Template:Nvidia graphics cards

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Nvidia graphics cards are currently (Sep 2008) recommended for LinuxMCE 7.10 (also called RC2). ATI cards are not recommended.

LinuxMCE needs medium speed 3D and high speed 2D. About $70-$100 should be your budget. You don't need 512MB of graphics memory for LinuxMCE, 128MB or 256MB is adequate.

Recommendations:

  1. SD playback- Nvidia 6200 or 6600 are OK (Turbocache/TC or GT versions preferred). May not be a good choice if you want to run the nice UI2 with Alpha blending as the photo screensaver is jerky due to the slower 3D performance.
  2. HD playback (720p, 1080i and 1080p)- Nvidia 7300 or 8400GS (can someone please confirm these 2 are OK with UI2+Alpha), 8500GT, 8600GT.

The 6200 Turbocache 128 MB (5.6 GB/sec, 1400 Mtexels/sec) is adequate for SD (standard definition- 576 lines or below) video playback. It is too slow for the UI2 Alpha Blended interface (horribly slow until you kill the photo screen saver). Also not adequate for HD TV broadcasts (720p and above).

The 6600 'probably' has enough horsepower for HDTV and UI2 (4.2 GB/sec, 2400 Mtexels/sec). 6600GT should be fine (16 GB/sec, 4000 Mtexels/sec).

The pick of the current Nvidia line up (Sep 2008) for a full height card is probably the fanless single slot 8500GT (12.8 GB/sec, 3600 Mtexels/sec), about AUD$75 (US$50).

Other options are the 8600GT (22.4 GB/sec, 8640 Mtexels/sec) at AUD$120 (US$80), also available as a single slot Gigabyte version. This is more expensive than the 8500GT.

Other options are the 9500GT (14.4 GB/sec, 10400 Mtexels/sec) or 9600GTs- try the silent Zotac ("zone" series) or Gigabyte versions. The drawback of many of the 9400GTs, 9500GTs and 9600GTs are that the silent versions may take up 2 slots due to the size of the heatsink!

You should look for a card that has the right sort of output for your TV or display- HDMI is good as it gives you a bit of future proofing.

Here is a handy comparison table. And another one- look at the GB/sec of memory transfer as one measure of performance. You can see that the 9400 GT is about 3x faster in memory speed and 3D performance than a 6200 Turbocache. Wikipedia has a good section comparing the different cards.

Simple rules:

  • Pick a version of a card which has a fanless design (heatsink/heatpipe only)
  • Pick a low profile design to match cases that need the smaller physical card
  • Check if the card takes up 1 or 2 slots on your motherbaord (due to the heatsink)
  • Check that the card is the same type as your motherboard slot- AGP or PCI-Express (PCI-E) are usually faster options over PCI cards. PCI-E cards may specify a "1x" or "16x" slot which are different physically as well as in speed.
  • Higher numbers tend to be faster (e.g. 9400 is faster than 7200)
  • LE is a slow version of a particular graphics chipset
    • GS is a slow version
    • No suffix is medium speed
    • GT is faster speed
    • An LE in a higher chipset might be faster than a GT in a lower chipset
    • Or it might not!
  • There are other "high end" letter combinations which you don't generally need to worry about as these are 3D gaming cards whose extra performance does not help LinuxMCE
  • A card with GDDR3 memory is often about 2x the speed of the same chipset without GDDR3