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155 posts

Master Geek

# 30629 16-Feb-2009 09:34
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Hi all,

I'm having many, many issues with my ati radeon hd4870 512MB. The card is working as well as radeons tend to, but unfortunately, it's not as well as advertised. Although gaming performance is amazing, it has serious issues with h.264 hardware decoding. It's reached the point that I'm thinking I'll try and see if I can get my money back.

So here's the question. If you were to shop for a replacement for the card with a similar budget, what would you go for? Ideally, it should perform in games approximately as well as the ATI card, but would be NVidia. Moreover, it NEEDS to not have issues decoding h.264 video. It also has to support hdmi output (preferrably without having to seperately purchase a dongle).

Has anyone tried using any Nvidia cards in that price-range for DVB-T/blu-ray playback? Any issues, or did they run perfectly smoothly right out of the box?


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4530 posts

Uber Geek


  # 196017 16-Feb-2009 11:38
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At least a Nvidia 8500 Gt or 8600Gt. These will handle you h.264 decoding.  I think there are 9xxxx series equivalentss.  There's a pretty good thread on here that discusses the various cards and their capabilities.

Not sure about your gaming though, as I run a decicated PVR with an 8600gt so I don't put games on that.

Previously known as psycik

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Uber Geek

  # 196020 16-Feb-2009 11:46
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There are only a couple of nvidia cards that match the 4870 in terms of gaming performance, the latest GTX 260 being the probable closest match to the 1GB (or maybe a 9800GTX+ if you only have the 512MB 4870). I believe there have always been problems with Radeon cards and h.264 but I don't know much about it, there are plenty of discussions here and elsewhere on it though.

If its just h.264/blu ray you want then anything from an 8400 upwards will do the trick.

I have a passively cooled 9600GT in my HTPC which I also use for gaming and it cranks pretty well on a 720p tv but if you are really after those high frame rates and/or have a 1080p tv, you'll need more...

I assume since you have a 4870 your not too worried about noise/heat? In that case, just get whatever nvidia card you want/can afford

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Master Geek

  # 196021 16-Feb-2009 11:49
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Hmm yeah, an 8600GT would do the h.264 job fine, but the issue is, which gaming graphics cards would do the job fine, without issues? For instance, has anyone out there successfully used a GTX 260 to watch freeview?

i actually upgraded from an 8600GT to my current card because the 8600GT had poor gaming performance. Makes me sad that the cheaper card was much better for HTPC use :(

155 posts

Master Geek

  # 196022 16-Feb-2009 11:54
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Yeah, I was thinking probably that a GTX260 would be the way to go, but was just hoping someone might be able to confirm that they'd done it with no issues (just to allay my fears :D). Obviously the card has more than enough power to do it.

Yeah, noise and heat, though a major annoyance, is just something that I have to live with if I want my htpc to be great for gaming. And yeah, I'm running it at 1920x1080p at the moment! Although to be honest, my 4870 isn't *that* loud. The fan is set to run at about 30% by default, which keeps it cool enough. At 30% it's not horribly noisy, although it is audible.

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Uber Geek

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  # 196027 16-Feb-2009 12:15
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The GTX260 has Purevideo HD support at version 2 so will be fine for media centre duties.

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Master Geek

  # 196577 18-Feb-2009 18:06
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Update... I tried going back to Vista and using the newish 9.1 drivers... and both of the problems I was experiencing have disappeared. Hopefully by the time Windows 7 is no longer beta software, the issues will be worked out and I can go back to it!

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