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Hey I am new to the HTPC part of AVSforum, so if this question has been answered before I'm sorry.

I was wondering what the benefit to having a 256MB graphics card would be... Would this be more benficial to a big widescreen TV that inputs through DVI or are the extra MB mainly for people who are developing graphics???
 

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256mb is mainly useful for gaming only. Games like Doom 3 see a significant gain from it.


Benchmarks from some sites show the real benefit for Home Theater being in the GeForce 6600 series, as CPU usage drops to around 33% from the ~ 60% range for WMV-HD thanks to the GPU.
 

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256MB video cards maintain high frame rates while rendering exquisite detail in simulator games including flight simulators. 3D rendering, surface textures, etc. all benefit from extra video memory.


Many HTPC configurations use what is called the "video overlay space" and frankly 64MB of memory will suffice for the highest resolution of 1080p at True Color in what is essentially a 2D image. Most displays can't support such a high resolution and require less than 64MB.


Finally, some hardware such as the popular MyHD tuner and the Sigma Designs X-Card (or the older Hollywood+) use "passthrough" cables where they replace the video signal from your video card with their own. Under these conditions it does not matter what video card you have as it is not being used.


After adding some hardware to my downsized ATX desktop case recently (larger hard drives and a DVD burner) I was getting overtemp alarms. Therefore I removed the fast 128MB Radeon and my vintage Sound Blaster Live! and Hoontech digital bracket board to save power. In place of these I enabled the onboard graphics and sound on my Intel D815EEA2 motherboard.


The case runs 11 degrees cooler now and the temperature alarms have ceased. I notice absolutely no audio or video differences during my HDTV and during DVD playback using the passthrough signals and SPDIF sound to my receiver (from the MyHD and Hollywood+ boards). The Windows desktop looks very decent at XGA resolution and 32-bit color.


Theoretically I lost the ability to play PC games at high frame rates and to get SPDIF surround sound from a software DVD player. This means nothing to me, HDTV is still jaw-dropping as is DVD playback, on my XGA projector. Dscaler looks and works identically when displaying DirecTiVo images from the HDVR2 PVR (also with SPDIF audio). Now I can play HDTV recordings back from DVD, which is what interests me now.


If you think you want to play games on the big screen, or indulge in ffdshow post-processing of video images, I'd suggest a medium-fast video card with 128MB of memory. With money to burn (or a burning desire to boast about your HTPC) I'd indulge in a 256MB board.


Gary
 

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Be advised, you really don'y need ANY 256MB card to watch movies.


Also, far more important than the memory is that raw horsepower of your chosen graphics chip.

Ex: My MSI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB will kick the pants off of ANY Radeon 9600 256MB card (or NVDIA equivilant) ...in any game at ANY resolution. In fact, I have my card heavily overclocked and actually will score equal or better than an overclocked 9800XT 256 (+- a few % depending on game and resolution --- my card actually has the 9800XT core )

My card also kicks butt vs the Radeon X600 256 (another loser in the gaming dept.)


I would go so far as to say that any game that actually will give you 'real world' benifits ( not some BS +- a few FPS) with 256MB of memory also demands the very latest graphics chips from either ATI or NVIDIA.

Google some 9800XT 246MB reviews that compare to the 9800 Pro 128.

'Real World' results are no difference, the benchmarks show minimal improvenment if any.

The 256MB cards only show any tangible effects at the highest resolutions....and with a Radeon 9600 those resolutions are mostly unplayable, negating the value of the added memory. Catch-22 !


My advice is if you want to game, get either an ATI X800 or NVDIA 6600-6800 with 256MB of memory. If not, troll the forum for the card with the best image quality for your specific set-up.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Jones_Rush
Their price is out the roof.
You get what you pay for. If you are a gamer, there's your info.


However, if you want to get the most card for as little money as possible, look for a Radeon 9700 Pro on E b a y. Tom's Hardware indicates that, for the money, you can't get any better.


It's only a 128 MB card, but it doesn't require a second mortgage.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Gary McCoy
....


Finally, some hardware such as the popular MyHD tuner and the Sigma Designs X-Card (or the older Hollywood+) use "passthrough" cables where they replace the video signal from your video card with their own. Under these conditions it does not matter what video card you have as it is not being used.


....
This is not true. The HD output does not come from the video card, but any other video does. The pass through just switches between the HD card output and the graphics card output so you can get by with only one connection to your display.
 

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What I meant by that is my two main applications, HDTV and DVD playback, use passthrough cables versus overlay. I do use the motherboard video for desktop display and for Dscaler which does use video overlay. The intent of the message was to communicate that -for the purposes I use the machine for today- I do not miss the Radeon.


Gary
 

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Quote:
Many HTPC configurations use what is called the "video overlay space" and frankly 64MB of memory will suffice for the highest resolution of 1080p at True Color in what is essentially a 2D image. Most displays can't support such a high resolution and require less than 64MB.
Gary this knid of in some way rigth min video can't even handel 1920x1080 heck most of them can just bearly handel 1600x1200


For thoses folks that don't know

Memory in MB = (X-Resolution * Y-Resolution * Bits-Per-Pixel) / (8 * 1,048,576)

Quote:
Finally, some hardware such as the popular MyHD tuner and the Sigma Designs X-Card (or the older Hollywood+) use "passthrough" cables where they replace the video signal from your video card with their own. Under these conditions it does not matter what video card you have as it is not being used.
Gary the Xcard dose work that way in fact it work just like old 3Dfx Voodoo card dose which only dispaly full screen over-riding the Video card signal it self but how ever with the Hollywood+ and other they allow for window mode which enbeded on top Video card signal which not done in same way as Xcard it done way diff.

Briands you need re-read what Gary worte to me it same what you just said.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by dguns
256mb is mainly useful for gaming only. Games like Doom 3 see a significant gain from it.


Benchmarks from some sites show the real benefit for Home Theater being in the GeForce 6600 series, as CPU usage drops to around 33% from the ~ 60% range for WMV-HD thanks to the GPU.
Do you have links to these benchmarks? Is this hardware decoding/assist also available on the higher end but older 6800? I was under the impression that even though it's a listed feature, cards were shipped with it broken.
 

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Couldn't find the article again.


This one addresses the benefits of the GF 6xxx series for unloading the CPU video playback.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/vid...-theory_6.html


"When using ForceWare 65.76 we always saw a considerable alleviation of the CPU load, and NVIDIA’s GPUs had an advantage over the rest of the participants, save for the S3 DeltaChrome S8 Nitro with its Chromotion engine. Thus, it is now clear that the video processor, highly touted by NVIDIA, does work. Moreover, it works just excellently!"
 

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It only applies to the 6600 series. The 6800's VPU is definitively broken. Again though, this ONLY affects WMV9 playback. Not DVD playback. And for DVD playback the 6800 series is superior when properly tweaked.


As for the advantages of 256mb memory, they are often found not only in the memory itself but in the overall power of the card in question. Typically these are the higher end cards with faster cores, more open pipelines, etc; If you want to push your HTPC to the max (and I'm talking video playback, not games here) you do need one. But whether you'll notice the extra benefits is dependent on a number of different factors.
 

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Could be... only time will tell ;)
 

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In every generation, there are three memory configurations strapped to the current GPU:


1. The right amount

2. Too little

3. Too much


This has been true since the original Voodoo video accelerators, and continues to be true today. Please note that any amount applies to games / 3d work, any HTPC is unaffected by the amount of RAM on a video card at this point.


For the current generation of GPUs, 128 MB is the right amount. It is the perfect balance between maximal graphical detail, ala texturing, and the maximal amount of work the actual GPU can handle.


256 MB is too much. The only game to actually offer a mode to 'tax' the full amount is Doom 3, and aside from having uncompressed textures, the benefit is zero. The reason is that because even significant compression is so good that there is a marginal perceptible difference between raw textures and compressed textures up to 8:1. The only way to improve visual quality, aside from using 2048x2048 32 bit textures is to increase the amount of 'layers' you add, like a specular map, bump map, environment map, etc. With 8x1 architecture, you'll be capped well before you have an opportunity to use that much texture data.


64 MB is not enough, well because at that level, using standard sized textures (1024x1024) is challenging. When you reduce the image size, you will lose significant quality on larger objects, especially up close. You may even have to force 16-bit textures and when you do multiple layers, compression and blending artifacts will show up at lower precision. That said, while 64 MB can get the job done, the GPU is not being used to its full potential.


For an HTPC, a 64 MB board would be more than sufficient. Anything else is mostly for gamers.
 

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Again... I respectfully disagree.
 

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for me my 9600 se works great its the xtasy and i got it for 79 bucks. has dvi svid and vga output and supports directx 9.1. also supports the best resolution without the need of power strip and best of all no fan
 
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