Video card memory and the HTPC

Discussion in 'Home Theater PCs' started by Charlie98, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

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    It looks like a GPU for my HTPC is in my future... I'm still not able to get smooth streaming on video, particularly Netflix (which is a biggie with my family) using the HD graphics on my G620 chip... so I'm researching GPUs...

    Some (most?) of the lower end GPUs that would be suitable for a HTPC setup have DDR3 memory vs GDDR5 in the higher line cards... is DDR3 adequate for HTPC, or is it worth it to go all-in with a GDDR5 card? I'm assuming the newer cards with better tech will have lower power draw and, therefor, probably be quieter, but I don't know.

    Any suggestions on a good HTPC card? Must have a full sized HDMI-out... no minis. ...and I don't do 3D. I like Evga/nVidia but I'm open to anyone.
     
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  3. PingSpike

    PingSpike Lifer

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    That's strange that you're having issues with netflix. I run a set top box at home with a celeron g530 in it and the on chip graphics never seem to give me any trouble.

    I did read something over at media portal where the lower end chips aren't recommended for 1080i. My TV is only 720p anyway so I guess I couldn't compare.
     
    #2 PingSpike, Feb 13, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  4. Zap

    Zap Elite Member

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    How's the GPU acceleration in Netflix these days?
     
  5. thestrangebrew1

    thestrangebrew1 Platinum Member

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    I'm running a Sapphire Radeon 6450 gpu in my main htpc rig and it handles everything fine. I don't stream from netflix however. It has GDDR3 RAM, and comes with a low profile bracket in case you need it. Also has full size hdmi, not the mini. It's cheap, you can find them on sale in the $30 range usually, either on sale or through a rebate.

    EDIT: Are you sure it's not a bandwidth issue?
     
    #4 thestrangebrew1, Feb 13, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  6. PingSpike

    PingSpike Lifer

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    I thought silverlight acceleration through GPU was fixed awhile back but the G530 should be plenty to handle it in software so I wouldn't have noticed.
     
  7. kornphlake

    kornphlake Golden Member

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    I don't have any problem with netflix with the IGP Radeon HD4200 on my desktop PC, or the intel GMA graphics on my laptop. I'd guess the problem lies elsewhere.
     
  8. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

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    Before the HTPC (and still, now...) we have an LG POS BD player that we streamed Netflix through... never a problem. We were watching NF this past weekend through the HTPC and we were getting slight stutter and tearing (I think that's what it is... where maybe a 1/3rd of the way down the image looks like it's offset a pixel or two... and again further down? )

    I remember reading something some time ago about Netflix especially having problems... I had forgotten about that. Are you suggesting even a GPU wouldn't help with NF?
     
  9. PingSpike

    PingSpike Lifer

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    I think it was two years ago at this point. There was quite a bit of complaining about it (rightly so) because netflix switched from flash (which could be accelerated through gpus) to silverlight which at least at the time could not be accelerated. This meant netflix ran like ass on platforms like the e-350 whereas before it ran fine. I think silverlight was really the culprit, it just didn't support the acceleration. I want to say that newer versions of silverlight fixed this but I never saw it reported so it could still be the case.

    I have no idea why they switched by the way. I can certainly understand wanted to ditch flash but to ditch it for silverlight doesn't make much sense at all to me.
     
  10. Midwayman

    Midwayman Diamond Member

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    You have more CPU than I do and I've never really noticed any issues. I'm running a radeon 5450. From what I've read the radeon cards are better in HTPC use. The 6000 series picked up a couple codecs in hardware that would be worthwhile, but it only takes really low end hardware.
     
  11. thestrangebrew1

    thestrangebrew1 Platinum Member

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    Hmm that is odd. Maybe just drop some cash on a cheap 6xxx series radeon and see how it works. I doubt the type of RAM will make much of a difference. I'm interested in signing up for netflix to see just how well my rig works with it. I know my wife would like to catch up on a few shows and watch a few movies.
     
  12. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

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    Newegg has this Diamond 6450 on sale today for $20AR... let's give it a try.
     
  13. thestrangebrew1

    thestrangebrew1 Platinum Member

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    Quick bump. Charlie did the gpu solve your problem?
     
  14. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

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    I got it installed yesterday, I have not had time to really test it... I'll have to wait until this weekend. My biggest question is Netflix...

    I'll update! ;)
     
  15. thestrangebrew1

    thestrangebrew1 Platinum Member

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    Ah ok. Let us know. That is a pretty weird prob you have!
     
  16. piasabird

    piasabird Lifer

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    I am watching HULU on my computer MB DG35EC with integrated video on the motherboard (720p) and an Intel E7200 CPU. Looks good on my HD 1080p 19" Dell VGA Monitor.
     
  17. colonelciller

    colonelciller Senior member

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    htpc's shouldn't need video cards (aka noise makers)
     
  18. black0ut

    black0ut Member

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    are you kidding me? HTPCs need video cards, so they can take advantage of hardware decoding of h264. Also, decent video cards offer digital audio out, which is pretty much required if you want dts, etc.
     
  19. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

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    Not when they are fanless...
     
  20. renz20003

    renz20003 Golden Member

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    Well I know enough people that use htpc's for extra rigs for lan parties, not to mention blu ray playback. Depending on the age of the CPU a graphics card goes a long way.
     
  21. Tegeril

    Tegeril Platinum Member

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    Heh, you can get quite good performance from a GPU without picking one with an audible fan under most 'home theater' scenarios.

    And then you can play a game on it too.
     
  22. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

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    Well, after it's all said and done, the playback from disk is better but Netflix is still jacked up. I'm going to try playback through Explorer and through the BD player and see how that works, but I expect to find that Explorer will be the same as through WMC, and the BD player will be fine. Oh, well.

    In the end I'm glad I have the video card... all of $20, mind you. The playback from storage is better, if only marginally so.

    ...and just because I like posting pictures... here is the new HD6450 in place...

    [​IMG]
     
    #21 Charlie98, Feb 24, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  23. RadMan

    RadMan Senior member

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    Regarding the tearing issue... I've been running a Radeon 5450 and recently have been finding the same issue.

    I solved it (after MUCH Google Fu) by changing the system performance settings to "for Best Appearance" and then selecting the Windows 7 Aero theme (I was using the Win 7 Basic theme before).

    Strangely enough that solved all my Netflix issues. I never had an issues with the Canadian Netflix feed, but once I VPN'd to the US feed all H.E. double hockey sticks broke loose.

    Let me know if you need more instruction to try the above... otherwise hope it helps...

    RadMan

    EDIT - I'm talking about Netflix through the browser by-the-way, I still can't get the Netflix Icon to show up in WMC.
     
    #22 RadMan, Mar 13, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  24. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

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    Netflix through the HTPC at all (IE or WMC) results in a stream worse than using Netflix through the old stand alone BD player.

    I also am set up with Win Classic... I'll have to try the Aero.

    Thanks for the tip!
     
  25. wirednuts

    wirednuts Diamond Member

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    dammit... i wonder if op really isnt having 'issues' and the streaming bitrates have simply become more demanding.

    i have an old p4 2.0ghz machine that i fitted with an hd3650 back in august. believe me, this thing was playing any streaming video! the video card was handling it all.

    but i just pulled it back out and was messing with it. i can BARELY get the lowest res streaming videos to play! wtf? well, ive seen this before so i guess im not surprised.

    i wanted to give it to dad, because his t-bird 1700+ can barely surf the net anymore. it hasnt got slower, the internet got harder to browse.

    im going to try throwing in a p4 3.0ghz into this computer i have, and if it cant push the 3650 hard enough to play videos then this pos is going on craigslist.

    getting sick of the constant growing demands of streaming video... its been awhile since ive tried my e350 machine, i wonder if that can still play hd streaming like it did just a few months ago...

    but really, op, i just cant believe a g620 is not good enough. it should easily handle any hd video.
     
  26. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

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    No, I would tend to agree... others have done it. I think I'm just missing something in the settings somewhere... but where? There is 10 different groups of settings I can tweak between all the components and software... :'(