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High-end video adapters

Posted on 2004-10-14
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Okay, let me assure you I don't use my PC to play games (c'mon, there are better things to do with it, if you know what i mean).

I do use it for playing music, watching movies and TV occasionally. Currently I have a NVidia Riva TNT (AGP 4x) adapter. It works reasonably well for my current setup (a Samsung monitor). I would now like to add some drama to the story. I want a larger display. What do you suggest? Should I hook it to a TV? Or a projector would be a better option.

I believe in building quality solution at cheaper prices (if you know what i mean).
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Question by:RanjeetRain
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Callandor earned 150 total points
ID: 12310925
A TV would be nice only if it maintains sharpness, and that means HDTV.  A computer monitor is capable of a much sharper picture than a standard definition TV.  As you increase picture size, defects and artifacts are magnified, also.  A projector would be nice, but you need light control to maintain the colors and contrast that make movie watching enjoyable.  This usually means a basement, but blackout curtains work as well.  For picture quality, I recommend Radeons over nVidia, because they use 10-bit DACs.
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by:mc365mc
ID: 12311022
What are you intrested in most? Bang for Buck, Display Size, or HTPC.  Also the confines of your budget, and setup area would help narrow things down.
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by:Luc Franken
Luc Franken earned 150 total points
ID: 12311247
Hi RanjeetRain,

As said by Callandor, unless you go for a HDTV, picture quality will be bad if switched to a TV. A projector could be done, but if you want sharp pictures you might have a very hard time finding a high-res projector for a resonable price. So, I'm actually wondering, why not just get yourself a nice 21" or better TFT/CRT (depending on what you like most)

If you do have some spare money :o) You might want to check out these videocards for some really good video quality:
http://www.3dlabs.com/products/category.asp?cate=1
Some older cards from 3dlabs are resonable priced, but will still really outperform that TNT you have there, and in quality AFAIK all of the commonly used cards now, especially the high-end gaming cards as those have replaced quality by framerate in a lot of occasions.

Greetings,

LucF
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by:JaffaKREE
ID: 12312009
I think you guys have it backwards... TV has a much lower resolution than standard monitors.  Artifacts that you may see on a monitor will not be visible on the TV screen.

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by:Callandor
ID: 12312091
For most people, a TV provides a bigger picture than a computer monitor - it's the increase in size that makes defects from the source more apparent, and the lower resolution contributes fuzziness, though it masks sharp artifacts.  The overall effect is a less pleasing picture.
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by:OliWarner
OliWarner earned 50 total points
ID: 12313100
I'd suggest a budget line card from ATI. Something like a Radeon 9600Pro or XT.
They're great cards, just dont have the uumph to keep up with modern games, but way more than you need if you're just doing TV.

As for a screen. If you got the money: 21" LCD screen. They're just amazing. Plasma screens certainly arent bad either. But they're very expensive.

CRT's arent great because they give out so little light.

Although if you've got the money and some curtains (heh...) a projecter could be a very good option. Paired with a good white-screen and a wireless mouse they can be very very cool. The quality isnt that bad, especially if you use a monitor connector rather than converting the signal into RGB/coaxial signal.
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by:RanjeetRain
ID: 12313969
Clearly TVs dont give the quality of CRTs. HDTVs are way too costly as of now. Plasma is my dream as of today. The only workable solution may be a mid-range projector or a LCD monitor. Dont worry about the curtains I'll borrow from neighbours the day I want to watch a movie ;)

Well, projector seems to be my best bet. What would be an economical solution? A 21 inches LCD or a mid-range projector? I am of the opinion that i can manage the display brightness factor (say the room will be dark enough). I have an idea that LCDs offer much better image quality. But i suspect their angle of vision isn't great. And they can't be suitable for more than personal viewing being 21' in size. Am I right or wrong?

I am looking at a projected size of 40'-60'. Can you suggest some combinations of projector models and and video cards? I would not like to go over $100 for the display adapter.
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by:Callandor
ID: 12314031
For projectors, you will need to choose between three different technologies.

DLP
- best contrast and deepest blacks
- some people are sensitive to rainbows from the spinning color wheel

LCD
- brightest output
- bad fill factor, contributing to "screen door" look if too close or picture is too big

LCOS (reflective LCD)
- best fill factor, best color rendition
- worst contrast, blacks are not deep, expensive bulbs, loud fan

I have the LCOS technology, and I think I emailed you a link to pictures of my home theater a few months ago, with the 100-inch screen.

For you, the InFocus X1 is a cheap option, but I hear the BenQ PE7800 might be nicer: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=452548
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by:RanjeetRain
ID: 12314058
You put me in a difficult situation all the time.. lol Gimme a break. I will be back after having made sure I understood what you wrote :)
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by:RanjeetRain
ID: 12314067
LucF, i took a look at the link you posted. They impress, but do I really *need* such high-end cards. Well, forgive my ignorance. I really dont know this stuff.
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by:OliWarner
ID: 12314163
lol, on the cards, no not at all...

You only need a fairly decent low-end card. ATI sell their 9600 for almost nothing but its a rock-solid card.

A 256 Meg video card...
AGPx4/x8, 3D if you need it ever.
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=14-102-295&depa=0
$106
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by:MasterOp
MasterOp earned 150 total points
ID: 12317227
Well from what i have read so far you want to turn your PC into a media center witch is not bad at all ;)

If you want to get best of of a TV performance and graphics bunded your choise for a video adapter should be definetly ATI. Why ? Easy conectivity. ATI has the best TVout yet, Mutlipile Desktops and well if you are not going to use the PC for gaming you can use almost any ATI adapter over Radeon 9550 ( the same one i think is the best solution for you - quality/price ) Not to talk that Radeon 9550 is a gaming card too ;) For manufactoror try getting ASUS or Saphire. They are most relible. Do NOT in any case teke an SE version. It is very crippled. Look for Pro version or XT ( the last is the mark of the top models of ATI ). The card is 8x/4x AGP but don't get me wrong ... if you are not a maniac you won't notice any difference if it runns on 4x ( if you have older MB ). The card is below 80$ i think.

About the media projector. Well my latest completed procet was for a Hotel in a resort nearby. I used Radeon 9600 and an INFOCUS media projector with DLP tech. Placed in one TV tuner and the result was a screen 270cm x 200cm and a 330cm diagonal with PERFECT picture.

The proceted size is very important for that the picture is correct. To get propper picture you have to possition the projector properetly. The screen dimensions are 4:3 or 16:9 deppends of that you want to look at ;) An example: If you want your screen to be 60cm x 45cm (4:3) you have to place the projector at distance twice the lenght of the screen (120cm) same is with 16:9. Think about how much room you have cuz` if you want larger display that means more distance from the screen.

Over all there are 3 things you need to know before buying a media projector.

First: Max Diagonal the more the better but when the max diagonal grows so does the price ( for instance the one i used to achive 330cm diagonal supported 750cm) So the solution is that you get perfect picture at 1/2 Max Diagonal over that the picture becomes blurry.

Second: In every projector there is a lamp that lights us the display. That lamp has a number of  hours life and when those hours run out you have to replace it and it is very expencive ( depending of the lamp namufatoror and life for InFocus a lamp for a DLP projector with 3500 hours life costs about 600$ )

Third: The power of the media projetor is evaluated by the brightess and contrass that it can supply . And also the lamp that is in it. That factos is called Anscilumin (ansci) . For example a procector with 4000 ansci can supply twice more than 2000 ansci. This is useful if you want to use the projecton in brighter rooms. For projectors with highter ansci it is not needed to have perfectly darkened room to see them great.      

About manufactoror i have used and sold many but i'm most pleased with Infocus. Very relible they are.

I hope i was useful to you.

Best of luck !
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by:Huseyin1
ID: 12317467
Displaying your PC on a normal TV will have to be at a resolution of 600x400 (about) to make text readable, otherwise 800x600 you can just about make out text from a distance.

BUT

watching movies on the TV via the PC is exallent, I have a 28" TV connected to my PC and listen to music and watch movies on it, and the quality is the same as a DVD, text is the only froblem.

I play music on this because I have a 5.1 doulby suround sound amp system, so I can download music and play.

H
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by:RanjeetRain
ID: 12317714
WOW! MasterOp, you are an instant hit with me :> Its always helpful to hear some *real* stories. I like EE coz I get to hear real stories here, but dislike the 500 points limit :| I can only thank you for sharing a first hand experience with such great detail.

Huseyin, probably I too have would done that only, if I was not a perfectionist. A TV is an okay solution but probably not enough for my senses (i got 6' long ears and eyes this big and really need sound to screech thru my heart and split it) :| My sound setup is okay. I have a Creative Audigy 2S with 350 WRMS speakers and its okay as of now. But I am looking for more and I may post a question on that too (c'mon, you do want to share your audio experiences with me, right) ;)

Thanks everybody for sharing your experiences.
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by:Callandor
ID: 12319815
You don't need a fast high-end video card if you want picture quality.  I use a Radeon 9000 in my HTPC and have not had a reason to upgrade (well, the UT action on the big screen is somewhat slow, but people get nauseous if it's too fast).
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by:RanjeetRain
ID: 12320395
I think like that too. Exactly why I said do I *need* a high end card. Okay, I'll do some research on Radeon 9000 :)
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by:Luc Franken
ID: 12320660
RanjeetRain,

Another day of work is over :)
As you now explain what you want to use this for (watching video's) those videocards I mentioned are way over the top :) We use them on AutoCAD stations for our 3D projections etc.
So all you have to find yourself is a nice videocard, preferably hardware accelerated (all are nowadays) even that TNT will do fine for just watching videos, but the picture isn't too sharp. The Radeon 9000 you mentioned is better in this case.

If you want to go for a small projector (800x600 resolution is more than enough for watching video's) or for a 21" TFT is your own choice, but I think a second hand projector might be cheaper.

LucF
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by:Callandor
ID: 12321179
Take a look around this site for some ideas: http://www.projectorcentral.com/home-theater-multimedia-projectors.htm

Take every review with a grain of salt.
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by:RanjeetRain
ID: 12725516
Sorry for causing you the discomfort TheLearnedOne.

Thanks for all the help people. YOu guys are awesome. THanks!
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