am very close to decide what 8600GT to get and your suggestions would help.
In the budget I set for this I can find 512M / DDR2 or 256M/DDR3. Which would perfom better for DVB-T freeview HD?
This is the main reason of the upgrade from the on-board graphics. No games. Maybe a blu-ray drive in the (very far) future, when you will be able to rent them for a decent price.
It was already suggested 8600 would give better performance than 8500, so 8600 it is. But i would not go for the $300 cards. I would really appreciate a solution which works good for what I need and stays below $120 - $130. (just as a clarification, it is the motion trail i get which bothers me - tv1 and tv2 are not so bad due to progressive signal - but the scrolling at the bottom of the screen is really bad even on tv1 - for example the show Breakfast. I get the same programs through satellite (DVB-S freeview) and it is very smooth)
I am also afraid about how hot the silent cards get. At this stage the pc stays behind the cabinet so one panel is removed but when everything works ok I will move to a decent htpc case ($200?). (I got a new 460W PSU, I do not need a case with PSU. )