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Will upgrading my video card, help?


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#1 chimo79

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 09:05 AM

I don't want to hijack this thread but perhaps you guys that know video cards would care to offer your opinions on my situation.

I also have a desktop (Acer M5620 Core 2 Quad 6600 at 2.4 GHz w/3 Gb memory) that has a less than spectacular video card - ATI Radon HD2400 Pro. I have no need for any gameing capability but I want to make the system the center of a Home Theatre. I have dual monitors on the system at the moment (24" and 20") both at relatively high resolution. The 24" at 1920x1200 and the 20" at 1680x1050. Both are at their native (LCD) resolution. I have up to four TV tuners on two Hauppauge tuners - one analog and one digital tuner on each device - one card and one USB dongle.

These tuners eat a fair amount of CPU when in use but never push my 4 cores beyond about 40% utilization. Most TV is just fine but action sports like tennis or any rapid movement of items on the screen results in dropped frames.

So, I am thinking of getting a faster video card but I am unsure that it will help. If I were to invest in a better video card, it must be very nearly silent and it would be great if to did not take a lot of power since there is little surplus capacity in the OEM power supply. I can, if necessary, replace the PSU and will probably need to eventually but it also needs to be very nearly silent.

So, my problem is to know if an upgraded video card would help and if so which one (or what spec is important) and how do I find a silent one?


Mod Edit: Post split from this topic; Video Card advice? ~ tg

Edited by tg1911, 19 October 2008 - 09:32 AM.


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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 03:10 PM

Silent GPU's can have some issues, since they have no fan, they use a large heatsink to dissipate the heat. If there is not a great deal of airflow past the heatsink, your card could overheat. The best silent GPU's are those that are water cooled since they don't use air to cool the card. Since you don't have a water cooled system this is not an option. If you are watching HD content, you will need a good video card since that is being used to render the image. It's also possible, but unlikely, that your audio card cannot keep up with the demand placed on it and it slows down the video to maintain audio sync as a result. I'm going to assume that you have a PCI-express slot. If you want a NVidia card, I suggest the EVGA GeForce 9600 GSO 768MB. For ATI, I suggest the HIS Radeon HD 4670 IceQ. Note that the 9600 is a longer card and not designed for small cases. Both cards are not fanless, but according to customer reviews they are relatively quiet. A 400W to 450W PSU is suggested.

Edited by DJBPace07, 19 October 2008 - 03:11 PM.

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#3 Ellypho

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 08:58 PM

Well just to add onto what DJB had to say.

Yes a faster GPU will help speed up your videos since you have two screens and your playing hd videos you will require more ram in the card to pump that kinda resolution effectively.
I'm more of an Nvidia fanboy but i hear that the ATI cards are more silent. However getting a fanless gpu might not be possible because of the heat at which those faster cards get you may be able to walk in to a local shop and hear all the cards in action and choose accordingly.

Cheers
Lyph
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#4 chimo79

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 10:23 AM

I was overstating the requirement for a "silent" card. I need one that does not spin a loud fan under the typical load involved in my Home Theatre operation. I understand that it could spin much faster under severe loading as in a game environment but I don't expect to apply that kind of load (unless the Media Center forces it).

I am simply looking for a 'Living Room' suitable noise level. The system currently has a PSU fan, a chassis fan, a CPU fan and a GPU fan. They are all acceptably quiet even under a relatively heavy load. The one exception to that statement is the junk GPU fan which is quite noisy during startup but quiets to just 'tolerable' under normal operation.

And, I do have a PCI-Express slot and that is currently occupied by the ATI Radon HD2400 Pro.

#5 DJBPace07

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 01:20 PM

Both of the cards I listed are supposedly quiet, unless you use the HTPC for gaming. The only issue I think you could have with the cards, especially the Nvidia one, is size. The 9600 GSO is a long card and some small cases cannot handle it.

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