2009 HTPC Build – GPU with Native HDMI

While I’m still in at the very beginning of this article I’m still researching whether a GPU native HDMI is a far better option that purchasing a card that has DVI to HDMI adapter. According to some people it doesn’t make a difference but there have been comments also disputing this.

I had an idea at the start that the cost of the case and the gpu alone would eat up 50% of my total budget and it’s looking like that’s going to be the case. One of the cards that I’ve been looking at but having trouble finding stock is the MSI 4670-MD512 the 4600 series offering from MSI looks like it was designed specifically with the HTPC builder in mind. It has 1x Dual-link DVI, 1 x VGA (D-Sub Output) and most importantly 1 x HDMI port. The R4600 HDMI series also supports Unified Video Decoder (UVD) 2.0, so that the CPU is not decoding the entire digital stream itself, which helps lessen the amount of electricity used by the CPU and prevents lag.

MSI 4670 with HDMI

These are just a few of the questions I asked myself when deciding deciding on a GPU was:

  1. Am I going to use it for Gaming?
  2. How much noise will it produce?
  3. Operating temperatures when under load?
  4. Will it be able to handle all if not most of the Hi-Def that I throw at it?
  5. Will it fit in the htpc case of my choice?
  6. Power consumption.

I’m pretty sure there are others things to consider but for now those six factors are what I’m looking at. As much as I would like to play PC games on a 50″ plasma, I know it’s not the wisest thing to do so I’ll leave the gaming part of it to my main rig even if this card is considered “mid-range”. This card is a single slot cooler and while it would have been ideal for it to have passive cooling like the 4650-M512Z it’s not going to perform any heavy 3d rendering so I don’t think heat would be such an issue. Now it’s just a matter of finding a store that has it in stock, much like the Lian Li case.

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