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Home Theatre PC Video Cards

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Anonymous
November 13, 2004 2:17:40 AM

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).
Anonymous
November 14, 2004 2:23:21 AM

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.
Anonymous
November 14, 2004 5:57:47 AM

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.
Related resources
Anonymous
November 15, 2004 3:11:18 AM

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.
Anonymous
November 15, 2004 3:11:19 AM

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)
Anonymous
November 15, 2004 3:11:19 AM

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...

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.
November 16, 2004 1:21:09 AM

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).
Anonymous
November 16, 2004 7:48:38 PM

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.
Anonymous
November 17, 2004 3:07:08 PM

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
Anonymous
November 22, 2004 9:48:43 PM

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.
!