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Cheapest video card that will smoothly decode h264 @ 1080p

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 2, 2010 12:19:13 AM

I'm looking for the cheapest video card that will smoothly decode h264 @ 1080p

I know that this question has been asked before since one of my searches showed the 3850 as the right card for the job, but that was a few years ago and newer cards are available. Another more recent thread got closed so I'm asking again.

HDMI would be a nice feature which rules the 3850 out.

Passive cooling would be nice if possible.

It would also be nice if the card got power entirely from the slot without the need for an extra power connection.

The card does not need to play games at all, the computer will be a dedicated HTPC.

PCIx16 of course.

Will ION do the job paired with an atom 330 dual core? Some say yes, some say no??





a b U Graphics card
April 2, 2010 12:30:39 AM

I'm doing it with a 128meg ati hd 2400 pro. Using dvi~hdmi dongle. using K-lite codec pack. MPC Home Cinema. It took some trial and error with options to finally play without tearing. Its hooked to a 720P Panasonic plasma. This card will not work hooked up to a blu ray drive or in my case a external x-box HD dvd drive.

It worked fine with a 8600gt 256 card. But not the 2400 HD .

So almost any discrete card will do, ATI 4650 or up.
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a b U Graphics card
April 2, 2010 12:35:32 AM

It would, but ION is a motherboard feature and atoms restrict you to doing that and a little surfing the web, not much muscle. The Radeon 5670 I would recommend is around the $100 mark and is the successor to the previous generations 4670, both is similar in performance but the 5670 improves on it a little while adding Eyefinity. Unfortunately I can't find any that is passively cooled, though it doesn't require any additional PCI-e 6-pin power cords, the PCI-e slot is enough. One more thing is wour PSU rated at 400W and it is not a slim case?
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April 2, 2010 12:37:37 AM

I'm currently using a 4350 in my HTPC and it meets all the requirements you've listed and I think I paid $30 for it about 8 months or so ago.

I would go for the 5000 series and I bet the lowest card in the lot will do you fine as long as you don't want to game.

I think the 5450 would do you fine, but I'd double check the specs on power first.

With ATI 5xxx series you can bitstream HD audio, which may or may not be something you're looking for, but I don' think any NV 2xx card does that.
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a b U Graphics card
April 2, 2010 12:47:32 AM

the lowest, IGP ATI HD3200/3300/4200/4290 or NV 9200/9300, even intel's IGP can do this

EDIT: it just occurred to me that i meant the newer intel IGPs (not the old one with the Atom)
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April 2, 2010 1:11:00 AM

mindless728 said:
the lowest, IGP ATI HD3200/3300/4200/4290 or NV 9200/9300, even intel's IGP can do this
Perhaps.

I was thinking about one of those tiny boxes with ION but I've heard that they struggle with 1080p content.

ION/330 box: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4530/270 box: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The other thing I was thinking about was a 2.9GHz Core-2-Duo system and some graphics card but that would be quite a bit more money...

Is it the video card or the processor that has trouble with the 1080p?




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a b U Graphics card
April 2, 2010 1:14:21 AM

If you are just watching 1080p content I would go for the Asus Eee box, a core 2 duo is only if you plan to edit videos or play games.
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April 3, 2010 10:46:55 PM

I've been doing a little reading and much to my surprise it seems that currently the CPU is largely responsible for h264 decoding operations. Evidently some of the work can be off loaded to the GPU but a decent CPU is important.

With that in mind I'm hoping that the AMD 4000+ system will be able to handle the job using just MB graphics.

This is good news since it does not involve a new purchase.

The Plan:

The HD 5770 gets robbed from the Regor system.

The nVidia 9800 GT is robbed from 4000+ system and installed into Regor 2.8 GHz system.

The Regor/9800 system becomes a low power folding@home system.

The 4000+ system (hopefully) becomes a HTPC.

The stolen HD 5770 installed into the new i5-750 system in crossfire with a second 5770...
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