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Thread: Graphics card(s) for media/work pc

  1. #1
    vivitron 15's Avatar Poster
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    I'm looking to build a new pc, that needs to be dual purpose. I will use it as a media center, and also as a desktop pc for general word, excel etc. I won't be using it for games at all.

    My setup is as follows:
    I use a pc monitor (currently hooked up through VGA)
    I have a 50" plasma (1080i/720p) tv that I would like hooking up to the pc through the dvi port (I currently do this with an hdmi>dvi adapter)
    I also have an old VCR that takes the signal from the pc (svideo out) and distributes it around the other tvs in the house.

    At the moment, I have a single graphics card and I just mess about swapping cables and settings to get the two outputs that I want.

    I am looking to get a new pc. In this pc, I am considering a decent graphics card for the plasma and other tvs in the house (dvi and svideo respectively) and a cheap and cheerful pci graphics card to run the pc monitor. As i said, the monitor will only ever display MS Office and other trivial software, so I am not concerned about graphics ability.

    I am very out of touch with graphics cards (and pc hardware in general), so was wondering what people thought of htis setup?

    I am considering buying:
    an 8600 GT as the main card

    and this one as the cheap card, to run the monitor.

    Do these seem any good? Would the main one be powerful enough to watch h.264 videos through? Would I be able to watch two different h.264 files through the different outputs (I could live with these monitors being clones of one another, but would prefer them not to be)?

    Thanks a lot!

    oh, and for reference, I am looking to get:
    This motherboard
    with a core 2 duo E6850 CPU, housed in an Antec Sonata III case and 4GB of RAM.

    edit to add: I'm looking to bring this (and a HDD and a DVD burner) in for around 400-450, so I wouldn't want to go too much more expensive, if I don't have to!
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  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    db_la_23's Avatar Poster BT Rep: +22BT Rep +22BT Rep +22BT Rep +22BT Rep +22
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    go for the 9600

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    db_la_23's Avatar Poster BT Rep: +22BT Rep +22BT Rep +22BT Rep +22BT Rep +22
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    did u get the graphics card?

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    vivitron 15's Avatar Poster
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    Thanks db_la for getting back to me.

    I am still looking at what's the best options for me. I've been looking at the 9600, and though it does look great, its basically double the price of the 8600. Having said that, I am toying with going for less RAM (just 2GB, single chip) for now, and spending that little extra on the graphics card...I'm just not entirely sure whether or not it will be worth it.

    If the PC, with the 8600 will play high def movies without bother, then I'm tempted to stick with it, but if it will end up relying on the CPU to do too much work, and end up dropping frames, then I may have to go the extra mile.
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  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    Wait until the HD4670 is released.
    UV2 + low consumption + catalyst wich are quality drivers unlike.

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    vivitron 15's Avatar Poster
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    Looks a good card, but I need an svideo out plus a dvi.
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  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    vivitron 15's Avatar Poster
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    Right, Im about to go ahead with the pc purchase. I am looking at two options, and could use some advice between them:

    Asus P5b motherboard with 1xPCI-e 8600 and 1xpci FX5200 graphics card

    Asus P5N-E SLI 650i with 2xPCI-e 8600 graphics cards.

    The issue I am struggling to get my head around is this:
    In the specs for the P5N-E SLI 650i, it says you can run either "Single VGA mode: x16 (Default)" or "SLI mode: x8, x8". To me, this implies that having two graphics cards means that you have to run them in SLi mode. Because I want to use three seperate monitors, I need to run the two cards in non-SLi mode.

    Questions
    1. Do you think that I would be able to run the two 8800s in "non-sli" mode and get the three monitor output that I am looking for?

    2. Do you think the PSU on this case will be enough to run 2 8600s?

    Thanks a lot

    V
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  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    lynx's Avatar .
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    Just because you've got 2 pci-e cards does not mean you've got to run them in SLI mode, so your monitors options are not affected. That said, I'm not 100% sure what speeds they will run at if they are not in SLI mode, but almost certainly one at x16 and one at x1.

    If you want 2 slots at x16 speed you would have to go up to the 680 chipset or higher (not sure about the 750 chipset, you'd need to check).

    I'm a little confused though, where does the third monitor come in, as far as I can see there's no on board graphics chip on any of the boards you've mentioned and you certainly haven't mentioned a third card.

    As for the FX5200, it will probably do what you want for a basic graphics card. It is really up to you what you want to do with that option.

    For the case, it's difficult to give a precise answer without knowing exactly what peripherals you would have installed. I checked Antec's power calculator, the 8600GT checks out at about 73W, the GTS pushes that up to 77W. By comparison the 8800GT is rated at about 110W and a good 500W PSU should cope with that with no problem.

    There's the rub though, I'd hardly consider the Earthpower 500 a good PSU, the breakdown of the voltages is all wrong. Far too much emphasis is given to the 5V rail when hardly anything uses it these days. The neopower 500 is a far better PSU, and the Truepower 550 better still (and much quieter), but I don't see any cases with those built in, so you might be better to consider a case without a PSU.

    I think this is going to be my next case. 250cfm at 12dbA! It must be almost silent.

    Edit: Oops!
    Last edited by lynx; 09-28-2008 at 11:50 PM.
    .
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  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Bad link, lynx.
    What case?
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  10. Software & Hardware   -   #10
    Detale's Avatar Go Snatch a Judge
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    I thought Plasma TV's had a problem when hooked up to a PC or game system. No?? Also I'm pretty sure you have to enable SLI for it to work otherwise the cards will work independently of each other.

    8800GT FTW!!

    Lynx correct Linkie - AeroCool Series: S9 Pro
    Last edited by Detale; 09-28-2008 at 03:12 AM.

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