HTPC video card that is NOT PCI-E or pimped for gamers - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-28, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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HTPC video card that is NOT PCI-E or pimped for gamers

I am in the hunt for an 8X AGP video card to pop in a Windows 2000 3Gz Celeron D with 1GB PC3200 DDR RAM. PCI-e seems to be the dominate format and pimped-out gamer spec'ed clocks and pipes and what-not (at least here and most other places I searched). I don't game. I am not bleeding edge. I just want a decent AGP card for playing video up to and including 1080p. Nothing more. Even better if it has HDMI. I will take DVI-HDCP. I have found 10s of variations of the same GPU and they all seem to be from various vendors like XFX, eVGA Visiontek etc. Plus, I understand the world is divided into AMD/ATI and nVidia. I am afraid I will walk into a store and walk out with a $300 video card that I was convinced I needed.

So what should I look for in specs and what models are in line with my requirements? I am currently using an ATI AIW Rage 128 Pro 32MB video card that has performed well but is now deciding to give me a hard time with HD content and overlay mode. It can play it but I have to turn off the acceleration in the video card.

Almost forgot. I have a $150 budget.

Here is one I am looking at:
eVGA GeForce 7600 GT
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-28, 09:50 PM
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Jake, one of my PCs has an nVidia/EVGA GeForce 7600 GS AGP 8x graphics card for exactly the same reasons you've specified. I have it connected to my Sony 60" SXRD via DVI/HDMI and it is splendid at 1080p.

You should be able to find one online from NCIX or TigerDirect for a good price.



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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-28, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Stamp. The GS was the previous lower-middle AGP champ at GPUreview. Also the 7800GS.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-29, 12:37 AM
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I also use a EVGA eForce 7600 GS AGP card. There are a few 7600 GTs available as well. They are priced in the $125-$175 range. They don't do HDCP but I don't see that as a necessity with Celeron system. The CPU would likely need to be upgraded to handle Blu-ray well. The 7800 GS is not necessary.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-29, 08:06 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. Looks like I am converging to a solution.

EVGA e-GeForce 7600 GT 580 800 128 bit 512 MB DL-DVI / VGA
or
EVGA e-GeForce 7600 GS 400 350 128 bit 256 MB DVI-I / VGA

The GT is onsale for less than the GS so I guess it is a no brainer.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-29, 08:30 AM
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Check around, you may be able to find an ATI HD 2600 Pro or XT AGP card for that money. Unfortunately, ATI does not make an AGP HD2600 or higher card, so you need to go to a third party, such as Visiontek, Saphire, etc.

I have a Visiontek HD2600 Pro AGP card in one of my machines, and a Visionteck HD2600 XT AGP in another. They are working very well. Visiontek is making an

The HD line from ATI has onboard decoding for HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, and has proven very good for watching hidef movies.

Not perferct yet - the software is still evolving, and still working to both meet licensing requirements and stability expectations, but for the most part it works well.

Canada Computers has a Saphire HD2600 XP AGP for well within your price range.

Tigerdirect.ca has Visiontek cards, but the Pro card pushes your price limits pretty badly.

There are lots of other computer stores that you can check as well.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-29, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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Doh! I just read this about the HD 2600 XT,

Quote:
Dedicated unified video decoder (UVD) for H.264/AVC and VC-1 video formats. High definition (HD) playback of both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats. Hardware MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4/DivX video decode acceleration.
Motion compensation and iDCT (inverse discrete cosine transform)
Looking nice and under budget.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-29, 09:54 AM
 
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You won't be able to run any of the 2600 series under Windows 2000: they don't make the drivers for it.

It's a problem I'm finding, too. Almost enough to make a body switch to XP finally!
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-30, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronCatt
Almost enough to make a body switch to XP finally!
Yes, that would be my suggestion.

The hardware accelleration on AGP is supposedly fixed (Was broke for a bit) on the HD 2600 in the latest drivers so all you gotta do is go XP and you are laughing.
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