Replace my Radeon X1650XT with an HD 3470?

Shawn

Lifer
Apr 20, 2003
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Well the fan crapped out on my X1650XT (it works but it's really loud). I can probably get it fixed under warranty but that means I'll be without a video card for god knows how long. I was thinking about just replacing it. I don't really want to spend that much (no more than $100).

I don't game at all and mostly use my computer as a HTPC. It records HD content with my HD Homerun tuner and I play it back with Vista Media Center. I was looking at getting a Radeon HD 3470. I'm not sure if it would be any better than my current card (maybe even be worse), however it is fanless so there would be no noise, it supports Direct X 10 (not even sure I need that), and it has a "Dedicated unified video decoder (UVD) for H.264/AVC and VC-1 video format". I don't think my current card has this.

Anyway as you can tell I am clueless about video cards. I'm not sure how much of a difference GDDR3 is over GDDR2. Maybe someone here has a suggestion.
 

Sylvanas

Diamond Member
Jan 20, 2004
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Save some money and get a 3450 for $20 AR. The 3xxx series will be a great upgrade- Better UVD capability, cooler running and consumes less power than your previous X1650.
 

Shawn

Lifer
Apr 20, 2003
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Does the UVD make that big of a difference? I can't believe how cheap these cards have gotten now. I paid about $140 for my X1650 a year and a half ago.
 

Sylvanas

Diamond Member
Jan 20, 2004
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Absolutely. UVD offloads all HD decoding to the GPU which frees up the CPU and keeps CPU utilization to an absolute minimum. A quick google search will tell you more, but this might answer most of your questions.
 

Shawn

Lifer
Apr 20, 2003
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So you don't think the 3470 is worth the extra money? Also, I noticed that these cards are PCI Express 2.0. Are they backwards compatable with the older PCI Express slots? I have a Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 mobo.
 

Sylvanas

Diamond Member
Jan 20, 2004
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Originally posted by: Shawn
So you don't think the 3470 is worth the extra money? Also, I noticed that these cards are PCI Express 2.0. Are they backwards compatable with the older PCI Express slots? I have a Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 mobo.

Seeing as you won't use it for gaming, the 3470 will offer not benefit over the 3450 (not like the 3470 would be good for games anyway)- they are aimed at the HTPC market. PCI-E 2.0 is backwards compatible with 1.0 and that goes for cards and motherboards, however there are some very rare occurrences where motherboards require a BIOS update to work correctly but I would think you would be fine with the DS3.
 

Shawn

Lifer
Apr 20, 2003
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Thanks. I ended up getting the cheaper card as you recommended.
 

Shawn

Lifer
Apr 20, 2003
32,237
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91
Well I just got it today and I'm very disappointed. When I'm watching HD content in Media Center and change the focus to something on my primary display the playback on my HDTV display gets all choppy. Definitely looks like the card is being maxed out. :( Guess I'm sending it back.
 

Sylvanas

Diamond Member
Jan 20, 2004
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Did you install the latest drivers from ATI's site and not the CD? It would be a software issue. To my knowledge, PowerDVD and only a limited number of programs support HD decoding through their codecs, not sure about media center.
 

Shawn

Lifer
Apr 20, 2003
32,237
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Well the device drivers crashed 3 times since having my computer on so it looks like it was overheating. Either way I just pulled it out and put my old card back in. Newegg is giving me a full refund and gave me a return label too. :)

When putting back in my old card I cleared out all of the dust and noticed the the heatsink was loose. I removed it and cleared off all of the old thermal paste. Put on some new paste and tightened down the heatsink. It seems to be running cooler now and the fan isn't reaching full speed like it was before so perhaps I'll just keep my old card.