HTPC (Blu-Ray Graphics)

Ok, so I will be building an HTPC from certain parts that I have. My old Pentium 4 3.2 GHz CPU and ECS M4800 M/B will be the parts that I have. I need to decide which will be better for an HTPC to play Blu-Ray, It does not need to be good for gaming.

Saphire Radeon HD 3450 512 MB 64-bit AGP 8x

BFG Tech NVidia 8400 GS 512 MB 64-bit PCI
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  1. both are bout the same in performance but I would go with the 3450 since it has a HDMI port out

    *its also has passive cooling for better noise reduction
  2. I've built 4 HTPCs now. If you're going with BR, at a minimum you need to get an ATI HD3450. FORGET any nVIDIA card (other than ION) for this purpose as screwing with trying to pass sound from the S/PDIF of the motherboard to the card through the HDMI port is an absolute joke. The 3xxx and 4xxx cards will do Dolby Digital and DTS over HDMI natively - no funky pass-through wires required. Besides that, it's highly unlikely that old of a board has an S/PDIF connector on it, so you wouldn't be able to get sound over any nvidia card anyways. Unfortunately, that's the best you can do on AGP unless, some day, someone makes a 5xxx card in AGP format (thus also getting DTS-MA (master audio) and Dolby TrueHD). That said, I'm not sure the AGP bus can actually handle those audio formats and the bandwidth required, so the 3450 is probably going to be your best bet so long as you accept that you'll never get anything better than DTS on your Blu-Rays and 95% of the time probably only Dolby Digital. I never thought it would be that big of a deal until I got a new stereo and a couple extra speakers and heard DTS-MA on 7.1 channels for the first time and was blown away. Truly awesome.
  3. Thanks for the info. I really don't need the S/PDIF connector internally as i will be getting a sound card to send new audio through a second card. And yes, i know that NVidia does not put sound through their cards without the S/PDIF connector. I had connect the cable internally in my PC, and it is a pain. Thanks for the info anyway.
  4. The 3450 will be pretty much silent in your HTPC and have enough performance while not sucking up too much power.
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