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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about to embark on my HTPC adventure, and as part of the process, I purchased the XFX HD-435X-YAH2 Radeon HD 4350 (due to arrive in a couple of days). I would have considered a 5xxx, but I need to input component to my older RP HDTV and I couldn't find any that support this. Due to the age of my HDTV, it does not do 1080p, just 480p, 720p, and 1080i. In further reading on this site, I am starting to wonder if this card will get into trouble with output of 1080i.


My source data at this point will only be standard DVD's I hope to rip to the HD, as well as OTA HD broadcast content recorded through an Avermedia tuner card. My (possibly erroneous) hope was that the HTPC would be able to upconvert my SD DVD's to a better resolution during playback, which look relatively blurry in 480p on the 65" screen, at least compared to the HD content I regularly watch from my satellite source. Did I make a mistake in my purchase, or should this do the job I am asking of it? At some point I would like to consider blueray as well, but with a TV that doesn't support 1080P, will I gain much from the blueray content?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by C T Riopelle /forum/post/18223339


I'm about to embark on my HTPC adventure, and as part of the process, I purchased the XFX HD-435X-YAH2 Radeon HD 4350 (due to arrive in a couple of days). I would have considered a 5xxx, but I need to input component to my older RP HDTV and I couldn't find any that support this. Due to the age of my HDTV, it does not do 1080p, just 480p, 720p, and 1080i. In further reading on this site, I am starting to wonder if this card will get into trouble with output of 1080i.


My source data at this point will only be standard DVD's I hope to rip to the HD, as well as OTA HD broadcast content recorded through an Avermedia tuner card. My (possibly erroneous) hope was that the HTPC would be able to upconvert my SD DVD's to a better resolution during playback, which look relatively blurry in 480p on the 65" screen, at least compared to the HD content I regularly watch from my satellite source. Did I make a mistake in my purchase, or should this do the job I am asking of it? At some point I would like to consider blueray as well, but with a TV that doesn't support 1080P, will I gain much from the blueray content?


It is a thing of beauty. I mean I paid $39 for it and it is passively cooled and quiet.


I played a Blu-Ray with it and ran 4 instances of SuperPI pegging my CPU to 100% and the Blu-Ray played flawlessly in the background. No pauses. No stutters. No BS. It was an amazing thing to witness. This video card is great. The only thing that may bother you is that if you use PowerDVD the audio will be decoded by the software and output in PCM. It doesn't make a difference to me whether the audio is decoded in software or the receiver.
 

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I have 4350's in all of my hptcs, work good and can't beat the $25 they are now. I will stick with these until I need to replace when I get a AVR that can do truehd and dtshd.

I do OTA, MKV, blu-ray iso;s with em.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bighick /forum/post/18223732


I have 4350's in all of my hptcs, work good and can't beat the $25 they are now. I will stick with these until I need to replace when I get a AVR that can do truehd and dtshd.

I do OTA, MKV, blu-ray iso;s with em.

My receiver does all the new formats but does it matter if the software decodes it and outputs in PCM instead of the receiver? Am I losing something in the process?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the reply SXR71. I think I'm in the same boat as you with the audio, I'm perfectly content with DTS or DD5.1 output to my AVR through the mobo optical out port. I'm not an audiophile, so as long as the sound is synched with the video and provides me with realistic surround effects, I'm good.


Based on prior feedback I got, I was confident that this cheap card does a decent job with general output, but now that I've kept reading, I have some concerns with specifics to my setup. Specifically, I'm unsure if my expectation of upconverting will do much (I don't own an upconvert DVD player, so I'm not even sure if this will be noticeable or not), or if my desire to connect at 1080i will present a problem. Maybe 720p will make for a better input stream if I'm better off with progressive? I do know that Fox HD football at 720p looks better than CBS HD football in 1080i (as viewed on my native TV tuner OTA), but I assumed that was a broadcast bandwidth problem.


I guess after reading more I'm gathering that renethx is pretty high on the higher end of the ATI card offerings for certain tasks, and I'm wondering if I should have sprung an extra 20-30 bucks to jump to the 4600 or 4700 series. Is not having a 1080p monitor going to complicate things for me?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by C T Riopelle /forum/post/18223780


Thanks for the reply SXR71. I think I'm in the same boat as you with the audio, I'm perfectly content with DTS or DD5.1 output to my AVR through the mobo optical out port. I'm not an audiophile, so as long as the sound is synched with the video and provides me with realistic surround effects, I'm good.


Based on prior feedback I got, I was confident that this cheap card does a decent job with general output, but now that I've kept reading, I have some concerns with specifics to my setup. Specifically, I'm unsure if my expectation of upconverting will do much (I don't own an upconvert DVD player, so I'm not even sure if this will be noticeable or not), or if my desire to connect at 1080i will present a problem. Maybe 720p will make for a better input stream if I'm better off with progressive? I do know that Fox HD football at 720p looks better than CBS HD football in 1080i (as viewed on my native TV tuner OTA), but I assumed that was a broadcast bandwidth problem.


I guess after reading more I'm gathering that renethx is pretty high on the higher end of the ATI card offerings for certain tasks, and I'm wondering if I should have sprung an extra 20-30 bucks to jump to the 4600 or 4700 series. Is not having a 1080p monitor going to complicate things for me?

I use HDMI I think I am getting all one of the newer formats. But really I currently use only 2 channel stereo anyway. To me movie audio is just movie audio. Music is where my audiophile side kicks in.


Actually from what I know 720p is preferable in sports and high motion video. The truth about 1080p is that it benefit from it you need to be bascially seated at distance that is twice the height of the screen or less. So most people in their setups don't actually benefit from 1080 lines of horizontal resolution.


I would need to know more about your setup to answer some of your questions. But one thing I have to say is that as long your card is outputting the native resolution of your TV/Monitor/Projector whatever DVD playback software you use will upscale to that resolution. I wouldn't worry about it personally.


As for TV broadcasts, IMHO if you connect an antenna to the TV for network TV it is much better than the cable provider's often recompressed stream. The only place we have interlaced today is in broadcast and cable 1080i. Well that and regular DVDs but most modern playback software handles de-interlacing and scaling just fine. These things were an issue years ago. I suspect some may disagree on some of this, but if so I am open to hearing the arguments.


EDIT: I just re-read your OP. Blu-Rays look amazing even on a 720p screen. I currently use a 720p projector actually. But you will have to decide for yourself. But one thing find your TV's native resolution. I think the ATI card will automatically find it and set itself up. I wouldn't use 1080i if your TV's native resolution is 720p. When the TV's spec sheet says 1080i it means that it will accept 1080i and convert it internally to the display's native resolution. With an HTPC or any source for that matter you always want to output at the native resolution of the display. That holds especially true if your TV is older and modern devices do a better job of scaling than older TVs in 99% of cases.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My HDTV is a Sony KDP-65XBR2 RP CRT (vintage 2003 or so). I'm not 100% certain, but I thought I found somewhere that my native resolution is something like 540p, although that is nowhere to be found in my owners documentation and I can't find that source anymore. All my documentation says is that component in will accept 1080i, 720p, or 480p. I do know that it appears to make no difference to my eye if I use progressive out or interlaced out on a non-upscaling DVD player (I used an original xbox for my DVD player for a while), and the TV was supposed to have one of the better scalers of its time.


So with a TV that is not 1080p capable (and maybe not even 720p native), there should still be a noticeable improvement with video quality of blueray vs regular DVD? And the opinion is that this bottom shelf card should be able to handle converting things to the best format for my TV?
 

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It is a CRT so there is no "native resolution" It should work great if you feed it 1920x1080i or 1280x720p via the component inputs. These are the "standard" HD resolutions that your display was desisgned to process. The 4350 should handle eith fine.


BB
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for that bit of info, Bigbird. I did some playing with the output from the intel onboard graphics on my wife's laptop using the component out dongle I will use with the 4350 and I got a very nice picture at 720p output, along with 666p(?) output. 1080i looked great in general, but had a very noticeable flicker. The only res that accurately fit my screen though was the 666 one. Maybe I could have fixed that if I got into some overscan settings, but it is her work issue machine and I didn't want to mess anything up.


Hopefully the 4350 lets me do some better adjustment in 1080i to fix the flicker. I wanted to watch some video sources (like CBS HD online), and I think it may have been even more crisp if I could have looked at it in 1080i. I just couldn't get access to the window controls with the borders off the screen as far as they were. I watched some SD stuff off hulu at the lower res, and it was watchable, but a bit blurry still.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!


well, after 3 hours of fighting, I'm not sure what's going on right now. I have my card in my Win7 HTPC, but I cant get any output whatsoever to the HDTV via the component dongle. I know the dongle works, since I hooked the it up on my wife's laptop (intel integrated chipset) the other day with good results. On the ATI card, it won't detect the TV at all, and if I try to force the output over the cable, it just sends scrambled info to the TV (black and white image, scrolling quickly down the screen). I thought maybe the pin outs were different (the dongle is from my dad's old nvidia card) making the component leads different, and while I got the display to get the correct color by switching the cables around, I got no combo to stabilize on the screen. The true s-video out works fine, but that isn't the resolution I'm looking for!


I do have the latest ATI catalyst 10.2 downloaded, so that shouldn't be an issue.


Anyone have any ideas on what may be causing the hangup?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Still fighting this dumb thing and honestly I'm quite confused. The card is not outputting HD through the component at all, and only wants to throw B&W video out through the 7 pin dongle component connection. The only way to get that is to tell it to output s video (which comes in with pretty blurry color), and then it at least sends a signal through the component. Anyone have any experience with component out on a 4350?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by C T Riopelle /forum/post/18243279


Still fighting this dumb thing and honestly I'm quite confused. The card is not outputting HD through the component at all, and only wants to throw B&W video out through the 7 pin dongle component connection. The only way to get that is to tell it to output s video (which comes in with pretty blurry color), and then it at least sends a signal through the component. Anyone have any experience with component out on a 4350?

I have experience with component out on 4550 -- one thing I had to set was the resolution (to 1080i), as it defaulted to PAL.


Are you getting any image on bootup?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It doesn't send anything out through component unless I force it out. Not even boot up. I did just check and it does NOT kick out s video on boot either.


This card may be defective, as when I have it in and boot under a clean XP install, mt DVD player will freeze the system if I put in a DVD, and I get sporadic smart failure reports on the hard drive too. This seems to not be an issue in 7, but makes me wonder if there is something messed up with the card itself. Everything works fine when I put my old (ancient actually, it's a geforce 4000) card back in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
looks like the answer to my problems (post 46)...

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1209388&highlight=hd+4350&page=2[/url ]


I have a 9 pin dongle that came from an old pile of parts from my dad. I think it originally shipped with his geforce 6600 card. Now I just need to find a standalone 7 pin cable that I can get my hands on without too much hassle.


still not sure why the xp install crashed so much with this card in, everything seems pretty stable under 7 though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, after playing with the 4350 for a while now (only on my 21" WS monitor, my 7 pin dongle to get to the 65" RPTV is still in transit), and it appears that I may not have enough grunt for some of the things I think I want to do. I have essentially ripped my 100 DVD collection without issue (using DVDfab), and I have done some viewing of these in PDVD9 with the upscaling options. I think the general picture is much better on the 21" LCD monitor with the PDVD options than I see when I watch directly in w7 MC, but I also do see some scenes where it looks more "synthesized" than the original. I guess that's part of what the upscaling is going to do though and my component input limitation is preventing me from hooking up a decent upscale DVD player...


I also managed to inadvertently record an episode of Jimmy Fallon one night on the OTA HD tuner card. I was very surprised that playback was not smooth at all (1080i native source). Very jerky video, although the audio seems smooth enough. In doing some looking around, it appears that I may want to bump up to a 4670 if I want to have the HP to deal with 1080i source material in an efficient manner. Bad thing is that 4670 with the HDTVout port is an endangered species. The XFX version is still available at newegg, but it is DDR2 and not DDR3. Given that my CPU is just a p4 3.4, and that I also require a means to get component out, what options should I be pursuing to get smooth playback on all video sources, considering that I will ultimately be playing back on a 1080i HDTV? Will DDR2 on a 4670 prevent it from doing what I want?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Without going and hunting for the threads, renethx has made several comments that the 4670 (and maybe its just the x670 lines) is the lowest level Radeon that handles all video tasks without issue. Given that power requirements go up quickly beyond that line, it appears that this may be the "perfect" GPU for component out required HTPC. I suspect some are able to overcome GPU deficiencies with CPU power, but my single core cpu running at 3.4 GHz may hit the wall relatively easily. While my DVD playback at all resolutions is good (both in PQ and smoothness), just the 1080i native source material is causing me some concern. My dad says he'll take the 4350 off my hands if I want to upgrade (hes using a Geforce 6600 currently and does some video editing), so I am thinking that if the 4350 is holding me back I may want to upgrade before the TVout option dies altogether.
 
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