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Thread: Which video card should I get?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Which video card should I get?

    I'm going to build a new HTPC for my self and wondering witch video card to buy? Are most people still using nVidia cards or have the problems with ATI been solved?

    The card will be used for playing:
    * dvb-t
    * mpeg4 dvb-t (when they will start sending it.)
    * .mkv files
    * .avi..... and all other common video files.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Southern England
    For an easy life IMHO I would go Nvidia. I did try ATI but drivers were a problem, and getting hardware acceleration working difficult.
    With Nvidia, you now have the option of not only DXVA acceleration but many apps (CoreAVC, PowerDVD) now also support CUDA acceleration, so you have more options.
    Any card reccomended by Tom's hardware would be great:,2521-3.html
    Lounge Gigabyte 780g-Nvidia GTX560ti-AMD PhenomII 960T-Crucial C300 SSD 64gb-Samsung F1 500gb-2x Samsung F1 1tb-NovaT USB-Nova HDS2-XP Pro/W7 (dual-boot).
    Gigabit networked to:
    Gigabyte 740g-Nvidia 8800GTS-AMD X2 6000-Samsung F1 1tb-Seagate 320gb-Samsung F3 1tb-NovaT PCI-TBS 6981-XP Pro/W7 (dual-boot)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    The Big Easy
    I've been an nVidia fan most of my geek life but on a recent build got an ATI and am very pleased. It seems they are like a pendulum swinging back and forth between the two companies.
    I agree about the CUDA comment as more new programs seem to support it. Some of the mid to upper ATI boards come with AVIVO which uses the ATI Stream and it encodes 25% or more faster for me. I do think more programs support CUDA than Stream at this point.
    I may be building a HTPC soon and have no idea at this point, what I want. The good thing is that we have so many choices and the prices are very good now. They won't stay that way forever.

    Custom ASUS P8Z77 V-Deluxe, Core i7 3770k, 16 GB Memory-ASUS ENGTX560 DCII TOP/2DI/1GD5 GeForce GTX 560, H80i Cooler, 750W PS, CM HAF XM RC-922XM-KKN1 case,Corsair GS CSSD-F240GBGS-BK 2.5" 240GB SATA III SSD, InfiniTV4 & HDHomerun Tuners- running Windows 8 (and other goodies)
    #2--P877WS- Core i7 3770k, 16GB Memory-GeForce GTX 650Ti, SATA III SSD, H100i cooler, 750W PS, Windows 8.1

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    North Lawrence, NY
    I just got a 9800GT (Tom's Hardware link). I'm insanely happy with it and GB-PVR. It's played everything I've throw at it with no tearing, hiccups, or anything.

    I got it at and is a PNY branded nVidia. It was about $95 (after rebate). It's a full height card.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Washington, USA
    I have a Gigabyte 9500GT that plays everything (MPEG that is). No experience with h.264 files. Current ATIs in the 4500 or 4600 series have, I believe, more stream processors than the 9000 series Nvidias. Someone on the forum said that was important. Also, a few years ago, the memory path width was important, with 128K being the minimum. I don't know if a 256K path would make a difference with a modern card. My impression is that most users seem to be satisfied with 9400 and above Nvidias and 4600 series ATIs. I think the tearing that Nvidias experienced previously is resolved with Vista/Win7 and the EVR renderer.
    HTPC: E7500, HD5450, HDHR Prime/Avermedia Duet A188, NPVR 3.3.8, Win7 Pro
    Test: Asrock 890GM Pro 3, Athlon X2 255 , internal HD4290, ATI Theater 650Pro, NPVR 3.3.8, Win7 Home Premium
    Backup: Athlon 3200, Nvidia 7600GT, NPVR 2.5.5, Win7 Home Premium

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    San Jose, California
    For some perspective from the "bottom of the barrel" of graphics cards, the 8400gs (now $20 at TigerDirect!!) in my system works great with XP and VMR9 FSE... plays anything, as long as you use a codec that supports DXVA.
    Server: NPVR 3.2.9, 32" panel, W7 Pro, m-ITX, i3-2120, 4G DRAM, DCR-2650, SD EPG, xbmc "plugin" for Movies/Hulu/ESPN/YouTube/IceFilms
    Client: NPVR 3.2.9, 23" panel, Acer Revo 1600, W7 Pro, MoCA networked

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