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Need budget card for hardware acceleration (movies, Flash)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 17, 2011 11:11:25 PM

Hi,

I am in the market for a new graphics card because I want hardware acceleration for watching movies, flash websites and a snappier Aero experience. I don't game. Having looked at the latest "Best Graphics Cards For The Money", it seems that a lower-end Radeon HD card is the way to go because Nvidia apparently is lagging in the budget sector. However elsewhere I read that VLC and CoreAVC are having issues implementing hardware acceleration for Radeon cards. Now I am not tied to these video decoding solutions, but the question is, given my needs and that I am obviously going for a budget card, should I rather go for, say, a Radeon HD 4550 or a GeForce 8400 GS?

My system specs are (Win Experience Subscore in brackets):
Windows 7 32bit
Asus A8N-VM CSM mobo (has a PCIe graphics card socket)
Processor AMD Athlon64 X2 3800+ (4.7)
RAM 2.00 GB (4.9)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 6500 (3.1)
Gaming graphics 1023 MB Total available graphics memory (3.1)
System drive (Intel X25V) (5.9)
Monitor: 1680 x 1050
PSU: 500W

I might add that I am actually rather happy with my system performance (mostly thanks to the SSD drive and the 2nd gig), but Flash websites often cause a lagged browsing experience and 720p movies occasionally stutter briefly (more so on VLC, not really on WMP), and 1080p might just about work for youtube content, but proper 1080p material won't play. Aero stuff is occasionally slow.

Many thanks in advance.
a c 218 U Graphics card
January 18, 2011 1:00:24 PM

I have been using the HD4650 to great success in multiple systems to perform similar tasks to what you need help with. BTW, they work great with VLC! What is your budget and where do you prefer to order from?
January 18, 2011 8:23:07 PM

Sounds good then for a Radeon HD, I don't have a budget limit as such but don't see the point for an expensive graphics card as I am not a gamer. I prefer fanless cards if they can deliver enough performance, and I order from whoever is cheapest. I just put in an order for a XFX 4550 (most powerful fanless card I think) from ebuyer for £29 incl. delivery. They haven't dispatched it yet so there is still time for a revision...?!
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a c 218 U Graphics card
January 18, 2011 9:26:57 PM

maximax said:
Sounds good then for a Radeon HD, I don't have a budget limit as such but don't see the point for an expensive graphics card as I am not a gamer. I prefer fanless cards if they can deliver enough performance, and I order from whoever is cheapest. I just put in an order for a XFX 4550 (most powerful fanless card I think) from ebuyer for £29 incl. delivery. They haven't dispatched it yet so there is still time for a revision...?!

I actually have 3 of 4 HD4550 GPUs in several systems I have built for friends and family (I have 1 of them) and they are actually pretty nice. I have one (by Sapphire) that only uses a passive heatsink and there have been no problems with it at all. That system does, however, have excellent airflow.

Good luck!
January 19, 2011 8:17:28 AM

Sounds good then COLGeek, thanks for your advice!
!