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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If all you are doing with your HTPC, is to watch DVDs, does the video card matter at all. ( Assuming that it has some minimum meory to cover the display panel resolution - like say 64 MB memory ).

Will you see any difference in the picture quality - particularly in terms of macroblocking and other compression artifacts - if you use a better card.


Thanks

--nw
 

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Todays onboard graphics are far superior to cards that were available even three years ago. If you are not doing 3D gaming or high usage FFdshow it is not that important. I have a system with Intel Extreme II graphics that can play every clip WMF or TP without droping a frame and 99% as good as any AGP card I have tried. Offloading some CPU usage is gained with the AGP/PCIE but if you are only playing back media (not multitasking) you will not see any major differences.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks KWhite :

Thats what thought, for an HTPC ( without gaming ) that is mostly meant for full screen DVD playback/photoshow etc. once it meets a minimum standard, the card should not be a serious criterion.


Also since DVD playback uncompression and processing is not done by teh card ( 2D processing ? ), artifacts like macroblocking etc will not depend on the card at all.


Did I get that right ?


--nw
 

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Yes, if you have a large display and want to upconvert DVD to higher resolutions.

No, if your display is smaller or just using windvd or power dvd to view movies....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
miketech :

Why would the screen size matter at all. I thought almost always you choose a resolution of 1280 x 720 or something like that.

( Assuming above that you are using DVI on a pixel based ( NON CRT ) display )


--nw
 

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Screen size, not resolution. The larger the screen size, like 65" or above, then you may see a noticable difference w/ a newer video card. If you use a 22" display, any differences may not be noticable.
 

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yes video cards make a difference

if you are using an application that does VMR9 rendering

then your video card will make a huge impact on the image quality

furthermore nvidia has added hardware de interlacing and image post processing to their video when using their mpeg decoders


and it appears the low end cards do not have the features of the more expensive cards

here's the chart

http://www.nvidia.com/page/purevideo_support.html


if you are using ffdshow the video card will have less of an impact as hardware assisted decoding must be disabled

and when using older video renders like overlay, your video card again will be less of an impact on image quality


with very high resolution TVs, like 1080p TVs, many of the lower end video cards cannot render the video fast enough to be smooth,

so you will get stuttering or slow downs in playback


this is especailly true when using VMR9 render and playing HDTV content
 

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A lot of video cards will not display 16:9 formats. They will display a 16:9 window on a 4:3 display. Unless you have a 4:3 PJ, you will not be able to get 1:1 pixel maping (for the best resolution).


There are only a small set of video cards that have the capability of displaying 16:9 formats, and the ones that are talked about here are either use one of the ATI or the Nvidia chip sets. They also, apparently require PowerStrip software drivers to provide the format. I have an ATI 9600xt, which is supposed to work, but I haven't been able to get it to work right yet (an ATI 9600 is working in a friends PC with the same PJ that I have :mad: ).


{See the previous post.}
 

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what makes you think you need to powerstrip to output a 16:9 resolution or am I not following?


I am pretty sure almost any recent aTI or nvidia video cards can output 16:9 resolutions
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
( Since two people mentioned ffdshow, I did some googling. It looks like a codec without much documentation. Is this a popular well accepted codec. Is this better than the ones coming with WinDVD, Windows Media Centre, Nero showtime etc )


1. When you have multiple codecs installed which one will be used when you play a DVD ? ( Is it based on which program you use ? like Nero Showtime will use its own codec etc )


2. I have a "ATI X300LS 64MB DDR DVI Graphics Card with PCI express" that came with the Windows Media Centre. I know very little about the video card world. How good is this card. Should I get another one, if all Im using it for is watching DVDs and slides ?

3. From your suggestion it appeared that this will not be good enough if I buy a HD tuner card correct ?

4. In general I was under the impression that HD tuner cards produce a video stream in proprietary format ( or maybe Mpeg2 ) at the PCI bus, which is then picked up by its software driver to produce the bit by bit actual video on the video card memory. Or in other words all the rendering, interpolation, smoothening etc work is carried out by the software, as it forms the bit by bit image. But this cannot be true as this will mean a very heavy data transfer rate at the video card interface ( AGP or PCI Express ). Not only that the CPU will be very heavily loaded.

Does anybody know how exactly this is done ?

This understanding ( mostly wrong ) was also teh basis for me thinking that video card quality does not matter if one only watches DVDs on his HTPC.


Thanks for reading

--nw
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by norris_watkins
If all you are doing with your HTPC, is to watch DVDs, does the video card matter at all?


Not if you're using MyHD, or someother hardware HD card to view the DVD.
 

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Maybe I'm missing something, but don't advanced graphics features (like pixel shading) affect quality in any overlay? In VMR9 I've read it definitely makes a big impact. I know a lot of people here know a lot more than I do, it could easily be my misunderstanding. Then there are also connectivity issues (DVI vs VGA) and, as mentioned, display modes. Not saying you need an advanced gaming card, but it seems to me that the cut-off where anything more is mostly wasted money is a lot higher than indicated.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kny3twalker
what makes you think you need to powerstrip to output a 16:9 resolution or am I not following?


I am pretty sure almost any recent aTI or nvidia video cards can output 16:9 resolutions
I'm projecting a 110" diagonal image with a Marquee 8000. HTPC's got the RAM, DVD player. All I need is the video card.


Which would you say is the top 5 video cards out there for 16:9 format?
 

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in my experience, absolutelyyes.


it depends on the video card, the image output mode (s-vid, vga, dvi, component) and the display.


you can have unacceptable, acceptable, and stunning dvd playback depoending on all three of those variables.
 

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top 5 video cards


well I will say the 6800s, 6600 GTs, x800s, and x700s are all ISF certified


any of these video card should work fine

and there are so many brands


the fifth card would be the 7800 cause it has Quicktime HD acceleration, H.264 or whatever it is

would be nice to have


I would say with no particular order either


unless you want the H.264 acceleration which is only on the 7800 series


oh and only the standard edition non GT/ non Ultra PCI express 6800 has WMV acceleration

thats something to consider when looking or buying

another just nice feature to have
 
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