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Old 07-03-2012, 06:30 AM   #1
alarazr
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Suggestions for a mid-range graphics card for a HTPC?


Hey guys, I'm currently building a home theatre PC with the intention to eventually turn it into a home automation system.

I plan on installing LinuxMCE but I'm completely lost when it comes to graphics support for individual distros, or even what factors are at play when it comes to choosing a card.

Can anyone suggest an Nvidia card capable of outputting 1080p video on up to two monitors, less than 9" in size and at a maximum price of about 60?

Thanks in advance guys
 
Old 07-03-2012, 07:42 AM   #2
alarazr
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Bumping for love
 
Old 07-03-2012, 07:48 AM   #3
TobiSGD
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Quote from the LQ Rules: "While almost every question does get an answer, we cannot guarantee a response. If your thread does not receive any responses, it will automatically be bumped twice.Threads should not be manually bumped without including additional information."
Bumping a thread within the 24h is considered rude here.

But anyways, any modern card will do what you want, just go for the cheapest, like the G210 or the GT520.
 
Old 07-03-2012, 08:53 AM   #4
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I love it when I can just copy a post I made recently.

"For media box/HTPC use, hadware video decoding (nVidia VDPAU, ATI/AMD XvBA) is a good thing to have. nVidia VDPAU is better than AMD/ATI XvBA.

The ATI/AMD cards will still work, but its more likely the decoding will have tobe done by the CPU. For AMD/ATI cards, HD5450/6450 is what I would get.

With VDPAU there are various 'feature sets', as you can see here-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia_PureVideo

nVidia G210 has the same feature set as all the other GT2XX cards (and GT4XX cards as well) and its cheaper/lower power use than the other GT2XX cards as well. So for the cheap nVidia cards, G210 is the way to go IMO.

GT520 is newer, uses a tiny bit less power than the G210, and is meant to have better support for H.264 and MPEG2. Might well be worth the extra $5-10 over a G210 (obviously prices will vary, thats just the current pricing at the store I use most)."

Originally posted here-

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...ds-4175414113/

Both G210 and GT520 should be less than 9 of these 'inches'. Most would be between 150-185 mm (5.something up to 7.a tiny bit inches)

To get cards at good prices in the UK, try staticice-

http://www.staticice.co.uk/

Just enter the search term. With video cards, searching for the GPU model is the best wawy, so just search for 'G210' or 'GT520' or 'HD 6450'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alarazr View Post
Can anyone suggest an Nvidia card capable of outputting 1080p video on up to two monitors, less than 9" in size and at a maximum price of about 60?
If you mean 2 different 1080p videos being played at the same time, I have no idea how well that would work.
 
Old 07-03-2012, 09:09 AM   #5
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
nVidia VDPAU is better than AMD/ATI XvBA.
Would be better to say that video acceleration on ATI/AMD is almost non-existent: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...tem&px=MTEyNzA
 
Old 07-03-2012, 09:46 AM   #6
alarazr
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Thanks for the help, and also for the heads up on LQ etiquette.

Looking at the 520, are you sure a 30 card will manage? Does it support VDPAU? I've got a bit of cash to blow so perhaps a model or two up would be more appropriate. I won't be doing much gaming on it yet but it'd be nice to have the functionality when Steam finally lands on Linux
 
Old 07-03-2012, 10:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alarazr View Post
Looking at the 520, are you sure a 30 card will manage? Does it support VDPAU?
Even an old 8400GS manages video acceleration and supports VDPAU.

Quote:
I've got a bit of cash to blow so perhaps a model or two up would be more appropriate. I won't be doing much gaming on it yet but it'd be nice to have the functionality when Steam finally lands on Linux
In that case I would look for a GTS450 or GTX550. Keep in mind that you need a better PSU to run these cards, compared to the entry level video cards (a high quality PSU is always worth the money and can save you some serious trouble, but keep in mind that "high wattage" != "high quality).
You may also consider the volume level of cards with better performance, especially when you want to build a silent HTPC. The G210/GT520 can be cooled passively, the better cards mostly not, at least not in the form factor you want to use.
 
Old 07-03-2012, 11:41 AM   #8
alarazr
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Ah, good thinking. With this being the first time I've built a media centre I forgot about the volume of the unit. The PSU is 500W, which I think would be ample considering my current rig uses a 450. Would a water cooling system be overkill? Could such cooling methods negate the volume of a more powerful card?

Again, thanks for your support
 
Old 07-03-2012, 11:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alarazr View Post
Looking at the 520, are you sure a 30 card will manage? Does it support VDPAU?
Yes, and yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alarazr View Post
I've got a bit of cash to blow so perhaps a model or two up would be more appropriate. I won't be doing much gaming on it yet but it'd be nice to have the functionality when Steam finally lands on Linux
I wouldnt. Even the midrange gaming cards (like GTS450 or GTX550) are out of your price range.

The 'gaming' cards chew up a lot of power, and create a lot of heat. You'll need a good, fairly high wattage PSU- much higher than the desktop/HTPC cards require. A GTS450 will use more power decoding HD video than a GT520 will at 100% GPU load. AFAIK, you will need a PCIe power connector as well (due to power consumption exceeding what a PCIe slot can provide). They also tend to be tall and long (210mm/8.25''+) cards, and require more airflow for cooling. The faster GTX models will use even more power, more PCIe power conenctors, and require even more cooling.

As for slight faster at gaming desktop/HTPC cards, I really wouldnt bother. If you did, its really hard to advise on what card to get....nVidia has made a real mess out of the naming for its low end cards.

Quote:
2 The GeForce 605 (OEM) card is a rebranded GeForce 510.
3 The GeForce GT 610 card is a rebranded GeForce GT 520.
4 The GeForce GT 620 (OEM) card is a rebranded GeForce GT 520.
5 The GeForce GT 620 card is a rebranded GeForce GT 530.
6 The GeForce GT 630 (DDR3) card is a rebranded GeForce GT 440 (DDR3).
7 The GeForce GT 630 (GDDR5) card is a rebranded GeForce GT 440 (GDDR5).
8 The GeForce GT 640 (OEM) card is a rebranded GeForce GT 545 (DDR3).
9 The GeForce GT 645 (OEM) card is a rebranded GeForce GTX 560 SE.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compari...rce_600_Series

That doesnt even cover the 2 different versions of the GT430, GT440 and GTX 450, plus depeneding on how you count things 4 different GTX 460 versions, and 5 different GTX 560 versions.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
Would be better to say that video acceleration on ATI/AMD is almost non-existent: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...tem&px=MTEyNzA
LOL, its not that bad. Its not that good either though....I really should check up on the 'Video Decode' stuff on Xorg/radeon.

http://www.x.org/wiki/RadeonFeature/


I should really make any other comments about this on your ATI/AMD driver thread.

*edit-

Quote:
Originally Posted by alarazr View Post
Ah, good thinking. With this being the first time I've built a media centre I forgot about the volume of the unit. The PSU is 500W, which I think would be ample considering my current rig uses a 450. Would a water cooling system be overkill? Could such cooling methods negate the volume of a more powerful card?
500 watts stickers dont always mean the PSU can deliver 500 watts. Cheap 'yum cha' junk PSUs are known for not being able to supply anything like the rating they claim, and can also have bad voltages/ripple problems..which is bad for your nice new build. +1 to Tobi, a good quality power supply is well worth the expense.

Water cooling kits are pretty much junk (you can get equal cooling performance from good aircoolers, which are cheaper, simpler to setup, and less noisy). In this case, they could _possibly_ help because you could have the heat from the CPU dumped outside the case.....but that would only matter if you've got a 'bad' case for high heat output anyway. Which means you'll have even more problems getting good airflow for the video card.

Even dumping the CPU heat outside the case wont help that much though. For a HTPC, you probably should have a CPU witha TDP of 95watts maximum, and 65watts or less is a good idea. Thats not that much compared to 106watts TDP of the GTS450, 116 watts from GTX550, and 150watts+ of any of the 'serious gamers' cards. BTW, G210/G520 have a TDP of 30.5/29 watts for comparison.

Last edited by cascade9; 07-03-2012 at 11:55 AM.
 
Old 07-03-2012, 11:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Would a water cooling system be overkill? Could such cooling methods negate the volume of a more powerful card?
You would need to get a pretty large radiator so that you can have the fans running on a very low speed. It may also be possible that you have to add extra fans in the case to get circulation, which would negate the effect of the water-cooling. I would just go and read tests on the cards you can get regarding the fan volume. It also may be possible to underclock the cards if you don't game, so that you can run the fans at lower speed.

Last edited by TobiSGD; 07-03-2012 at 11:47 AM.
 
Old 07-03-2012, 12:03 PM   #11
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
You would need to get a pretty large radiator so that you can have the fans running on a very low speed. It may also be possible that you have to add extra fans in the case to get circulation, which would negate the effect of the water-cooling.
The rad could be smaller than you might guess, and even with large rads they can be hidden well....if you know what you are doing, or are prepared to pay someone to screw it all together for you.

There more than 1 way to deal with the noise and heat dumping problems, but they all have the same issues as building a decent water cooling setup. Parts, engineering, and and having a totally 'non-standard' setup when its all done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
I would just go and read tests on the cards you can get regarding the fan volume.
I'd just get a passive cooled G10/GT520, not worry about fan speeds, or building a 'all in one' system (HTPC/gaming and home automation system later).

Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
It also may be possible to underclock the cards if you don't game, so that you can run the fans at lower speed.
Possible, but not fun, and way more of a sod around. Then if the card ever does get used for gaming, its another stuff around to get the video card clocked back up, and the noise and heat problems still exist......
 
Old 07-05-2012, 01:58 PM   #12
alarazr
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Cheers for all the help and advice. I'll make a decision on what to do when I get it all put together and hear the volume of the unit for myself. The 520 seems a relatively quiet card anyway, and with such low power usage I might be able to slow the fan if it really is too loud. For those interested, here's the setup:

Xcase Q100 HTPC case w/500W PSU
Gigabyte GA-G41MT-S2PT mobo
Intel Q8300 2.5ghz quad
Nvidia GT520
Seagate 320GB (2TB NAS)
4GB DDR3 RAM
Pioneer Blu-ray drive w/ 12x r/w

I'm still waiting on a few components. Brushing up on my CLI-fu for when it gets here. It's a pretty ambitious project for me
 
Old 07-05-2012, 02:22 PM   #13
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I would save the money for the BluRay drive. You won't be able to play commercial (read copy-protected) BluRays anyways, if you use Linux. I would rather buy the case without the PSU and spend the money saved from the BluRay drive for a silent high quality PSU, about 350-400W would be more than enough.
 
Old 07-06-2012, 10:47 AM   #14
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alarazr View Post
The 520 seems a relatively quiet card anyway, and with such low power usage I might be able to slow the fan if it really is too loud.
Just get a passive cooled (fanless) model. I've seen asus, gigabyte and galaxy/KFA2 models-

http://www.asus.com/Graphics_Cards/N...ILENTDI1GD3LP/
http://www.gigabyte.us/products/prod...px?pid=4006#ov
http://www.galaxytech.com/__en_gb__/Product18.aspx
http://www.kfa2.com/gt5201gbpassive.shtml

Quote:
Originally Posted by alarazr View Post
Xcase Q100 HTPC case w/500W PSU
I wouldnt. Cheap and nasty power supplies are just that.

The Xcase website makes me think that the case is avaible without the power supply-

http://www.xcase.co.uk/Home-theatre-...casse-q100.htm

"Add 14.99" (for the 500watt PSU) shows you just how cheap it is. Its also not 80+ (efficiency), and has fairly high 3.3v/5v rails and low 12v rails for a modern 500watt PSU.

http://www.xcase.co.uk/product-p/psu-cc2-500.htm

Last edited by cascade9; 07-06-2012 at 12:53 PM.
 
  


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