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Gigabyte GV-R435OC-512I Radeon HD 4350 Half-Height Videocard Review

Gigabyte GV-R435OC-512I Radeon HD 4350 Half-Height Videocard Review - PCSTATS
Price Check: $/£/€
Abstract: The Gigabyte GV-R435OC-512I is a half-height PCI Express x16 videocard designed for small form factor and home theatre PCs that need a bit more horsepower, HDMI output, or both.
 68% Rating:   
Filed under: Video Cards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Jul 08 2009   Julian Apong  
Home > Reviews > Video Cards > Gigabyte GV-R435OC-512I

The Gigabyte GV-R435OC-512I is a half-height PCI Express x16 videocard designed for small form factor and home theatre PCs that need a bit more horsepower, HDMI output, or both.

It has DVI, VGA and HDMI output, and can do audio thanks to an on-board codec. This videocard also supports HDCP, so it'll play nicely with your protected Blu-ray discs.

The RV710 GPU that powers the Gigabyte GV-R435OC-512I is actually a distant cousin to the ATI RV770 GPU that powers enthusiast videocards like the Radeon HD 4890 and 4870X2. However where those have 800 and 1600 stream processors respectively, the Radeon HD 4550 has 80.

It also has eight texture units and four raster operators, which makes it... not very powerful. Let's just say that even with a core clock of 600MHz, and 512MB of GDDR2 memory at 1000MHz, this videocard was not made for gaming. But we'll get to all of that later on in our review.

Fortunately, the Gigabyte GV-R435OC-512I is very affordable, with a retail price of around $45 CDN($40 USD, £25 GBP). This makes it one of the most affordable videocards on the market today, and a good fit for small HTPC cases.

What we're really looking to find out though is how the Radeon HD 4350 measures up against increasingly powerful integrated chipsets, generally speaking in terms of its HD playback and HDMI capabilities. We'll be taking a look at all that and more, after the jump!

Gigabyte GV-R435OC-512I Videocard

Includes:

User's Manual, Driver CD, Utilities CD, low-profile I/O shield

Budget Videocards For Affordable HD over HDMI

The $50 videocard market is very different from the flagship arena, there's more emphasis on bringing new outputs to computers that otherwise wouldn't have them. When it comes to HTPCs, VGA is good, DVI is better, and HDMI is best. Particularly if it's on-board instead of through an adapter, has HDCP compliance, and can carry audio. The Gigabyte GV-R435OC-512I can do this. After that comes heat and noise. Most home theatre and small form factor cases are small, with limited room for cooling components. Finally, the physical size of the card can become a factor. This usually means that full height videocards like the Radeon HD 4870X2, or even more reasonably sized videocards like the Radeon HD 4850 aren't an option. You need a half-height videocard like the Gigabyte GV-R435OC-512I.

As an entry-level video card, the GV-R435OC-512I videocard doesn't come with a whole lot of extras - aside from a CD with the driver and some utilities on them, the only items left in the box are a thin manual and a half-height metal PCI bracket. The half-height riser allows you to swap out the default full size I/O shield so the videocard can be installed into a slim PC where a full height videocard just wouldn't fit.

At the back of the Gigabyte GV-R435OC-512I videocard we find Analog VGA, HDMI and DVI video outputs. Each of the outputs can be used independently, while Analog VGA or DVI can be used in conjunction with the HDMI output for dual displays (note that you can't use the Analog VGA and DVI output at the same time as HDMI). The DVI is dual-linked, so it's capable of resolutions of 2560x1600, while the HDMI is limited to 1920 x 1080.

The HDMI is HDCP compliant, and can carry both audio and HD video from your PC out to any HDMI-compatible HD TV. I know a lot of people will think they can just get a $8 DVI-to-HDMI adapter, and you can if you don't need audio. Most videocards made before 2008 lack the ability to pass the HDMI audio signal through the graphics card if a DVI-to-HDMI adaptor is used - forcing you to run a separate coaxial audio cable to the HDTV which is rather cumbersome.

Half-Height HDMI

How does a full size videocard fit into a book-size PC chassis? The answer is simple, it doesn't unless you have a half-height videocard. Gigabyte gives you the option of swapping out the full-size I/O plate with a half-height one on the Gigabyte GV-R435OC-512I videocard. This does mean you lose access to the VGA port, which is mounted on a flexible connector. If you don't mind a bit of mess, it can still be connected through a gap in the I/O shield of the system chassis.

The Analog VGA connector is attached to the videocard with flexible cable because it will be repositioned above the HDMI jack when the half-height I/O bracket is used. In most computers there should be sufficient space, but you might want to double check that there is an additional slot free next the PCI Express x16. The downside to this approach is clearly that you lose an entire slot in the computer, which is a lot given that most slim line PCs usually only have three or four expansion slots at the most.

Of course, this card is designed to playback HD video, so we've hooked up a nice 1080p display to see just how many CPU cycles can be saved when moving to a dedicated graphics card.

© 2014 PCSTATS.com Next Page >

 

Contents of Article: Gigabyte GV-R435OC-512I
 Pg 1.  — Gigabyte GV-R435OC-512I Radeon HD 4350 Half-Height Videocard Review
 Pg 2.  Radeon 4350 GPU and HD Playback Tests
 Pg 3.  Videocard Benchmarks: 3DMark06
 Pg 4.  Videocard Benchmarks: 3DMark Vantage
 Pg 5.  DX10 Videocard Benchmarks: Call of Juarez
 Pg 6.  DX10 Videocard Benchmarks: Lost Planet
 Pg 7.  Videocard Benchmarks: FEAR
 Pg 8.  Videocard Benchmarks: Crysis
 Pg 9.  AA/AF Videocard Benchmarks: FarCry 2, Crysis
 Pg 10.  Onboard HDMI Output for High Definition Video

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