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Thread: Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC graphics card upgrade advice?

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    Question Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC graphics card upgrade advice?

    Hi.

    Have been considering upgrading the integrated graphics in my Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC for a while as it simply isn't beefy enough to play 1080p .mkv files (occassionally even stutters with 1080p Quicktime movie trailers).

    Saw a link to this gfx card on another thread, which looks very good value:

    http://redirectingat.com/?id=372X587...product/158996

    Firstly, is it likely to fit the one spare PCI slot that is available and secondly will it be powerful enough to play 1080p .mkvs?

    Are there any other better gfx cards available around this price point?

    Many thanks.

    Cheekster.

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    Re: Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC graphics card upgrade advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by cheekster View Post
    Firstly, is it likely to fit the one spare PCI slot that is available and secondly will it be powerful enough to play 1080p .mkvs?

    Are there any other better gfx cards available around this price point?
    Its a PCI-E card, not PCI - there is a difference, bew sure to check.

    Yes, it will comfortably play back 1080p content through hardware acceleration.

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    Re: Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC graphics card upgrade advice?

    How completely stupid of me to not pick up on that, I realise all too well the difference between PCI and PCI-E.

    Thanks for pointing it out all the same.

    Might order the card all the same and pop it into my main Dell system as that definately cannot cope with 1080p HD files. Will tide me over until I spec up and put together a brand new HTPC build that will replace both my main system and my Sony VAIO. Should help re-sale value of the Dell too as the gfx card really lets it down imo.

    Cheekster.

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    Re: Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC graphics card upgrade advice?

    I have a XL-201 and recently replaced the default 7600GT-L
    The existing card is PCI-e, but bear in mind it it a low-profile card - I had gone for a 4350 too, but foolishly didn't realise the low-profile thing, and ended up having to sell the 4350 quickly and replaced with a 9400GT from the High Street (the 7600GT-L died over xmas and I had to get a replacement in quick !)

    So, you need a PCI-e card, and one that is low-profile (bear in mind that most do not come with the low-profile bracket, so may need to grab one from Scan or similar at the same time
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    kevpuk

    Is your XL-201 able to handle 1080p files without stuttering/breaking up now with your new gfx card? I know the CPU isn't the fastest and just want to be sure that with a more powerful gfx card, that it'll be upto the job?

    How easy was it to swap the cards over? Everythings fairly tight inside the case.

    Any recommendations for good value low-profile gfx cards that will definately be able to cope with 1080p files from Scan or other e-tailers?

    Thanks.

    Cheekster.

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    Re: Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC graphics card upgrade advice?

    I have never tried 1080p files, I am afraid, so can't really comment. That said, I am pretty confident that a 4350 ATI card will do just fine :-)
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    Re: Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC graphics card upgrade advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevpuk View Post
    I have never tried 1080p files, I am afraid, so can't really comment. That said, I am pretty confident that a 4350 ATI card will do just fine :-)
    You could always try one of the Apple 1080p trailers to see how the HD4350 will fare:

    http://www.apple.com/trailers/


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    Re: Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC graphics card upgrade advice?

    Purchased one of these from Scan a few weeks ago:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/512MB...-D-Sub-S-Video

    Uninstalled the drivers for the existing 7600GT-L, removed it. Was all set to install the HD4550 when I noticed that the new card didn't appear to have anywhere to plug the motherboard connector to? The only connectors I could see were a small white two-pin jobbie in bottom right of card plus the connector that the VGA port connects to should you not be using the low profile bracket!

    Have I purchased the wrong type of card?

    Help please.

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    Re: Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC graphics card upgrade advice?

    The white connector is for a fan in the actively cooled versions of the card. Also the ATI graphics card do sound natively through the HDMI connector so there is no need to plug an audio cable into the card like the Nvidia ones.


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    Re: Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC graphics card upgrade advice?

    Thank goodness for that, panic over I think! Will have another go at swapping cards over...

    Ta.

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    Re: Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC graphics card upgrade advice?

    Also bear in mind that the 7600GT-L cards in the XL-201 (etc.) had video input/output shindiggery (from the front panel, perhaps ? and/or the Component outputs on the rear panel ?) connectivity.....that is what the 'extra' multi-pin connectors from the motherboard to the gfx card are - no other card will have these as the 7600GT-L was a bespoke card for these machines only
    Still, I never used such connectivity, especially seeing as the all video-in can be handled by the AverMedia TV tuner card.....
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    Unhappy Re: Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC graphics card upgrade advice?

    Swapped over graphics cards this afternoon. Forgot to uninstall the drivers and software for the nVidia 7600GT-L prior to switching the cards over. Once booted up, I did uninstall nVidia drivers prior to installing ATi ones for HD4550 though. Hopefully that won't cause any problems?

    Tried a number or 1080p .mkv files through VLC player and each and everyone suffers some pixelization and/or picture freezing! Nowhere near as bad as previously when using the stock 7600GT-L, but there all the same.

    Anyone able to advise if I need to tweak the default settings in ATi Catalyst Control Panel in order to get perfect smooth 1080p playback? Or is VLC player the problem?

    Presently using with a Panasonic 50THPX60 plasma (720p/1080i panel).

    Thanks.

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    Re: Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC graphics card upgrade advice?

    Make sure that you use driver sweeper between driver installs to remove all fragments of the preceding drivers:

    http://www.guru3d.com/category/driversweeper/

    Also make sure that the HDMI audio driver is also installed. I would also check the utilisation of your CPU during playback to make sure that the video acceleration is working properly!


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    Re: Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC graphics card upgrade advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    I would also check the utilisation of your CPU during playback to make sure that the video acceleration is working properly!
    Ctrl + Alt + Delete then click on performance tab?

    Thanks.

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    Re: Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC graphics card upgrade advice?

    VLC doesn't have hardware decoding, Only "Media Player Classic - Home cinema"

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    Re: Sony VAIO XL-201 HTPC graphics card upgrade advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by cheekster View Post
    Ctrl + Alt + Delete then click on performance tab?
    That'll do it

    Sounds like something is not right to me - should be no issue with such video files on that GPU....perhaps you will need to clear out all ATi and nVidia c*ap and try again
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