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# 18525 13-Jan-2008 20:16
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I'm wanting to build a Home Theatre PC, which will include HDMI and a video card, which would be the better way to go?

1) A motherboard with HDMI built-in...
B) Or a video card with HDMI built-in...

If I opt for a motherboard with HDMI built-in, will the system still use the video card for the graphics, and output that through the motherboard HDMI port?....or will it revert to the onboard graphics? (using the motherboard HDMI connection will mean the video card outputs would not be used)

If I go the other way, and opt for a video card with HDMI built-in, will it provide full digital audio as normal?

Lame computer basics 101 question I know but please enlighten me.




HTPC: Silverstone LC16M | abit IP35 Pro | Intel Quad Q9400 2.5GHz | Corsair 520HX | Samsung SH-S203D DVD Writer | NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 512MB RAM | 2 x 750GB Western Digital Caviar GP HDD | 4GB DDR800 RAM | D-Link DWA-547 Rangebooster N 650 Desktop | Blackgold BGT3540 | Microsoft Remote Control & Remote Keyboard for Windows Media Center | Windows 7 64bit

Mobile: Nokia N97, Nokia N900, Samsung Galaxy S, HTC EVO 3D, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S III (current)

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  # 104598 13-Jan-2008 20:35
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If you opt for a board with HDMI output you will be using the onboard GFX chipset. Typically at present most boards with HDMI output are using the ATI 690 chipset which uses a X1250 video chipset. This is capable of decoding HD-DVD and Blu Ray onboard as well as the H.264 DVB-T trial but uses ~80% CPU time on a reasonable fast (around 4600-5000) AMD CPU. This chipset does allow combined audio and video over the HDMI.

The only real advantage of getting an external card is that with something like the ATI 2600 you get H.264 acceleration for HD content. ATI cards can provide audio+video over HDMI, some NVidia cards can but it also does tend to be a bit of a problematic issue with some as well. There is bound to be somebody here who's an NVidia user who will be able to give you some better info, I'm an ATI fan now.



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  # 104601 13-Jan-2008 20:58
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So your saying if I have a motherboard with build-in HDMI, that will be satifactory for video, including HD...no need for a video card...

Bearing in mind I am looking at TV tuners, possibly the Hauppauge WinTV-NOVA-T-500 (dual DVB-T tuner), will the onboard graphics suffice for this?




HTPC: Silverstone LC16M | abit IP35 Pro | Intel Quad Q9400 2.5GHz | Corsair 520HX | Samsung SH-S203D DVD Writer | NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 512MB RAM | 2 x 750GB Western Digital Caviar GP HDD | 4GB DDR800 RAM | D-Link DWA-547 Rangebooster N 650 Desktop | Blackgold BGT3540 | Microsoft Remote Control & Remote Keyboard for Windows Media Center | Windows 7 64bit

Mobile: Nokia N97, Nokia N900, Samsung Galaxy S, HTC EVO 3D, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S III (current)

 
 
 
 


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  # 104605 13-Jan-2008 21:15
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TheBartender: So your saying if I have a motherboard with build-in HDMI, that will be satifactory for video, including HD...no need for a video card...

Bearing in mind I am looking at TV tuners, possibly the Hauppauge WinTV-NOVA-T-500 (dual DVB-T tuner), will the onboard graphics suffice for this?


I could decode the DVB-T trials here with my Asus M2A board. The problem was decoding the HD stream used most of my CPU which would mean you could not record and play back video simultaneously or record two channels at once. If you're going for dual tuners you'll be far better off going for an external card that does H.264 such as an ATI. I would imagine we'll start seeing accelerated H.264 support in integrated chipsets in the not too distant future just like accelerated MPEG2 became the norm.



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  # 104613 13-Jan-2008 21:35
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Cheers sbiddle for the answers so far.

So that brings me full circle...
So bearing in mind I want a dual tuner and HDMI connectivity...

Whats more favorable? HDMI built into the motherboard or video card?

If video card, will that stil provide full digital 7.1 audio through that HDMI connection?
If motherboard, will connecting through that still use the video card graphics or revert to the onboard graphics?




HTPC: Silverstone LC16M | abit IP35 Pro | Intel Quad Q9400 2.5GHz | Corsair 520HX | Samsung SH-S203D DVD Writer | NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 512MB RAM | 2 x 750GB Western Digital Caviar GP HDD | 4GB DDR800 RAM | D-Link DWA-547 Rangebooster N 650 Desktop | Blackgold BGT3540 | Microsoft Remote Control & Remote Keyboard for Windows Media Center | Windows 7 64bit

Mobile: Nokia N97, Nokia N900, Samsung Galaxy S, HTC EVO 3D, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S III (current)

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  # 104614 13-Jan-2008 21:37
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While most integrated graphics solutions with onboard HDMI are based around the AMD 690 chipset, there is an nVidia based motherboard (nForce 630i w/ GeForce 7100) that has integrated HDMI - but as a long time nVidia fan, I'd recommend that you buy a motherboard and an ATI card.

However: If you have a motherboard with integrated HDMI, and you then install a 'real' graphics card, you won't be able to use the HDMI on the motherboard. If you're going to be using Vista, I'd again recommend that you steer clear of an nVidia card, too. Their current drivers are a vast improvement when compared to past iterations, but still nowhere near as good as their XP series [IMO].

In other words, get a motherboard that suits your requirements + an ATI 2400/2600 card with onboard HDMI.




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  # 104617 13-Jan-2008 21:47
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munchkin: However: If you have a motherboard with integrated HDMI, and you then install a 'real' graphics card, you won't be able to use the HDMI on the motherboard.

Ok, so as I am planning dual DVB-T tuners, then I would be best to go with a 'real' graphics card for the reasons pointed out by sbiddle above...

And if what your saying is correct, then I might as well not bother choosing a motherboard with built-in HDMI as that will be rendered useless by the video card (one of my questions above)...

That being the case, then I should try to find a video card with HDMI built-in.

My last question then, is will the sound still be full HD digital 7.1 channel through a video card with HDMI?




HTPC: Silverstone LC16M | abit IP35 Pro | Intel Quad Q9400 2.5GHz | Corsair 520HX | Samsung SH-S203D DVD Writer | NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 512MB RAM | 2 x 750GB Western Digital Caviar GP HDD | 4GB DDR800 RAM | D-Link DWA-547 Rangebooster N 650 Desktop | Blackgold BGT3540 | Microsoft Remote Control & Remote Keyboard for Windows Media Center | Windows 7 64bit

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  # 104618 13-Jan-2008 21:52
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Not AFAIK, the ATI 2x00 cards output 5.1 surround sound. I'm pretty sure that the Nvidia cards only output 5.1 too.




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  # 104629 13-Jan-2008 22:49
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Hey Munchkin - what are the problems you speak about with the NVidia Vista drivers in comparison to the XP ones - seriously I'm keen to know...  My experience under Vista with NVidia has been very very good, especially given that NVidia driver don't support any h.264 decoding under XP.

Just a couple of other things to consider:

If sound is a factor have a serious look at the latest generation Intel Motherboards.  This boards support onboard Dolby Digital Live encoding, which if you are running an external amp, they the ability to upconvert stereo and WMV 5,1 audio to DD 5/7.1.  There are very few other boards on the market which will do this at the moment - wish I had one...

I have yet to find an HDMI card (ATI or NVidia) that support DD True HD or other HD audio formats.  All the ones I have seen are HDMI 1.2 (need HDMI 1.3 for the new sound formats)  This means that if you are using a new receiver/amp that supports HDMI 1.3 its two cables for now, which isn't such a bad problem to have.

On board GPU's use shared memory - that is they have no dedicated video memory and share memory from the main pool.  This can and will cause issues if you do anything that is likely to load up the memory pipeline.  Vista used to do this now and then by itself...  If you are running Vista with 1GB or less this is likely to cause issues at some point, especially running dual tuners.   For many people this won't be an issue.  If you intend on playing any sort of games expect onboard cards to perform woefully in comparison to their dedicated counterparts. 



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  # 104630 13-Jan-2008 22:50
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Digital audio over SPDIF or HDMI tends to be pass through so it is whatever the source material was.

If you want 7.1 you need 7.1 source = HD-DVD or BluRay.

For freeview the best we can hope for at present is AC3 5.1, but none of the tests have been in 5.1 at this stage.

As for HDMI - If You get enough acceleration off the onboard graphics for 1080i H.264, or better yet 1080p H.264 for BluRay then you will be fine.

Steve




Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat APAC a Technology Evangelist and Product Manager. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.


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  # 104635 13-Jan-2008 22:57
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RustyGonad: Hey Munchkin - what are the problems you speak about with the NVidia Vista drivers in comparison to the XP ones - seriously I'm keen to know...  My experience under Vista with NVidia has been very very good, especially given that NVidia driver don't support any h.264 decoding under XP.

With Vista and my 7600GT I experience lock-ups when running full screen DirectX applications...the computer will stay on for days if I don't do anything that requires 3D acceleration (eg. basic web browsing etc). I'm currently running the 169.25 WHQL drivers, they seem to be the most stable, but i'm currently saving up to replace the computer anyway.




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  # 104648 14-Jan-2008 00:58
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Ok...so the consenus is that:
- HDMI in a motherboard is best for true 7.1 channel HD sound...
- A video card is preferable if planning on using a dual tuner...
- A video card will render a motherboard HDMI slot unusable...
- Most (if not all) current video cards only allow for 5.1 channel

Sigh...

Of course the easy solution would be to use 2 cables...1 for HDMI/DVI for video only, and another for spdif...but the whole point of HDMI is 1 cable does all, while allowing for HDCP and HD quality etc...

Heres some video cards I am reading up on right now, all have HDMI, but I am looking for specs on audio output, and the heat and noise they produce (being this is to go into a HTPC, situated in the lounge, it has to be quiet and pref cool)

- MSI NX7300GS-MD256EH GeForce 7300GS, 256MB 64-bit GDDR2, PCI-E x16, HDMI
- MSI NX8500GT-MTD256EH GeForce 8500GT, 256MB GDDR2, PCI-E, HDCP, HDMI, DVI, HDTV
- GeCube RADEON HD2400PRO, 256MB DDR2, On-board HDMI Port, S-video (5.1 channel, HDCP???)
- GIGABYTE 7600GS HDMI PCIE Graphics Card
- Leadtek WinFast PX7600GS TDH 256MB DVI+HDMI+SPDIF+HDTV PCI-E VGA Card
- Leadtek WINFAST PX8600 GT 256MB DVI+HDMI+SPDIF+HDTV PCI-E Card FAN
- Leadtek WINFAST PX8500 GT 256MB DVI+HDMI+SPDIF PCI-E CARD HEATPIPE LOW PROFILE





HTPC: Silverstone LC16M | abit IP35 Pro | Intel Quad Q9400 2.5GHz | Corsair 520HX | Samsung SH-S203D DVD Writer | NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 512MB RAM | 2 x 750GB Western Digital Caviar GP HDD | 4GB DDR800 RAM | D-Link DWA-547 Rangebooster N 650 Desktop | Blackgold BGT3540 | Microsoft Remote Control & Remote Keyboard for Windows Media Center | Windows 7 64bit

Mobile: Nokia N97, Nokia N900, Samsung Galaxy S, HTC EVO 3D, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S III (current)

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