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PCI video card for basic HTPC applications

CatamountCatamount Member Posts: 773

I have a friend with an older computer (P4 3ghz, 1gb ram), and I'm trying to get him and his wife set up with their new HDTV a few feet away, so that they can use Hulu and and Netflix streaming and perhaps do basic web browsing and what not on their TV using a wireless keyboard/mouse instead of using their antiquated 1280x1024 monitor. The machine itself is fast enough, even with its present integrated Intel card, to run basic video including 720P HD (it struggled only a bit when I tested a 1080P copy of How to Train Your Dragon), but what concerns me is that the machine only has PCI expansion slots. Would a PCI video card, say a Radeon HD 2400, have the bandwidth to output 480i/720P streaming video and stereo sound (and more basic web-oriented usage at 1920x1080) over an HDMI cable?

Comments

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,626

    A PCI slot theoretically has slightly more bandwidth than a 1920x1080 signal at 32 bit color depth and 60 Hz would take.  I'm not sure how well it is able to utilize that bandwidth, though.  That's vastly more bandwidth than a DVD or Blu-Ray player would have, so it should be plenty.  A PCI slot has bandwidth fairly comparable to a PCI Express x1 slot.

    New Egg only has two PCI cards with an HDMI port, and both are a Radeon HD 4350.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161347

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131325

    The latter has a two slot cooler, which I'd expect to be more effective.  Neither should run hot, though.  Neither is a notably good brand.  PowerColor does like making weird cards to try to fill niche markets, which seems to be what you're after.

    A Radeon HD 4350 should theoretically support 7.1 channel audio bitstreaming.  It's also powerful enough for any image quality options you might want at 1920x1080.

  • ShinamiShinami Member UncommonPosts: 825

    PCI Bandiwith

    133.32 MB/sec

    (PCI Bandwith is also shared between AGP Slot 1 + PCI Slot 1. Slot 5 and 6 (as well as those with a WiFI slot) Share bandwith as well with the Integrated LAN.

     

    PCI-Express Bandwith x 1

    The first Version released in 2003 was version 1.0a,  Supplies 250MB/sec

    PCI-Express Version 2.0 Supplies 500MB/Sec

    PCI-Express Version 3.0 Supplies 1GB/Sec

    (PCI-Express bandwith is independent, and has much more optimization and stability over PCI)

    *PCI-Express x 16 = all values x 16.

     

    Since you have a PCI motherboard, I suggest using PCI-Slot 3 for the add-on card you are thinking of buying. Prior to buying the card, look for information about the card. ^_^ Good Luck. It will minimize any iRQ conflicts...which are a pain in the butt! ^_^

  • CatamountCatamount Member Posts: 773

    The PCI HD 2400Pro doesn't have an HDMI out, but it should still be useable with a cheap DVI->PCI adapter and be able to output video and sound. In fact, it probably includes one. That's how it was for my 4870. If need be I can get the 4350 though. My biggest concern is just not choking on tthe PCI bus.

    Thanks for the answers guys.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,626

    DVI only outputs video, not audio.

    Also, the PCI version of the Radeon HD 2400 Pro on New Egg doesn't have DVI, either.  It has DMS-59, which requires a special cable to convert that to anything else.  It's designed to be split into two monitors.

  • choujiofkonochoujiofkono Member Posts: 852

    Originally posted by Catamount

    I have a friend with an older computer (P4 3ghz, 1gb ram), and I'm trying to get him and his wife set up with their new HDTV a few feet away, so that they can use Hulu and and Netflix streaming and perhaps do basic web browsing and what not on their TV using a wireless keyboard/mouse instead of using their antiquated 1280x1024 monitor. The machine itself is fast enough, even with its present integrated Intel card, to run basic video including 720P HD (it struggled only a bit when I tested a 1080P copy of How to Train Your Dragon), but what concerns me is that the machine only has PCI expansion slots. Would a PCI video card, say a Radeon HD 2400, have the bandwidth to output 480i/720P streaming video and stereo sound (and more basic web-oriented usage at 1920x1080) over an HDMI cable?

         Buy a PS3.  Bluray, netflix, hulu, surround sound, wireless.. pretty much everything you want and it will run on much less electric saving you money.  You will be far happier. 

    "I'm not cheap I'm incredibly subconsciously financially optimized"
    "The worst part of censorship is ------------------"
    image

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,626

    Originally posted by choujiofkono

         Buy a PS3.  Bluray, netflix, hulu, surround sound, wireless.. pretty much everything you want and it will run on much less electric saving you money.  You will be far happier. 

    That's cost++;

    For about the same price, you'll shortly be able to buy a Bobcat nettop that's usable like a real computer and has a far more modern feature set.

  • choujiofkonochoujiofkono Member Posts: 852

    Originally posted by Quizzical

    Originally posted by choujiofkono

         Buy a PS3.  Bluray, netflix, hulu, surround sound, wireless.. pretty much everything you want and it will run on much less electric saving you money.  You will be far happier. 

    That's cost++;

    For about the same price, you'll shortly be able to buy a Bobcat nettop that's usable like a real computer and has a far more modern feature set.

         Plus you get free updates so you never have a bluray movie that won't play and you get the best wireless controllers money can buy. 

         Not to mention all the nice gaming and [email protected] capability on a $300 machine.  You get a nice sized hard drive also and a built in music ripper.  You can use a memory stick to play media.  Plus you get a nice warranty.  I can go on like this all night. 

         For $300 you can't do any better than a PS3.  A similar performance for bluray alone would cost you that much in parts and more in electric. 

    "I'm not cheap I'm incredibly subconsciously financially optimized"
    "The worst part of censorship is ------------------"
    image

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,626

    $300 isn't such a good deal if you can get what you're after for $70 plus hardware you already have.

    If you want to play console games, then sure, a PS3 is a viable option.  But that's not the request here.

    With a real computer, you can use whatever software you want, not just some built-in option.

    You cite electricity usage in one post, then folding the next (which gratuitously uses electricity that you don't need to use), and then come back to electricity again later in that post?  Ridiculous.

    And if you do care about electricity, then a PS3 will use vastly more than a Bobcat nettop.  The engineering sample system that AMD showed off recently used around 30 W under an artificial stress test--including the monitor, peripherals, and everything.  It used far less than that under more typical programs.  A PS3 will use several times as much power as a Bobcat nettop for any tasks that both can handle.

    I'm not actually advocating the purchase of a Bobcat nettop when it launches in January.  I'm just saying that it would make more sense than a PS3 in this situation.  Which isn't saying much.  I think buying a $70 video card to use with existing hardware is the way to go.

  • CatamountCatamount Member Posts: 773

    On the subject of sound over DVI, that is not the function of the port, but I have had more than one video card use DVI ports with a DVI-HDMI adapter to deliver video and sound. Again, that was the way my 4870 operated. What'd I'd simply like to know is whether a cheaper PCI HD 2400 would have the ability, though with no real way to test, maybe just getting the 4350 would be best.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,626

    If you get the PCI Radeon HD 2400 Pro, a DMS-59 to DVI adapter, and then a DVI to HDMI adapter, you might well end up paying more than you would for a PCI Radeon HD 4350 with an HDMI port.  And with the 2400, it might still not work.  Even if it can do something non-standard to pass audio through a DVI to HDMI adapter (which is itself not automatic), there's no guarantee that it will be able to do the same through a DMS-59 to DVI adapter.

  • CatamountCatamount Member Posts: 773

    Originally posted by Quizzical

    If you get the PCI Radeon HD 2400 Pro, a DMS-59 to DVI adapter, and then a DVI to HDMI adapter, you might well end up paying more than you would for a PCI Radeon HD 4350 with an HDMI port.  And with the 2400, it might still not work.  Even if it can do something non-standard to pass audio through a DVI to HDMI adapter (which is itself not automatic), there's no guarantee that it will be able to do the same through a DMS-59 to DVI adapter.

    Back a number of years ago, when I was earning credits doing work for my highschool help desk, we got really bored one day and built a chain of adapters 30 or 40 devices long, to go from something like USB to some seemingly completely unrelated port (passing through every imaginable standard along the way). We jokingly named it the "Universal Business Adapter", after an IBM ad that was airing at the time, but of course, even though every single adapter -most likely- functioned, our little device didn't work in any way, shape or form.

    This isn't at all that complex or implausible, but nonetheless I agree with your point, especially given that the costs involved would make the 4350 a better choice anyways. It's what I'll end up recommending, though I hope I'll be able to find one used.

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