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Discussion Starter #1
Well guys, I bit the bullet and changed to Radeon VE when I saw the price of $51 at www.invado.com ($62 shipped same day, got in in 2 days by UPS ground). I was hesitant at first as I have the Geforce2 GTS Pro working great under Athlon 1.3/384 Ram/12x Hitachi DVD/Win98SE using WinDVD 2.8, PowerDVD 3.0, Cinemaster 2000, and Zoomplayer 2.12.


But what the hell, I had 1 night to kill and curious about all this Radeon hype. I was especially interested in the dual monitor output as I'm having to swap cable between my LT150 and my 17" analog monitor (too cheap for good VGA switcher, ghosting on cheap VGA switcher). Since this cost the same as a cheap VGA switcher that I returned I went for it. Installation was painless: 1) switch to PCI VGA drivers, reboot, kill Nvidia drivers by uninstalling plus search and destroy in files and registry, and swapping out cards, 2) said no to plug and pray prompt, install software CD (driver v7093) which included ATI player 4.1 and Hydravision (cool name huh), 3) Rebooted and CRASHED with hard lock up.


Typical of ATI unstable drivers I thought, OK I took a deep breath said a little prayer and hard resetted. This time all worked well. Thank goodness I thought. Messed around with hydravision to enable both monitors with my 17" as primary and LT150 as secondary. Desktop showed up beautifully on both but no DVD image on 2nd monitor (it was blank--overlays not able to do dual head?). I was weird because the player panel and all the desktop are there but no DVD movie image on my 2nd monitor (LT150).


Never resolved this one so I shut down and swap cable to let my LT150 be primary and my 17" be secondary. This is OK as I don't watch movies on my 17" anyways. I like ATI player overlay controls. Zoomplayer still works using Cinemaster codecs. Other players worked flawlessly too. For some reason I prefer WinDVD image over ATI player (I know this is heresy but WinDVD seems sharper for my eyes) on this Radeon card. This is nice as WinDVD supports DTS pass through too while ATI and my other Cinemaster 2K only supports DD.


Hydravision will crash now and then one time requiring reinstallation of drivers and software as it would extend the desktop across 2 monitors instead of running simultaneously. Still a lot of voodoo compared to stable Geforce2 drivers but I'm happy. Picture quality wise, I do feel Radeon is ahead slightly--not night and day mind you but just slightly--maybe it's placebo after all the crap I went through to install it? I especially like the fact that it syncs well at 60 Hz refresh with my LT150 (Geforce2 gave a jittery desktop but OK on movie at 60Hz).


It still would not sync at 72 Hz on my LT150 (yellow/brown color screen) as it did NOT on my Geforce2. I think LT150 is weak at syncing at 72 Hz on some units (some have been successful but not me and a few others) as it occured on 2 separate video cards. Colors, banding, panning are better on Radeon but again just slightly. Would I do it again: Hell yes as it was fun. I'm keeping my Radeon (for now) and putting my Geforce2 in my kid's PC for games and stabilty.


P.S. This Radeon card has Svideo and composite too but unused in my setup. The 2nd VGA out is on a separeate card that connects to the main card via a ribbon cable. It's about 1/2 the size and weight of my Geforce2 and has just a heatsink.
 

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Huey, I tried a VE (from an Elsa Glad) some time ago and was very disappointed in the image it produced compared to the Elsa. Later tried a 64DDR which produced an amazing image with PDVD and even better with ATI.


If I remember correctly are'nt there some significant diffs between the VE and the 32/64/LE group?


Aslan...
 

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Hi Huey,


Could you test to see if the Svideo and composite video outputs are on simultaneously with the output you are currently using to your Lt150?


Also, do you know if theris a method to put addditional video cards in the same computer and output the original input, for example having the DVD's output sent out as one signal to your Lt150 and 3 additional Svideo outputs to Samsung mp170's?


Thank you very much


Fury
 

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Hi Huey,

Quote:
Desktop showed up beautifully on both but no DVD image on 2nd monitor (it was blank--overlays not able to do dual head?).
You can only have the overlay working on one display at a time but you can switch them instantaneously with hotkeys you set up in Display Properties, Settings, Advanced, Displays tab. You can have a hotkey with the projector as the only display with the overlay, the monitor being the only display with the overlay or both projector and monitor on with either one having the overlay.

In that tab, turn on or off the displays that you want and make either one the primary or seconday, with the primary having the overlay and save those in the "Scheme" box with an associated hotkey. You don't have to switch the cables.


You don't need Hydravision installed since it only provides more virtual desktops. I have not needed it in my HTPCs.


Aslan,


I don't know why you did not have a good image with your VE. If you search the forum, there are many people with the VE with excellent PQ with it and the display is no different than other Radeons. The main shortcoming of the VE is for games in that it will result in a slower frame rates. I do not play games so that does not affect me. My 2 VE-equipped htpcs produces a beautiful display using a DILA and 10' screen.


Rick
 

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Huey, I just want to tell the members that not all Radeon VE's are created equal. I have 2 VE's, one from ATI and another fom Powermagic. Their specs are the same except that the powermagic only has VGA out. This is where the likeness ends. The powermagic card does not accept the updated drivers from ATI ( I have to use the drivers that came on the CD). And the PQ of everything (DVD and desktop) is fuzzier on the powermagic card. My daughter noticed the difference also when I booted up to watch a movie with the family. I double checked by putting back the original VE card with the same settings. It seems like a timing issue, but I can not narrow it down. I am returning this card and actually ordered an 8500. I will post my findings on the PQ when it arrives. I just want to add this to warn others that when getting a Radeon card make sure that it is not a third party's product with the chip on board. Get the ATI card.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Mine said ATI on the card and It did accept v7199 beta drivers with overlay control. Main head seems better image quality than secondary head so I have my LT150 on main head and my 17" on other head. Thank you to fujmeister for your help about the overlays. My card was OEM so had no manual. Just CD driver with ATI player and card/cables. I saw the Powermagic card on the same site but did not order it (it was retail box for same $51 price) as I want ATI. I'm aware of the generic card being less quality. With the new drivers, I'm having less instability. I also engaged 4x AGP transfer via Powerstrip and this seems to help with stability. I'll go to ATI and try to find a manual for this VE card as I'm beginning to like it. Heck for $51 you can't beat it for the dual head (a quality switcher will cost you $100 at least).


Srgtfury, I'm new to the ATI VE scene and too scared to mess with Svideo and composite right now. Maybe later :)
 

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Hi Rick,


So, I take it there is no easy way to get multiple simultaneous video outputs from the same computer? I am trying to avoid a video VGA distribution device. In a pinch, I could use SVIDEO simultaneous output, to my proposed Samsung mp151 and mp171 LCD monitors.


I'll be giving you a call, if that is ok for a little help on the PC front.


Thank you very much


Rich
 

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Hi Rich,


Sorry, I didn't recall your nickname. :) How's the Crestron goin'?


I'm not the right person to ask regarding multiple video distribution system using the pc since I have never researched that area. I have read other people on this forum putting an AGP video card and a PCI video card in the same pc and getting that to work for multiple displays but I have no direct experience with that technique.


Call me anytime. I hope I can help. Did you change your bulb yet?


Rick
 

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I am also an ATI VE lover. The difference is that the DVI port is connected to Viewsonic digital VPD150 LCD monitor without the analog converter and this configuration shines! The DVI output has its own route to the overlay so both displays will play DVD. I love it.


Next time you buy display device(s), DVI interface may be more beneficial.


Regards,


dpeng
 

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Glad to hear you tried the 7199's because they do make the world of a difference in play quality and visual quality. I use Raid on Tweaker to help with certain games.
 

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The thing about win98SE and the Radeon drivers, that I have found(when doing custom timings), is that I have had to load windows on a clean drive, then direct x8, BEFORE the ATI drivers. Not after. When i did this (on two different machines) it was stable. Other than that, it was highly unstable. We tried EVERYTHING, and then stubled on this loading order...in our anger and disgust (whilst our eyes where crossing from having to re-do the HTPC for the Nth time)... But it works. It may not be a real problem for most folks, but it is paramount when trying to get to very high custom scan rates and non standard refresh timings.


So, we did windows, then two(or four color) graphics (no drivers) then network drivers..,download directx8, then the Radeon drivers.


I am trying a 8500 soon. We shall see what it can do.
 

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KBK,


Your sequence makes sense since Direct X 8(a) is required for the newest Radeon drivers to work properly and installing it first will optimize the chances for the video drivers to work.


Rick
 
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