video cards

Discussion in 'hardware' started by pan15, Jan 18, 2011.

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  1. pan15

    pan15 Registered Member

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    do video cards just reduce lag on videos or do they increase the quality of the picture/video as well?
     
  2. drhu22

    drhu22 Registered Member

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  3. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    The quality of video reproduction is not improved when a graphics card is installed, but when DXVA acceleration is used.

    For this “hardware acceleration” to work, certain Windows components, the media player, the decoder, the graphics driver and the card hardware must work together. The improvements also depend on the Windows version used (best with 7) and the particular video. They are more noticeable in high quality HD videos.
     
  4. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

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    General Comment on Gaming versus Workstation Video Card:

    If a person uses their PC more for CAD, video editing, etc. rather than Gaming, a Workstation video card may be better even though it costs more than a Gaming video card.
     
  5. pan15

    pan15 Registered Member

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    i had a feeling video cards improved picture/video quality. Wasn't too sure because alot are advertised for gaming
     
  6. Noob

    Noob Registered Member

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    For general usage a video card would allow you to use bigger screens, a bit more eye candy stuff, video playback enhancement (applies to software compatible with the video card) etc.

    Most of the people change them for gaming.
    And the other smaller percentage (IMO) for work. (All sorts of rendering, image editing, video edit etc.)
     
  7. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Compared to what? Do you mean in place of on-board graphics solutions? If that is what you mean then no, they do not improve picture/video "quality". The card (or on-board) simply processes the graphics information and sends it out to the monitor. The "quality" of the image is mostly determined by the monitor, not the card.

    The advantage of a card is performance - or speed. The better the card, the faster the display can be updated. This has little to no impact when watching videos like movies, but can have a big impact with games or as suggested, with CAD work.

    Sorry, but that part of that statement is not true at all. Many Home Theater PCs use motherboards with integrated graphics to drive very large big screen TVs providing most excellent performance while watching HD content from cable, satellite or BluRay sources. The size of the screen has nothing to do with quality of the image when it comes to the computer's graphics solution, as long as the graphics solution supports the monitor's (or TV's) native resolution. And since 1080P HD resolves to 1920x1080 resolution, providing support for very large screens is not a problem. And note many on-board solutions are very advanced. Many modern motherboards with integrated graphics include dedicated RAM for graphics instead of stealing system RAM. And note the Next Generation ION-based Graphics from NVIDIA support up to 2560x1600 resolutions capable of driving very high resolution monitors, or even multi-monitor setups.
     
  8. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    The original question was if a graphics card can improve the video reproduction, all other things being equal. I think it can, if the other hardware and software components involved can work with the card and use its capabilities.
     
  9. Firecat

    Firecat Registered Member

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    Yes it can, and it's not just limited to DXVA.

    Each display adapter has its own internal colour calibration as well as scaling algorithms etc. (this only matters if you use an LCD display). The internal colour calibration can result in more pleasing pictures (however, this is subjective and will vary from vendor to vendor - one can say that no single vendor is clearly "better" in this regard, even integrated does a good job these days)

    For photos, certain image viewing and editing software can utilize graphics acceleration to smooth out edges under large zoom.

    For videos, the graphics card drivers defines the functions in each video overlay. Depending on what your graphics card offers, all decoders using the overlay (even without DXVA) will benefit from improved image quality. For example, ATI Radeon HD 5000 series and above feature video deblocking, contrast adjustment, noise reduction, etc. in the drivers and these features work regardless of whether DXVA is being used.

    However, note that modern integrated (onboard) graphics is almost as good as a discrete graphics card for the above things and most users will not notice a significant improvement. Intel's integrated graphics is the least recommended by me for these purposes though (you would notice the difference more if you had an Intel onboard graphics chip before putting in a graphics card as compared to previously having AMD/ATI or NVIDIA onboard graphics).
     
  10. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Note sure of your point. I made it a point to say "quality" of the image is mostly determined by the monitor. I stand by that. I also note we have not got clarification on Pan's question about video cards - so I ask again, compared to what? Compared to other video cards? Compared to on-board? Regardless, it is not really a fair question because it is too generalized.

    As noted, there are some excellent on-board offerings. But note there are also some very budget, entry-level cards.

    And does DXVA really improve "image quality"? Or do these various codecs and HW accelerators simply smooth out the jagged edges faster? I contend the biggest advantage to a more advanced card is speed. If two graphics solutions (card and on-board) are able to render the required resolution, the "image quality" will be virtually the same - it just might take 2 minutes to draw vs 2 seconds. I note too that images are "stills".

    Now if you are talking 3D, layered animation, that's different. But displaying plain old "videos" (as mentioned in Pan's opening post) such as viewing 1080P HD content from a BluRay disk does not take a lot of graphics (or CPU) horsepower, HW acceleration or special codecs other than what is required to play the disk.
     
  11. firzen771

    firzen771 Registered Member

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    i have a laptop with optimus and with pictures/regular SD videos i dont see any difference in image quality between the integrated intel chip an the nvidia one.

    however with HD videos i can def see better video quality using the nvidia chip instead of the intel one, as well as with youtube videos using flash's hardware acceleration, videos look much crisper and cleaner, less fuzz and such.
     
  12. pan15

    pan15 Registered Member

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    i was referring to onboard bill
     
  13. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Thanks for clarifying. As stated above, to really answer your question, it depends on the specifics. Certainly, the best cards are better than on-board. But then add-in cards can cost many hundreds of dollars - many times more than motherboards with integrated graphics.
     
  14. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    All $80 or so NVIDIA cards support DXVA acceleration (what they call "PureVideo"). I suppose is the same in AMD/ATI cards.
     
  15. pan15

    pan15 Registered Member

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    my laptop occasionally crash's and shows a bluescreen before it reboot's saying memory crash dump i think its because of the crappy intel board video card built in. I uninstalled pc tools firewall and so far the crash's have stopped *fingers crossed* i feel screwed because there's no way i can upgrade my laptop gpu i looked online and couldnt find anyone that sells anything. This is a fairly new laptop too
     
  16. Noob

    Noob Registered Member

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    That's a disadvantage of laptops, you cannot swap hardware easily like a desktop.
    Of course you can on some things such as ram or hdd, but that's pretty much all, and it requires some knowledge.
    Just think about opening a laptop what a mess :rolleyes:
     
  17. SweX

    SweX Registered Member

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    Not if the engineers have put some thoughts into the design;)
     
  18. pan15

    pan15 Registered Member

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    i saw some video cards for laptops on ebay but looking at the specs i dont think they are good at all

    i cant believe the laptops gpu is that crappy it crash's because of a firewall
     
  19. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Don't blame the engineers - blame the marketing departments. I am less concerned about being able to upgrade than I am about cooling and access for thorough cleaning. But because the marketing departments keep pushing for thinner, lighter, and more powerful (and pretty too) cases have become, or rather remain, very proprietary, compact, and incapable of supporting necessary cooling, nor do they provide easy access for the user to perform thorough cleaning. Then those same marketing types attempt to pass off these notebooks as desktop replacements and gaming machines - of which they are neither.
     
  20. firzen771

    firzen771 Registered Member

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    culd u explain how? if they can achieve the performance of a high end desktop, and they can achieve cool enough temperatures to support it, how is it not a worthy replacement? (look at some of Sager's high end notebooks and some videos on them, ull see theyre pretty easy to open up and mess around with, some of them u can change video cards for as well and they can keep relatively low temps)
     
  21. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    I already did.
    That's the problem. They can pack in the performance but they cannot pack in the cooling. Even full sized towers with lots of large fans are challenged to keep the components cool during serious gaming. There's no way several large fans can be incorporated into the tiny case of a notebook. There is just not enough room. The best cooling for a notebook is achieved during the notebook's very first 5 minutes of use. After that, the small fans start sucking in heat trapping dust. And because you cannot just pop off the side panel of a notebook and gain deep access, you cannot thoroughly clean the interior of that heat trapping dust.

    Notebooks were designed for the weight-conscious road warrior to work on his Word and Power Point documents while away from his office. To connect to projectors for briefings, to keep up with his email, and to watch an occasional DVD movie. While a notebook is capable of replacing a desktop used for those simple tasks, a notebook simply cannot provide the cooling capability to keep up with the cooling demands of serious gaming, graphics editing or computer aided design. Heat is exactly why mobile CPUs are used in notebooks - so they can toggle down in speed and performance to reduce heat generation.

    I have seen the Sager reviews and they are typical for so called gaming notebooks - conclusion: big, heavy, short battery life. Note what most people want in a notebook. I disagree with your statement they are easy to open. Sure, you can remove some panels and expose bay openings, but you cannot crack it wide open for thorough cleaning.
     
  22. firzen771

    firzen771 Registered Member

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    well of course u cant open it up completely like a desktop, lots of areas are accesible, basically everywer if u do a little extra work and remove the keyboard as well (some models allow that).

    a notebook will never beat a desktop, but they can be adequate replacements. i have a Sager myself and i can tell u it does stay pretty cool, even gaming, keyboard stays cool, areas over HDD and video card stays cool, only hot spot is right against my fan. temps stay around 40 or lower, when gaming they go up to about 55 degrees at most, maybe 60 for some games, all well within limits and with this notebook i can play all the games i have. (BFBC2, SC2, WoW, Civ5, etc.)
     
  23. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Well, I am glad your temps are acceptable for you. I hope over time, they remain so. I get nervous when CPU temps touch 60°C so I would have a problem with that if they stayed up in that range for long periods of time as that would mean surrounding components, the socket, and the board itself would be running very warm for long periods of time too. And electronics that run near extremes for long periods of time age faster than those that are kept cool all the time.

    I would add that removing keyboards from notebooks is not a normal task most users could or should attempt. If you feel comfortable doing that, then go for it. But that is not something I recommend most users attempt. And I note that may very well void the warranty of many machines too.

    Like every rule, except perhaps this one, there are exceptions. If Sager has successfully converted a road warrior's computer into a gaming machine that meets your needs, then that is great. But the fact is, most notebooks are not designed for those demands and those that are typically are not very light, thin, or frugal with battery usage - criteria most notebook users demand.
     
  24. firzen771

    firzen771 Registered Member

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    now ther i agree, most notebooks are not meant for it, but the gaming brands (the ones meant to have higher power components) typically have a lot more thought put into cooling and proper internal designs.

    good thing bout most boutique brands like Sager is opening up the laptop and swapping parts out urself is still covered under warranty (long as u dont break anything lol)

    also im pretty sure the CPU in my notebook has a max heat threshold of about 80 degrees, all the components in my laptop stay well below their maxes.

    thats why i just skip over mainstream brands who look at style and "thinness" over practicality.
     
  25. Noob

    Noob Registered Member

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    CPU's aren't as heat tolerant as GPU's. :rolleyes:

    And yeah, i hate that laptops get TOO HOT.
    Some even feel like their cooking your lap after a few mins. (Reminds me of a Sony Vaio my friend has :rolleyes:)
     
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