Video card recommendation for 720p and 1080p
Been using XBMC for a while now on original Xbox but thinking that its time to upgrade to HD experience

Going to install XBMC on my WHS and therefore looking for recommendation on what video card would be best suited to serve up 720p and whether its even possible I could run up to 1080p? Not wanting to go paying crazy money on a video card therefore looking for advice

Also would I also need to have a minimum spec CPU, memory or anything else I need to consider?

A good start is to read some of the WHS threads posted. I don't currently use WHS, but I understand some bits are tricky.

Beyond that, standard specs are pretty simple. Most recent ATI or NVIDIA video cards will work. You don't need anything flashy, just something that supports OpenGL 2.0, and almost all of those do.

With Windows, you'll want a dual core processor (probably Intel, but may not matter). To run 720p, it doesn't need to be blazing. To run 1080p, it probably needs to be at least 2.4 ghz.

Minimum memory is probably 2 gig. 4 is fine. Anything else is DEFINITELY overkill, unless you are doing something other than running XBMC.

You'll need a remote control. I assume you've got that already figured out.

Um. And LOTS of harddrive space. Seriously. HD LOVES gigs of memory.
Im using a ati hd4830 512mb card and play 1080p flawlessly. Its a cheap card too and is very easily overclockable to beyond a hd4850 if thats your thing.
Thanks guys. Also if I want optical out what's the best way to do this with a PC?
If ALL you want to do is play some HD content, then you don't need to go that crazy. I was playing HD content on a machine with the following specs:

AMD Athlon 64 3700+, 1GB DDR2 667 RAM, GeForce 7600GT 512MB GDDR3 Videocard

This was not through XBMC though, just playing them through VLC.

My current setup is a bit overkill if you want to just play HD content, but I also use my media server (that is housed next to my entertainment center in my living room) as a gaming machine so I can play games @ max settings on my 46" Samsung:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Black Edition (3.2Ghz), 4GB DDR2 800 RAM, GeForce 260 GTX 896MB GDDR3 Videocard

Playback is smooth as butter on that setup and it costs less than 600 to build. Games run amazingly well too, so it is a good setup to pull double duty on. I get 30-50fps in Crysis @ 1920 x 1080 w/ everything on high (2x AA)

Hope that helps.

i use that card in a store bought HP machine with a 1.6 Ghz Dual core CPU and 4 GB RAM and have no trouble at all.
There isn't really a best way to do optical out. All solutions are pretty similar and tend to work pretty well thanks to our fine devs. You can get an audio card that supports it. You can get a motherboard that supports it. You could also look into an audio card that supports Dolby Digital Live or DTS Connect, if you want to decode and re-encode.
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Video card recommendation for 720p and 1080p00