Home Theatre PC Video Cards

Archived from groups: aus.audio-visual.home-cinema,aus.tv.digital,alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia,alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

I'm designing a HTPC to be resonably powerful yet low-powered and
quiet. There are now Pentium M motherboards which look good but which
only have 4xAGP slots. AGP versions of the GeForce 6600 (which has
very nice HDTV MPEG hardware decoding) are just about to be released
but I've only seen 8xAGP compatibility advertised.

Anyone like to guess at the chances of a GeForce 6600 AGP card working
in a 4xAGP slot? The GeForce 6800 cards (which are all AGP) are noted
as being 4x and 8x compatible so I'm hopeful. BTW, I don't want to
use the 6800 cards because they draw obscene amounts of power (and
cash).
9 answers Last reply
More about home theatre video cards
  1. Archived from groups: aus.audio-visual.home-cinema,aus.tv.digital,alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia,alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    "James Ashton" <james.ashton@anu.edu.au> wrote in message
    news:ca5bf70b.0411122317.24a652c1@posting.google.com...
    > I'm designing a HTPC to be resonably powerful yet low-powered and
    > quiet. There are now Pentium M motherboards which look good but which
    > only have 4xAGP slots. AGP versions of the GeForce 6600 (which has
    > very nice HDTV MPEG hardware decoding) are just about to be released
    > but I've only seen 8xAGP compatibility advertised.
    >
    > Anyone like to guess at the chances of a GeForce 6600 AGP card working
    > in a 4xAGP slot? The GeForce 6800 cards (which are all AGP) are noted
    > as being 4x and 8x compatible so I'm hopeful. BTW, I don't want to
    > use the 6800 cards because they draw obscene amounts of power (and
    > cash).

    Dunno how you know about 1 and not the other. Without any googling, like
    yourself, I'd say about 100% certain.
  2. Archived from groups: aus.audio-visual.home-cinema,aus.tv.digital,alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia,alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    "Byron Forbes" <chocolate@caramel.com.au> wrote in message news:<4195daff$0$31718$61c65585@un-2park-reader-01.sydney.pipenetworks.com.au>...
    > "James Ashton" <james.ashton@anu.edu.au> wrote in message
    > news:ca5bf70b.0411122317.24a652c1@posting.google.com...
    > > I'm designing a HTPC to be resonably powerful yet low-powered and
    > > quiet. There are now Pentium M motherboards which look good but which
    > > only have 4xAGP slots. AGP versions of the GeForce 6600 (which has
    > > very nice HDTV MPEG hardware decoding) are just about to be released
    > > but I've only seen 8xAGP compatibility advertised.
    > >
    > > Anyone like to guess at the chances of a GeForce 6600 AGP card working
    > > in a 4xAGP slot? The GeForce 6800 cards (which are all AGP) are noted
    > > as being 4x and 8x compatible so I'm hopeful. BTW, I don't want to
    > > use the 6800 cards because they draw obscene amounts of power (and
    > > cash).
    >
    > Dunno how you know about 1 and not the other. Without any googling, like
    > yourself, I'd say about 100% certain.

    The GeForce 6800 cards are native AGP so that any PCI express versions
    use a bridge chip. The GeForce 6600 are native PCI express so the
    very new AGP versions that are just going on sale use a bridge chip.
    So there's plently of scope for the AGP compatibility to be different.

    I can't find any information on either nvidia's or any of the card
    manufacturer's web sites about whether the GeForce 6600 AGP cards will
    work in 4xAGP slots. I thought maybe someone with a good knowledge of
    AGP compatibility issues might be able to give me an answer.
  3. Archived from groups: aus.audio-visual.home-cinema,aus.tv.digital,alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia,alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    "James Ashton" <james.ashton@anu.edu.au> wrote in message
    news:ca5bf70b.0411140257.507ca9ec@posting.google.com...
    > "Byron Forbes" <chocolate@caramel.com.au> wrote in message
    news:<4195daff$0$31718$61c65585@un-2park-reader-01.sydney.pipenetworks.com.au>...
    > > "James Ashton" <james.ashton@anu.edu.au> wrote in message
    > > news:ca5bf70b.0411122317.24a652c1@posting.google.com...
    > > > I'm designing a HTPC to be resonably powerful yet low-powered and
    > > > quiet. There are now Pentium M motherboards which look good but which
    > > > only have 4xAGP slots. AGP versions of the GeForce 6600 (which has
    > > > very nice HDTV MPEG hardware decoding) are just about to be released
    > > > but I've only seen 8xAGP compatibility advertised.
    > > >
    > > > Anyone like to guess at the chances of a GeForce 6600 AGP card working
    > > > in a 4xAGP slot? The GeForce 6800 cards (which are all AGP) are noted
    > > > as being 4x and 8x compatible so I'm hopeful. BTW, I don't want to
    > > > use the 6800 cards because they draw obscene amounts of power (and
    > > > cash).
    > >
    > > Dunno how you know about 1 and not the other. Without any googling,
    like
    > > yourself, I'd say about 100% certain.
    >
    > The GeForce 6800 cards are native AGP so that any PCI express versions
    > use a bridge chip. The GeForce 6600 are native PCI express so the
    > very new AGP versions that are just going on sale use a bridge chip.
    > So there's plently of scope for the AGP compatibility to be different.
    >
    > I can't find any information on either nvidia's or any of the card
    > manufacturer's web sites about whether the GeForce 6600 AGP cards will
    > work in 4xAGP slots. I thought maybe someone with a good knowledge of
    > AGP compatibility issues might be able to give me an answer.

    FWIW, 8X cards work in 4X slots so I'd be surprised if it didn't - the
    whole idea of making an AGP version being to get more sales. Just limits max
    bandwidth potential and probably will disallow a few DX9/16X/8X features of
    the card.
  4. Archived from groups: aus.audio-visual.home-cinema,aus.tv.digital,alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia,alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    Byron Forbes wrote:

    >
    > "James Ashton" <james.ashton@anu.edu.au> wrote in message
    > news:ca5bf70b.0411140257.507ca9ec@posting.google.com...
    >> "Byron Forbes" <chocolate@caramel.com.au> wrote in message
    >
    news:<4195daff$0$31718$61c65585@un-2park-reader-01.sydney.pipenetworks.com.au>...
    >> > "James Ashton" <james.ashton@anu.edu.au> wrote in message
    >> > news:ca5bf70b.0411122317.24a652c1@posting.google.com...
    >> > > I'm designing a HTPC to be resonably powerful yet low-powered and
    >> > > quiet. There are now Pentium M motherboards which look good but
    >> > > which
    >> > > only have 4xAGP slots. AGP versions of the GeForce 6600 (which has
    >> > > very nice HDTV MPEG hardware decoding) are just about to be released
    >> > > but I've only seen 8xAGP compatibility advertised.
    >> > >
    >> > > Anyone like to guess at the chances of a GeForce 6600 AGP card
    >> > > working
    >> > > in a 4xAGP slot? The GeForce 6800 cards (which are all AGP) are
    >> > > noted
    >> > > as being 4x and 8x compatible so I'm hopeful. BTW, I don't want to
    >> > > use the 6800 cards because they draw obscene amounts of power (and
    >> > > cash).
    >> >
    >> > Dunno how you know about 1 and not the other. Without any googling,
    > like
    >> > yourself, I'd say about 100% certain.
    >>
    >> The GeForce 6800 cards are native AGP so that any PCI express versions
    >> use a bridge chip. The GeForce 6600 are native PCI express so the
    >> very new AGP versions that are just going on sale use a bridge chip.
    >> So there's plently of scope for the AGP compatibility to be different.
    >>
    >> I can't find any information on either nvidia's or any of the card
    >> manufacturer's web sites about whether the GeForce 6600 AGP cards will
    >> work in 4xAGP slots. I thought maybe someone with a good knowledge of
    >> AGP compatibility issues might be able to give me an answer.
    >
    > FWIW, 8X cards work in 4X slots so I'd be surprised if it didn't - the
    > whole idea of making an AGP version being to get more sales. Just limits
    > max bandwidth potential and probably will disallow a few DX9/16X/8X
    > features of the card.

    What "features" would those be?

    --
    --John
    Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
    (was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
  5. Archived from groups: aus.audio-visual.home-cinema,aus.tv.digital,alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia,alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    "Byron Forbes" <chocolate@caramel.com.au> wrote in message news:<419737f8$0$3606$61c65585@un-2park-reader-02.sydney.pipenetworks.com.au>...
    > "James Ashton" <james.ashton@anu.edu.au> wrote in message
    > news:ca5bf70b.0411140257.507ca9ec@posting.google.com...

    [...]

    > > I can't find any information on either nvidia's or any of the card
    > > manufacturer's web sites about whether the GeForce 6600 AGP cards will
    > > work in 4xAGP slots. I thought maybe someone with a good knowledge of
    > > AGP compatibility issues might be able to give me an answer.
    >
    > FWIW, 8X cards work in 4X slots so I'd be surprised if it didn't - the
    > whole idea of making an AGP version being to get more sales. Just limits max
    > bandwidth potential and probably will disallow a few DX9/16X/8X features of
    > the card.

    Well I've now done some more research myself and, according to the AGP
    3.0 specs not all 8x cards will work in AGP 2.0 slots. Dell has a
    document at

    http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/vectors/2003_agp8x.pdf

    with a relevant table at the bottom of page 3. Since my motherboard
    is AGP 2.0 (AGP 4x) the relevant question is whether the card I'm
    looking to buy is `Universal AGP 8x'. If not, footnote 5 applies: `No
    mechanical "key" prevents this incorrect configuration, but the
    graphics card uses the MB-AGP8X-DET AGP pin to disable its AGP
    interface, rendering the card nonfunctional'.

    Now maybe someone can tell me that all AGP 8x cards ever produced are
    `Universal AGP 8x' or maybe someone knows about the BR2 chip nvidia is
    using to bridge from the GeForce 6600's native PCIe logic to AGP.
    Since these cards are not on shelves yet and I can't find detailed
    specs online there's no way for me to be sure about ordering one.
  6. Archived from groups: aus.audio-visual.home-cinema,aus.tv.digital,alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia,alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    Video cards back to the early ATI Radeons have included MPEG2 hardware
    acceleration (iDCT and motion compensation). The Nvidia GeForce4MX,
    GeForce FX, and newer cards also support hardware MPEG2 acceleration.

    I have used a Radeon 8500, 9600, GeForce4 MX; and I currently use a
    GeForce FX 5200 for hardware accelerated HDTV MPEG playback with
    FusionHDTV cards. All worked fine. The vast majority of features in
    new video cards are for 3D gaming, and are irrelevant for HTPCs.

    I chose my FX 5200 because it was fanless, which to me is very
    important to have a quiet machine for HTPC use. Also, it has good
    Linux support, with drivers that implement MPEG2 acceleration in
    Linux.. Someday I hope to move off Windows completely and use the HDTV
    card from pchdtv.com with MythTV.


    Some of the newer video cards have made claims about new features, like
    the ones below. But, as far as I have read, they seem to be more vapor
    than reality at this point.
    - MPEG4 hardware acceleration
    - WMV hardware acceleration
    - MPEG2 hardware encoder


    On 2004-11-12 23:17:40 -0800, james.ashton@anu.edu.au (James Ashton) said:

    > I'm designing a HTPC to be resonably powerful yet low-powered and
    > quiet. There are now Pentium M motherboards which look good but which
    > only have 4xAGP slots. AGP versions of the GeForce 6600 (which has
    > very nice HDTV MPEG hardware decoding) are just about to be released
    > but I've only seen 8xAGP compatibility advertised.
    >
    > Anyone like to guess at the chances of a GeForce 6600 AGP card working
    > in a 4xAGP slot? The GeForce 6800 cards (which are all AGP) are noted
    > as being 4x and 8x compatible so I'm hopeful. BTW, I don't want to
    > use the 6800 cards because they draw obscene amounts of power (and
    > cash).
  7. Archived from groups: aus.audio-visual.home-cinema,aus.tv.digital,alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia,alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    Phil <philnntp77@weaselworkz.com> wrote in message news:<2004111514211169249%philnntp77@weaselworkzcom>...
    > Video cards back to the early ATI Radeons have included MPEG2 hardware
    > acceleration (iDCT and motion compensation). The Nvidia GeForce4MX,
    > GeForce FX, and newer cards also support hardware MPEG2 acceleration.
    >
    > I have used a Radeon 8500, 9600, GeForce4 MX; and I currently use a
    > GeForce FX 5200 for hardware accelerated HDTV MPEG playback with
    > FusionHDTV cards. All worked fine. The vast majority of features in
    > new video cards are for 3D gaming, and are irrelevant for HTPCs.
    >
    > I chose my FX 5200 because it was fanless, which to me is very
    > important to have a quiet machine for HTPC use. Also, it has good
    > Linux support, with drivers that implement MPEG2 acceleration in
    > Linux.. Someday I hope to move off Windows completely and use the HDTV
    > card from pchdtv.com with MythTV.

    I come from a land down-under where we have DVB. There are several
    DVB HDTV PCI cards available here with some claiming linux support but
    I have a feeling that I'll be forced to Windows to get the HTPC
    features I want; at least at first.

    > Some of the newer video cards have made claims about new features, like
    > the ones below. But, as far as I have read, they seem to be more vapor
    > than reality at this point.
    > - MPEG4 hardware acceleration
    > - WMV hardware acceleration
    > - MPEG2 hardware encoder

    I'm not especially interested in these features for my HTPC yet either
    (though I think I might someday find them useful) but the `advanced
    adaptive de-interlacing technology [that] provides smooth playback on
    progressive displays' does sound worth-while. I'll be looking to view
    1080i HDTV and all kinds of DVDs on a 720p projector so `high-quality
    video scaling and filtering' will be good too.

    I also like the fanless FX5200 cards but I doubt the scaling and
    de-interlacing quality is as good as the 6600 cards. I've bought
    dozens of Dell boxes with fanless, Dual-DVI FX5200 cards and they do
    have a high failure rate (over 20%) which I think is due to marginal
    thermal design. For a HTPC, were ambient temperatures could well be
    higher than in an office environment, this is not good.

    If the GeForce 6600 fan turns out to be too loud I can wait for Zalman
    or someone to come up with a fanless heat-pipe or roll my own or
    something. They should run cooler than the 6800 cards and, in any
    case, just doing MPEG decoding, deinterlacing and scaling won't
    exercise the really power-hungry parts of the chip.
  8. Archived from groups: aus.audio-visual.home-cinema,aus.tv.digital,alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia,alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    In article <ca5bf70b.0411161648.7a63df04@posting.google.com>,
    James Ashton <james.ashton@anu.edu.au> wrote:
    >I come from a land down-under where we have DVB. There are several
    >DVB HDTV PCI cards available here with some claiming linux support but
    >I have a feeling that I'll be forced to Windows to get the HTPC
    >features I want; at least at first.

    You can do a full PVR on Linux with a DVB-T card. If anything, the
    PVR/HTPC software available for Linux is *better* than the stuff you
    can get for Windows, at least in functionality terms. The sticking
    point is installation.

    As for output devices, I've been pretty happy with a second-hand
    Matrox G400. The picture quality is quite good, and MPEG2 decoding
    is a small enough job that even if you get one without the decoder
    it shouldn't really matter much. Or if it's all MPEG2 a second-hand
    DXR3 can be an excellent choice.

    Matt
  9. Archived from groups: aus.audio-visual.home-cinema,aus.tv.digital,alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia,alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    Matt McLeod <matt@boggle.org> wrote in message news:<sqkq62-3of.ln1@zim.its.unimelb.edu.au>...
    > In article <ca5bf70b.0411161648.7a63df04@posting.google.com>,
    > James Ashton <james.ashton@anu.edu.au> wrote:
    > >I come from a land down-under where we have DVB. There are several
    > >DVB HDTV PCI cards available here with some claiming linux support but
    > >I have a feeling that I'll be forced to Windows to get the HTPC
    > >features I want; at least at first.
    >
    > You can do a full PVR on Linux with a DVB-T card. If anything, the
    > PVR/HTPC software available for Linux is *better* than the stuff you
    > can get for Windows, at least in functionality terms. The sticking
    > point is installation.

    I'm reasonably confident about being able to get this stuff installed
    under Linux. My biggest issue with going the Linux route for HTPC is
    the DVD player software. I don't think it can compete with what's
    available for windows.

    > As for output devices, I've been pretty happy with a second-hand
    > Matrox G400. The picture quality is quite good, and MPEG2 decoding
    > is a small enough job that even if you get one without the decoder
    > it shouldn't really matter much. Or if it's all MPEG2 a second-hand
    > DXR3 can be an excellent choice.

    I have a feeling that doing things like picture-in-picture from two
    separate HDTV streams won't be possible on a Pentium M 2.0GHz system
    without hardware support for the MPEG decoding.
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