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Topic # 29864 21-Jan-2009 17:53
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Hi all,

New to the forum (boy am I glad I found it!!), as I'm trying to spec out a HTPC.  My aim is to have a box that receives FreeviewHD, and acts as both a PVR, and also a media player front end for all the movies etc I have stored on a server on my LAN.

From what I've read here and elsewhere, the video component of a HTPC box is crucial for handlng HD; my original plan was to get a video card (such as this: http://www.pcworks.co.nz/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=210&products_id=1907)

But today I came across the above MoBo, and was wondering if you guys thought it would cut the mustard - there's a review here: http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/index.php/taxid;1776357743;pid;4601;pt;1?image=16360 which indicates it handles playing Blu-ray ok, but does this demand as much as decoding FreeviewHD?

Thanks in advance!! Laughing

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  Reply # 191144 21-Jan-2009 21:24
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Hi there, had the same sought of thought process that you're having before I set up my machine and went with on board graphics rather than a seperate video card (VC).  As you can see from profile I went for a Gigabyte MB.  I came to regret the decision fairly quickly, I've had (and am still having) a lot of video and audio problems that I feel is harder to diagnose / resolve with onboard rather than dedicated VC. You might be OK with ASUS but I know of a number of people that have had significant problems with onboard ATI graphics.  In the short term it may be marginally more expensive to go seperate but with hindsight I wish I had. Good luck you'll need a lot of patience. 

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  Reply # 191148 21-Jan-2009 21:40
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i've mentioned it a few times, and i'll do so again :-)

a seperate nVidia video card with a big silent heatsink will do you right for your h.264 acceleration and (in my experience) keep your HTPC cooler than onboard.  It also has the bonus of dedicated memory instead of stealing from your main memory bus.




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  Reply # 191149 21-Jan-2009 21:53
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Cool - thanks for the responses.

@Regs - which nVidia card specifically would you recommend?  And am I better to go with an ATX case to allow better airflow/cooling etc?

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  Reply # 191180 21-Jan-2009 23:34
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nofam: Cool - thanks for the responses.

@Regs - which nVidia card specifically would you recommend?  And am I better to go with an ATX case to allow better airflow/cooling etc?


i have an 8400GT which appears to function perfectly well for me, but the recommendation is typically for a 8500GT or higher.

note that ATX case != better airflow.  if you have less volume in the case the airflow can be better if you have decent intake at front and quiet fast fans at rear.  for me i had no choice - the zalman hd160 was the only case to fit in my entertainment unit and match the onkyo for height/width. other cases were too deep and a mini at would have been a mismatch with the amp

with cases you have Quiet, Cheap or Good looking.... usually you get to pick any two :-)  decide where you are going to put it first - if its in the garage then cheap and noisy is fine.  under the tv then you need nice looking and quiet...




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  Reply # 191248 22-Jan-2009 11:29
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Cool - so a card such as this?

http://ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=373150

Am I right in thinking that even though the HDMI port is native (i.e. not via a DVI adapter), it still does not carry audio?  Do you need a MoBo that has either an internal S/PDIF connector (the above card mentions coming with an S/PDIF cable), or just the standard 5.1 outputs that most have these days.

And if you split the video to the card, and the audio trhough the MoBo, is there ever any issue with them being out of sync?



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  Reply # 191257 22-Jan-2009 11:59
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Further to my last post, my original choice for a video card was this:

http://www.sapphiretech.com/us/products/products_overview.php?gpid=255

There's a review at the address below, which rates the card quite highly:

http://www.elitebastards.com/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=647&Itemid=27

Somehow the Radeon cards seem to be able to carry audio over the native HDMI port. . . not sure how

I don't know anything about card specs, so based on the info above, would this card handle FreeviewHD?

Thanks again guys!

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  Reply # 191319 22-Jan-2009 15:32
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Have a look at this thead. http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?ForumId=84&TopicId=29857 A better option is suggested It is passive rather then fan based. You do NOT want a video card with a fan in a media centre. Video card fans are always very noisy as they are small.

Not quite sure if I understand your question concerning outputing sound however you are always going to need a soundcard that outputs spdif to get sound. The only question is if the video card can pass that though either via DVI or HDMI. In this case looks like it can... http://www.palit.biz/main/faq_show.php?pc_cate=vga&id=101







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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