[mythtv-users] Standard PCI VDPAU-capable Video Cards vs. PCIExpress

Robert Longbottom rongblor at googlemail.com
Sun Nov 28 17:57:50 UTC 2010

On 28 Nov 2010, at 05:25 PM, Brian Wood <beww at beww.org> wrote:

> On Sunday, November 28, 2010 10:17:15 am Robert Longbottom wrote:
>> I have a pci gs8400 card (I think that's the right chipset number)
>> from Sparkle. That's in an old ish Pentium 4 something or other.
>> I've used it in the past as a second frontend. It was incapable of
>> playing hd without vdpau, but with the pci card and vdpau it works
>> fine.
>> The only issue that I had was that I had to leave the old graphics
>> card in there as well or the system wouldnt boot at all. It's like
>> it can't handle booting from the sparkle card for some reason. This
>> was / is a bit of a pain because it means you get nothing on the
>> screen until X starts. (unless I unplug the monitor and plug it into
>> the graphics card!) But once you have everything up and running it
>> works flawlessly.
> How about the OSDs? Are they OK?

Yes, the osds were fine - I assume you mean during playback?  Everything just worked.

> May I ask what mobo you are using? Most of them have a BIOS setting to 
> tell it what graphics card to use first, this might correct the booting 
> problem.

No idea. It's a small form factor HP business pc that I got from work when they were selling them off for 30 as part of an upgrade. 

I did have a fiddle around with the various settings in the bios but never managed to find a combination that worked. I think I ended up wit the on board graphics disabled, an old-ish nvidia agp card and the Sparkle pci card in it. That's the only way it would boot!  The bios and text console display on the agp card and I configured X to run on the pci card. 

Sadly the agp card wasn't new enough to do vdpau and I couldn't find a low profile agp card that would. Thankfully the pci slots were turned on their side it would take a full height card. 

The only other problem was that the massive heat sink on the pci card blocked both if the pci slots.  Hence it was a frontend only. 

I've not actually used it for ages, but I'll bring it back into service at some point. 

> But I could certainly put up with no video until X is running if I had 
> to. I'm mainly just trying to get some use out of "obsolete" equipment.
> Thanks for the input.
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