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Challenge: Low budget, Low power, small form HTPC graphics card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 16, 2011 7:03:51 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week, preferably today or tomorrow
BUDGET RANGE: under $100 if we can (Before / After Rebates doesnt matter)

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: home theatre, watching HD movies on a 6ft+ screen (720p projector)

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: On board graphics of the CPU (yes i know this is a bad idea) and 300W

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS:
AMD Athlon II X2 255 Regor 3.1GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor ADX255OCGQBOX
Rosewill R379-M Black/ Silver 0.8mm SGCC Steel Slim MicroATX Computer Case with ATX12V Flex 300W Power Supply
GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
approx 3-4 gb RAM

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg

PARTS PREFERENCES: n/a

OVERCLOCKING: maybe if it helps but i never have and dont plan too
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Same as above

MONITOR RESOLUTION: in the neighborhood of 1920x1080 and 1920x1200 but not really sure, sorry

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm running my computer (via HDMI) through an audio receiver (for 5.1 surround sound) to my projector (over 6ft @ 720p). The onboard graphics handled everything until i tried to play a movie with a lot of CGI (Inception, Avatar, etc) and im sick of the pixelation and stuttering graphics.

I know im limited by my small form case and power supply, but i've been doing research for the last 6 hours and have no idea what to get. I dont even know what im looking at anymore. Please help guide me or make recommendations. Thank you!
a c 130 U Graphics card
March 16, 2011 7:33:50 AM

A HD 5550 from AMD would be plenty for your needs.

Mactronix :) 
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a b U Graphics card
March 16, 2011 5:42:17 PM

Excellent recommendation by Christian - good card (for video but not gaming) from a better brand at a great price with a lifetime warranty.

Note that the specs stipulate a minimum power requirement of 400w and you only have 300w. However I have seen reviews that show total power consumption with ths model of card at less than 200w for a simple system.

This review will provide you a little more info about that model of card. Note that this version has the faster GDDR3 memory (compared to GDDR2 in the card linked above) and passive cooling.

http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/gpu_displays/his_rad...

HOWEVER note that this is not a low profile card. Will a full size card fit in your case?

For general guidance in upgrading non-gaming video cards, see:

http://www.upgradevideocards.com/nongaming.html

Other pages on defining system requirements and personal choices, video card reviews, brand and vendor selection, and installing video cards might also be helpful.
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