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316 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  # 96161 21-Nov-2007 04:32
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Personally I use a NVidia 8500GT which does h.264 just perfectly, it also has HDCP, HDMI out and cost $160 bucks NZ.  Most of all its dead silent (ie passive cooling).  The initial drivers didn't scale/overscan correctly, but thats long since been fixed.  Current drivers are rock solid and output both 720p and 1080p perfectly.  It also supports all of NVideo HD Pure Video feature set.  Only down side is because its silent it takes up 2 slots.

Having said that I also have nothing against the ATI cards (have used both in the past), but when I looked I couldn't find a passively cooled ATI card which did h.264 (incl 1080p), w/HDMI for anywhere near the price...
The ATI HD 2600 cards ar this same sort of price ($140 - $180), in lots of varities including passive. All the ATI HD 2400/2600 cards have hardware h.264 and VC1 support, as well as HDCP support. Some have HDMI port on the card, some had a dongle adapter (but full HDMI support including audio on the card).

I havnt been using the card long enough to form an opinion on how solid the drivers are.



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Master Geek
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  # 96199 21-Nov-2007 11:01
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ok thats strange, totally posted a reply yesterday but didn't come up. We'll I almost brought the HVR-3000 off Trademe - http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=127221996 but decided not to bid any more considering I can buy the thing new with pck up from Tastech for $160. I'm still deciding what to buy as I also want to buy a Dreambox 500S Clone. + I need to get a dual LNB so I can get more than Optus D1 :-) Oh I think some one asked me if my pc would be fast enough to do the HD, We'll my machine is a 2.8ghz Dual Core Pentium D, 1.5gb Ram, 250gb Hard Drive (Need to get another one :-)) and a Nvidia GeForce 6500. I buiilt the machine back in april-may for about $500-$600 then got a 19' Dell LCD brand new off trademe for $280! Already had a case and other needed parts so the pc ended up costing me about $940. I've been happy with it but still, I need to get Satellite tv again, loved been able to record shows, delete the ads then compress them for later viewing.

 
 
 
 


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Ultimate Geek

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  # 96220 21-Nov-2007 14:58
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sub:
Personally I use a NVidia 8500GT which does h.264 just perfectly, it also has HDCP, HDMI out and cost $160 bucks NZ.  Most of all its dead silent (ie passive cooling).  The initial drivers didn't scale/overscan correctly, but thats long since been fixed.  Current drivers are rock solid and output both 720p and 1080p perfectly.  It also supports all of NVideo HD Pure Video feature set.  Only down side is because its silent it takes up 2 slots.

Having said that I also have nothing against the ATI cards (have used both in the past), but when I looked I couldn't find a passively cooled ATI card which did h.264 (incl 1080p), w/HDMI for anywhere near the price...
The ATI HD 2600 cards ar this same sort of price ($140 - $180), in lots of varities including passive. All the ATI HD 2400/2600 cards have hardware h.264 and VC1 support, as well as HDCP support. Some have HDMI port on the card, some had a dongle adapter (but full HDMI support including audio on the card).

I havnt been using the card long enough to form an opinion on how solid the drivers are.


I had a good look at both the 2400 PRO and the 2600 a few months ago.  I overlooked the 2400 PRO, due to problems it was having at the time decoding 1080p.  Not sure if its been fixed or not (driver issues).  The only passive 2600 I could find used dongles for HDMI, and were also dearer than the 8500GT at the time, that was enough to swing it. 

For HDMI audio NVideo use a passthrough header for audio, ATI grab it through the bus.  in my experience neither support HDMI 1.3 yet, which discounts the real reason for using HDMI for audio in the first place, but thats another discussion.   Plus my old amp only has SPDIF...

I guess my original point was, if correctly set up currently under Vista, both ATI and NVidia have good cards out there.  Both have cards that will decode h.264/VC1 and take a significant load off the CPU.  And more simply there are alot of people out there using NVidia cards in HTPC's that are very happy with them, to say "most people" - well thats a very big call...

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316 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  # 96227 21-Nov-2007 16:04
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I guess my original point was, if correctly set up currently under Vista, both ATI and NVidia have good cards out there.  Both have cards that will decode h.264/VC1 and take a significant load off the CPU. 
I agree with that point.
 
And more simply there are alot of people out there using NVidia cards in HTPC's that are very happy with them, to say "most people" - well thats a very big call...
Also true, but that wasnt me that said that. The point of my reply to your post was just let people know the ATI options were a similar price.

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  # 96232 21-Nov-2007 16:19
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RustyGonad:
I guess my original point was, if correctly set up currently under Vista, both ATI and NVidia have good cards out there.  Both have cards that will decode h.264/VC1 and take a significant load off the CPU.  And more simply there are alot of people out there using NVidia cards in HTPC's that are very happy with them, to say "most people" - well thats a very big call...


VC1 support is one area where NVidia lacks however - even the 8500's and 8600's don't do this, they only do h.264

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  # 96248 21-Nov-2007 17:17
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RustyGonad:
sbiddle:
RustyGonad:
I guess my original point was, if correctly set up currently under Vista, both ATI and NVidia have good cards out there.  Both have cards that will decode h.264/VC1 and take a significant load off the CPU.  And more simply there are alot of people out there using NVidia cards in HTPC's that are very happy with them, to say "most people" - well thats a very big call...


VC1 support is one area where NVidia lacks however - even the 8500's and 8600's don't do this, they only do h.264


Thats kinda why I used King Kong as an example, its a VC-1 encode (well atleast PowerDVD says it is).  NVidia doesn't offload 100% onto the GPU VC-1 encodes, as ATI/AMD does with the 2600XT however it must be doing something... On my machine it averages about 30% CPU utilisation on a dual core AMD 3600+.  Thats using PowerDVD 7.3, running on Vista Home Premium.

If what you are saying is correct when I pull the 8500 GT out of the machine and play King Kong VC-1, then CPU utilisation will remain at around 30% because even the 8500, and 8600 don't do VC1?  Bet you a dollar it goes through the roof and stutters like crazy... I know this because it did before I put the card in...  So it doesn't do VC-1, or doesn't do it as well as the ATI 2600XT???

So using an ATI 2600 XT it would sit at < 5% utilisation (documented in many online reviews) playing the same movie.  Does that really matter on a $160 graphics card?



















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