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Cheapest GPU for 1080p playback

narmi2 used Ask the Experts™
Dear Experts,

Which GPU would you recommend for playing back all kinds of 1080p video including, blueray, avi, and flash 1080p.  It must have 2 monitor connections.

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It's not all about the GPU, also the CPU counts in the equation.


I have an athlon 64 3200.  What is the cheapest GPU I need to get smooth 1080p playback via bluray, avi, and flash?  I currently have an nvidia 6500 something, and it will play 720p avi and flash perfectly smoothly.
what you are playing 1080p look at your processor usage and see if its pegged at 100%
The athlon 64 3200 was released in 2003: do you know if you've got an AGP or PCI-E graphics card?
I found this discussion about 1080p playback: http://www.videohelp.com/forum/archive/what-should-i-update-to-play-1080p-gpu-or-cpu-t360761.html This discussion was in 2008, back then it seems an 8600 GT or even an up-to-date on-board graphics processor could handle HD 1920 graphics. Blueray requires an HDCP graphic card and virtually all PCI-E graphics cards support HDCP. The cheapest card available to me is an EVGA Geforce G210 (589Mhz), 512MB DDR2 priced @ 55 Australian Dollars which is about 20 quid. http://www.evga.com/products/moreinfo.asp?pn=512-P3-1212-LR This of couse pre-supposes that you have 1) a PCI-E slot, 2) 300 Watt power supply and 3) a CPU that can handle it.
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Your Athlon won't really handle this and you'll need a 7 series 128MB GeForce card to replace the one you already have as a minimum.
This link is based on using Cyberlink playback but is actually pretty generic for the requirements for playback
Even with the minimum you may need some paid for software to help your system cope with the rendering (like CoreAVC)
I would seriously look at a newer box to start with (it doesn't have to be brand new just more recent that the one in your question) and try bringing that up to spec rather than trying to make this one work.  Because of its age nothing you buy for it in terms of hardware to upgrade is going to be much use for a future upgrade so even if you get it to struggle with 1080 there is no way up from there.


The fastest CPU my computer can take is:
AMD Athlon 64 FX 60

Yes, my motherboard does have PCI-E

and I have a 550Watt PSU.

Will the nvidia GT220 not be powerful enough to give me full screen browser flash 1080p playback?


Here is a full list of supported CPU's for my motherboard:

And the motherboard has the following PCI slots
(2) PCI-E 16x,
(1) PCI-E 4x,
(1) PCI-E 1x,
(2) PCI