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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, been reading the faqs and posts, etc.


Video input sources


SDI modded Panasonic DVD RV-30

SDI modded Philips DirecTivo - not modded yet

HD Satellite Box (DirecTV) - haven't gotten this yet'


Sources selected via switch feeding single SDI Silk 100 card in HTPC


DVI out to plasma screen TV


NOT intending to build on onboard DVD player (will for purposes of burning but not likely for purposes of playing source material).


With the corrected 8500 for the gamma bug I'm wondering about going with the 8500 series of ATI Radeon.


I'm also torn about 64mb vs. 128mb, i have no problem paying for 128mb but will i see any appreciable difference in performance? (will have a minimum of 256mb of RAM in the HTPC as well)


One of my big questions is, in this setup, what will be the ideal mechanism of passing through the HDTV signal or should it be passed through the HTPC at all?


I'm on information overload right now...
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by llogan
One of my big questions is, in this setup, what will be the ideal mechanism of passing through the HDTV signal or should it be passed through the HTPC at all?
I'll tackle this one and leave the others for someone else. I don't think there is any practical way to pass the HDTV DirecTV signal through the HTPC. It will be a source that you will want to send directly to your projector, or to a switcher if your projector can't handle multiple inputs. You won't have as much control over the HDTV signal as you will the HTPC source (image placement, scaling, etc.), but you probably won't need it.


BTW, I use a lowly Radeon 7000, and I am thrilled with the picture quality.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by llogan
I'm also torn about 64mb vs. 128mb, i have no problem paying for 128mb but will i see any appreciable difference in performance? (will have a minimum of 256mb of RAM in the HTPC as well)
AFAIK, 64 vs 128MB won't change anything, unless you use the card for gaming. At which point, you might see a slight increase in performane at high resolutions, or when anti-aliasing is turned on. However, those increases are only applicable when the only variable changed is the amount of memory. For example, ATI's 64MB and 128MB AIW 8500 cards have speed differences in addition to the difference in memory, which means that the performance with the 128MB version would be greater than what would be seen if the only change was the amount of memory (this is due to ATI upping the speed of the core and memory on the 128MB card).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
bump, so from the second reply it sounds like 8500 is just faster and would also give me additional marginal benefit for gaming purposes (i don't intend to use the box for gaming, although this could change)


I'm now thinking that an ATI Radeon AIW 7500 will probably suit me and save me the expense of the 8500. Any reasons not to just go ahead and get the 7500?
 

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The only reason (besides gaming) to not go with the 7500 is the increased clock speed (on the 7500) and the resulting fan on this card. The 7000 would probably be your choice (no or minimal gaming).


If gaming is (or is possibly) in the near future, the 8500 (with gamma fixed drivers - I believe Cliff when he says it is fixed) would be the card.


If you can wait a little, Matrox has a card coming out that should prove very interesting, but the price will be high initially.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What am I giving up if I go with the 7000 then besides gaming?
 

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I have used 3 Radeon cards in the last 6 months or so (64 DDR, 7200 & 8500), my limited experience with these tells me that DScaler benefits from having a faster graphics card. You probably wouldn't see the gamma problem on a plasma screen anyway. Go for the 8500.


Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
llogan begins feeling a little like a ping pong ball....decisions, decisions.... I was liking the idea of the 7000....cheap. :D Anybody know the best place to grab an 8500, otherwise I'm headed to pricewatch.
 

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You can get an 8500LE with the advantages of increased gamma control (but slower for games, it has worse core and memory speed) for ~$100.


As for DScaler running faster...a 64 DDR already has wayyyy more memory for the frame buffer then is needed unless you are doing 3 panaroma QXGA projectors or something :) There is no reason whatsoever why a better card would help out DScaler.


The only reason to switch would be the improved PQ of the 8500( possible? ATi supposedly kills the lower end cards PQ with filters) and the gamma control.
 

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Why wouldn't a faster graphics card with faster memory wouldn't help DScaler?, my experience is that it certainly does. Are you saying the bottleneck in DScaler is purely CPU related?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So what model has the heat sink (not the fan) and has a DIVI out? And does having the DIVI out matter or should I just use the VGA out?
 

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Yes, the bottleneck is purely on the CPU. The only work the graphics card can take off the processor is really 3d rendering.


Thats why you people could use a Radeon LE or a newer Radeon 8500LE with great results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So are you saying the fan does or does not matter?


The reason the fan was a concern was that I'd read that it could add some noise to the overall device. When I look at the 8500LE it has a fan.
 

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The 7500 & the 8500 both have fans - the 7200 has no fan. The ONLY reason is the noise.


The DVI depends upon your current and next display device(s) - ie what is the video going to now and what will you want in the future. DVI is supposed to be the next "standard" for passing video.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Namlemez
Yes, the bottleneck is purely on the CPU. The only work the graphics card can take off the processor is really 3d rendering.


Thats why you people could use a Radeon LE or a newer Radeon 8500LE with great results.
Actually the 3D processing is used in DXVA to speed up certain DVD playback functions. My understanding of DScaler is that it isn't actually that CPU intensive and that the high CPU utilisation is a result of it waiting for data to be moved around. With a faster graphics card (not talking 3D here) the video can be moved more quickly/efficiently which leads to lower CPU utilisation. The 8500LE is still a very fast card compared to the standard Radeon LE.
 

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DXVA is not a 3d feature but a specialized function on the graphics card. You can use it for helping out the playback of DVDs, but not DScaler, and any modern Radeon does it well/ the same.


DScaler is cpu and bus limited and mostly just needs an AGP videocard with nice 2d output. What you are saying does not make much sense, because the video card can't be slowing / speeding things up if it has very little interaction with DScaler (like it does!)


To phrase it another way:


The differentiation between the video cards mainly lies in the speed of their 3d GPU and the memory for that. Since DScaler and DVD playback do not rely on the 3d functions performed by the GPU, there is no difference in the video cards for normal HTPC usage.
 

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you can put a heatsink on the 7500, if you want to avoid noise issues, you can find one at various places, like QuietPC
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Are the fans always on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Figured as much. So I want an ATI Radeon card with a DVI out and ideally a heat sink but will take one with a fan. What model would that be? I'm so tired of looking through the pics at newegg.com, they're all a blur now.
 
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