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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking to upgrade my current Video Card:


Background: I currently have a myHD card, but would like the ability to playback previous captures while I am recording others. I am also eventually going to be installing SageTV or possibly BeyondTV, and I have a feeling that most of my TV watching will be done via that eventually. So, I need a Video Card


My TV's native resolution is 1080i, but my current Video card has a hard time displaying 1080 without a whole lot of flicker. In addition to the flicker, it makes text so small on my 32" CRT, that I cannot use it as a monitor without some major squinting. I don't intend to do any Internet browsing or anything like that on my HDTV, I just like the ability to see my desktop & zoom around if my laptop's tied up (or I can't use VNC to access to my HTPC). My TV does a good enough job scaling 720p that I am happy with leaving the card's output at 720p.


Right now I have a Sapphire Radeon 9550 ( specs ). I am generally happy with the card, but I regret buying a card with a fan. My HTPC is in my living room & the card's fan is the loudest thing in my HTPC. I even bought a 'quiet' fan and replaced it on my card, but it ended up being no quieter.


Additionally, I would like to be able to play 1080i sources (.ts/.tp) files using 720p output (via DVI to HDMI) from my Video Card. Currently I am able to do HD playback via VLC player. I am able to watch 720p programming (abc & fox) flawlessly currently through my 9550. However, 1080 has some pretty irritating artifacting (for lack of a better word) during playback, and if I am upgrading cards, I want to fix this if I can.


Having said all that, Here are my priorities in order:
  1. It has to be AGP with DVI out. Preferably ATI based. I am flexible to going NVidia, but I am more familiar with ATI products.
  2. QUIET: I would like it to be fanless or at least a super quiet fan built for HTPC.
  3. PRICE: No more than $150 I played $60 for the 9550, and am happy with the performance for the price, but would entertain spending more if it helps with the playing of 1080i material.
  4. Video playback: As I mentioned above 720p source is great, but 1080i source struggles. I can live with it for now (I use myHD via component for most playback), but would like it to be better.
  5. Overscan adjustment: I am currently using CCC to do a custom resolution to avoid overscan. I haven't used PowerStrip before & would rather not take the time to, if there is an easier way.
  6. Gaming: I do very little gaming, but would like to have the option in the future.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sterno3
I am looking to upgrade my current Video Card:


Background: I currently have a myHD card, but would like the ability to playback previous captures while I am recording others. I am also eventually going to be installing SageTV or possibly BeyondTV, and I have a feeling that most of my TV watching will be done via that eventually. So, I need a Video Card


My TV's native resolution is 1080i, but my current Video card has a hard time displaying 1080 without a whole lot of flicker. In addition to the flicker, it makes text so small on my 32" CRT, that I cannot use it as a monitor without some major squinting. I don't intend to do any Internet browsing or anything like that on my HDTV, I just like the ability to see my desktop & zoom around if my laptop's tied up (or I can't use VNC to access to my HTPC). My TV does a good enough job scaling 760p that I am happy with leaving the card's output at 760p.


Right now I have a Sapphire Radeon 9550 ( specs ). I am generally happy with the card, but I regret buying a card with a fan. My HTPC is in my living room & the card's fan is the loudest thing in my HTPC. I even bought a 'quiet' fan and replaced it on my card, but it ended up being no quieter.


Additionally, I would like to be able to play 1080i sources (.ts/.tp) files using 720p output (via DVI to HDMI) from my Video Card. Currently I am able to do HD playback via VLC player. I am able to watch 760p programming (abc & fox) flawlessly currently through my 9550. However, 1080 has some pretty irritating artifacting (for lack of a better word) during playback, and if I am upgrading cards, I want to fix this if I can.


Having said all that, Here are my priorities in order:
  1. It has to be AGP with DVI out. Preferably ATI based. I am flexible to going NVidia, but I am more familiar with ATI products.
  2. QUIET: I would like it to be fanless or at least a super quiet fan built for HTPC.
  3. PRICE: No more than $150 I played $60 for the 9550, and am happy with the performance for the price, but would entertain spending more if it helps with the playing of 1080i material.
  4. Video playback: As I mentioned above 760p source is great, but 1080i source struggles. I can live with it for now (I use myHD via component for most playback), but would like it to be better.
  5. Overscan adjustment: I am currently using CCC to do a custom resolution to avoid overscan. I haven't used PowerStrip before & would rather not take the time to, if there is an easier way.
  6. Gaming: I do very little gaming, but would like to have the option in the future.
No matter what video card you go with text in 1080i is unreadable, just a fact of the game.


you could try a cooler like this http://www.arctic-cooling.com/vga2.php?idx=36 to see if that meets your needs before buying a whole new video card.


Also with the tv setup you have now are you using DVI or the DVI to component adapter to connect to your TV? if your not using the component adapter I recomend you try that, as its a known fact that you can get flicker free 1080i with ATI cards using the component adapter.


- Josh
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by umdivx
No matter what video card you go with text in 1080i is unreadable, just a fact of the game.


you could try a cooler like this http://www.arctic-cooling.com/vga2.php?idx=36 to see if that meets your needs before buying a whole new video card.


Also with the tv setup you have now are you using DVI or the DVI to component adapter to connect to your TV? if your not using the component adapter I recomend you try that, as its a known fact that you can get flicker free 1080i with ATI cards using the component adapter.


- Josh
Thanks for the input: I could live unreadable text, as long as the playback was good. I am wondering if the 720p content would then suffer (when I change my card's output to 1080). Is it easier for a Video Card to up-sample (from 720 to 1080) than it is for it to down sample (1080i to 720p)?


The more I think about this, I am wondering if the reason is that the video card is producing a 1080p signal, and the flicker is because my TV is not sure what to do with it. I can't remember if CCC has the option to output 1080i (30 Hz?), but that might be something to try.


I had thought about the component adapter, but right now, I don't have any available component in, and the $10 dvi to hdmi cable was a bunch cheaper than buying the ATI component dongle.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by umdivx
No matter what video card you go with text in 1080i is unreadable, just a fact of the game.


you could try a cooler like this http://www.arctic-cooling.com/vga2.php?idx=36 to see if that meets your needs before buying a whole new video card.


Also with the tv setup you have now are you using DVI or the DVI to component adapter to connect to your TV? if your not using the component adapter I recomend you try that, as its a known fact that you can get flicker free 1080i with ATI cards using the component adapter.


- Josh
One other thing too, I looked at getting a cooler, but they cost 1/2 as much as my video card cost, i don't do overclocking (so I should have gotten a passivly cooled anyhow), and I would have to give up a PCI slot, and I don't have any to spare...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozy666
FYI, it's 720p, not 760p


Ozy
Thanks!


Brainfart...I edited my post to fix my booboo. :eek:
 

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Nvidia cards are loud too. Your 1080i issues sound like a software problem.

Buying new hardware may not fix your problem.

Use powerstrip to adjust refresh rates. Powerstrip can create shortcuts of 1080i for video/film DVD and 720p for readable text


Does this TV have a VGA port? HDMI may be limited to standard HDTV spec and may not accept custom refresh rates. ATI seems to still have 1080i/DVI issues.

A component switcher is another option.


What decoder/player do you use to playback tp/ts files?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by miketech
Nvidia cards are loud too. Your 1080i issues sound like a software problem.

Buying new hardware may not fix your problem.

Use powerstrip to adjust refresh rates. Powerstrip can create shortcuts of 1080i for video/film DVD and 720p for readable text


Does this TV have a VGA port? HDMI may be limited to standard HDTV spec and may not accept custom refresh rates. ATI seems to still have 1080i/DVI issues.

A component switcher is another option.


What decoder/player do you use to playback tp/ts files?
No VGA port. I don't think I am limited, because i am using CCC to define a custom resolution to eliminate overscan (1248x705 or something close), and my TV handles it gracefully & reports it as 720p.


I currently use VLC player (for simplicity of use), and have toyed around with HDPump through Media Center, as well as Media Player Classic, and some others. I have toyed with the idea of going the ZoomPlayer route, but it hasn't been a high enough priority.


The reason this is coming up is my dad needs a better Video Card to drive his LCD at native resolution. Mine would work great for him. Since I can cut bait without losing the money I have sunk into my 9550, I am exploring the possibility of upgrading, while trying to future proof myself for software playback in the near future. Job 1 is getting a quiet card. The rest is just gravy.


I was wondering if there is a recommendation for the consummate HTPC card that still meets my requirements.
 

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OK, here is my 2 cents.


I had very similar problems with screen resolution and flicker, I had a Panasonic 34" HDTV with HDMI input and had my homne built HTPC hooked up to it. I tried Powerstrip numerous times and could not come to a resolution that worked for me. It seems the Panasonic CRTs suffer from more than the average overscan. So I gave up, sold the Pany for just about what I bought it for, and bought a Viewsonic 32" LCD HDTV and have been very happy ever since. It's not perfect, but it is way better than dealing with overscan and the frustrations and time consumption that go with it.


The Veiwsonic does have this weird quirk of resizing my Cable picture that is fead via YpBpR (or what ever the proper letter sequence is of the preceeding), so if anybody has any ideas on how to resolve that I would love to read about it. Ya, I know, wrong Thread for that, but a search, much reading, Comcast Support and Veiwsonic Support have all been fruitless for a solution.


As far as the Silent Graphics Card goes, I have an Aopen nVidia 6600 card with 128 MB of dedicated RAM and have had no problems with it at all and love it. The nVidia Driver does a lot of what Powerstrip does, but not all, and seems to work with the nVidia Chip in a friendlier way than Powerstrip does (just one mans potentialy ignorant opinion). It is passivley cooled and handles Half Life 2 without any problems at all.


I have no idea how that compares to the ATI cards that have been mentioned or if this is of any help at all. Hope you find a solution soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the attention, but my TV is here to stay for a while. :D


I have done some more shopping & I think I am going to pick this video card up. I just recieved the KWorld ATSC-110, and I am testing BeyondTV for it's 'live TV' and playback. I am seeing the same issues as with VLC. 720p plays fine & looks great, where as 1080i really struggles with artifacts, stutters and motion issues.


I am starting to think that it is my processor not my Video Card that is the bottleneck. I guess that downrezing the native 1080 to 720p might be too much work for my Sempron 2800 & 768MB RAM to keep up with.

Does any one have suggestions for offloading or optimizing the downrezzing of 1080 signal to 720?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrbowie
OK, here is my 2 cents.


I had very similar problems with screen resolution and flicker, I had a Panasonic 34" HDTV with HDMI input and had my homne built HTPC hooked up to it. I tried Powerstrip numerous times and could not come to a resolution that worked for me. It seems the Panasonic CRTs suffer from more than the average overscan. So I gave up, sold the Pany for just about what I bought it for, and bought a Viewsonic 32" LCD HDTV and have been very happy ever since. It's not perfect, but it is way better than dealing with overscan and the frustrations and time consumption that go with it.


The Veiwsonic does have this weird quirk of resizing my Cable picture that is fead via YpBpR (or what ever the proper letter sequence is of the preceeding), so if anybody has any ideas on how to resolve that I would love to read about it. Ya, I know, wrong Thread for that, but a search, much reading, Comcast Support and Veiwsonic Support have all been fruitless for a solution.


As far as the Silent Graphics Card goes, I have an Aopen nVidia 6600 card with 128 MB of dedicated RAM and have had no problems with it at all and love it. The nVidia Driver does a lot of what Powerstrip does, but not all, and seems to work with the nVidia Chip in a friendlier way than Powerstrip does (just one mans potentialy ignorant opinion). It is passivley cooled and handles Half Life 2 without any problems at all.


I have no idea how that compares to the ATI cards that have been mentioned or if this is of any help at all. Hope you find a solution soon.
 

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I have to amend my previous post. My video card is not passively cooled, it does have a fan. I was in the box other day cleaning and looked at the card and realized I am a Bonehead. The fan is nearlysilent, but it is there.


Well, I can't hear it over the case fan that sounds like a blow dryer.
 

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You should consider ditching the HTPC issue altogether and getting a ShowCenter SC200. Tiny fanless networked media player that plays all my HD (myHD MDP130) including original 19.2Mbps files, and other stuff (photos, music) noiselessly.


Huge caveat--it doesn't do live TV...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sterno3
I have done some more shopping & I think I am going to pick this video card up. I just recieved the KWorld ATSC-110, and I am testing BeyondTV for it's 'live TV' and playback.
Just keep in mind that the 9600 series doesn't have the memory bandwidth for HDTV at high output resolutions (it's actually not much different from your current 9550). The consensus here is that the 6600GT is the best APG card that supports HDTV, and it's available fanless (not sure if it occupies an extra slot).
 
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