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Best PCI card to watch Blu-Ray?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 6, 2009 7:02:06 PM

It looks like this one is the best: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I am about 80% going to buy it, but I'd like to hear your critics on it. The biggest reason is 512mb VRAM, so I imagine how smooth would it be to watch Heroes on streaming HD video from www.hulu.com/HD at full screen.

Here's my spec:

Pentium 4 3.00GHZ
1gb RAM
128mb VRAM from intel motherboard

Actually, my computer is from HP.

More about : pci card watch blu ray

a c 143 U Graphics card
January 6, 2009 7:13:05 PM

Fix your link, it goes to a while list of cards and it's not clear which one you mean.

Did you mean PCI or PCI Express?

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a c 143 U Graphics card
January 6, 2009 7:32:27 PM

Nice find. I like the fact that it actually works with Vista too.

I'd buy one too so I can use 3 monitors, but apparently it blocks a second PCI slot with the heatsink. psychicassassin, is that OK for you?
a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2009 8:28:58 PM

If taking up 2 slot's isn't ok you got 2 options.
1. Find one with a single slot cooler.
2. Strip off the cooler and add a aftermarket one.
January 6, 2009 8:52:48 PM

My dad had this build:

P4 3.2HT (LGA 775)
2GB DDR 400 ram
HD 2600XT PCIe 256MB

and it would not flawlessly play BluRay. I doubt any PCI card could handle it. Plus $115 for a 2400Pro is a bit insane.
January 6, 2009 9:09:39 PM

Dang, it's like the company is lying to us that it runs on blu-ray.
January 6, 2009 9:11:01 PM

KyleSTL said:
My dad had this build:

P4 3.2HT (LGA 775)
2GB DDR 400 ram
HD 2600XT PCIe 256MB

and it would not flawlessly play BluRay. I doubt any PCI card could handle it. Plus $115 for a 2400Pro is a bit insane.


But, the one I am looking at has 512mb. Your dad has 256mb, which is twice different.
January 6, 2009 9:44:34 PM

LOL this is insane you could just go another 10 bucks for a 4850 or a 4830; pluss the card is gddr2
January 6, 2009 9:48:40 PM

Vram makes little difference. The video would often play flawlessly, but the audio would cut out due to lack of CPU power (even after adding in a discrete XFi card).

Edit: There are multiple PCI cards much cheaper than that on Newegg. Go for a ~$60 2400Pro or 8400GS, if the video won't play you will have spent less. The additional money for a 512MB card is a waste.
January 6, 2009 9:55:52 PM

agreed with the screen resolution you plain on playing it will be a waste. the only time it makes a real difference is when you have like an 70 ish inch tv then loading times are longer than a 52 inch
January 6, 2009 11:01:39 PM

AMDs IGP 780 or 790g motherboards can do as you ask. Might be time for an upgrade?
January 6, 2009 11:10:52 PM

as for blu-ray you're very limited with no pci-x slot. as for hulu, it's more dependent on your cpu, which in your case should be fine
January 6, 2009 11:11:12 PM

kelfen said:
LOL this is insane you could just go another 10 bucks for a 4850 or a 4830; pluss the card is gddr2


I am not insane because 4850 or 4830 won't fit in the PCI slot. ;-)
January 6, 2009 11:17:18 PM

kelfen said:
agreed with the screen resolution you plain on playing it will be a waste. the only time it makes a real difference is when you have like an 70 ish inch tv then loading times are longer than a 52 inch


I actually thought more VRAM bytes, the more graphic moves smooth (video) - not the size of resolution. I am using Samsung T260 ToC 26" monitor, so I guess 512mb is too big for it.

I am watching Heroes on HD streaming, the picture looks astonishing but the actor moves choppy (like whenever he's running or suddenlly jumping from explosion). I presume that more VRAM would solve this problem.


January 6, 2009 11:18:27 PM

shoota said:
as for blu-ray you're very limited with no pci-x slot. as for hulu, it's more dependent on your cpu, which in your case should be fine

Are you implying I should've looked at CPU insteads of video card?
a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2009 11:29:59 PM

I remembered an old Review on Toms about HD video playback on PC and looking at the results (on a E4300 back then) and I wonder if the OP's P4 will even be able to play it.

My Suggestion:
  • Motherboard
  • CPU
  • RAM
    140$ after MIR, WAY better than what he has, the 780G will give an edge for HD content and is possibly very well suited for HTPC if the OP wants to go that way (very low power, so very little heat).
    a b U Graphics card
    January 7, 2009 12:08:58 AM

    You are using it for 2D acceleration, beyond 64MB of VRAM doesn't matter for this.

    The HD2400Pro is capable, but limited, as is the GF8400GS, and that's even when connected to PCIe. These cards aren't bandwidth limited (BR doesn't throw that much at them over the bus), they are simply core power limited for high bitrate decodes.

    Forget the link in Zenthar's post for a moment and look at Cleeve's follow-up review that includes the HD2400 and GF8400, it illustrates how at the higher bit-rates you just run out of steam;
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/avivo-hd-purevideo,...

    The latest and greatest intergrated chips from ATi and nV are as good at handliing video, but if you want flawless performance you need to step it up a notch, since there can still be issues at high bitrate 1080P with some of the solutions as seen in the next AvP review by Cleeve;
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/graphics-blu-ray-vi...

    But those will do 'ok', just not flawless unless using alot of CPU power to back them up.

    I have few problems with my mobile HD2600Pro with 1080P content, but it's significantly more powerful than those options, just like a GF8600/9600 would be.
    January 7, 2009 12:26:26 AM

    no i'm not saying you should look at cpus i'm saying that my old a$$ laptop with a 1.4 celeron and 512 megs of ram with integrated video plays hulu hd. there is something else going on with ur setup.

    this has nothing to do with bluray mind you..
    January 7, 2009 4:21:35 PM

    I have no experience with hulu (or hulu HD for that matter). I'll divert to shoota for his expertice in that area. If an ancient laptop of those specs can play it, something else is definitely wrong with your setup.

    Also, HD content does not always mean "bluray", the terms are not always interchangable.
    January 7, 2009 6:25:47 PM

    shoota said:
    no i'm not saying you should look at cpus i'm saying that my old a$$ laptop with a 1.4 celeron and 512 megs of ram with integrated video plays hulu hd. there is something else going on with ur setup.

    this has nothing to do with bluray mind you..


    You sound like the type of guy who always watches choppy streaming movies and says "It's working, there's nothing wrong with it!"
    January 7, 2009 6:27:01 PM

    KyleSTL said:
    I have no experience with hulu (or hulu HD for that matter). I'll divert to shoota for his expertice in that area. If an ancient laptop of those specs can play it, something else is definitely wrong with your setup.

    Also, HD content does not always mean "bluray", the terms are not always interchangable.



    Just go to www.hulu.com/HD and click one of the TV shows (Heroes looks the best). Unless, your computer can't do that for you.
    January 7, 2009 8:11:11 PM

    I'll try it on my aging P4 system tonight and then on my E5200/3650 HTPC too. I'll get back to you on that one.

    Edit: It appears that the content is solely 720p, and the requirements state a 2.5mbps connection. That is not even close to demanding compared to BluRay (BD standard is 36mbps for 1x playback). Those kinds of specs scream 1280x720/30p and compressed stereo audio.
    !