What kind of video card should I get for a media server

So for the first time in my life, I am designing a computer system for the sole purpose of playing my audio and video images. I am under the imression that I can get a good Video Card which has video inputs, cable inputs, etc. But I have not found one yet. So which video cards are good for this type of system?

Any info is appreciated


Is this computer actually going to play the media, or is it going to store the media for other computers to download? Calling it a media server indicates the latter, but your post makes it sound more like the former.

Also, you should think about whether or not you’re going to need a tv tuner card.

Right, is this going to be a HT PC or strictly a media server?

If you’re building a home theater PC you’ll need a decent card with hardware video rendering in order to deal with HD video (here’s mine - http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814121071 ). You’ll also need one (or more) TV tuners to hookup a digital TV Antenna and/or your cable connection.

NVidia has the lowest power consumption cards with the best performance right now. I just bought a silent 8600GT (similar to Kinthalis). A silent heat sink is best for media; a whiny card fan can be quite annoying.

I’d get a separate card for inputs myself; I don’t know of a single card that would do absolutely everything.

You honestly dont need anything facny if it is just going to host your files. Is that what you are trying to do? Most high end cards are either for games, Graphic Design or CAD programs.

Ok well, the computer is going to store the media files and play them. I intend to buy several 750gb drives to keep a DVD & Music Library on. I will purchase a sound card, & install speakers in my living room. And I will buy an HD TV.

I want to be able to record television shows to a DVD, or the Hard Drive and play music & video from the hard drive or a DVD/CD

I have a media server that I wish I could take the video card out of, but the machine won’t boot up that way.

Ok I’ve built a few HT PC’s so I can help you out. I don’t know how many components you’ve gathered already, but just in case you haven’t gotten everything yet:

Get everything from Newegg. Get an dual core processor, AMD’s are at a great price point right now. I’d recommend the X2 4400+. As I mentioned before make sure your video card can do hardware video decoding I belive all of the lower end Geforce 8000’s will do you fine. Get yourself a couple of hybrid tuners for free digital off the air broadcasts and cable. Try and look for ones that can handle QAM. This will allow you to receive your (unencrypted) digital cable channels, but isn’t necessary. I’d recommend you get two or better yet, three hardrives and run them either in RAID 1 or 5 respectively.

Also, go with Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate (get the OEM versions from newegg). It comes with windows media center.

And finally, look into a good cordless remote control and keyboard. I have a Gyration remote which also acts as a mouse which saves a lot of time and makes it a lot easier to navigate to say the netflix webpage and watch downloadable movies.

Although if you are not going to be dealing with HD,buying much more than decent onboard video is kinda a waste. Playing a DVD or handling a basic video stream is childs play for any video chipset. Graphics cards come in when you need to render 3D objects at high frame rates, this is not an issue with home audio/video.