Do I even need a wicked good VC for 720p video?

stinkynathan

Senior member
Oct 12, 2004
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I've got my old AXP Barton 3000+ running in the basement as our HTPC, hooked up to a Westinghouse screen. I had to order a new case and PSU for it and now my 6800 doesn't fit, so I'm looking to replace it.

The machine decodes 720p movies just fine. I've never had a problem with it in the past couple years. Was the 6800 overkill? I guess I'm just curious what the minimum requirements are for an HTPC video card. I'd rather not spend $50 on a powerhouse AGP card if I can do it for $25.

We're broke and the HTPC is our "cable subscription." Sorry about the noobish-ness. At one time I was ordering gear 6 months after it was top o' the line so I've never had any issues with price/performance or playing HD content.
 

blanketyblank

Golden Member
Jan 23, 2007
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Short answer is no you don't need great video card for just 720p. On the other hand you've got an older weaker cpu so you do want a video card that can offload the work. Normally I'd suggest something like a 4350 which you could get for under $30, but that's pci express. AGP makes this a lot more difficult. You maybe able to find a PCI or AGP card on the cheap and if it has a decent amount of discrete memory it will probably work for you.
Probably best to post here again once you've found some candidates though.
Other thing to try is Core AVC codec. I've heard it will allow pretty fast decoding even with older CPUs. If that works then it doesn't matter what video card you get.
 
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0roo0roo

No Lifer
Sep 21, 2002
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even on old ass board graphics does 720p:p its just overlay. unless the video card specifically accelerates that video codec and you got the correct player to take advantage of that ability it makes no difference at all, its all cpu burden. the 6800 was before any decent gpu accel i believe, all it accels are games and waste electricty;)
 

stinkynathan

Senior member
Oct 12, 2004
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Short answer is no you don't need great video card for just 720p. On the other hand you've got an older weaker cpu so you do want a video card that can offload the work. Normally I'd suggest something like a 4350 which you could get for under $30, but that's pci express. AGP makes this a lot more difficult. You maybe able to find a PCI or AGP card on the cheap and if it has a decent amount of discrete memory it will probably work for you.
Probably best to post here again once you've found some candidates though.
Other thing to try is Core AVC codec. I've heard it will allow pretty fast decoding even with older CPUs. If that works then it doesn't matter what video card you get.
Well, apparently when the old PSU went down it took the 6800 with it, so I have no way of testing other Codecs because I don't have a spare AGP video card laying around. Old card was a dual-DVI 6800 (GT?) with 256 megs of RAM. Processor utilization was generally around 80-85% on 720p movies with that card and the 3000+. Think any of these would work?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814133236
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814150107
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814143040

Possible to get something even cheaper?
 

0roo0roo

No Lifer
Sep 21, 2002
64,862
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if it accels you know it, processor utilization goes to single digits. i can time stretch 1080p mkv at 2x while playing cs source on the other monitor:p cuda coreavc madness
 

edplayer

Platinum Member
Sep 13, 2002
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I am able to play 720p h.264 files with a Radeon 9100 and a Barton at 2GHz w 1GB of dual channel ram

no stuttering and cpu utilization is usually around 80%


any of those cards listed will work because as far as I know, there will be no acceleration with Nvidia cards and AGP. Even searching around for ATi acceleration I was unable to find definite answers but it seems like it could work as long as the video is DXVA compliant (and you are using the HD 2X00 and above). Let me know if you try ATi AGP video acceleration

here is a VisionTek HD 2600 AGP (256MB version) for $30

http://www.amazon.com/VisionTek-VT26.../dp/B000VEOFPQ

you can also get buy it directly from Tigerdirect (maybe with bing cashback)

They also sell 512MB versions for $5 more. Don't see why you would need it though


or you can just buy whatever cheapo card on craigslist. I bought a 6600GT the other day for $10
 
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stinkynathan

Senior member
Oct 12, 2004
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Ended up ordering a 6200 for $28 with free shipping. Will let everyone know how it works out. There's no reason it shouldn't work perfectly for its intended purpose.
 

neutralizer

Lifer
Oct 4, 2001
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Last I checked, hardware accelerated HD codecs still weren't as good as their software counterparts like CoreAVC.
 

Sust

Senior member
Sep 1, 2001
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I have seen a barton running at 2500(1.8 Ghz) with nforce2 mobo and 1 gig of RAM playing 720P with the CoreAVC codec enabled in MediaPlayerClassic-HomeCinema pinning CPU utilization at average of 75-90%
The whole movie was totally viewable and free of stutter too which surprised all of us.
I suggest giving CoreAVC codec a thought for those of you who havent bought GPUs yet because you can always take the CoreAVC codec and install it onto another computer with relative ease.
IMO, 1080P aint happenin on barton unless these new AGP GPUs are ridiculously impressive with h.264 decoding, but I would like to hear any feedback on this experience.
 

edplayer

Platinum Member
Sep 13, 2002
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I have seen a barton running at 2500(1.8 Ghz) with nforce2 mobo and 1 gig of RAM playing 720P with the CoreAVC codec enabled in MediaPlayerClassic-HomeCinema pinning CPU utilization at average of 75-90%

that is what mine does (cpu is slightly faster, also on the nForce 2 platform though I don't think that helps) without CoreAVC. I am using MPC-HC as setup in the CCCP pack so I'm not sure which codec is being used.



IMO, 1080P aint happenin on barton unless these new AGP GPUs are ridiculously impressive with h.264 decoding, but I would like to hear any feedback on this experience.

out of curiosity I ordered the HD2600 listed above. Will post back my results. :sneaky:
 
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Mushu

Junior Member
Dec 20, 2009
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720p videos were totally unviewable on my laptop (turion 64 1.6 GHz, 1 GB RAM, radeon xpress 200M with like 128 MB shared memory) until I tried CoreAVC. Now I can watch them without any problems whatsoever on a pretty 22" external monitor :)

So I'd say that might be worth a shot! Good luck =)
 

themisfit610

Golden Member
Apr 16, 2006
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Last I checked, hardware accelerated HD codecs still weren't as good as their software counterparts like CoreAVC.
They both work, and decode H.264 perfectly. One is not "better" than the other :p

Your best bet with such a slow CPU is getting an AGP card with DXVA acceleration, and hoping your illegally downloaded booty is DXVA compliant (not all of it is)

~MiSfit
 

Sust

Senior member
Sep 1, 2001
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720P bare minimum was the 2500+ Barton(1.8Ghz) as long as you're using the coreAVC codec with MediaPlayerClassic-HomeCinema because my friend was undervolting/down-clocking it before and 720P was stuttering&overwhelming it at lower frequencies and CPU multipliers with&without coreAVC.
Again, cant speak to AGP GPUs, but another poster will respond with experience later.

1080P bare minimum was an athlon64 x2 4200+(2.2 Ghz) with the coreAVC codec on MediaPlayerClassic-HomeCinema because my friend got major stuttering and overwhelmed CPUs without the coreAVC codec. After coreAVC, the CPU was pegged at avg CPU utilization of 75-95%, but movies were stunningly smooth the whole way through.
 
Dec 30, 2004
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Ended up ordering a 6200 for $28 with free shipping. Will let everyone know how it works out. There's no reason it shouldn't work perfectly for its intended purpose.
Doh! Good luck! The 6 series of Nvidia cards had broken PureVideo. My 6800GT never worked and Nvidia was all hush-hush about it. It wasn't a big deal back then.
I want to say it was just a 6800's problem but if I recall a few weeks back we had a 6600GT user that couldn't get it working.

I think the other poster is right in that a 2-series ATI card and on should be fine. If you get a card working with acceleration then your rig will play 1080p videos just fine. My z520 Atom in my netbook can handle the offloading for 1080p with only 25% utizlization-- the Intel GMA500 graphics can decode the data on the fly.
 

Loop2kil

Platinum Member
Mar 28, 2004
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I have an ATI 3450(fanless) with a Sempron 2800 and 1 gb ram and It will play any HD I throw at it with MPC-HC.
 

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