Thursday, March 4, 2010

Graphics cards

After sleeping well last night, I dropped into Octagon again and picked up the graphics card. A Gigabyte GV-R545OC Radeon HD 5450.

This is the first compromise I've been forced to make due to the slimline case I needed to use.

This card is fine for Blu-ray, but apparently not much use when it comes to graphics intensive games. It would have been nice to have the option of playing the latest PC games on this, but its probably not feasible with this card.

All of the high end cards are full profile and therefore I'd need to use the riser bracket that came with the case to make them fit. And bearing in mind that I'm restricted to a 300W power supply, it would have probably caused problems.

The branding of graphics cards confuses me heaps - apparently, the "Radeon" part is the chip manufacturer (another is nVidea) - and the Gigabyte is the board manufacturer. That explains why a Radeon HD 5450 seems to be able to be branded as Gigabyte or ATI. Guess that it makes sense to somebody important ;-)

Really though, its fine. I knew this would be the case before I started out - but if anyone reading this wants to use their HTPC for high end games, going low profile is probably a bad idea.

Also, I removed the fan off the CPU last night just to check whether there was any of that thermal paste on the CPU. The little plug things are too fiddly to twist around with fingers, so I very gently used pliers to twist them - the fan came off easily and as I suspected, the fan had a blister pack of the paste that breaks when installing the first time.

So no need to buy any - you'd think that Intel would say that the paste is there in the manual, but all they say is that you need it - not that its already included!

Tonight I'm going to leave on the power just to check that the CPU doesnt overheat - I don't think it will, but if I find a problem in the first 7 days, I can get an easy changeover.

On the weekend, I'm going to purchase the hard drive and the Blu-ray. I need to make sure that the Blu-ray tray is somehow compatible with the slot fascia in the case - this probably means that the front part of the tray should be removable so I can stick on the case fascia.

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