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Choosing a gaming card for a HTPC

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 14, 2012 8:39:02 AM

Hello, I'm trying to plan out my first PC build and have never purchased a GPU b4. I dont know what the deciding factors or requirements are. I'm sure this type of question comes up daily, but it seems pointless referencing other threads when cards are outdated in 3 months lol. That and my particular build isnt so average.

What I got in mind is a HTPC, but haven't decided on a case. I'd like a mATX if I can find a board with all the features I want. I've been eyeing the silverstone GD04 but it only fits a 125x280mm card. The CPU will be an I5 2500K OC'd to 4.2 w/ big shuriken cooler. The TV will be a 37-40" 120hz 1080p LCD.

I want a card thats somewhat future proofed for 5-6yrs and efficient (heat/power) I dont want a card that requires a 650+ PSU if possible. I've been a council gamer all my life, the games I play probably aren't that demanding MW3/BF3/ghost recon/MGS4 etc. Theres probably alot of PC exclusives that are much more demanding that I'd like to play at max. Budget is $500 but cheaper is better.
a c 92 U Graphics card
June 14, 2012 9:04:32 AM

Why would you possible want an i5 2500k in an HTPC?
Will you be overclocking an HTPC? Seems like you are building a fully loaded gaming PC.

Anyways, for $500 the gtx 670 at about $400 is the best price/performance card out right now. If you want something more powerful, you can get better performance from an OC'ed 7970 generally.
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a b U Graphics card
June 14, 2012 11:21:47 AM

As Esrever pointed towards, HTPC cases aren't really made for high end components, there is a great chance you would end up with a system that is prone to overheating - especially as you are planning to overclock.

It's also very possible that it will be quite loud as your fans will work hard trying to keep your components cool in the limited space.
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a b U Graphics card
June 14, 2012 11:33:19 AM

Future proof doesnt exist in PC hardware.Why do people keep saying that?
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June 14, 2012 11:46:26 AM

vrumor said:
Future proof doesnt exist in PC hardware.Why do people keep saying that?

It exists, but only to a very limited extent.
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a c 358 U Graphics card
June 14, 2012 3:18:46 PM

Even the fabled GTX 690 will not likely not last a gamer 5 - 6 years.

"Future Proof" depends on a lot of things like how much performance do you expect 5 - 6 years from now? Is lowering graphic settings down to medium okay with you? Are you willing to play games at lower than 1920x1080 resolution in the future to get good performance?

People don't generally stick a Core i5 2500k and a graphic card up to $500 in a HTPC. It seems you are really interested in building a powerful gaming PC in a small case.
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a c 358 U Graphics card
June 14, 2012 3:23:43 PM

Also, a 120Hz HDTV does not operate the same way as a 120Hz monitor. So when playing games on a HDTV it is recommended you set the refresh rate to 60Hz otherwise you will likely experience input lag. HDTVs only accept 60Hz inputs even if they are referred to as "120Hz HDTVs" or "240Hz HDTVs".
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June 14, 2012 3:29:17 PM

Future proofing indeed exists. My friend has Core 2 Quad Q6600 which was released back in Q1 2007 and still plays games on highest settings like a boss. He used to have HD 5970 which died month before warranty expired and it got replaced by GTX 580.

With 2500K and GTX 670/680 or HD 7950/7970 you definitely won't have to worry about upgrading in next 3-4 years at least, let alone with GTX 690 or HD 7990 when it comes out.

Let's not forget about overclocking abd ability to SLI/CF as well.
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a b U Graphics card
June 14, 2012 3:37:36 PM

3-4 years is a lot different than 6 years. I wouldnt consider the 8000 series which was released in 2006 a competent vid card choice today.
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June 14, 2012 3:51:06 PM

It is, I agree. That's why I said "only" 3-4 years, because 5-6 years is too much ahead to say anything right now.

Also, 2012-2018 will see much bigger technology advancements than 2006-2012, so that's another thing to consider.
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June 19, 2012 8:16:12 AM

esrever said:
Why would you possible want an i5 2500k in an HTPC?
Will you be overclocking an HTPC? Seems like you are building a fully loaded gaming PC.

Anyways, for $500 the gtx 670 at about $400 is the best price/performance card out right now. If you want something more powerful, you can get better performance from an OC'ed 7970 generally.
I plan to clock @ 4.2 w/ gaming as the main purpose. The max GPU height for the GD04 is 125mm (4.91") assuming CPU and PCI slots are close to the same height. Silverstone states the max CPU cooler height (w/o ODD) is 125mm. Dual fan GPU's might be out of the question being as they all measure over 5". Will a single fan be enough for OCing @ 1080?

I'd consider a full size ATX case, but none of the ATX cases have the cooling capability like the GD04 w/ its 3x 120mm side fans, 120mm PSU vent, and optional 2x 80mm rear fans. The only one that compares is a LIAN LI PC-C60B and its expensive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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June 19, 2012 8:17:48 AM

cobot said:
As Esrever pointed towards, HTPC cases aren't really made for high end components, there is a great chance you would end up with a system that is prone to overheating - especially as you are planning to overclock.

It's also very possible that it will be quite loud as your fans will work hard trying to keep your components cool in the limited space.
Yea I've learned that high end gaming HTPC's take a lot of careful planning, not the easiest to build for a first PC, but I have hopes that the GD04 can handle what I have planed. Heres a link http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=233&area=...

I'm new to PC's but I've done extensive searching for a case w/ sufficient cooling and functionality as well as being quiet, and the GD04 seems to fit the bill, its by far the best bang for the buck. I just wish they made a full size one. However, the only PCI slots I should need is GPU and TV tuner card.
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June 19, 2012 8:19:34 AM

jaguarskx said:
Even the fabled GTX 690 will not likely not last a gamer 5 - 6 years.

"Future Proof" depends on a lot of things like how much performance do you expect 5 - 6 years from now? Is lowering graphic settings down to medium okay with you? Are you willing to play games at lower than 1920x1080 resolution in the future to get good performance?

People don't generally stick a Core i5 2500k and a graphic card up to $500 in a HTPC. It seems you are really interested in building a powerful gaming PC in a small case.
Precisely :) ...

Maybe 5-6 yrs is a bit much, but I figured @ 1080 its not as demanding for performance, and if I'm at max performance in 4-5 yrs hopefully I can make it another year OCed. The reason I went w/ a 2500 is for multi tasking and I was told the new Ivy bridges run too hot and hyper threading doesn't work well for gaming. I also want something that'll still be sufficient in the next 7-8 yrs.
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June 19, 2012 8:34:05 AM

jaguarskx said:
Also, a 120Hz HDTV does not operate the same way as a 120Hz monitor. So when playing games on a HDTV it is recommended you set the refresh rate to 60Hz otherwise you will likely experience input lag. HDTVs only accept 60Hz inputs even if they are referred to as "120Hz HDTVs" or "240Hz HDTVs".

I didn't know the refresh rate operated differently for monitors. As for lag, I'm a CRT gamer and thought I'd be sensitive, but I played a round of black ops HCTD (PS3) on my friends old 40" 60hz phillips and lag wasn't noticeable. Granted it was @ 60hz, but I'm pretty sure the old 09' models had 60ms+ of lag. Yet I still managed 29 kills w/ only 3 deaths, not a personal best, but not bad. Idk, maybe I'm too slow to notice less than 2 frames. Either way most 120hz tvs have "game modes" that set the refresh to 60hz.

Now I didn't know HDTVs won't do 120hz via HDMI? I thought that was just a council limitation. You sure? Whats the point of a 120hz tv then?
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June 20, 2012 6:41:07 AM

Anyone?

Sorry I was a week late, I thought I was subscribed :\. Btw how do I subscribe (re-subscribe)? I usually subscribe to all my other topics b4 I post but I must not have. Most forums let you via "advanced reply" but I don't see anything like that. Sure sucks trying to find it when it gets pushed to page 4 in less than a day.

I sure hope you guys can take me seriously and forgive my negligence cuz I do need the help.

Also, I'm forced to use my PS3 and it limits how many characters per reply. Which is why I didn't do multiple quotes, so excuse any future blank quotes or double posts.

Thanks :) 
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December 16, 2012 5:49:29 PM

mopar_kid said:
Anyone?

Sorry I was a week late, I thought I was subscribed :\. Btw how do I subscribe (re-subscribe)? I usually subscribe to all my other topics b4 I post but I must not have. Most forums let you via "advanced reply" but I don't see anything like that. Sure sucks trying to find it when it gets pushed to page 4 in less than a day.

I sure hope you guys can take me seriously and forgive my negligence cuz I do need the help.

Also, I'm forced to use my PS3 and it limits how many characters per reply. Which is why I didn't do multiple quotes, so excuse any future blank quotes or double posts.

Thanks :) 


I'm way late too, I know, but you may still be interested in my system.

I have the following build and it plays all modern games on high/ultra settings with 50+ FPS:
- Silverstone GD05 Case
- Corsair AX-750 PSU
- Asus Maximus V Gene MOBO
- Intel i7-2700K CPU OC'd to 4.2 GHz
- 16 GB Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR3 1600MHz CL8 RAM
- Scythe Big Shuriken 2 CPU cooler
- Sapphire HD7870 GHz edition OC graphics card
- WD 1T Velociraptor Main HDD and WD 1T Caviar Black Media HDD
- LiteOn IHBS112 12X Blu-Ray Player/Burner

It is super fast and super quiet and I'm not kidding on the quiet. I can barely hear it during gaming - even with my system muted!

It is also feeds a high-end Home Theater system:
- Emotiva UMC-1 Digital Processor
- Samsung UN55C7000WF 55" 240Hz 3D LED TV
- Adcom GFA-5802 450 W/ch (4 Ohms) 2-channel Amp driving a pair of Martin Logan Aeon-i electrostatic speakers,
- Adcom GFA-5503 350W/ch (4 Ohms) 3-channel Amp driving a pair of MB-Quart QL-S830 surround speakers and a Klipsch RC-52 II center speaker
- Adcom GFA-5400 200W/ch (4 Ohms) 2-channel Amp driving a pair of Cerwin-Vega AT-15 back speakers
- Pair of Emotiva X-REF 10 300 W 10" subwoofers

The GD05 will absolutely take an 11" graphics card that is no taller than 4.92". My Sapphire 7870 fits perfect. The only 'challenge' was connecting the two 6-pin power cables to the top of the graphics card. I had to carefully bend the wires at the connectors 90 degrees to get the lid on, but it does go on cleanly and safely. You want to keep this in mind when looking at cards that are taller than average.
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