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HTPC card: Nvidia 8600 or ATI 2600

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 6, 2007 2:43:11 PM

I am still shopping for a video card, probably a card for HTPC work.

For Nvidia's cards, I have narrowed it down to 3 cards:
* BFG GeForce 8600GTS OC
* Asus EN8600GTS SILENT
* Asus EN8600GT SILENT

Two are GTS and one is GT. I want the HDCP compliant card so there are few GTs that are so I chose the Asus.

The GTS cards are chosen because they are only slightly more than the GT. But, this is a HTPC computer so I'm leaning towards the GT for price, lower power consumption and the suspicion that it can do all the video work that the GTS with similar performance.

I will be using both Linux and XP and I have not looked into whether Nvidia has workable drivers for HTPC stuff for their 8600 series. But, I think it's close.

I have also read that Linux drivers will eventually be available for the HD 2600 series. 'Not sure how soon that will be, though. I also have read reviews in which the 8600 series drivers have improved playback performance overall (for H.264 especially). Is this true?

Is there any reason not to choose the ASUS 8600 GT SILENT card? I thought this card would be good because I want one that runs cool since I'll also be using a Quad Core cpu.

How do the 2600 series run in XP? Any drivers issues?

Comments? Recommendations? Any update on XP drivers for Nvidia's 8600?
September 6, 2007 3:25:20 PM

IF not gaming I would go for 2600xt. They are just better fit for HTPC with audio coming out of HDMI. 8600gt isn't too bad either. I would just go for whatever is cheaper.
September 6, 2007 3:39:58 PM

The playback performance is about even with the 8600 coming out slightly ahead I believe. However, if I remember correctly, the 2600 is handles HD DVD plaback significantly better.
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September 6, 2007 4:19:23 PM

If you're not ever going to game, and you want better linux drivers, get the cheapest one. Heck, an 8500 GT would do the trick (not dure if there's alot out there with HDCP compliance though).
September 8, 2007 3:55:45 PM

What does it mean when the card has a passive cooler and occupies 'two slots?' I understand the video card fits in a PCI-e 16 slot so a video card occupying two slots wouldn't hinder expansion of PCI slots would it?

What if I plan on having a TV Tuner card, graphics card and a sound card?

Would a graphics card with a passive cooler (using up two slots) cover a slot I'd need? Or is this a factor only if you were wanting SLI (which I don't need)?

I'm curious because the Asus 8600 SILENT card is HTPC compliant and it's passive so it shouldn't make much noise and hopefully, it runs cool.

But, if it takes up a slot I'd need, I'd have to reconsider. The only HTPC compliant 8500 that I could find available (to me) is the Gigabyte GV-NX85T256H.
a c 359 U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
September 8, 2007 6:28:45 PM

Canuck1 said:
What does it mean when the card has a passive cooler and occupies 'two slots?' I understand the video card fits in a PCI-e 16 slot so a video card occupying two slots wouldn't hinder expansion of PCI slots would it?



That means it has a big heatsink on the video card and you will lose the use of whatever slot is next to the PCI-e slot that you are installing the video card in. If you have a XFire or SLI compatible motherboard you will lose the use of the other PCI-e x16 slot. If you have a "standard" motherboard then you will lose the PCI-e x1 or PCI slot next to your video card.

Therefore, if you want to stick in a TV Tuner and a sound card, then you will need to look for a motherboard with at least 3 PCI slots, because you will most likely lose one of them.
September 8, 2007 10:52:47 PM

cleeve said:
If you're not ever going to game, and you want better linux drivers, get the cheapest one. Heck, an 8500 GT would do the trick (not dure if there's alot out there with HDCP compliance though).

Shoot, you can get a passive, single slot, HDPC compliant HD 2400 card for under $50 that would do the job just fine. Are you planning to game with it? The only reason to get anything more than the base cards is for 3D stuff. They all are very capable as far as video decoding goes, and long as you have a halfway decent CPU.
September 9, 2007 3:25:55 AM

If your building a HTPC, and will be using a M-ATX motherboard and a small case. Here are some things to think about.

1. If you go with a fanless GPU you will have alot more heat. :fou: 

2. Again, it will take up more space. :fou: 

3. Power requirements. Will you need a more powerful PSU with brand A?

Hope this helps Good Luck :hello: 
September 9, 2007 6:12:23 AM

I don't want any more heat. Maybe I'll just get the best one for the price? I might do 3D video with the card so should I go with a 8600 to cover my bases?

It will be a standard ATX motherboard. In an Antec Solo case.

I am thinking of getting Nvidia since I might eventually put it in a Linux box but for now, it will be used in a computer with a Windows/Linux dual boot but mostly used on the Windows side (while another computer is on Linux 24/7).
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