[mythtv-users] Is the GT220 the new chip of choice? (Idle power?)

Brad Templeton brad+myth at templetons.com
Thu Oct 22 19:29:40 UTC 2009

Doing some research, it appears a likely new chip of choice for a myth
box might be the nvidia gt220.   Cards (pcie only) can be had for
about $70, and a new fanless card has been announced by ECS but is
not for sale.

The things that look pretty attractive are:
    a) Enough VDPAU juice to do 1080p or 1080i with advanced 2x deinterlace
    b) Decent 3d graphics (between a 9500GT and a 9600gso)
    c) 40nm process and new idle power conservation giving it a much lower
       idle power than the 9600s and similar
    d) Lower power needs meaning no power connector needed on the card,
       and the possibility of slower fans or no fan.
    e) VDPAU level "c" which supports more advanced codecs (though I
        don't know how much software support there is of yet.)

The cheaper version, the gt210, does not seem to have enough vdpau
ability to do advanced 2x at 1080i according to some spec reports I
have seen.  Just barely, though, in that it can probably do 50fps
but not 60fps.   It has much poorer 3d performance but is even lower
power and cooler and cheaper, so if people find it can do the vdpau
it might be the winner.

So who's running these chips now?  Do your reports match what
the specs say?

The idle power is a big deal for those who leave their front
end on.   Using 20 watts less power 24x7 amounts to 500kwh over
the 3 year life of a card or system.   In California that's
$150 -- more than the cost of the card, and it's still at least
$50 of electricity in most places.

At least that's based on the idle power numbers offered here:


What I am curious to know is, are these idle power numbers for
a system that is on and displaying 2D graphics, and what happens
to the numbers when the video is in power-saving blank mode, which
is in fact what my card is doing 90% of the day.

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