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My 2 year old nVidia card looks better than integrated Radeon 6530

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 2, 2012 4:18:21 PM

Folks,

I am building a budget HTPC for someone.

My existing HTPC that was built 2 years ago has an old nVidia GT 520 card.

After going through 100s of articles over the net, I decided to go with:

ASUS F1A75V-PRO MB
AMD A6-3500 with integrated Radeon 6530
8G DDR3 RAM (From what I understand integrated GPU share CPU RAM. The more the better).

I hooked up the new box to my existing AV Receiver via HDMI. The receiver connects to an overhead projector via HDMI.

The setup is such that I can switch between my old HTPC and the new one.

I ran the same 1080p movie on both the boxes and switched back-n-forth.

To my eyes, it appeared my old nVidia card had better video.

1. The video through nVidia card was more lustrous.
2. I felt like the video motion in the new HTPC would cause sea sickness. Don't know how to describe it better.

I am confused. Can a two year old video card still be better than the latest integrated GPU?

I need to build 20 HTPCs with the same configuration. The quality of audio and video is very important (within reasonable budget). I would appreciate it if you could share your thoughts.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Regards,
Peter
a b U Graphics card
January 2, 2012 4:46:14 PM

Yes, it can be better, and it probably is. There really shouldn't be a difference in the frame rates while just playing back 1080p, though. They should look exactly the same.
"To my eyes" may be the trick here. Get someone to switch the cards on you by flipping a coin. Do this a few times, and see if you can call the difference without knowing which card is doing the playback. Try it with them, too: switch the cards and see which they think looks better - if you tell someone that one of two options is better, they can and will pick a solid favorite from two identical options.
If you can still tell, then we can move on with solving this. If not, you were just getting yourself with a placebo. Video stuff is very subjective.
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a b U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
January 2, 2012 5:32:17 PM

Maybe he's from the future....
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a b U Graphics card
January 2, 2012 5:40:32 PM

In general, integrated graphics will never really be comparable to discrete cards.
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a c 175 U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
January 2, 2012 5:58:58 PM

Thats what I was thinking Kari. Two years old? Sounds like someone is trying to sound like he's not a fan boy.
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January 2, 2012 10:02:07 PM

americanbrian said:
In general, integrated graphics will never really be comparable to discrete cards.


That is what I thought. However, this time in brought in a few friends to help me do side-by-side comparison. They all felt that my old nVideo GeForce 9400 looked better.

I also noticed that some frames are skipped by ATI. I have a 1080p video clip that displays a countdown from 10 to 1. Each time I played it, the UI froze momentarily at 8, skipped 7, and moved to 6. Similar problem at 3. Skipped 2 and went straight to 1.

In my setup, I am using VLC on both the HTPC. I have tried the experiment with GPU acceleration turned on as well as turned off.

Both systems are running Windows 7.

I have downloaded a bunch of video clips for my experiment. For some clips, my friends couldn't tell the difference between the two.

What is it that I could be missing?

Peter
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January 2, 2012 10:51:39 PM

Realistically, when brand new a 9400 GT wasn't exactly an under $50 solution though, right? It's also a higher wattage solution and a discrete card will take up more space than the small APU package which requires larger case and heat vs silence considerations. These are also completely different companies with different ways of processing the video. It could be a matter of adjusting settings in catalyst to get the quality to match what you're used to. Any high end picture expectations need calibration to look ideal. I'd assume your old machine would already be set to have an ideal picture. I'm not really sure where the picture degradation lies, but it doesn't seem like it'd be a lack of video processing power.
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a b U Graphics card
January 3, 2012 10:24:55 AM

It depends, the dedicated video memory and bandwidth for a discrete card is almost always better than an integrated solution.

Peter, you seem to be taking me the wrong way. Yes the dedicated card is most likely still a much better solution than an integrated one. This is no surprise.
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January 3, 2012 8:23:28 PM

americanbrian said:
It depends, the dedicated video memory and bandwidth for a discrete card is almost always better than an integrated solution.

Peter, you seem to be taking me the wrong way. Yes the dedicated card is most likely still a much better solution than an integrated one. This is no surprise.


Actually, the 9400 uses GDDR2, which in terms of bandwidth would be less than the DDR3 the A6 would be utilizing, not taking into consideration it is still sharing it's memory with the CPU. It could have a higher amount of memory though depending on model, I think the APUs only go up to 512MB. (Did you set the memory usage of the GPU to it's highest BTW?)
The 9400 has a slightly higher base clock speed than A6, although it's a bit lower than the A8.

I still think it's more likely a software tech like NVidia PureVideo more than the actual hardware though. http://www.nvidia.com/page/purevideo.html
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