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HTPC Build -- The Graphics Card

I'm working on putting a HTPC together, since I have an i7 920 sitting on a shelf I'm eager to get this build underway. At the same time, while researching cases, I noticed what I at least think is overkill by a few folks buying up 7950s ($450) that fit in the Silverstone case I'm looking at. I can't stress enough that games will NOT be played on this machine, games for the TVs go to the XBOX, PS3 and Wii, and Computer Games are on the finally watercooled 3960 case labs box.

What card can offer unparalleled HD playback (no tearing, ripping) and be budget concious. I don't have a budget per se, just seems to me I should be able to build this rig for around $600 (considering I have the CPU and the HDDs already).

Thanks Tom's Community!
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  1. HD6670 would serve that purpose well!
  2. Head on over to http://www.besthtpc.net/ for some good ideas and advice. There are a bunch of other similar sites. These will give you more indepth advice.

    For various reasons, some folk do want to game on these as well (hence 7950's etc). Like yourself, though, I already have a normal/larger case PC which allows better/optimal component selection for best gameplay etc.
    I've also built an HTPC and placed it under the TV in the living room. I've selected low power, quiet components. I had an old GTX460 gathering dust and so used this - even this is overkill but it does allow duties flexibility and future headroom....an HTPC is a PC after all, especially in the context of a living room. I've installed a bunch of hard disks for films/holiday videos/photos/music, and installed XBMC (Eden is just out) to handle all these in the one front-end (and it does so far better than anything I've seen elsewhere).

    Most current low-med cards from both camps offer video hardware acceleration....though not all video formats are accelerated - you might need to convert the odd video, or, map those formats onto their optimal playback program.

    It's interesting, and sometimes frustrating, to see all the sub $50 tiny boxes that effortlessly seem to play back all your media. I used to have a portable HDD attached to a WDTV Live. But then again, with an HTPC we're getting a helluva lot more possibilities.

    ps have you heard about the new HDBaseT format? This does seem to be a great companion for such a build.....single cat5e/6 cable, up to full uncompressed 4k video, 3D video, ethernet, power, IR remote pass-through.
  3. Best answer
    You can drop further down to a Radeon HD 6570 which is a near equivalent to a Radeon HD 5670. Even the Radeon HD 5670 was more than enough for HTPC duties.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127611
  4. R5450HD the silent one....possibly the best thing happened to HTPCs since HD Monitors! :P
  5. get the 7750 the card is quiet and requires very less power.
  6. anything from the 5 series amd will be fine or get 6 series if you want 3d support. to be honest the 920 is complete overkill i have an old athlonx2 in mine and it runs sweet cos all the decoding is done on the gpu and for that i use a 4350. mine is strictly playback only and serves its purpose perfectly gaming and ripping done on my other compus too
  7. jasont78 said:
    anything from the 5 series amd will be fine or get 6 series if you want 3d support.



    Except the HD 5450. It only has one HD video decoding unit. 3D video requires two such units; one for each eye.
  8. You have all given me a lot to research today, and to add to this, I was born without the ability to see in 3D the way the current media is formatted. I was in the Air Force for a spell, it isn't a problem with depth perception but the way current 3D is simulated, so this would be for REGULAR playback. The screen, however is a 60" 120mhz LED LCD, and I'm poised to snag one of the OLEDs sometime this coming holiday season (if they manage to make their production deadlines!).

    Sincerely I thank you all for your replies, it will definitely be tough to pick a "winner" which I will do, because a number of you replied with such great advice. It isn't the amount of the reply necessarily, sometimes short and too the point is equally as helpful.

    I'm looking at the Sapphire 6570: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102942 at the moment, and liking what I see (also being a Sapphire proponent doesn't hurt at all).
  9. The HD6570 is a good choice but then again price difference to a HD6670 is minimal http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102952
  10. rolli59 said:
    The HD6570 is a good choice but then again price difference to a HD6670 is minimal http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102952
    And Rolli, while upsizing from a Medium fries to a large fries might make financial sense, I generally would still throw out the extra fries. Keeping this in GPU talk, though, what more bang do I get for the 6670? Keep in mind 3D is not a concern for me, however if that will further guarantee no tearing, then I'm all for it.
  11. I think the 7750 is the safe bet.
  12. wshinds said:
    And Rolli, while upsizing from a Medium fries to a large fries might make financial sense, I generally would still throw out the extra fries. Keeping this in GPU talk, though, what more bang do I get for the 6670? Keep in mind 3D is not a concern for me, however if that will further guarantee no tearing, then I'm all for it.

    They pretty much have the same capabilities but the HD6670 is a little more powerful. http://www.anandtech.com/show/4278/amds-radeon-hd-6670-radeon-hd-6570/14
  13. The i7-920 is overkill. I went with an AMD A4, and used its built in video. Very low power draw, very low heat. And silent.
  14. rolli59 said:
    They pretty much have the same capabilities but the HD6670 is a little more powerful. http://www.anandtech.com/show/4278/amds-radeon-hd-6670-radeon-hd-6570/14


    Except that the OP has stated that the HTPC will not be used for playing games.
  15. jaguarskx said:
    Except that the OP has stated that the HTPC will not be used for playing games.

    Agreed but the cards are the same price and similar in energy consumption!
  16. Sell the i7 for $200 or so on Craigslist.

    https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?ID=26771528

    Gives you an HTPC using your drives, with a Blueray and Windows for under $300 net.
  17. jaguarskx said:
    Except the HD 5450. It only has one HD video decoding unit. 3D video requires two such units; one for each eye.

    thats why i said get six series for 3d, read the post, all of the 5 series doesnt support 3d decode on gpu
  18. scannall said:
    Sell the i7 for $200 or so on Craigslist.

    https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?ID=26771528

    Gives you an HTPC using your drives, with a Blueray and Windows for under $300 net.
    Scan, I couldn't get into your wishlist, it must be marked private!
  19. OK, should work now Sorry
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