It's upgrade time and i want my new card to do all! I've been waiting for the new ATI All-in-Wonder 128 32meg version but now I'm leaning towards a TNT2. Does the Diamond Viper 770 do DVD hardware decoding? or any other Card based on the TNT2 chip for that matter? I can't find any information on this subject. I was thinking of getting the Viper and later buying a Diamond TV Tuner/Capture card. This way i basically have all the capabilities of the ATI for hopefully around the same price. And save some $$$ and just buy a barebone DVD player. My system: Celeron 400 @ 450, Abit BX6 Rev.2, 128megs.
I have an ATI Rage Fury with the onboard hardware decoding. It is awesome.
I also have a TNT2 Ultra with a separate hardware decoder. It is noticeably inferior to the ATI card for DVD quality. You cannot beat the ATI boards for DVD support. The TNT'2 will run DVD's with hardware or software decoding but will not do it as well as the ATI boards.
If you are mainly a gamer - TNT2 is the way to go. If you are a DVD person, then ATI is the way to go. Hope this helps...
I have an unbalanced game machine: TNT2U+AMD400, but for DVD I have in this machine a $60 Hollywood+ board (hardware MPEG2 decoder).
DVD quality (video+sound) is simply perfect. I rent at least 2 titles per week.
A good point to consider with MPEG2 board is the Dolby Surround capability. Just plug the board in a Dolby Surround amplifyer and you can connect 5 speakers (5 sound tracks).
Quality is so good I never tryed MPEG2 software decoder + TNT2U video output + CL sound board for DVD (only for games).
It is like if I have 2 machines in one.
I'm prety happy, but just considering upgrade my AMD400 to PIII 500 (for games) ...
Hope this help also ...
Just like all the other boards except the ATI 128, the TNT2 does NOT (ahem Jamesy) have full hardware DVD decoding. It has "motion compensation." This basically means it helps out your CPU, but your CPU is still doing most of the work.
With my Celeron 366@550 and TNT2 card, DVD's will occasionally drop frames in very intense action sequences. Not really bad, but sometimes annoying.
I picked up a Creative PC-DVD Inlay card (connects to the video card via a 50 pin internal cable. No blasted high-loss external pass-through. It also has tv-out). The quality looks about the same (very good) but it doesn't skip frames. I only paid $30 for it. Not 100% sure it was worth it.
IMHO, the quality is good enough. I don't do much DVD anyway. It's not quite a DXR3 or Hollywood Plus, but unless I run it out to a 50 inch big screen, I doubt I would notice without trying.
If really great DVD performance is important, you might just want to stick with the single card solution, AIW. The obvious penalty is 3D game performance, particularly at high resolutions. You might be stuck at no more than 800x600x32bit at 45-50 fps. But you'll have one card, great DVD and great capture and tuning. I have a feeling the ATI does a better job tuning and capturing than that Diamond TV add-in.
Up to you. Tough choice.