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Hardware Support Discussions related to using various hardware setups with SageTV products. Anything relating to capture cards, remotes, infrared receivers/transmitters, system compatibility or other hardware related problems or suggestions should be posted here.

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  #1  
Old 09-12-2006, 02:47 PM
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enkil76 enkil76 is offline
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Video Card and Sound Card

I have a GX280 3.0GHz, 1.5GB RAM from Dell with a dual ATI Radeion x300. I plan to upgrade the video card and was planning on buying a Nvidia card. I was wondering if I was going to spend $200 or less on a card what would be a good choice and which brand. I didnt realize 6 different companies make the cards.

I was also thinking that the internal sound card may need to be upgraded, was looking at Creative stuff. Any suggestions?

This box will have two A180 cards.

Thanks for any help.
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  #2  
Old 09-12-2006, 03:21 PM
paulbeers paulbeers is offline
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To be honest, we are going to need to know all that you want to do with this? Is it just going to do playback of HDTV? or do you want to play games? I would probably recommend a 7600GT, maybe one of the passively cooled ones?

As far as soundcards, actually look up the chantech AV710. It is very popular with the HTPC croud and less than 30 bucks at newegg (could be out of stock though). If you aren't gaming (and especially if you are planing to use some sort of digital connection) buy this card.
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  #3  
Old 09-12-2006, 03:30 PM
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enkil76 enkil76 is offline
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No Gaming

I haven't been gaming for a while and if I do it isnt anything that a basic video card can not handle. Basically good cards for HD playback. Was thinking nvidia because of the codecs.

So for video something like this one?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814125025

Do standard nvidia drivers work or does that matter?

Last edited by enkil76; 09-12-2006 at 03:36 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-12-2006, 04:15 PM
Bryann Bryann is offline
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I just picked up this one but it isn't fanless. Slightly faster core clock and only $115 after rebate. If you want Nvidia then do stick with the 7600GT series. The clock speeds are much higher which is better for HD video processing from what I hear. Should do a good job for the next year or so until HD/BD drives become affordable enough to warrant getting an HDCP compliant card.

http://www.newegg.com/product/produc...82E16814143049
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  #5  
Old 09-12-2006, 04:19 PM
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Here is a page that compares the purevideo features for each card.

As for the ability to smoothly playback video it seems clock speed is important. My understanding is a supposedly lower performing card that runs at a higher clock speed will do better with purevideo than a "faster" model with a lower clock speed.

So basically a card that may be faster when it comes to gaming may actually be less powerful when it comes to its ability to playback video.

I'd like to see more information on this though, because I've never really seen a good comparision among different models.
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  #6  
Old 09-12-2006, 08:35 PM
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enkil76 enkil76 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryann
I just picked up this one but it isn't fanless. Slightly faster core clock and only $115 after rebate. If you want Nvidia then do stick with the 7600GT series. The clock speeds are much higher which is better for HD video processing from what I hear. Should do a good job for the next year or so until HD/BD drives become affordable enough to warrant getting an HDCP compliant card.

http://www.newegg.com/product/produc...82E16814143049
How loud is it? I am not using a server and will have this machine right by my TV. That is why I was thinking the silent one. One the other hand if it isnt that loud, 50 bucks is 50 bucks.
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  #7  
Old 09-12-2006, 08:54 PM
Bryann Bryann is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enkil76
How loud is it? I am not using a server and will have this machine right by my TV. That is why I was thinking the silent one. One the other hand if it isnt that loud, 50 bucks is 50 bucks.
I can tell you Thursday night when it gets here but the last day to get the rebate is tomorrow, Wednesday. I can't imagine it would actually be noticeable while watching something though.
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  #8  
Old 09-12-2006, 09:38 PM
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enkil76 enkil76 is offline
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Yeah, I ended up buying the same one. I guess I will find out as well.
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  #9  
Old 09-13-2006, 01:35 PM
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enkil76 enkil76 is offline
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So I have another quick question. I got SageTV working again and channels are coming in. THe ATI Radeo x300 seems to be working pretty well with the 1 A180 card I have. Am I going to see future issues when I add another A180 card? Just curious everyone says to use a 7600 card with faster CPU but so far this seems to be working. Heads up so I can justify to my wife why I had to buy another card please.
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  #10  
Old 09-13-2006, 02:34 PM
paulbeers paulbeers is offline
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You really do not need that powerful of a video card if you are using Overlay mode and only 720P. I am not sure what relsolution you have your video set to or what you are using. I use a Geforce 6600 (non-GT just plain old vanilla) and it rarely jumps over 50 percent on the CPU with my very meager client in Overlay and outputting 1080i. I know a lot of people have even gotten away with the Geforce 6200 (which I would put on the same level as the x300) in overlay. It is just going to tax your cpu more. If you want to use the "pretties" such as VRM9 and FSE, you will need 6600GT or better (and why buy the 6600GT when the 7600GT is about the same in price and is much faster/better).

EDIT: Because I can't explain the "pretties" well enough to my wife, I am regulated to leaving our HDTV client alone because it is "good enough" to her. Good luck to you!
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  #11  
Old 09-13-2006, 02:54 PM
blade blade is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulbeers
I use a Geforce 6600 (non-GT just plain old vanilla) and it rarely jumps over 50 percent on the CPU with my very meager client in Overlay and outputting 1080i. I know a lot of people have even gotten away with the Geforce 6200 (which I would put on the same level as the x300) in overlay.
CPU usage in regard to a video card's power doesn't mean anything IMO. Your video card can easily be choking and unable to achieve smooth playback while cpu usage is still very low. Other than that I agree with most of what was said.

Also just because one card or decoder has lower cpu usage during playback doesn't necessarily mean its better. It could also mean that less complex deinterlacing is occuring, which may result in inferior PQ with lower cpu usage.

Not to mention one person may be talking about cpu usage when playing back film content while another video. On my 6600GT cpu usage with film is around half that of video.

Last edited by blade; 09-14-2006 at 06:36 AM.
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  #12  
Old 09-14-2006, 06:13 AM
bcjenkins bcjenkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enkil76
How loud is it? I am not using a server and will have this machine right by my TV. That is why I was thinking the silent one. One the other hand if it isnt that loud, 50 bucks is 50 bucks.
I bought this card, never fired it up with the stock fan but put a Zalman on it instead. I can't hear it running.

Also, changing the sound card won't help you much unles you are going to have the sound card do the processing. You mentioned using HD and the NVidia decoders which means your HD audio will be passed through the digital output on your MB and your stereo receiver will do the decoding.

HIH

B
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  #13  
Old 09-14-2006, 09:08 AM
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enkil76 enkil76 is offline
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So much to learn. Network Engineer for 10 years, and getting stomped by tv equipment.

Anyway, so the output from the computer is going directly to the TV. I was having some sound quality issues, loud and soft channels, and was hoping that getting a new sound card, that chaintech or whatever, and using Sonic decoders like someone metioned would fix my sound qulaity. I was planning on using the nvida decoder just for video using a new 7600 GT. I decided to replace the x300 so I could get the video resolution to fit my TV better and possibly get better quality. I have a Samsung 5063 DLP and so far I haven't been very successful in getting a computer on the DVI port to be able to use the full screen correcly. Either to big, overscan or in a black border box.

Does this all make sense or am I going in a wrong direction?

New question, I broke my Zenith HDTV antenna today because it was cheap, and was curious if there is a known better antenna for OTA HD and SD.

Once again thanks again for everything. This forum has been great.
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  #14  
Old 09-14-2006, 12:18 PM
Bryann Bryann is offline
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Just wanted to let you know that the card came in today. While it's noticeable, once the case is in your AV center, it's certainly no louder than the fan on my DLP. I'd definitely say it's too loud stock for a case sitting out in the open with plasma or something. I would not advise going to a fanless heatsink though. They just don't do an adequate job IMO. A Zalman VF900-Cu would be perfect for this card down the road.

One other note is that you definitely want to remove the heatsink, remove the paste with q-tips and rubbing alchohol, and apply some Arctic Silver. When I pulled mine off the paste was blotchy on the chip and the heatsink is far from a mirror finish, so rub some AS into the grooves as well. The AS should help to keep temps down and the fan running a bit less. If you have time, a good lap job would be a good, cheap improvement.
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  #15  
Old 09-14-2006, 12:28 PM
bcjenkins bcjenkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enkil76
So much to learn. Network Engineer for 10 years, and getting stomped by tv equipment.

Anyway, so the output from the computer is going directly to the TV. I was having some sound quality issues, loud and soft channels, and was hoping that getting a new sound card, that chaintech or whatever, and using Sonic decoders like someone metioned would fix my sound qulaity. I was planning on using the nvida decoder just for video using a new 7600 GT. I decided to replace the x300 so I could get the video resolution to fit my TV better and possibly get better quality. I have a Samsung 5063 DLP and so far I haven't been very successful in getting a computer on the DVI port to be able to use the full screen correcly. Either to big, overscan or in a black border box.

Does this all make sense or am I going in a wrong direction?

New question, I broke my Zenith HDTV antenna today because it was cheap, and was curious if there is a known better antenna for OTA HD and SD.

Once again thanks again for everything. This forum has been great.
A new sound card may help, but I wouldn't start there. Why waste a PCI slot if you don't need to. If you are having sound leveling issues there are two options:
  1. Sonic Decoders. My personal decoder for outputting stereo audio to LCD and RPTV sets
  2. AC3 Filter - With some minor adjustments, it is supposed to level out the noise differences. I am not smart enough to make it work.

Sonic is well worth the 15 bucks to me.

B
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  #16  
Old 09-14-2006, 12:29 PM
bcjenkins bcjenkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryann
A Zalman VF900-Cu would be perfect for this card down the road.
This is the fan I put on my BFG 7600GT. Nice fit.

B
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  #17  
Old 09-14-2006, 12:37 PM
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enkil76 enkil76 is offline
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So if you had to do it over again, would you go with the Gigabyte one that was silent for $50 dollars more?
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  #18  
Old 09-14-2006, 12:38 PM
doublebogey doublebogey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enkil76
So much to learn. Network Engineer for 10 years, and getting stomped by tv equipment.

Anyway, so the output from the computer is going directly to the TV. I was having some sound quality issues, loud and soft channels, and was hoping that getting a new sound card, that chaintech or whatever, and using Sonic decoders like someone metioned would fix my sound qulaity. I was planning on using the nvida decoder just for video using a new 7600 GT. I decided to replace the x300 so I could get the video resolution to fit my TV better and possibly get better quality. I have a Samsung 5063 DLP and so far I haven't been very successful in getting a computer on the DVI port to be able to use the full screen correcly. Either to big, overscan or in a black border box.

Does this all make sense or am I going in a wrong direction?

New question, I broke my Zenith HDTV antenna today because it was cheap, and was curious if there is a known better antenna for OTA HD and SD.

Once again thanks again for everything. This forum has been great.

I recently installed a Winegard SS-3000 Sharpshooter indoor OTA HDTV antenna, and it does a great job. I get most stations above 90%.

Phil
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  #19  
Old 09-14-2006, 12:45 PM
bcjenkins bcjenkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enkil76
So if you had to do it over again, would you go with the Gigabyte one that was silent for $50 dollars more?
I think it depends on the case. The build I did recently was a Shuttle SN25P, a SFF case. I don't think it would fit into that case because of the piping on the back of the card, but the heatsink version was the one I looked at first. BTW - The card got/gets great reviews.

HIH

B
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  #20  
Old 09-14-2006, 12:59 PM
Bryann Bryann is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enkil76
So if you had to do it over again, would you go with the Gigabyte one that was silent for $50 dollars more?
No. Passive heatsinks generally suck, providing no noise at the cost of extremely high temps under load. That Zalman running on silent mode is 1db louder than a system with a passive heatsink but runs almost 15C cooler than the stock cooler under load and can run higher clock speeds. God only knows how much cooler it runs than a passive but it's probably 20-25C. Just do a search for reviews on it. It's a great cooler.

You can pick it up from Newegg for $43, so you still get a very quiet card that runs much cooler than that Gigabyte for $7 less.
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