8600GT/GTS vs. 9600GT for HTPC @ 2048x1152

harlanpepper

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I'm looking at a few different HDCP-capable cards, but I'm a little confused by the options. I will be using it as a HTPC running a 720P LCD TV for the next 6 months, then giving the machine to my parents, who have a Samsung 23" LCD with a native resolution of 2048x1152.

In the near-term, it needs to handle regular DVDs and light gaming duty (flight sim, driving games), while in the longer term it won't need to run games, but will need to handle the higher resolution of that Samsung monitor for HD video. I'll probably slap in a blu-ray player before I give it to them.

Looking to spend ~$80 and this is my first choice:

eVGA 8600GTS 512MB DDR3:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130286

There are also 8600GTs with 256MB DDR3, but I expect that the extra RAM will help when it goes into service at 2048x1152, right? And my understanding was that the GTS models were slightly more game-capable than the GTs.

Then there are the 9600GTs, which give me 256-bit:

eVGA 9600GT 512MB (N860TR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130360

eVGA 9600GT 512MB (N863TR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130424

The stats on these two above cards are identical... can anyone tell me what differentiates between the two? Same price @ $85 after rebate. I have had good luck with eVGA in the past, so that's why I'm only listing their models :) Comments or suggestions (or alternatives) on the above are appreciated!

(other components: Asus A8N SLI Premium, 3800+ X2 939, 2GB DDR)
 

CrimandEvil

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8600GTS = 9600GT

As for whats different between those two cards I have no idea other then the different coolers possibly making them entirely different skus.

Anyways, neither of these cards are going to work for any kind of gaming at that resolution. That's highend territory.
 

harlanpepper

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8600GTS = 9600GT

As for whats different between those two cards I have no idea other then the different coolers possibly making them entirely different skus.

Anyways, neither of these cards are going to work for any kind of gaming at that resolution. That's highend territory.

I see. Does the 128-bit memory interface on the 8600GTS make it slower than the 256-bit of the 9600GT? That seems to be the only difference that I can see (besides the two different coolers on the 9600GTs which I didn't notice). Maybe that makes the 9600GT more desirable for the $5 more, though I hate MIRs.

It would only be running games at 1280x768. When I give the machine to my parents this summer (they don't game) it just needs to be able to run blu-ray and regular (email, web) applications at 2048x1152 on their 23" monitor. If that makes sense...
 

CrimandEvil

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Well, I highly doubt that their moniter is really 2048x1152 while only being 23' since that high a res is 30" plus moniter territory.

Oh, wait. Just checked and it's the 9500GT that is a rebadged 8600GTS. The 9600GT is the much better buy.
 

King of Heroes

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Well, I highly doubt that their moniter is really 2048x1152 while only being 23' since that high a res is 30" plus moniter territory.

Actually, I don't think it is. It has the roughly the same number of pixels as a 1920 x 1200 resolution.

2048 x 1152 = 2.36 MP
1920 x 1200 = 2.30 MP

Compare that to a standard 30-inch resolution:

2560 x 1600 = 4.1 MP

The difference being that its 16:9. Someone brought up the notion that this new resolution gives back the pixels you lost when they transitioned from 1920 x 1200 to 1920 x 1080.
 

stevedave

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I'm using a 9600gt sli and it runs Fallout 3 at ultra 1200X1200. Just one card runs it at high just fine.

You will be able to play all game currently out some you can't max out but you'll have good setting on most.

it's one of the most under estimated cards on the market.
 

Archer75

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I like the ATI cards as the HDMI on them carries audio and they perform very well for gaming. They make excellent HTPC cards. The 4550 for the low end or the 4650 for some light gaming.
 

Archer75

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You know, based on the prices of the cards he asked about I'd probably suggest this instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102803

More performance and makes for a great HTPC card later down the road.

Good call.

I saw some HQV scores earlier today comparing several ATI, Nvidia and Intel chips and the ATI card was the clear winner. I just wish I could remember where I found that link.

Edit - found the link http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/ati-radeon-hd4550_6.html
 

harlanpepper

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Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. I hadn't considered the ATI range seriously until now - I saw a number of good reports on the 4850 and 4830, though my impression (vs. nvidia) has always been that ATI had better gaming performance/$, slightly worse image quality for video, and driver support that wasn't as good as nvidia. Not that there is any truth to these statements - it has just been my impression and why I was leaning towards nvidia.

And this will be a Windows rig. I'll probably install Windows 7 just to personally play around with it for the next few months, then install Vista (or something else that isn't going to expire) when I hand it off to my parents.

edit: I also like the 9600GT green edition.
 

CrimandEvil

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And I don't see where he said he wasn't.

I'm looking at a few different HDCP-capable cards, but I'm a little confused by the options. I will be using it as a HTPC running a 720P LCD TV for the next 6 months, then giving the machine to my parents, who have a Samsung 23" LCD with a native resolution of 2048x1152.

In the near-term, it needs to handle regular DVDs and light gaming duty (flight sim, driving games), while in the longer term it won't need to run games, but will need to handle the higher resolution of that Samsung monitor for HD video. I'll probably slap in a blu-ray player before I give it to them.
Those are all the times he said he wasn't using Linux. :rolleyes:
 

harlanpepper

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You know, based on the prices of the cards he asked about I'd probably suggest this instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102803

More performance and makes for a great HTPC card later down the road.

Looked into the 4830 card a bit more, and I think we have a winner :) Only slightly more than I wanted to spend in the first place, and it looks the most future-proof of all the cards I've considered. Either the Sapphire or the Powercolor, with the built-in HDMI (it would be nice to pass 7.1 audio through) for a few bucks more:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131129

Haven't used ATI before, so it should be fun for a change of pace. If I like it, I could even pick up a 2nd, put my 8800GTS in the HTPC machine and go 4830 crossfire on my regular gaming rig... :cool:
 

CrimandEvil

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Built in HDMI doesn't matter; ATI's cards pass audio over the DVI port when using a DVI to HDMI adapter (which comes bundled with nearly all of their 48xx cards).

Built in HDMI doesn't matter.
 

gia

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Built in HDMI doesn't matter; ATI's cards pass audio over the DVI port when using a DVI to HDMI adapter (which comes bundled with nearly all of their 48xx cards).

Built in HDMI doesn't matter.

Hmm, thats what I was wondering. I'm using a ASUS M3A78-EM with out a video card and it plays 8gig 1080p files sometimes choppy with artifacts in VLC, WMC, WMC-HD, and MediaPortal using Core AAC or xvid. It's not every file but my 21 ripped in 1080p is almost unwatchable. It's fine on my gaming rig with a 8800gt. The main drive on the HTPC is a velociraptor and the video drive is a 1tb western digital. So I think I need to get a video card to power through where the 5050e can't handle it all. I personally would go for the HDMI out because the adapter adds another inch or two that I have to pull my case out so that it doesn't hit the wood of the entertainment center in the back and then not be flush out the front. Anything not flush hits the cat radar and they want to check it out and I've had cats power button me.
 

harlanpepper

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Yeah, I didn't know about the ability to pass 7.1 audio through the DVI port via the HDMI adapter... I guess this is a relatively new development (UVD 2.0?). Anyway, this makes the Sapphire the natural choice, the bonus being it has free shipping and the Powercolor doesn't. Placed my order today.
 

CrimandEvil

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Well, yeah. You're using CoreAAC which only now is doing hardware acceleration with the latest version (... I think, it seems to work on mine but I am hitting about 50% CPU usage on an x2). VLC is garbage and doesn't support hardware acceleration of any kind. You need to be using Media Player Home Cinema and try out the latest FFDShow tryout to see if your files play back smoother.
Hmm, thats what I was wondering. I'm using a ASUS M3A78-EM with out a video card and it plays 8gig 1080p files sometimes choppy with artifacts in VLC, WMC, WMC-HD, and MediaPortal using Core AAC or xvid. It's not every file but my 21 ripped in 1080p is almost unwatchable. It's fine on my gaming rig with a 8800gt. The main drive on the HTPC is a velociraptor and the video drive is a 1tb western digital. So I think I need to get a video card to power through where the 5050e can't handle it all. I personally would go for the HDMI out because the adapter adds another inch or two that I have to pull my case out so that it doesn't hit the wood of the entertainment center in the back and then not be flush out the front. Anything not flush hits the cat radar and they want to check it out and I've had cats power button me.
 

Archer75

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The AVC codec from powerdvd and arcsoft will also allow for HA acceleration. You don't have to use the players themselves, just the codecs and VMC.

I just checked the coreavc site and forums and it doesn't look like it's doing hardware acceleration yet.
But it is certainly the best software decoder without a doubt. I use it on my system even though it is capable of hardware acceleration because it gives better image quality than the powerdvd codec I was using.
And even with a 2.2ghz C2D it can handle any HD video without a single stutter.
 
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