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What Card Is A Good Match For Old System becoming HTPC

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Last response: in Graphics Cards
July 21, 2011 12:28:03 AM

Hey gang,
I am awaiting my new machine... And am getting ready to make my old system into an HTPC so I can finally bypass my xbox as an extender. I think the only component in my old system that I will be changing as I set it up as an HTPC is going to be the video card; but, I'm having trouble choosing one that is appropriate for both my intentions AND my current components.

Here's my current specs for this machine:
Intel Pentium D 930 3.0GHz
MSI MS-7248R Motherboard
2GB DDR2 266.5 RAM
Nvidia GeForce 7300LE (To Be Replaced)
Windows 7 Ultimate x86 w/ Media Center & MediaBrowser

I would very much like to get a card that will use HDMI for both video and sound. Initially, this machine will be connected to my bedroom's 40" Vizio LCD TV which is 720P; however, I would like to support 1080P for when I replace this TV with a new LED.

I was trying to get a feel for where I should be from reading the latest "Best Graphics Cards For The Money' and the corresponding Hierarchy Chart; but that seemed to make things easy for if I was shopping for a card for a new build, but not so much choosing one for a dated system.

I definitely want to make sure the card I choose doesn't draw too much power for my PSU to handle. And, Is it silly to be looking at a graphics card that uses DDR5 when my system only uses DDR2??? And even though I'm not gaming, doesn't it make sense to get DX11 versus buying a card made before DX11 came out?

Here's some cards that I've been looking at a lot the past few days:
Radeon HD 5670 1GB
Radeon HD 5450 512MB/1GB (only because it's dirt cheap)
Radeon HD 3870 512MB
Radeon HD 4670 1GB
GeForce GT 430 1GB
Your Suggestion Here

I know that mini list makes me look very biased towards ATI cards, but they just seem like a better value most of the time, even though I'm guessing many of you will prefer GeForce (just like it seems Windows WEI index does)... But again, we're going for a best bang for your buck HTPC Media Center Set Up, No Gaming...Just Lots of HD Movies!

Definitely would like to stay under $100 - I'm considering used/refurbished if it gets me a better card and a lower cost (unless you guys say that's a bad idea) thinking I'd be safe doing so with Amazon since they would back me if the used card was not working correctly.

Lets hear it.... narrow me down to my best three cards for my system!!!

More about : card good match system htpc

a b U Graphics card
July 21, 2011 3:32:16 AM

definitely HD 5670
I use my tower for office and multimedia
and I chose the HD 5670
can handle light gaming also
but really shines as a multimedia card
doesnt need an external power connector
draws 64watts at max load according to AMD specs
has universal video decoder (UVD) for video playback
also has BluRay support
great deal under $75

a b U Graphics card
July 21, 2011 3:32:53 AM

BTW 1gb is wasted on a HD 5670
the card wont use the extra memory
stay with the 512mb
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July 21, 2011 3:40:23 AM

good look... thanks for your input... im gonna explore the 5670 some more now (makes me feel good that the one you suggested was the one from the top of my list in the op).

question about the 'universal video decoder'... is that just used in playback, or does it also affect for example, running an mkv .h264 hd movie through an app like xilisoft converter or handbrake to output an mp4 iphone version??? would be nice if the gpu was lightening the load of the cpu on tasks like that.
a b U Graphics card
July 21, 2011 3:53:35 AM

AMD has ATI Stream
that offloads encoding on the GPU
it only works with a limited number of programs
Cyberlink Power Director
Cyberlink Media Show Expresso
are really the only two that come to mind
DVD Fab is supposed to be adding Stream in newer version
AMD supplies a media converter as part of its free downloads
it works really well
just a little limited in settings and formats

also AMD supports OpenCL and DirectComputer which are other
GPGPU standards

it will become a bigger part of home computing
just right now Nvidia has more support for CUDA which is their version

UVD is just for playback
July 21, 2011 4:46:02 AM

so it sounds like that's not going to benefit me since I have an intel processor.
oh well, i have all those media files on a networked drive, so i'll just run my converters on my core i-3 machine. (duh- not supposed to be running apps on the htpc were card shopping for anyways).

Do you see much advantage to the 5670 versus the 5450, which is way cheaper?

a b U Graphics card
July 21, 2011 5:36:04 AM

ATI Stream is part of ATI AMD video cards

either the HD 5450 or HD 5670 would have ATI Stream
I use it with my HD 5670 and my core2duo no problem

for a dedicated HTPC a HD 5450 is fine

the HD 5670 would give more power for 3d graphics but as far as media streaming the HD 5450 would fine
cheaper and uses a little less power also
July 21, 2011 6:09:20 AM

Bought it! HD 5450 from amazon, using a giftcard I had.... 35.00 purchase, free shipping, cost me nothing (cause of gift card) and I also will get 15 back from a rebate!
a c 332 U Graphics card
July 29, 2011 8:42:37 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey