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Thread: Recommend me a GFX for a media center

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    144

    Default Recommend me a GFX for a media center

    Greetings. I am investigating the different possibilities i have for building a media center pc. As this is a machine mainly intended for playing videos I would like to hear some recommendations as to what GFX cards I should consider.

    What Im looking for:

    • 3D acceleration (for XBMC)
    • Hardware decoding of x264 encoded vidoes
    • Passively cooled
    • HDMI is optional
    • Dont care if its integrated graphics or not
    • Good video quality (heard ATI had some tearing problems)
    • Would be very nice if the card/driver supported suspend


    The hardware decoding I want on the GFX is in fact optional as I can buy a faster CPU (but that is more €€€ and some extra watt, I want to keep the system cool so I can use as few fans as possible). What CPU do you recommend for HD videos? I'll be running ubuntu 8.04 or 8.10 depending on what will work the best.

    I have been considering the new 4550 card from ATI since it in the near future will support hardware decoding, but theres still this problem with the video tearing up right? I already have a 8500GS card which supports PureVideo HD (as far as I have understood), but I havent found any clear proof that this feature is available in linux drivers

    Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    /home/$USER
    Posts
    113

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by crispy View Post
    Greetings. I am investigating the different possibilities i have for building a media center pc. As this is a machine mainly intended for playing videos I would like to hear some recommendations as to what GFX cards I should consider.

    What Im looking for:

    • 3D acceleration (for XBMC)
    • Hardware decoding of x264 encoded vidoes
    • Passively cooled
    • HDMI is optional
    • Dont care if its integrated graphics or not
    • Good video quality (heard ATI had some tearing problems)
    • Would be very nice if the card/driver supported suspend


    The hardware decoding I want on the GFX is in fact optional as I can buy a faster CPU (but that is more and some extra watt, I want to keep the system cool so I can use as few fans as possible). What CPU do you recommend for HD videos? I'll be running ubuntu 8.04 or 8.10 depending on what will work the best.

    I have been considering the new 4550 card from ATI since it in the near future will support hardware decoding, but theres still this problem with the video tearing up right? I already have a 8500GS card which supports PureVideo HD (as far as I have understood), but I havent found any clear proof that this feature is available in linux drivers

    Thanks for reading!
    If you want H.264 decoding on a passively-cooled card, the 4550 is probably your best bet. AMD is rumored to be working on opening up UVD2 for Linux and that does H.264 decode and shipping the drivers shortly. They would be the only ones to be able to do that, since Intel's IGPs only support MPEG-2 decoding acceleration via XvMC. NVIDIA's GeForce 8xxx and newer cards currently support NO playback acceleration at all under Linux, and the 7xxx and earlier cards only support MPEG-2 decoding acceleration.

    So as of right now, there is no way to get H.264 decode assist using Linux. If you want your setup to work right now, either transcode your H.264 files to MPEG-2 and get an older NVIDIA card or get a stout CPU and just decode the files with the CPU. You will need a pretty stout CPU to decode H.264 at any resolution and bitrate- how stout I do not know, but I'd probably think a 3.33 GHz C2D E8600 would not be a bad place to start.

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