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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After several replies on other threads and quite a bit of reading, I have decided on an ATI Radeon 9600 (non-pro...I'm not a gamer) for my first HTPC, and first build of a computer myself (not new to computers at all, but new to doing the build myself).


But when I search for an ATI Wonder, on Newegg for example, I come up with several:


Sapphire

Transcend

Connect3d

ETC, ETC


I have been told to stay away from any SE cards.


Two Questions
1. Does it make any difference which one I purchase, especially from a stability and driver support perspective ?

2. I have also been told that if I can find one with no fan, to jump on it. I presume that is to save noise.


But, what about heat? Maybe I should get a fanless one, and add the
Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer


Any thoughts to share?


Thanks
 

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I bought the GeCube version of the ATI 9600 SE, fanless for $99 at NewEgg. Very happy and no trouble with it. It was the lowest price I found anywhere on the net for the 9600 SE.


INFOTEK|GXCUBE R9600SE 128M AGP
 

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I'm using a Gigabyte 9600 (non-pro), which is fanless. I use the latest generic Catalyst drivers downloaded from ATI.


I believe the only real difference therefore is the different output components used by the different board builders. Gigabyte works well for me, and I have also heard good reports about the Sapphire cards.


Probably not a big deal which manufacturers card you buy, unless you find a cheap one that has inferior output filter design or bad board component layout?


Just make sure you get a fanless version, and preferably a standard 9600 non-pro (not the slower SE version).


Greg
 

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What's the problem with the SE version for DVD only playback?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
huntrm


Thanks for that!


Reading the thread, someone in there states that it is not limited to teh non-pro. This seems to make me feel like I should avoid ATI Radeons. Of course, everybody complains about all cards;) .


Should I consider the next version up from 9600?
 

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Since I'm not using DVI or a component adapter it doesn't seem there will be any issue. Is there any other problem with the SE I should be aware? Mike Parker is going to move my MP-1 mod from my 9000 Pro to the Sapphire 9600 so before I send the cards to him I want to make sure there are no problems that will affect my setup with this card.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
wirelessW

I am no expert, as I'm sure you can tell. But, the only thing I have seen in a lot of reading on this forum lately re: the about why to stay away from it is that they are not a "great performer". I took these comments to be from people wanting to push their graphics cards, have good gaming capabilities, etc. I haven't noticed any comments about the SE being problematic. Even the comment about it in this thread only references it as "slower".


Oh, and by the way, I'd take slower if that's the trade off to have one that works.:)
 

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Ewingr, Thanks for the response. I thought maybe the slower comment had to only relate to game performance but wanted to make sure there wasn't something hiding out there!
 

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Ewingr -


Answer depends on what you're going to use the graphics card for. If just upscaling DVDs, then I've read that a 9200 will work fine. Many even report 8500, 8700s doing the job.


For gaming, then step up to a 9700 pro. I got my ATI 9600 non-pro to work, it just now has 3 resistors sticking out of the VGA plug to fool it when booting. It's no big deal, but just one more hassle that shouldn't exist in the quest for a fully, functional HTPC.


ATI puts out best PQ today. I've heard there's a new graphics card, maybe by S3 that will properly output via component - called S3 DeltaChrome.


Here's the link on Extemetech: http://www.extremetech.com/article2/...1417246,00.asp


However, for support and troubleshooting among members, I'd stick with ATI since there are so many of us.


AGain, 9600 non-pro is just fine, but be prepared to go do the VGA mod.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks everyone. I this is real helpful. I'll go with an ATI of some kind. Need to decide whether go to with one that supports gaming. While I don't participate in gaming now, who knows what I might want to do later.


ONe last question: Anyone know if there is any consideration on which I should use (or stay away from) if I want to add a Zalman heatpipe? Or, is that really not necessary? I see a lot about keeping the unit cool on this forum, but if the card comes fanless, maybe it's no worry.


Thanks

Roger
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
One last pass on questions:


I am leaning toward to 9700 Pro, as that alhtough most likely not, I may want to do gaming, and I tend to want to not exclude options.


That being said, as I look at them on Newegg, they are all refurbished, except for one by Powercooler. I am wondering if that is sending a signal? (So many refurbished = problems?)


Also, it looks like there is not one w/o fan. Is it feasible to remove the fan, and install a Zalman heatpipe? Would that be a bad idea? Or, is that one 'quiet enought'?


Thanks
 

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I wouldn't settle on any refirbished video cards. There is a chance you get a card with bad memory for example and sometimes it is not noticeable for a few days. Surely the manufacturers aren't retesting the cards for that period of time. To answer your first Q I would definitely choose the Connect3D 9600 non-pro. It's a true blue 9600. Stay away from Powercolor for ATI based cards IMHO. Lastle, Zalmans and similar coolers come in many flavors. I'm sure there is one for your application too. Best wishes.
 

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If you are thinking of using the AIW 9600 for a HTPC I would say "don't". I have spend hundreds of dollars and dzens of hours. I have slogged through fix after fix but today it just hangs playing simple TV even after a reinstall. If you just want to use the video players etc. then it is OK, and maybe with video out instead of HDTV it is usable but not as a HTPC.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by huntrm
Read this before you by a 9600 non-pro:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hlight=vga+mod


Rage3d also has similar thread.
That's funny since I have the ATI Radeon 9600 AGP SE card and the only connection to it is the S-Video cable that feeds my ProScan 36" CRT Standard Deffinition TV which I am looking at right now. I am using 800 X 600 res and the PQ kind of sucks. Never the less, my HTPC does indeed boot without a VGA monitor connected to it.

There is a thread around here or the MyHTPC forums somewhere that details how to use 100 Ohm resistors jumbered between the R G B pins and their respective grounds on the video card that will effetively 'fool' the ATI drivers into thinking there is a load (monitor) hanging off its outputs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I didn't understand the problem to be on the SE card, but the standard card, non-pro.


I have seen reference to doing the resistor thing, but I really don't want to do that type of tweaking.So, I have decided to pass on the 9600. I am seeing 9700 PROs at places other than Newegg, so I guess I'll not purchase from them. (But I am still left wondering why so many refurbished 9700s. Also, I see a lot of used ones on Ebay...but I am not inclined to purchase a used one).


I also am still wondering if I can take off the fan and use a Zalman Heatsink with little risk of destroying the card.
 
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