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I prefer Linux and really don't want to use Windows. I realize this limits my options and I may not be able to take advantage of GPU processing during playback, but I am willing to have my CPU do most/all of the work, as long

as I will be able to play BD movies in all the various formats (H.264, VC-1, etc.) with quality and smoothness that's as good as currently possible under Windows.


What's the best video card to go with if I want to make such an HTPC? I'm not a big time gamer, so not being able to play Crysis isn't a big deal for me. I'd like to be able to play COD4 and GTA4 (when it comes out for PC), but it's no big deal if I can't..


What's important is that I can play all Blu-Ray movies under Linux just as well as I can under Windows. I'd like to be able to do so w/o utilizing 100% of my CPU, so I can multitask reasonably well. Multitasking smoothness under load is my 2nd priority. 3rd priority is silence. I want passive cooling.


My CPU options are:


E2180 (probably overclocked to 2.8-3ghz), E8400 (either stock or OC'd to about 2.8-3ghz), or Q9450.


I don't want to pay for power I don't need, either in CPU or GPU, so what would be my best bet under Linux?


I'm looking at GF 8600 and ATI HD 3450 or 3850. Should I be looking at these or something more powerful like a GF 8800GT or ATI HD 39xx/4xxx?


And which CPU would you recommend?


Thanks in advance!
 

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I woudl shoot for any processor AMD or Intel that can get to 3ghz. I have two units setup like this and both can play BD rips pretty smoothly. I've only tested to few although they were suppose to be tough examples (tested from my friends rips). I used the newest SVN of mplayer and they played fine. YMMV and I've only run my own HD-DVD rips and normal Myth OTA HD stuff but I've not experienced any issues. I use a 6150 nvidia on one and a 7600gt nvidia on the other machine, One is a X2 pushed to 3ghz and the other a e2200 pushed to 2.9 ghz. Both are cheap mobos.

Maybe I will have a BD collection someday but I am not interested in the current catalog and only tested a few samples from my buddies collection to see if my system could handle it and I am pretty sure it can. Maybe others can expand on my comments.
 
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