Recommend a graphics card for my new TV
December 23, 2009 9:59 AM   Subscribe

Do I need a new video card to hook my PC up to my new HDTV?

I have a Dell PC with a ATI Radeon HD 2400 graphics card. It has two connections, one DVI and one S-Video.

I used to convert the DVI to RGB and connect that to my Dell monitor at the max resolution of 1680 x 1050. The S-Video was connected to my tube TV, which worked just fine.

The new TV is a Toshiba 40" 1080p, so of course I'd like to feed it something better than S-Video. I tried connecting the RGB, which gives me a max resolution of 1360x768 -- but it leaves me with S-Video for the monitor, which is pretty freakin' ugly.

Here's the question: is there a way I can use a splitter or similar to feed the DVI (or RGB) into both the monitor and the TV at a resolution both will be happy with? Or do I have to get a new HDMI-ready graphics card? If I do, can you recommend one that might last me little while without breaking the bank? Under $100 would be great. I play the occasional game of TF2 but media is going to be the main use. Blu-Ray might be nice one day. I don't need to expand to a second monitor and would be just as happy cloning the same image on both screens. Thanks much.
posted by muckster to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
All you need is a DVI to HDMI adapter.

Shouldn't cost you very much at all. Monoprice has one for $4.43 here
posted by comradestu at 10:04 AM on December 23, 2009

how's under $60 grab you?
posted by rhizome at 10:04 AM on December 23, 2009

Response by poster: The adapter will still leave my monitor stranded, right?

Under $60 sounds great -- are all of those a step up from my current card? Those specs confuse the hell out of me.
posted by muckster at 10:14 AM on December 23, 2009

Best answer: If you play TF2 then you need a card with good 3D performance. The ones linked above really arent going to cut it.

The sweet spot for video cards tends to be in the $150 to $200 range. If you want to spend under $100 you can get a decent nvidia 9800. For 10 dollars more you can get an HD 4850 that will outperform that 9800 and has a built in HDMI port. Also, a GTS 250 is comparable, but ATI tends to be cheaper.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:33 AM on December 23, 2009

I picked up an N94GT-MD512 for an older Alienware PC for under $60, and it did the trick pretty well. I can play WoW on my 1080p TV without too much trouble - it's not as good as a dedictaed gaming rig, but it's still enjoyable.
posted by GJSchaller at 11:11 AM on December 23, 2009

Sorry, you're right - you'd only be able to run the TV or the monitor at once, not both.

The link you provided seems to suggest that the TV-out port supports component cables. This is how I've got my media PC hooked up to my HDTV (42" plasma), and it looks excellent. I'm not sure if Dell provided it with your system, but most video cards that have a TV-out port come with an adapter.
posted by comradestu at 11:19 AM on December 23, 2009

In the lower end, ATI is the definite bargain at the moment. The radeon 4850 is a brilliant card for the price, but if you definitely want to stay under $100, the radeon 4670 is a great little card for $70, with dual DVI output. (You can plug DVI to HDMI very easily with a simple cable, as HDMI is just DVI plus audio + DRM in one cable, and many radeon cards come with a DVI/HDMI adapter in the box now).
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:19 AM on December 23, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everybody. I ordered a 4850.
posted by muckster at 12:01 PM on December 23, 2009

You'll probably need a power adapter for the card (if you see the images of it on newegg, you'll see a 6-pin power connector at the back of the card), molex to 6-pin graphics. Hope that your power supply can handle it.
posted by ijoyner at 5:54 PM on December 23, 2009

Crap! Wrong link. this one's right
Of course, check inside your case to see if you have a connector already (you should if you have the PCI-X 16 slot)
posted by ijoyner at 5:56 PM on December 23, 2009

Response by poster: For the record, there was some trouble with my Newegg order (no int'l credit cards!) which was just as well because I realized my Dell 530s is a slimline case that won't fit most cards anyway. After some more research, I settled on this 4650, which seems to work with my case & power supply.
posted by muckster at 10:01 AM on December 26, 2009

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