Originally Posted by seeker
As interesting and enlightening the responses to my question have been, they make it appear that the only reason to spend more on a video card is to keep up with the rising tide of games. I'm still in the backwater of that technology, and don't anticipate any movement forward for myself, because I'm happily able to keep afloat where I am.
The insight that I'm looking for is what I may need to paddle to isles, either near or far, to survey other horizons, such as HTPC...especially that in my OP regarding HDMI connectivity.
Well as far as HDMI, all new cards are HDMI 1.1 compliant; you can use a DVI-HDMI adapter I believe. Both 4890 and 275 will support this; 4890 will be cheaper.
As far as "Paddling the MI" ... you're telling me you want to do what? If its to play older games with the best image quality, I think either will suffice. The 4890 probably performs somewhat better with higher AA levels (8x vs 8xQ...8x/ATI faster), and depending on the game faster with TSAA although the TSAA ATI uses is a multisampling/supersampling hybrid, and quality sits between nVidia's cheap MSTSAA and its more expensive SSTSAA. But honestly if you aren't really a graphic hoe, 8x is overkill, especially if you plan on playing from a distance on your couch.
As far as 275 vs 4890 vs 260 216 vs 4870, in your case I'd just get a 4870 since it can be had so cheap. About 150.
As far as the cheapest HDMI compatible card, there are far better options than any of those cards. Plus, if you plan to throw any of the above into a shuttle I sure hope you have GREAT cooling. It's completely possible, but have good airflow, and the best bet would be to get a card with a nice aftermarket cooler, I'm thinking of the Vapor-X 4890. If you're planning to buy something new, I would spend the time to research your options, and buy something above the cheapest option. A card with a good aftermarket cooler will be quieter, run better, and potentially last longer. And the noise difference can be very
Hope that helps.