 6150 system couldn't handle HD playback with a monitor of that resolution (it handled 1280x720p just fine though).

I gotta say I'm impressed with this setup for a reasonably priced, fast, quiet HTPC system. Good to hear the Add2 cards work and are HDCP compliant. I do wonder how the GMA x3000 is going to handle HD-DVD and blu-ray playback (if it will at all).

According to Intel, it will handle 1080p output, and should support HD via their Clear*something* drivers.

I haven't seen any first hand reports yet, but I have high hopes for the HD playback abilities.
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post #11 of 518 Old 01-09-2007, 08:47 AM
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From my perspective, its major weakness compared to Nvidia and ATI solutions for home theater is that it doesn't have H.264 acceleration in hardware-- that's coming in the X5000 aka Bearlake G+. Some of the testing I've seen on various sites imply that an E6400 or even E6600 Core 2 Duo would be needed for H.264 Blu-ray/HD DVD decode without acceleration, so that's kind of a steep CPU requirement. I have an E6700, so it's fine for me, but the E6300 is such a great value that a lot of folks have one. I'm hoping improved drivers might take some of the load off the CPU... but I wouldn't put much stock in that.

At any rate, the chipset does have HW accel for VC-1 and MPEG-2, and WinDVD supports it, according to the website. Haven't heard of anyone trying it with PowerDVD.

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post #12 of 518 Old 01-09-2007, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigAl View Post

I do wonder how the GMA x3000 is going to handle HD-DVD and blu-ray playback (if it will at all).

If you hadn't seen it, there is also a parallel discussion contained in this thread
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post #13 of 518 Old 01-09-2007, 04:22 PM
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Yeah, I'd read some review that stated the steep CPU requirements for high bitrate h.264 content... I've got an e6300 and a MB that doesn't allow overclocking. I do hope they figure out a way to make the h.264 decoders more effecient as things progress.

All I can do is hope.
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post #14 of 518 Old 01-23-2007, 10:39 AM
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New Drivers available. They're not the 14.26, which is supposed to add hardware T&L support, they are 14.25.50.

I bring it up because the release notes contain a lot of bug fixes, some of which are related to HDMI/ADD2 cards.

Hope this helps your issues, kkrambo.

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post #15 of 518 Old 01-23-2007, 12:47 PM
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Archibael,

Do you know when the HD audio from the motherboard will work with the ADD2 HDMI card? I have the cable connected to from the motherboard header to the ADD2 card, but get no audio (nor any idea how to enable it). Do you know?

Thanks
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post #16 of 518 Old 01-23-2007, 12:59 PM
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mrloopy,

Wish I knew more about that. Still trying to get Finance (aka my wife) to approve the purchase req. for the new motherboard, and both the guys I know with G965 mobos aren't using the HD Audio header, though I'll be trying it out.

Actually, I'm interested: did you make your own cable?

Edit: I see from the first post that the Prolink comes with a ribbon cable-- how many pins? 15/16? Basically, I'm trying to figure out if you're plugging into the HD Audio header or the SPDIF header.

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post #17 of 518 Old 01-23-2007, 04:27 PM
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Count me in on the question about audio being tunneled out the HDMI port. I'd really like to be able to pull the audio from an internal point on my DG965WH board and send it out via HDMI. Until I ran across some links I had no idea something like ADD2 cards even existed.

The Intel motherboards have HD Audio on them at an internal connector. It'd be great if there was a straightforward way to pass that audio through this card to the HDMI output.

I just called them directly and, well, let's just say support was typical. No manuals available and no real idea what the headers on the card are there to provide.

So anyone know what the header connectors on the card handle?
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post #18 of 518 Old 01-23-2007, 04:55 PM
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Can you get a photo close up of the headers? I can recognize the HD Audio header from the photo on their website: it's a 16 pin header with the third pin on one side depopulated. It's possible one of the other headers are SPDIF input (to mux in standard SPDIF audio with the HDMI video) or something else entirely, but I can't see them well enough to guess.

The standard G965 graphics drivers come with an "HDMI Audio" driver. From the website

Quote:


Microsoft Windows* XP Manual "Have-Disk" Installation
Instructions for Intel(R) HD Audio HDMI Function Driver
[IntcHmdi.sys] (using downloaded ZIP file)
----------------------------------------------------

1. Obtain KB888111.exe, the Microsoft UAA High
Definition Audio Package version 1.0a.

2. Run KB888111.exe and follow the installation
wizard.This will install the Microsoft UAA Bus
Driver for High Definition Audio under System
Devices in the Device Manager.

3. A Found New Hardware Wizard will popup for the
HDMI Audio Codec. Note that you may see two new
hardware wizards as one may popup for the HD
Audio codec on the motherboard.

4. If you are updating the driver, just right-click
on the HDMI function driver in the device manager
and in the 'properties' page select "Update Driver".

5. Do not connect to Windows Update to search for
software and click "Next".

6. Select "Install from a list or specific location"
and click "Next".

7. Select "Don't Search. I will choose the driver
to install" and click "Next".

8. If asked for the device type, Select "Sound Video
and Game controllers" and click "Next".

9. Click "Have Disk" and navigate to the directory
with intchdmi.inf and intchdmi.sys.

10. Select intchdmi.inf and click "Open", click "Ok".

11. Select "Intel HD Audio HDMI Audio Function Driver"
and click "next".

12. Click "continue anyway" on the warning regarding
Windows* Logo.

To determine if the driver has been loaded correctly,
refer to the Verifying Installation section below.

mrloopy, have you tried this, or at least done the "Verifying Installation" procedure?

It shouldn't be this hard, I know, and it should also be better documented.

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post #19 of 518 Old 01-23-2007, 05:37 PM
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Hmmm, according to this thread the Prolink card should support HD Audio. At least from a hardware perspective. I've just ordered one to try. I'll report back whatever I manage to get working.

And if you want to see a picture of the header, along with an explanation, look at this intel web page: http://support.intel.com/support/mot.../CS-015851.htm
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post #20 of 518 Old 01-25-2007, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
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I have the Prolink HDMI ADD2 card. It did come with the ribbon cable. I'm pretty sure that it was 16 pins because it covered all the pins on the DG965WH's HD audio header, which has 16 pins. I believe the cable connector was keyed to match up with the missing pin on the header.

I remember there were three different headers on the ADD2 card. There was no documentation that explained which was what, but only one of the three headers was 16 pins so I assumed that was the one for audio. This header also had a shroud with a notch for the key on the ribbon cable connector.

I don't have any device that uses the HDMI audio (just a projector that uses the video) so I don't know whether the HDMI audio works.

I haven't had a chance to try the new driver but I will do so soon. I did submit some issues to Intel Support a while ago and got a response. They seemed to agree that my primary issue was a real problem but they could not estimate when it would be fixed. That issue is that the HDMI output is automatically disabled if the computer wakes up while my projector is off. Which means I have to manually re-enable the HDMI output after each time it wakes itself up to record something while I was away.

Also, I recently tried the component output from the ADD2 card. (It comes with a component dongle that plugs into a mini din connector.) The component video display looked terrible, very fuzzy. I won't be using that.
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post #21 of 518 Old 01-25-2007, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post

Hmmm, according to this thread the Prolink card should support HD Audio. At least from a hardware perspective. I've just ordered one to try. I'll report back whatever I manage to get working.

And if you want to see a picture of the header, along with an explanation, look at this intel web page: http://support.intel.com/support/mot.../CS-015851.htm

Actually, that's an analog header for the front panel, which admittedly does hook into the HD Audio codec. What I'm referring to here is the 16 pin HD Audio Link header that carries HD Audio digitally: it's on the Prolink card and on many (all?) G965 motherboards. Apparently the card comes with an appropriate ribbon cable for this header, though I've not heard of anyone getting it working. Plus, I'm not sure what we'd actually get out... it doesn't have explicit support for Dolby THD or DTS MA, it's just that it appears it might be possible to write a driver which delivered those.

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post #22 of 518 Old 01-25-2007, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkrambo View Post

I have the Prolink HDMI ADD2 card. It did come with the ribbon cable. I'm pretty sure that it was 16 pins because it covered all the pins on the DG965WH's HD audio header, which has 16 pins. I believe the cable connector was keyed to match up with the missing pin on the header.

Perfect. Just had to check.

Quote:
I remember there were three different headers on the ADD2 card. There was no documentation that explained which was what, but only one of the three headers was 16 pins so I assumed that was the one for audio. This header also had a shroud with a notch for the key on the ribbon cable connector.

Yeah, I was trying to figure out what those other two headers were for, actually. One is five pin with one depopulated and I thought it might be SPDIF, but until I get my board and can follow the circuit board traces I won't know for sure. The other is a mystery.

Quote:
I don't have any device that uses the HDMI audio (just a projector that uses the video) so I don't know whether the HDMI audio works.

I haven't had a chance to try the new driver but I will do so soon. I did submit some issues to Intel Support a while ago and got a response. They seemed to agree that my primary issue was a real problem but they could not estimate when it would be fixed. That issue is that the HDMI output is automatically disabled if the computer wakes up while my projector is off. Which means I have to manually re-enable the HDMI output after each time it wakes itself up to record something while I was away.

Hope one of these fixes helps:

Quote:
2139090 HDMI display drops out with ADD2 card installed during ACPI test.

2160063 Blank screen displayed after unplugging HDMI TV and plugging EFP then resuming from S3.



though neither sounds like an exact match.

Quote:
Also, I recently tried the component output from the ADD2 card. (It comes with a component dongle that plugs into a mini din connector.) The component video display looked terrible, very fuzzy. I won't be using that.

Yeah, I am currently not recommending the component outputs. I am unfamiliar with which DACs Prolink is using, but more and more digital is my preferred form because it takes those kinds of issues away and I only have to deal with the DACs on the display device.

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post #23 of 518 Old 01-25-2007, 12:17 PM
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I've been lurking around researching my best option for building my HTPC for use with OTA HD, PVR, Media server and no gaming. I determined that going with an integrated graphics is a good solution for my current case of choice, the Silverstone LC-20M, but news of the HDMI output quality (vs VGA) peeked my intereste, as well the add-on card's problem with waking up from standby.

The question I wanted to pose was, would be it better just to drop extra $$$ for a dedicated passive cooling video card with HDMI (maybe a MSI NX7600GT ~$200). Do current owners using the add-on card in hindsight wish they just got a dedicated video card, or maybe a mobo that already came with an integrated HDMI output solution (Asus P5B HDMI Deluxe ~$240)
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post #24 of 518 Old 01-25-2007, 12:28 PM
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Sorry, missed the last few posts. As mentioned, the ribbon cable comes with the ADD2 card. I haven't tried playing with it for a month or so, so I'll have to try again and see how it goes, but I don't think it's working yet.
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post #25 of 518 Old 01-25-2007, 01:20 PM
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Well, bad news for people who were hoping for multiple vendors to choose from: Wintec just sent word out today that their HDMI ADD2 card is cancelled. Molex was supposedly working on one, too, but I haven't heard a thing from them about it ever.

anarchys_revenge,

Where have you seen the ASUS P5B HDMI Deluxe? I've tried to follow its progress, but the ASUS site doesn't list it except in a press release.

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post #26 of 518 Old 01-25-2007, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael View Post

Actually, that's an analog header for the front panel, which admittedly does hook into the HD Audio codec.

Yes, my mistake for pointing to the wrong web page.
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post #27 of 518 Old 01-25-2007, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael View Post

Well, bad news for people who were hoping for multiple vendors to choose from: Wintec just sent word out today that their HDMI ADD2 card is cancelled. Molex was supposedly working on one, too, but I haven't heard a thing from them about it ever.

anarchys_revenge,

Where have you seen the ASUS P5B HDMI Deluxe? I've tried to follow its progress, but the ASUS site doesn't list it except in a press release.

Look for P5B-V HDMI - if you google it, you should find vendors selling it.
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post #28 of 518 Old 01-25-2007, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by anarchys_revenge View Post

Look for P5B-V HDMI - if you google it, you should find vendors selling it.

Froogle

None of them actually have the board yet.
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post #29 of 518 Old 01-25-2007, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Froogle

None of them actually have the board yet.

I found hits on keezno.com and frugalgear.com starting at $219. Anyone has experience with mobos with integrated graphics and HDMI output?
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post #30 of 518 Old 01-25-2007, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anarchys_revenge View Post

I found hits on keezno.com and frugalgear.com starting at $219. Anyone has experience with mobos with integrated graphics and HDMI output?

The only motherboard with IGP and HDMI out available right now is abit iL-90MV (Socket M, Intel 945GT Express, GMA 950).
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