Originally Posted by felang
So the old 9500gt in my HTPC seems to be dying. I would like to replace it with possibly a passively cooled card in order to keep noise to a minimum. I use a matx p31 board with an E8400 and 4gb ddr2 ram. It seems powerful enough for my needs so not really looking to upgrade anything else at this time.
I mainly use it to watch 720p and 1080p tv show rips. I donīt have a blueray drive but will probably get one soon. Also, it is connected to my 7.1 home theater receiver so proper audio bitstreaming would be a definite plus.
I donīt use madvr or any crazy post processing filters so I donīt think I need anything to powerful (the 9500GT worked just fine).
I just checked newegg and they seem to be offering an ATI HD5450 for $15 after rebate today as a shellshocker deal. Would that card be any good?
The HD5450 that will be on shellshocker is mysteriously stripped of its name: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814150655
I wonder if XFX has done something to it that makes it not warrant an official HD5450 model name. I have a cheap Asus HD5450 that I keep around as a spare, and the only thing I really don't like about it is how hot it gets. Its heatsink looks smaller than the XFX, though.
Either way, unless you're really budget-constrained, I'd look to get a better card. You said "best passive HTPC video card," and I assume that means best performing. The HD5450 was found to be slightly lacking in video processing power for certain HD video content in an old Anandtech review. I'd go straight to the HD6450 for just a few dollars more: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102933
It has twice the stream processors and 25% faster memory bandwidth compared to the one you're looking at.
If you want to fool around with some fanless gaming, then you could step up to any of these cards, which aren't strictly for HPTC and will not fit in small cases: