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33 posts

Geek


# 22076 15-May-2008 21:06
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Hello!

Well, I've been following a few threads for the last couple of months.  My situation is basically:

I moved from the UK with the following HTPC:

ASRock AGP Motherboard
P4 3.0Ghz
1Gb Ram
Nebula DigiTV tuner
PNY NVidia FX5500 Video Card
DVine HTPC Case with VFD display
ATEC AV370D 37" LCD
Marantz SR6200 AV Receiver - fed optical digital via cheap soundcard
Cabasse Ki 5.1 Speaker System

When I was in the UK using Media Center and their DVB-T transmission my system worked perfectly.  It was brilliant!  Unfortunately, with NZ transmissions my current rig struggles.  With the correct drivers for my tuner, PowerDVD ultra and GB-PVR I managed to pick up the freeview channels here in Dunedin.  The PC obviously couldn't handle them, the picture was very stuttery and broken up - but it was there!  The HD test channel looked pretty good (when it flicked on and off the screen!)

So, I looked at upgrading my video card - but I only have an AGP slot, so it looked like that wasn't going to work.

So, then I saw the 780g motherboards - using the onboard HD3200 graphics card.  Very nearly bought a motherboard, CPU and Ram to drop into my case.  But then I got cold feet after reading a number of concerns with the catalyst drivers, and the stability of the ATI card when changing HDTV channels...  I want this to be stable and functional - like it always has been...

I want to find the cheapest, stable upgrade to my current system.  It's frustrating, as it used to work perfectly!!  It's really only used as a media centre.

Now, I've found a series of new motherboards, based on NVidia's Geforce 8200 chipset.  These seem like they might be the answer?!  Unfortunately I can't find anyone retailing them in NZ yet, but I've found a few retailers out of the US (www.partspc.com) who will send them over for a reasonable price.

So, what I've found is an ECS motherboard - ECS GF8200A

This has the NVidia Geforce 8200 Graphics chipset and VGA and HDMI output.  Unfortunately it doesn't have optical out (like the Gigabyte 780g) but it does have 3 PCI slots, so I can install my current sound card.  The other two PCI slots will be for my tuner card, and wifi card.  There are some other 8200 offerings from Asrock and Asus but these only seem to have 2 PCI slots (and no optical out either).

If I order:
  • The ECS GF8200A Motherboard
  • an AMD Athlon64 X2 4400+
  • and 2gb DDR2 800Mhz Ram

It looks like I could have it all delivered here for around $NZ290

My 37" TV only has
1 x DVI-Digital ( 24 PIN Digital DVI )
1 x VGA input ( 15 PIN HD D-Sub (HD-15)

So I guess I'd either run it via VGA or and HDMI to DVI cable.

Right, I know a little about computers, and this all looks like it would do the trick.  However, I would really appreciate some experienced, knowledgable feedback (or even just some comments!) to confirm that I'm not making a mistake - on any of the above!!

Looking forward to some feedback ;)

Cheers and thanks in advance,
Danny

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42 posts

Geek


  # 131139 15-May-2008 22:53
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So, what I've found is an ECS motherboard - ECS GF8200A

This has the NVidia Geforce 8200 Graphics chipset and VGA and HDMI output.  Unfortunately it doesn't have optical out (like the Gigabyte 780g)...



It has a SPDIF header, it probably comes with some sort of a bracket with coaxial/optical out.

As for the Nvidia 8200, I can't see a reason why this would not work (supports hardware h.264 as well) as it is designed for blu-ray and HD-DVD playback (read this), the only thing that would worry me is the fact that this card falls under the low end cards in the 8series of cards. But worst case scenario you can always add on the 8500 for additional performace.



It looks like I could have it all delivered here for around $NZ290


I am not able to find this mobo online anywhere in NZ, just curious to know where you got that pricing from?



33 posts

Geek


  # 131190 16-May-2008 10:15
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Hi again,

Those mbs aren't available (as far as I can see) in NZ, but I can get one from partspc.com out of the USA:

http://www.partspc.com/ProductDetails.asp?CatID=797&ProdID=10298

Danny

 
 
 
 


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  # 131193 16-May-2008 10:23
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I'd personally opt for a regular motherboard and PCIe 8500 GFX card which would only set you back ~$200ish.

I don't know whether the GFX core on this mobo will handle hardware H.264 acceleration.


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Master Geek


  # 131204 16-May-2008 11:03
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I've also been looking at the GF2000 chipset motherboards since I heard all the bad reports about the AMD 780G.  The GF8200 is being marketed as having full h.264 acceleration, but since it's been so delayed in release there are precious little reviews etc, so I'm holding off a bit longer at this stage.

Andy

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  # 131211 16-May-2008 11:25
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andrewdixon1000: I've also been looking at the GF2000 chipset motherboards since I heard all the bad reports about the AMD 780G.  The GF8200 is being marketed as having full h.264 acceleration, but since it's been so delayed in release there are precious little reviews etc, so I'm holding off a bit longer at this stage.

Andy


"H.264 acceleration" and "h.264 acceleration" don't seem to be the same thing! Smile

GPU's from the 6 series onwards have claimed they support H.264 acceleration and to some extent they do. The 8 series onwards (8500 or greater) are the only ones that will accelerate the H.264 content being used for our DVB-T broadcasts.



33 posts

Geek


  # 131213 16-May-2008 11:43
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I guess it still might be worth giving it a go then?  It sounds like the 780g motherboards 'can' work - so from what I read, the Geforce 8200 'should' be better?

If it doesn't work, as noted above, I could always at an 8500 graphics card (and it's cost a little more than expected).  If it does work then even better!

42 posts

Geek


  # 131230 16-May-2008 12:39
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Wireless1: Hi again,

Those mbs aren't available (as far as I can see) in NZ, but I can get one from partspc.com out of the USA:

http://www.partspc.com/ProductDetails.asp?CatID=797&ProdID=10298

Danny


Warranty could be an issue on PC parts if buying from overseas. Correct me if I am wrong but i think Asus motherboards have a 3 year warranty here in NZ

 
 
 
 




33 posts

Geek


  # 131758 19-May-2008 13:10
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Hi again,

So I guess from the above comments, the main concerns are:

1. GF8200 - unsure about whether that could handle NZ Freeview
2. Warranty issues buying from USA

Are there any other concerns with that suggested setup?

I had read something that suggested that any of the Geforce 8*** graphics chipsets should be sufficient for Freeview.  What would the concern be with the 8200?  Is there something about it which would indicate that it wouldn't be as good as the 8500?

Do you think it might be 50/50 whether it would be OK?  Or may there be even a better chance than that!?

Danny


42 posts

Geek


  # 131769 19-May-2008 13:52
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I had read something that suggested that any of the Geforce 8*** graphics chipsets should be sufficient for Freeview. What would the concern be with the 8200? Is there something about it which would indicate that it wouldn't be as good as the 8500?

Do you think it might be 50/50 whether it would be OK? Or may there be even a better chance than that!?



I think the real question is: How different is the blu-ray playback when compared to DVB-T NZ decoding? If there isn't much difference, (which i think there isn't) then the concluson that the nvidia 8200 should be ok for DVB-T NZ hardware decoding can be deduced from the test results seen in this review.

One other thing that i noticed is that the graphics card is also going to share system memory hence the total amount of RAM available to the system will be dependent on the amount of RAM allocated to the graphics card. If you will be running Vista then you might want to also get some more RAM.

All in all (my opinion only) this setup should be ok as long as you add some more RAM and are willing to buy a graphics card if the onboard solution does not work out for you.

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Master Geek


  # 132062 20-May-2008 15:26
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I've just notice today that Tastech in Christchurch (www.tastech.co.nz) are listing an ASUS GF8200 motherboard.  They're also showing a GF8300 board.  Both showing as being in stock with his suppliers.

Andy

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  # 132111 20-May-2008 17:29
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GF8300 mGPU looks more attractive.  PCIe 2.0, FirstPacket tech & higher graphics core clock.



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