Looking for hdmi video card recommendations

So I bought a house (hooray!). Now I’m collecting all the stuff to put in the house. I’ve decided I want my computer connected to the home theater system, which means I need to replace this old video card in it with something newer and with HDMI outputs, as I’m planning to use my 1080p dlp tv as a monitor, so I want a video card that’ll be able to display on that and look decent…I’m not planning on reading documents or writing code with it, although I’d like to be able to browse the web and maybe watch a movie on the computer.

The main usage, however, will be as a media server and for playing music through the home theater system. I was running a dual boot system on the computer, but its been so long since I’ve been into windows that when I move I’m planning to reformat and just put Suse11.2 on it, so I need the video card to play nicely with linux (I haven’t been paying much attention the last couple years, but I remember it was a pain to get my current ATI card to play nicely with Suse, although I seem to see a lot of comments on here that ATI has come a long way with their drivers for linux lately)

My limiting factor seems to be that my motherboard is AGP, and I’m really not interested in rebuilding the whole computer, so I think I’m stuck with that. Running a 3.33GHz Celeron processor and 1GB of memory, again, nothing spectacular, but it does what I need it to.

The two cards I’ve found online that seem to be up the right alley are the Radeon HD3450 and Radeon HD4350, although those are both more than I’d like to be spending.

Anybody have any experience with either of these cards, or suggestions for other cards around the same price range?

Any input would be greatly appreciated :slight_smile:

So, if you are not going to switch from an agp to a pci type video card, I am not sure I would buy anything yet. I am no big fan of ATI, though support for them is better in openSUSE 11.3. I would prefer you look at an nVidia type video card. Did you know you can buy a DVI to HDMI cable? If you only have VGA, that is a problem, but DVI to HDMI cables work very well. Now, older video cards may or may not support the latest resolutions that are required to display 720p and 1080p video graphics. And, while your DVI to HDMI cable might not include audio, did you know you can connect your optical or coaxial cable from your computer audio directly to your receiver and sometimes directly to your HDTV?

Just some thoughts on the matter.

Thank You,

Even HDMI cable doesn’t include sound, at least for me…

What do you mean you can connect your optical cable form my computer audio to the TV or receiver? There’s no optical or coaxial cable on a nvidia card unless you have TV-Out option. Am I right?

I think some of the Nvidia cards have an internal link where you can
connect the audio to, then it goes out via the HDMI. You need to check
the card specifications.


A 8800 does it via SPDIF internally;

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 (x86_64) Kernel
up 3 days 17:57, 2 users, load average: 0.60, 0.22, 0.13
GPU GeForce 8600 GTS Silent - Driver Version: 256.35

Ok, but I don’t think it is the same for a laptop… :confused:

Would have thought the spec or the manufacturer could advise?

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 (x86_64) Kernel
up 3 days 21:51, 2 users, load average: 0.01, 0.07, 0.11
GPU GeForce 8600 GTS Silent - Driver Version: 256.35

In general, using a DVI to HDMI cable will not produce or include any audio. The audio in an HDMI cable, when included is coaxial audio, just like you see on some sound cards with a phono type female connector. Many current sound cards include the ability to channel coaxial audio through the video card. The audio connector is often called SPDIF on the motherboard. If you have a SPDIF output on your sound card or motherboard and a SPDIF input on your video card, it is possible to connect the audio from your HDMI cable up to your TV or receiver. The exact cables required are often hard to come by as they are often NOT included with your sound card or your video card. Coaxial or SPDIF audio is not hard to deal with and rigging short cables and connectors is possible. This is just a two wire cable with ground and signal. Just be careful to not short the signal to ground.

Short of some sort of sound card / video card cabling rig job, you can buy video cards that have HDMI output and include a audio card function built-in that supports only SPDIF & PCM digital coaxial output. One such example is the very nicely priced nVidia 240 video card. Now I know that this card works with openSUSE for video, but I have not yet found out if the audio also works as well. I actually intend on finding out this weekend using openSUSE 11.3.

Another possibility is the WinFast PX8500 GT TDH Video card. So this is a nVidia 8500 chipset which works well with DVD’s and blu-ray disks. This card works well with openSUSE when you use the nVidia binary driver and it supports HDMI audio output. The audio is kind of unusual in that the video card has a standard coaxial audio input which is then connected inside the video card to the HDMI audio channel. You then must connect a small coaxial cable between your sound card coax output and the video card coax input. The cable just looks like a standard phono cable, but you are buying run rated for coaxial audio that is as short as possible. As long as your motherboard or sound card coaxial audio works with Windows or Linux, it will work with this video card. I fouind this card for $80 online a couple of years ago and might still be something you could find.

Thank You,

Hi jdmcdaniel3!

Pretty intreesting.

If spdif is on the motherboard, for a laptop, it is not already connected as you suggest?

I hace an hdmi cable that can output audio. I hate to say that, but it works on krosoft just with the hdmi cable. On oS, only video, no sound. I heard there was something missing in the kernel below 2.6.35, that is the driver for the vdpau for nvidia card…

The problem on a laptop, among other things, is the lack of knowing just what is going on inside. I suggest there are two possible ways this is working.

Number 1, the HDMI audio is part of the same sound card that drives your speakers. If normal sound works in openSUSE, the ability to get sound out the HDMI cable just depends on your sound setup in openSUSE.

Number 2, the HDMI sound is a seperate sound device, like the one in an nVidia 240 video card and even though normal sound works, the HDMI sound may not work as the added sound device is not recognized by openSUSE.

If your laptop has some sort of video card board as some do, HDMI sound be be separate where as video based on some intel graphics chipset it may be driven by the built-in sound.

You start by looking to see if a SPDIF, digital out or ICE9581 are present in your mixer. Don’t forget the configure channel option as these ports may not be present by default. There are issues with which program you are trying to get digital sound out from. Are you playing a DVD or looking for normal openSUSE sound? Normal sound just comes out in PCM stereo at 44.1, 48 or 96 KHZ sample rate. Your input HDM device must support PCM audio. I have an old HDTV that requires a PCM setting to use PCM and a RAW setting to accept Dolby Digital for instance. Next, to get Dolby Digital out of openSUSE you have to pick your programs from xine and gxine. They are easier to setup for SPDIF passthrough and really work with most DVD’s.

So, how is the HDMI audio getting out of your Laptop? What program and setup are you using? What is the audio type? PCM stereo or Dolby Digital? And finally, what type of audio is your HDTV or RECEIVER setup to accept? There is a lot to it all and many of the same problems exists no matter if you are using Windows or Linux.

Thank You,


I’ll try to explain what I have the best I can.

I have a Acer laptop 8930 with a nvdia GeForce 9600 GT with hdmi connection. When I look in alsamixer, I have s/pdif, s/pdif default and s/pdif 1. In kmix, it translates respectively in IEC958, IEC958 Default PCM and IEC958 2.

In alsamixer, the s/pdif are unmuted, but remain at 00.

To answer your questions :

  • hdmi audio, at least as I know of from the experience I had with connecting my PC to my TV with windows, is getting out form the hdmi cable. I really don’t know if I am answering the question right here…
  • PulseAudio is not enabled on my oS. I used XBMC and VLC and no sound worked.
  • What is the audio type? Of what? My TV? I don’t understand what you mean here. Some of the specs on my laptop state that I have Dolby Digital.
  • My HDTV accept Dolby digital, I guess. How can I confirm?

Sorry, but I am fairly new to all that stuff, but what do you mean by programs form xine or gxine?

Thanks for the help, it is really appreciated. It’s been a while I was tryingtget this fix. :slight_smile:

Well, if your TV supports PCM audio, you should get sound to your TV in all openSUSE functions though I don’t know for sure what Windows is putting out when it is working and you are not playing a movie. What I normally do is to start a MP3 playing like Amarok and then start playing with the mixer options. Make sure Amarok works using analog output first.

When you start talking about outputting Dolby Digital sound, you need to use either xine-ui or gxine movie players. You have to set your audio for passthrough or spdif passthrough. So far I have got most DVD players to work, but the settings are different in each one. Further, if you never get PCM audio to work, Dolby Digital most likely does not work either.

One last thing is to put the HDMI cable to a RECEIVER as they accept a much larger sound type than do TV’s. I run my audio at my computer directly into the RECEIVER and sound types that do not work in my TV do work in my RECEIVER. Also, I use a SONY model with a Display that tells me what type of signal it is getting, if it knows what it is. This is very helpful in diagnosing the problem. In the end, I get this to work because I use a desktop and I select hardware I know works (some trial and error does exist, but you can change hardware if it does not work).

Thank You,


Ok, I’ll chezk if my TV accept PCM sound.

As you suggest, I will test different settings with Amarok and I’ll test with xine-ui and gxine.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a receiver, so I have to make it work through the TV.

I’ll keep you inform of my tests and return to you.

Thanks for the help. :slight_smile:

I completely forgot this card has a DVI output

I don’t need the audio through the HDMI, just the video, so I’ll give this a try and see whether my current card can handle the resolution or not.

Thanks for the input!