Just to get this out of the way, the Asus EN9400GT
is not meant for 3D gaming in any way, shape or form. It might be possible to
play Quake 3-era games on it, but anything more taxing than that and the poor
thing is likely to cause it to burst into flames worthy of
a Michael Bay film.
Of course, gaming is not what the ASUS EN9400GT
videocard is realistically designed for. Its primary purpose is to give
HDMI output to older PCs with PCI Express x16 slots that can't keep up
with the taxing load of HD video decoding. In this regard, the
EN9400GT works rather well.
For $50 CDN ($46 USD £28 GBP), you get VGA, DVI and HDMI,
the last of which works with audio and also happens to be HDCP compliant. You
also get decent video acceleration that makes it possible to watch HD video on
pretty much any processor, given proper codec support.
ASUS' EN9400GT can also work in small form factor
computer chassis and in slim PC systems, thanks to an optional half-height
bracket. Since the selection of videocards for such systems is always limited,
having some options with modern amenities like HDMI is always a plus. The
overall power draw for the EN9400GT was pleasantly low, total system idle power
was only 85W, with peak power usage reaching only 109W. This videocard doesn't
need any kind of external power either, running totally off a PCI-Express x16
slot. It was also cool to the touch when operating, and virtually silent when
When comparing NVIDIA's Geforce 9400GT to AMD's
half-height videocards like the Radeon HD 4350 and 3650, it's pretty much a
toss-up as to which videocard will be the best for you. Both manufacturers'
cards have nearly the same price, the same HD video performance, the same
underwhelming 3D gaming benchmark results, and similar power, heat and
HD playback on the Geforce 9400GT based ASUS EN9400GT
was excellent, with no visible artifacts, lagging or anomalies appearing
during playback. Having to run audio through an S/PDIF header is a one-time
annoyance, but it looks like NVIDIA is in no rush to add an audio codec to their
graphics cards so it's something we'll have to live with. Bottom line, the
half-height ASUS EN9400GT
videocard is a great for High Definition video playback over HDMI,
particularly on older compact PCs which lack GPUs or IGPs designed for HD
decoding, as a videocard for computers used entirely for
desktop work and completely not-recommended for modern 3D gaming at anything
but the smallest screen size and least detailed eye candy settings.
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