Recommend GPU for Home Theatre

I am looking for the best video card between 50-125$, in my case as a replacement for my 8500 GT, which only has one DVI. My application is pure home theatre (recording TV, watching internet programming, watching my own content in Media Center), + a lot of home video editing (DVI tape over 1394) using Pinnacle Studio software.

I want to run two DVI signals simultaneously (24" LCD HP Monitor and Sony WPL 1080p projector) with the best results, and I am green on what the specs mean. Is the 9400 GT the best choice for me?

My PC: HP Pavilion Elite m9000z CTO Desktop PC 3GB RAM

When I look up the specs on HP site, (,
I notice the following:

- Expansion slots: Two PCI
- One PCI Express x16 graphics (for a graphics card)
- One PCI Express x1 (for cards such as network, sound, tv-tuner)

- Video graphics Integrated graphics using nVidia GeForce 6150SE (but I actually upgraded to the 8500 GT, (1) DVI, (1) HDMI, single monitor capability only)
- Up to 256MB (with 512MB or more PC memory)
- Also supports PCI Express x16 graphics cards*

NOTE: *Either integrated graphics or the PCI Express x16 slot are usable at one time; they are not usable concurrently.

I think that when I ordered the PC (~18 months ago), I upgraded from the 6150SE (integrated graphics) to the 8500GT/512MB... but I don't know whether it is PCI or PCI-E. I'm not local to the PC right now, so I can't check via NVidia control panel (although I've read that what's listed there is suspect anyway).

Since I have a PCI-E expansion slot, it doesn't matter, right? I should be able to remove the 8500 (whether PCI or PCI-E) and put in the new 9400 in the PCI-E (or whatever card you recommend is best for my use case) slot and be good to go?

And I should also probably note that my 1080p projector, over DVI/(HDMI adapter) is putting out the image onto an 8 foot wide screen. Don't know if it matters, resolution-wise, speaking of what media center would put out... and I'm on Vista.

What is the best dual, independent DVI output GPU for my application?

15 answers Last reply
More about recommend home theatre

    Let others chime in....but if you can find that card in the uk it seems like its what you need ;)

    I have it and love it. Great for HTPC and gaming too. No external power connector required and brings performance slightly above the Radeon HD 3850.

    And it turns that old Geforce 8500 GT to dust.
  3. Will those work in his board? mmm i didn't check though...
  4. HD 4550, or 4650.

    Asus HD 4550 512MB PCI-e 16x
    Free Alone in the Dark game w/ purchase, limited offer

    XFX HD-465X-ZDFC Radeon HD 4650 1GB

    ^ Thats a really nice card, it has dual DVI too.
  5. What about:

    Like the exhaust to outside the case...
  6. rewindlabs said:
    Will those work in his board? mmm i didn't check though...

    What do I have to worry about? Power? Double slot height? What's the best way to ensure the card is compatible/will fit/work in my machine?
  7. You usually can't have dual slotted cards on OEM computers. It most likely won't work. Try the 4650, should be plenty and your PSU will probably work with it.

    for the top end of your budget. (because no one is suggesting a good card for the top of your budget for some reason...)

    As far as my opinion on graphics cards is concerned, now is the worst time to buy. When the 5k series and the gtx 3s come out, there will be directx 11 support (full). While most people don't care about directx, I think anyone in the video, graphics, and other industries should be aware that for the first time really (it is possible now but arduous) that a graphics card might be used for computing.

    Graphics cards are a lot faster than CPUs at threaded processes (800 threads vs 4...). Video editing should be one of those possible to be sped up quite a bit.

    But if you want to buy now, the 4850 I listed is your best bet for the upper limit of your price range.

    That's a good card too.
  9. Why would someone need a fast 4850, 4770 for HTPC use? Those are gaming cards aren't they?
  10. AKM880 said:
    Why would someone need a fast 4850, 4770 for HTPC use? Those are gaming cards aren't they?

    They can be used in HTPC. As I said in the post, it is for the upper ends of the budget, just in case there is a reason why someone would want to spend that kind of money on a graphics card.

    Honestly, for an HTPC, all one would need is this:

    HDMI based HD4350 will do all you need in terms of graphics because it's highly unlikely your recording program, video player, or any other software are graphics accelerated at the moment. However, in the very near future it might be so having a top end card would be beneficial. The down side is that I can't guarantee that the card will meet the "requirements" for directx 11 (or OpenCL)

    So, I fail to understand why someone wouldn't recommend a top end of budget card as well just to give an idea of what is available.
  11. Thanks to all for the responses... with these recommended cards, do I need to worry about power requirements in my PC?

    Also, the latest recommendations appear to be 512MB cards; any benefit for my use case to go for the 1GB cards?
  12. No 512MB is actually more than enough for your use....and yes your psu will be just fine with that card
  13. Per the video quality charts I provided in my original post, the HD 46xxx and HD 48xxx series both provides the same video playback quality.

    The HD 4650 I recommend consumes a maximum 30w of power, the HD 4850 consumes maximum 110w of power. The more powerful HD 4850 has no effect on video quality and will likely require you to buy a new power supply if for some reason it consumes the maximum measured power consumption of 110w during non gaming instances.

    The extra RAM is only useful for gaming at high resolutions (1920 x 1200 or higher) because of the need to load textures into the video card to render graphics.

    If all you want to do is edit, record and watch video then the HD 4650 will meet your needs.
  14. descendency said:

    Honestly, for an HTPC, all one would need is this:

    True if you don't care about getting the best video playback quality.

    Wrong if you actually do care about getting the best video playback quality. See the two charts I provided in my first post which focuses on video quality. Since the HD 46xx series offers better video quality than the HD 4550, then it is logical to assume that it will also be better than the HD 4350.
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