I've got a high end home theatre setup that I'm driving from a HTPC. I'm about to buy a new video card and I'd like to know if anyone is aware of any benefit to buying a substantially better video card for the HTPC. What I'm seeing is that you can get a decent 1gb card with HDMI for less than $100. I'm just playing movies but want to make sure the output from the card is as good as it can be. I just don't need true shader-quality differences - just a great HDMI video output.
To my understanding, HDMI is just a digital signal so technically if my pre-amp is doing all the heavy lifting (sound processing, video processing, etc) then the "quality" of the HDMI output is negligible since it's just a straight digital signal.
Am I missing something here? Don't want to overspend if I'm not getting any value but don't want to go cheap at the expense of the rest of the system over a few hundred bucks.
HDMI out from various video cards would carry the same signal, however the image processing that goes to the output will vary by card. So what you actually want is a card that gives you good picture quality, not a good output port. Check out some reviews online for the cards you are interested in.