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20 August 2010 @ 12:33 pm
Video question for a new computer  
So does anyone here know anything about hooking up various inputs to various video display devices?

On September 21 Civilization 5 is coming out, and on September 30 Final Fantasy 14 is coming out. I'm definitely going to be playing at least one of those games. However my current five year old computer is getting a bit long in the tooth. Not only am i pretty sure that it couldn't handle either of those games well from a video perspective, for the past year or so it's also been making intermittent loud buzzing noises, which i'm hoping is "just" a problem with the fan. (The one time i tried taking the computer apart to poke at it i totally failed to completely disassemble the case due to some odd methods of fastening things together.)

So i'm figuring about now is the time to get a new computer (and probably give the old one to shelleycat and let her figure out what to do about the fan =)

If anyone has recommendations about good places to look for decently priced computers i'd love to hear about it, but i'm currently looking at PCs For Everyone as the best place for letting me put together the components i actually want to use without charging an arm and a leg. If anyone cares to check it out the current target is this computer which totals out at about $1500.

So the problem is considering what to get for the video card. The above setup has the NVIDIA GeForce GT 240, but i've been told that i ought to get something better than the 240. Specifically i was told i "ought" to get the 260 or 280, but all they've got available on this site is the 250, which costs $60 more.

That's not a huge increase in price, especially given that i'm hoping not to have to replace it for another four or five years. However i'm a bit confused by the connectors. The GT 240 says it has (1xDVI, 1xHDMI, 1xVGA), while the GTS 250 says it has (2xDVI). I really like having two monitors at work, but i don't use my computer in quite the same way at home, and there's only so much room on the desk and/or table anyways, so i'll probably stick with the monitor i have now, or maybe upgrade it to a widescreen LCD at some point. However _eventually_ i'm planning on getting an HDTV, and it would be nice to feed stuff from my PC directly to the TV from time to time.

What little info i've found on DVI vs HDMI seems to indicate that they're _mostly_ the same, except HDMI has an additional channel for carrying sound. Does anyone know for sure if that's accurate or if there are any video quality differences between the two? Otherwise it seems like DVI is the HD equivalent of the cable i currently use to connect my PC to my monitor (something of a misnomer of course, since my monitor already displays > HD TV) while HDMI is the HD equivalent of the Red/White/Yellow component cables i use to connect my consoles and DVD player to my TV.

So why does the theoretically better GTS 250 only have DVI while the cheaper GT 240 has an HDMI? If i'm going to be stringing stuff all the way across the living room from my PC to the TV it seems like it would be nice to only have to do so with one cable.

Both the GT 240 and the GTS 250 are listed as the best price/performance for their respective brackets according to Tom's Hardware. If i decide i that HDMI is important but want to get something better than the 240 it looks like i'd have to switch to the ATI Radeon HD 5770, which is $90 more than the 240 and $30 more than the 250, but is also rated as the "best of" in its price bracket. In theory it would also have the bonus of having the DirectX 11 drivers, but i'm really not sure if that's actually of any benefit.
Madman Across the Watermadmanatw on August 20th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
I just bought a new computer in anticipation of Civ V. For my video card I picked up this sucker: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125333
DonAithnendonaithnen on August 20th, 2010 11:38 pm (UTC)
Are you building your own computer completely from scratch? Or did you get a pre-built one and you're just planning on installing the new graphics card?

I suppose if i went with the cheaper motherboard and no card from the machine i could afford to buy a card like that separately, but it's been a long time since i've ever installed anything more complicated than a hard drive in a computer.
Kirin: Skuld-computerkirinn on August 21st, 2010 12:07 pm (UTC)
Eh, installing video cards is pretty easy, I do it all the time at work. Obviously you need one that fits the slots on your motherboard (which should be given if both MB and card are newish), and a big card may need its own connection to the power supply, but most power supplies will have enough extra plugs hanging around that you can just grab an unused one.
Madman Across the Water: Hermitmadmanatw on August 21st, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
Built it from scratch. The new case has disco LEDs. It's kind of insane.
Kirinkirinn on August 20th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
You can convert DVI to HDMI with no problem, we do that from our MacBook to our HDTV (actually from mini-DVI but whatever; just buy the appropriate converter cable cheap from monoprice.com). But you're right, DVI doesn't bundle audio, so you have to send that separately. This isn't a big drawback for us, since we'd just as soon send the audio to the Bose which has better output than the built-in TV speakers anyway.

My co-worker is more up-to-date on graphics card options, since he recommends ones for our customers, but he's on vacation this week.
DonAithnendonaithnen on August 20th, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC)
Well it's gonna be a couple weeks before i actually buy anything, so if you happen to remember it later i'd love to hear if you have any second-hand advice :)

I'm clearly even less of an audiophile than i am a videophile, because we don't have any kind of stereo setup. When we watch TV the sound comes out of the crappy speakers attached to the almost ten year old CRT tv, and we don't seem to mind. If we don't end up connecting the computer to the TV with a HDMI cable we'll probably just use the PC speakers for sound like we do when watching stuff on the net :)