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HP Gen8 graphics card for HTPC?

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Hey guys,


I'm new to microservers and to this forum. I'm mostly new to building as well- first & last time I built a PC was 4 years ago and it's been set & forget Windows since.


Anyway I purchased a HP gen8+switch and have been reading up as much as possible on what I can do with it. I bought it to store files and use SABNZB+sickbeard+utorrent+plex+CouchPotato. I have a 1 seagate 4tb + 1 old sata II SSD for now. And I'm waiting on a molex spliter and molex-to-sata adapter for the SSD. I'll soon buy a single stick of 8gb Kingston ECC RAM to pair with the stock-supplied 2gb.


I'm planning either FreeNAS or WHS11 - haven't decided which one yet. I know nothing about ESXI but am doing some reading up on it and trying to wrap my head around its benefits.


My question - I want to turn this into a dual HTPC, but what graphics card should I get? I want to connect it to a Panasonic Viera 50". I have a lot of 1080p blu-ray rips I'm hoping are playable. There is nothing, NOTHING I hate more than stutter. I'll happily pay whatever I need to pay to avoid that.


Yeah I know these aren't as good as the gen7 for HTPC cause there is only 1xPCIE slot but that's fine because I don't want a TV tuner.


I noticed the low profile Radeon HD 6450 is the most recommended for n50Ls. Does this apply to the gen8? Could I get any other low-profile card better for performance? I noticed the HD 6570 seems to be another highly recommended low profile card for HTPCs but I don't know if it'll be overkill or bottlenecked.


Or will it send the power useage up even in idle mode?


And the PSU is 150w - I'm fearful it might not be strong enough to support a GPU that can play 1080p. - As much as I want to avoid stutter, I also don't want to fry the board as well, lol.


Also the slot IS PCI-e, right? Not PCI?


Thanks kindly for the help.

Edited by Lydiath
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I ran a low-profile Sapphire 7750 with small fan in my N54L no problem but don't have it now to try in the G8. I'm not aware if the G8 has the 25w PCI-E limit on this motherboard like the N54L showed and the 7750 peaks a ~48W and still worked.


I did think only NVidia cards worked well with Linux though, I use Windows OS.


I also ran with a 6450 and that's perfect for HTPC. Only need the 7750 class card if you want to do a bit of gaming.

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Wow psikey, that's surprising. I've been worrying over the power consumption frying the board, but that eases my mind a bit knowing you pushed a 7750 to work.


I have absolutely no need for gaming - I already have a cross-fire PC for all that. I'm just happy to have non-stuttering playback on 1080p mkvs. So the 6450 should give me that? Would it hold up on 3D iso's? Not that I have any at the moment, but just thinking in terms of future proofing it.

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Not from streaming but if your using the Microserver as the HTPC itself then in Windows and the N54L with the 6450 it did the DXVA reducing CPU load from 90+% to the mid 20%.


The G8 CPU also has Intel HD2500 enabled GPU built-in but the G8 doesn't use it so you will need the 6450 or similar to give you an HDMI out for audio/video.


Can't comment on how it works with Linux as have read the NVidia GT620 is more suitable.

For streaming the G1610T with Plex worked fine for single HD transcode but I've since upgraded my CPU to an E3-1265LV2 for multiple Plex streaming. Don't use mine as a dedicated HTPC but as a Media Streamer amongst other things.


I've only done 3D on my GTX770 GPU in my main gaming machine so no idea with AMD GPU's. Plex server on my G8 can feed 3D mkv's to my 3D TV no problem which has a Plex client built-in. I don't have a dedicated GPU in my G8.

Edited by psikey
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Not from streaming but if your using the Microserver as the HTPC itself then in Windows the 6450 did the DXVA reducing CPU load from 90+% to the mid 20%.

Oh darn, I was hoping to stream via wired ethernet cord (not wireless) 1080p to other computers. I'm happy to have any 3d ISOs directly hooked up to the TV via HDMI as a htpc, but there will be plenty of times when I'll want to just watch a 1080p movie or tv show in bed on the laptop (hardwired with an ethernet). Or a family member will just want to watch something on a monitor in their room. The 6450 couldn't do this?


I'm happy to stick with WHS11 since I have little experience with linux anyway. No issue there, unless there's a compelling reason to do otherwise.


I was just reading this post here http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/4845-n40l-help-ssd-performance-issues-which-gfx-card/ and this guy seems to be having sucess with a 6570. He mentioned he bought it for the same reason I'm pondering - to future proof for 3D iso's. I'm wondering if I should do the same thing (only an extra $20 or so extra) or if it's not going to help at all (just costing more electricity for no reason). If it could stream me 1080p over wired I would gladly get it.


And thanks psikey for the reply, I greatly appreciate it!


Edit: also with either card I should get the 1gb, not the 2gb, right?

Edited by Lydiath
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What I'm saying is the GPU won't assist the CPU in transcoding streamed media if the Video file needs it to play on a specific player/device, but the G1610T or better the G2020 can handle a single transcode on the CPU on its own (unlike the N36L/N40L/N54L). The GPU is needed to use the G8 as a HTPC otherwise you have no HDMI out to feed the audio/video to your TV.


If your playback devices don't need to transcode the videos and can play them natively (without transcoding) then you have no issue anyway on wired or fast wireless.


I playback to a pair of WDTV Live boxes, Samsung S4 phone, Laptop, Samsung SmartTV and PS3 and only the PS3 needs to have some streamed video transcoded, all the others play the videos natively so low demand on any CPU/GPU.

Edited by psikey
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Ooh, I'm starting to see. Now that you mention it, I actually have a WD TV live hooked up to the TV. So I guess that'll take strain off the CPU? All my other playback devices are just PCs with their own GPUs.


Ok I'll eBay a 5450 1gb tonight. Thanks much for the help =)

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^ha sorry I meant the 6450. That was a lame typo on my part when I wrote 5450.

I bought the 1gb on eBay before I read the above. Darn but oh well. It came to around $60 and I could only mostly find the 1GBs listed in my country anyway. I'm happy enough!

Thanks psikey, greatly appreciated.

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Just an update on this - I received my Asus HD 6450 today.
I was actually surprised it didn't come with the low-profile bracket on it, but then again it's not advertised on the box as a low-profile card, I just assumed.
All good though - I just used a mini-spanner to pull off the full-height bracket and installed it. Doesn't look too tidy from the outside but noone's really looking at it. (I'm the kind of girl who blu-tacks my SSD to case ...)
I'll buy a low-profile bracket next time I pop into the computer shop but for now it's nothing urgent.
It looks like it's working well so far. Currently I'm still on the supplied 2gb RAM until my local shop orders me an 8gb stick - which will be at least another 14 days :(.
So it's slow to boot and takes a few seconds to kick in and override the stock-GPU. I'm hopeful this will dissapear when I add more RAM. I'm kicking myself for not ordering RAM on sale at the same time I bought the microserver.
Anyway, I tried installing Esxi via Intelligent Provisioning (IP) to a 32gb SanDisk ReadyCache sata3 SSD, but it seems like I've bitten off more than I can chew.
I'm unsure what it is that Esxi does, but what's really making me rip my hair out is that I'm coming up with a 'Purple Screen of Death' post-reboot...
... have tried googling to find out where I've gone wrong but I can't seem to come up with a solution.
I was also (and still am somewhat) interested in FreeNas but it seems like I can only install it by not going through IP, so I'm not sure if I still get the benefits of HP iLO if I did this?
Moreso I'm erring more on the side of caution now and will try for WHS11. I should be buying a DVD tomorrow - will use the W7-USB-DVD tool to write the iso to a usb and hopefully IP can take it from there.
Anyway sorry to anyone reading this rant. I'll wait until I get the remainder parts and try again. If problems persist I'll come back and start a new request for help topic.


And off course, huge cheers psikey thanks for the help :)

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