Friday, April 16, 2010

Buying a new video card!

After about 2.5 years, I decided to upgrade my video card -- mainly to get one that can accelerate Flash and to handle videos that DXVA can't deal with.

My current video card, an ATI Radeon HD 2600xt, isn't supported by Flash 10.1 for GPU acceleration. Nvidia has a list of supported chipsets, and most of their recent cards are supported. Additionally, Nvidia cards are well-supported by CoreAVC, which enables a greater variety of videos to be accelerated. There's a great setup guide available from My collection of short anime reviews. Not only are more videos supported, but it's very likely to be supported by PS3 Media Server, but I'll know for sure when the card I ordered arrives.

So I've decided on getting an Nvidia card... now which one to get? I don't play many games, so all I needed was a card for video playback. It needed to do the following:

  • Accelerate 1080p H264, VC1, and Flash playback
  • HDMI sound output capability, at least 7.1 and preferably support for bitstreaming uncompressed codecs (DTS master and TruHD).
  • Low power usage / heat

I narrowed my choices down to the following based on the above criteria:

  • Geforce GT 220
  • Geforce GT 240
I excluded the Geforce 9600 and 9500 because they can't handle 7.1 sound over HDMI, have an older revision of Nvidia's purevideo decoder, and tend to use more power. The GT 210 didn't seem to have enough power to do some post-processing of 1080p content. The GT 220 and 240 both seemed to handle everything I need (in fact, the setup guide I linked to earlier suggests a GT 220-based card, but the GT 240 has 2x the number of stream processors and is only another $20.

I ordered the card from Newegg and expect it sometime next week. I'll update with my results!

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