Video card for HTPC (HDMI with audio?)

I'm not too sure how to find the thread number to enter in "related thread(s)", but this is similar to my hunt (though a little old): http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/252270-31-looking-good-htpc-video-card-hdmi

With how fast video tech seems to advance, I was wondering if the advice in that thread is still applicable. I'm fed up with TVersity so I want to turn my old desktop into a media server for my TV. The only real problem is I have no way to get sound at the moment. The current videocard is an ATI 9600 Pro -- which I'm not sure is enough to handle HD. My TV is 720p, with DVI, VGA and HDMI. It seems the nicest solution would be to find a videocard with HDMI out that includes sound.

Another issue that may factor in to which videocard is best for me is that I will need to address the overscan of my TV -- that is, I'll somehow need to create borders around the image so that it isn't cut off my by TV's overscan. I know I can do this nVidia cards by setting a custom resolution slightly lower than 1280x720 and setting it to Do Not Scale. I'm not sure if this can be done on ATI cards.

Any help appreciated.
30 answers Last reply
More about video card htpc hdmi audio
  1. I know the ATI 3xxx series can do 5.1 audio over HDMI, and the 4xxx series can do 7.1. I think the NVidia 9xxx and GTX series can do 7.1 as well but don't quote me on that.

    I've used ATI for a long time on my HTPC and I've never had a problem with custom resolutions or overscan. They have a pretty good set of features in the CCC.
  2. I am running an Asus ATI 3450 in my home theater. Works great and has HDMI. They are $29 at newegg.
    Be warned though, getting HDMI audio to work with this card is a biatch!
  3. I don't know about XP, but Vista makes using HDMI a piece of cake... Just make sure it's the default sound device!
  4. Ares_ said:
    I would get: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161237

    Just for the the HDMI + audio


    Be warned, that card is AGP.
  5. Given the prices of the ATi 4650 and 4670, they're not bad choices.

    4650 and 4670 do support 7.1, but if you're going straight into your TV with that then chances are you'll never hear it. What TV brand and technology (LCD, CRT...)? What receiver digital audio input options? What Mobo?
  6. Wow did you guys not metion nvidia... i would go with a 9400Gt it is cheap and perfect for your needs
  7. cow_moo said:
    Wow did you guys not metion nvidia... i would go with a 9400Gt it is cheap and perfect for your needs

    While nvidia has the ability to do audio over hdmi, it does not have a built in sound device, you are forced to use a cable from your existing sound card.
  8. I did mention an NVidia product, but I have no experience with them.

    also, I think you can get a 4350 on the cheap, under $30 after rebate. No dedicated HDMI, but with adaptor would work.

    I remember Nvidia using the SPDIF pass through for HDMI audio on previous gen cards, but I saw a review of the newest NVidia IGP with 9xxx series graphics and it had 7.1 audio built in (i think).

    My personal opinion is to go ATI for HTPC/media usage. NVidia seems to work best for gaming.
  9. It sounds like you're using a computer with an AGP slot (9600pro would be an old card to be PCI-e). If that's the case you're going to have to go with a 2xxx series AGP ATI card or the AGP 3850.

    Also, catalyst control center makes it very easy to adjust underscan/overscan, and using HDMI audio in Vista is super easy (to the point where I couldn't believe I didn't have to do anything to get it to work flawlessly.
  10. I was really liking the look of the 9400gt -- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127380 -- but a review about nVidia's audio-out, like firebird explained two posts ago, worries me: "Cons: Poor HDMI Audio out implementation. The only way to get audio out through the HDMI port is to make an internal wired connection between the card and the motherboard's SPDIF header. A flimsy wire is used for this. MSI Techs tell me this is the nVidia solution for audio thru HDMI. Apparently, ATI has a different approach."

    The ATi 3450 looks like the front-runner -- tomorrow when I have a little extra time I'm going to look up some reviews for it. Thanks.

    TeraMedia said:
    4650 and 4670 do support 7.1, but if you're going straight into your TV with that then chances are you'll never hear it. What TV brand and technology (LCD, CRT...)? What receiver digital audio input options? What Mobo?


    Wow -- really? I didn't realize there were so many chances for it to be incompatible.


    This will be going directly to my TV for now -- an older Samsung DLP, 56", 720p. It was made long before HDMI 1.3.

    I'm not too sure about the computer's mobo, but I know it's PCIe -- the 9600pro in it is PCIe.
  11. You may want to do a sanity check on the model of the video card and mobo slot. If I was a betting man I'd put the house up against the 9600 pro ever being on PCIe...
  12. It's possible it's not a 9600pro, but it's definitely PCIe... it doesn't really matter what card is in it now, does it? I'm 100% positive it's PCIe, that was one of my requirements when buying the computer.
  13. They never made a PCI-E 9600 pro.
    When they made that card in PCI-E they called it the X600 (Same card different name i believe). The only way your 9600pro is PCI-E is if your motherboard is not identifying the X600 right. That is the reason why i linked to an AGP.
  14. "When they made that card in PCI-E they called it the X600"

    True, i have it. Trying to replace it with a recommendation from this thread.

    Great thread. HTPC time of year. Anyone see a fry's deal on any of these cards your're talkig about

    1 cable HTPC connection solution FTW!
  15. toosober said:
    I am running an Asus ATI 3450 in my home theater. Works great and has HDMI. They are $29 at newegg.
    Be warned though, getting HDMI audio to work with this card is a biatch!


    I hear ya - do you have your detailed steps for getting 5.1 out over the 3450?

    I've been able to get 2 channel - but not 5.1, despite loading the ATI HDMI driver, and different combination of drivers from Realtek, ATI, Microsoft and Radeon...

    Thanks,
    Chris
  16. Are you using XP? NVIDIA cards require a SPDIF input from the motherboard to be able to carry sound. ATI has their own "chip" that does this. On the CD Driver disk that comes with the 3450 should be a HDMI driver.
  17. toosober said:
    While nvidia has the ability to do audio over hdmi, it does not have a built in sound device, you are forced to use a cable from your existing sound card.

    What do you mean? Doesn't it just go through the motherboard, on to the PCI slot, and from there into the video card, which then combines the audio into it's HDMI output?
  18. toosober said:
    Be warned, that card is AGP.

    and it is useing S-video, or HDMI "VIA ADAPTER" you would be better off going with http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130528

    Don't forget kids:
    The higher your damage,
    the bigger you penis is.
  19. booboisie said:
    I hear ya - do you have your detailed steps for getting 5.1 out over the 3450?

    I've been able to get 2 channel - but not 5.1, despite loading the ATI HDMI driver, and different combination of drivers from Realtek, ATI, Microsoft and Radeon...

    Thanks,
    Chris



    Does anyone have a solution for this? I have an Asus MB with integrated HD 3300, i've installed ATI HDMI driver, under playback devices i can select it and then to tab with Dolby Digital and do a test and i can hear sound play with each of the 5 speakser but then when i play a movie i get nothing but 2.0, i'm running HDMI cable to Denon 2310 receiver, denon receiver says Stereo so i know that output from HTPC is not 5.1..sigh...
  20. Have you set your windows speaker setup to 5.1? or 7.1?

    Is the player software (VLC/Media Player Classic set to use 5.1? 7.1?
    *Some trial/OEM bundled DVD/BD software only outputs stereo sound & you have to pay to upgrade to the full version, which does 5.1/7.1 audio*

    Is the movie 5.1?
  21. debro said:
    Have you set your windows speaker setup to 5.1? or 7.1?

    Is the player software (VLC/Media Player Classic set to use 5.1? 7.1?
    *Some trial/OEM bundled DVD/BD software only outputs stereo sound & you have to pay to upgrade to the full version, which does 5.1/7.1 audio*

    Is the movie 5.1?



    I have since figured it out, i was trying to use hdmi audio via built in ati 3300 video, disabling onboard audio has some how enabled audio over hdmi in the video hardware and its working great, i'm getting dolby digital and dts hd to my denon receiver now, also i think i had to set audo to hdmi in TMT for blue rays to play audio correctly
  22. Disabling all other audio devices (onboard audio/removing PCI/PCI-E discrete audio cards) will leave only the ATI HD3300/HDXXXX audio device in the list of audio devices.

    Windows defaults to your ATI HDXXXX HDMI audio device as it's the only audio hardware output device in the system.
    Similarly for the player software, they default to the only audio output device in the system, which is the ATI HDXXXX HDMI audio device.
  23. debro said:
    Disabling all other audio devices (onboard audio/removing PCI/PCI-E discrete audio cards) will leave only the ATI HD3300/HDXXXX audio device in the list of audio devices.

    Windows defaults to your ATI HDXXXX HDMI audio device as it's the only audio hardware output device in the system.
    Similarly for the player software, they default to the only audio output device in the system, which is the ATI HDXXXX HDMI audio device.


    Yes i think that ultimately fixed my problem, i had set ATI HD as my default audio device but it wasn't working untill i disabled on board audio
  24. Hey I was looking at the Sapphire 5570 as an HTPC card, but I can't tell from any of the specs or ratings whether or not this card has audio built into its HDMI port? Would anyone here know about this?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102874
  25. arsenicc said:
    Hey I was looking at the Sapphire 5570 as an HTPC card, but I can't tell from any of the specs or ratings whether or not this card has audio built into its HDMI port? Would anyone here know about this?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102874



    they all do, i have a crappy on board 3300 and audio works great over hdmi port....it took a while to get it set up tho
  26. Sorry to re-awaken this thread (if I may) but I have spent days searching for an answer (solution) to what I was hoping by now (almost 2011!) would be fairly simple.

    My requirement is, I hope, as simple as my perceived solution: -

    I have a PC with the following specification http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00379616&cc=uk&dlc=en&lc=en&jumpid=reg_R1002_UKEN

    and I would like to add a card graphics card that will produce both video and audio through the HDMI port, over an HDMI cable to an HDMI TV. No serious gaming just DVDs or perhaps streaming TV.

    Wow, it even sounds simple when I put it in writting!

    I have read lots of threads about the pros and cons of nVidia and ATi and from what I understand it is more likely that the ATi cards are the ones to buy. But...

    ...which ones will do what I want?

    Am I correct in thinking that whatever card it is, it will need to have an integrated audio controller chip?

    Many thanks in advance
  27. I'd like to reawaken the thread as well. Answer the gentlemen above first but here's my problem:

    I have the ATI 4350 and am running an HDMI 1.3b cable to an Olevia 537 LCD TV as well as a SPDIF cable out of the LCD to the Surround Sound receiver.

    I get video and audio BUT only 2 channels and the problem isn't the receiver settings. Will this simply not work because the sound cant be passed through the TV?
  28. clintrad4 said:
    I'd like to reawaken the thread as well. Answer the gentlemen above first but here's my problem:

    I have the ATI 4350 and am running an HDMI 1.3b cable to an Olevia 537 LCD TV as well as a SPDIF cable out of the LCD to the Surround Sound receiver.

    I get video and audio BUT only 2 channels and the problem isn't the receiver settings. Will this simply not work because the sound cant be passed through the TV?



    most tv's only use 2 channels try hooking the computer to the surround sound receiver then the receiver to your tv. i have mine set up that way with my computer, xbox and cable through the receiver to the tv. my receiver has the option to do pass through which allows video and audio to be seen and heard on the tv without the receiver being on. try that if that doesnt work get a new receiver.
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