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“Hey Jean, FYI. All new graphics cards support HDMI, it’s just called DVI on a graphics card. All you need is an DVI to HDMI adapter and plug it into your TV. “
Not entirely accurate as HDMI allows audio to stream through the connection where as DVI is purely video. With a DVI->HDMI converter all you will get is video output through the connection and not see any difference than if you were using a straight DVI cable. A true HDMI connectable card will have some sort of sound processing function either incorporated into the GPU chipset or via a seperate sound processor built onto the card.
With regards to the cards themselves, at this present time, I have seen nothing better value for money wise (unless you are going to be playing games a lot on the system as well) that can knock the ATI Radeon HD38xx family of cards as a consumer item. The FireGL cards are fine if you wish to pay a fair bit extra for a couple of extra pipelines being open on the card, but 99.9999% of users would not see any difference.
Another thing to bear in mind is the amount of video RAM that is on the card compared to what you have in the system already and the operating system used. If you are using a 32bit operating system with a large amount of RAM (3GB+), the maximum amount of memory addressing space is limited to 4GB including the video memory. As an example, if you had 2 x 512MB cards in the system and 4GB of system ram, the addressable memory would would be 1GB of video memory + 3GB of system RAM (as 32bit systems reserve at least 512MB of the upper memory band for system resources such as video card memory and any additionalnon-system memory requirementstakes priority over system RAM in the upper memory band allocation). This was proved to me a few years back when a customer wanted a PC built with specific components that they had ‘researched’ & wanted 4GB of RAM with a 512MB card. When the 512MB card was installed in the system, the amount of addressableRAM stated within the OS was 3.2GB. With a 256MB card fitted, the amount of memory rose to 3.5GB. This is where a 64bit OS is beneficial in regards to the significantly higher amount of addressable memory space & higher memory capacity on the cards themselves.
Personally I have found that most of the cheaper cards will be loaded with higher amounts of memory to try to make up for the lower performance of the chipset (as well as trying to convince the non-technical buyer into buying it over a slightly higher priced card using a better GPUwith less memory on it). With regards to video work, ahigher specGPU with faster GDDR4 memory of a lower amount is better than a lower spec GPU with more slower memory.