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Help understanding graphics

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 28, 2009 3:12:52 PM

If I have a motherboard with integrated graphics and video output ports (HDMI, DVI, etc) and I plug in a discrete graphics card, do the integrated graphics get disabled?

What about the video ports? If I want to use the graphics card, do I have to plug into the graphics card's output ports or can I plug in to my motherboards ports and still have the computer use the graphics card?

What if I want to add a TV tuner card? Again, same questions....do I have to connect my monitor to the tv tuner card to be able to use it?

Thank you.

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a c 194 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
December 28, 2009 3:22:41 PM

Im going to start at the bottom and go up

The TV tuner card acts like a network card but for TV, it lets your computer receive the signal, you then watch it on your computer through media center or some equivalent program. It will display on the monitor you have hooked up.

When you have a discrete card installed, use its output ports rather than the motherboard's ports otherwise it wont be doing anything and you will still be using the onboard. You can use the ports on the motherboard to use multiple monitors, more than the two a graphics card supports.

You can disable the onboard, but in general the motherboard will automatically treat the card as the primary display adapter and the IGP as a secondary one so you dont necessarily have to disable it.
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December 28, 2009 3:57:09 PM

Thank you hunter315. Great answer. So from what I understand, the computer does not integrate all the components. I have to use the individual outputs from those components to get them to work.

Re: the TV tuner card. I actually want my computer to display the output to my TV (not a computer monitor)...so I guess I will need to use the ouput from that card to get it to work?

So if I want to use my computer for gaming (graphics card) and to watch and record TV (Tv tuner card) then I have to keep switching the connections?
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a c 84 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
December 28, 2009 4:50:32 PM

Tv tuner cards don't usually have outputs, only inputs (like antenna, s-video etc...)

The picture will still come out through the graphics card as it will be shown with some viewing software in windows.
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a c 194 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
December 29, 2009 12:20:10 AM

If you hook your GPU up to your TV you can use it as a secondary monitor and have media center play on the second screen instead. You can use two outputs from the GPU with the option of one of the onboard ones if you need to run more than two monitors. The TV Tuner card generally only has inputs not outputs but any LCD TV should have a connector that your GPU can connect to.
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December 29, 2009 3:43:28 AM

if I remember correctly I once put a new GPU into a PC that had an internal card. I however think I had to disable it in BIOS to make it work...

If it doesn't work automatically, just go into the bios and viola, should fix it.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
a c 137 V Motherboard
December 29, 2009 4:35:26 AM

Help from a computer technician:

- your computer BIOS has options you can change. one of these is for which graphics card to choose. You can set the ORDER. If it's set correctly then your onboard will be deactivated and your new card will work. See your motherboard manual for details in the BIOS section.

- When you get a new card, such as an HD4770 you will have at least two outputs. If you have a monitor and an HDTV you can output to BOTH at the same time. Usually you would have one as the MAIN monitor (with Taskbar etc) and the second as an EXTENDED. You could drag a Windows Explorer screen or video to the EXTENDED monitor and use it there. If you aren't using the extended screen you should DISABLE the second monitor. This is all done through software for your video card. ATI uses the "Catalyst Control Center."

Make sure to update all your software for your video card. ATI has just the drivers or the Suite (which includes the Control Center). Update the Suite always.

- TV tuner. As said, TV tuners don't tend to have outputs. They use a video player and play it on your screen just like any other video player would. Some setup is needed to detect the channels etc.

Be aware that Canada can not get Digital Channels decoded since 2007 and the USA no longer broadcasts analog channels. Cheap TV tuners will show degraded video quality. I live in Canada. Maybe you can get your TV tuner working for a reasonable price but my recommendation is to get a box from your cable provider. You should be able to get an HD Receiver for less than $200 and add your own USB hard drive or pay more for the full PVR with two tuners which can record two stations at the same time or watch one and record one. We just got one of each; my dad just loves the PVR and it's simple to use.

I've actually heard some success with digital TV tuners and Windows 7 which has excellent TV Guide support (the best you can get actually). A low-power dual-core CPU, and a low-power Graphics card (ex. HD4350), one or two high quality digital tuners etc.

- note that the new DX11 cards (currently only the HD5xxx series) support two hardware video decoders for PIP, such as BluRay video commentary overlayed over a movie

*to be clear, there is no need to physically change your hardware setup. You plug your monitor(s) into the active card(s). If you wish to switch monitors you can make one ACTIVE and one EXTENDED or have one ACTIVE and one DISABLED. You can also CLONE but this is a rarely used feature.

You can probably build a great Home Theater PC including BluRay and TV. Good HD Tuners are expensive, it's difficult to pick the correct parts to make things silent when building a PC. Most people should buy a TV Box such as a PVR from the TV company.
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December 29, 2009 1:29:31 PM

Thank you all for your input.
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