A few weeks ago, I read something that really surprised me, the vast majority of video cards bought each year cost under $100. Actually, the figure is 2/3. That market is so important that the industry calls the sub-$100 video card "mainstream". I'm sure that most of you reading this find it laughable, with your mid range or high end video card.
Who are the people that buy these video cards? I suppose that the majority are people with "off the shelf rigs" like HP, Dell, and the like, wanting an upgrade from their integrated graphics and builders with tight budgets. I suspect that many of these don't really know what they want or need and are attracted by the price, someone that paid $500-$700 for a rig will probably get "sticker shock" at a video card costing half as much as the price of their computer.
The midrange video card is something I haven't paid much attention to in the past. Oh, I remember when nVidia came out with the 7300, which is probably the first mainstream card I'd heard of, then the 8400 and 8500. I actually had a friend that bought an 8500, but he did no gaming to speak of, and mainly just needed a video card. I've also seen models of VGA cards that I've never heard of at department stores like WalMart that obviously fall into this category, though they usually are very overpriced.
I recently reviewed Sapphire's Radeon HD 4670, ATI's "upper-end" mainstream card. Today I will be looking at one of its little brothers, the HD 4650. Using the same concept as the 4870 and 4850, the 4650 uses the same GPU as the 4670, but with a lower clock speed. Will this $80 video card do much more than play Spider Solitare? Read on to see!
- Core Clock: 650 MHz & 320 Stream Processors
- Memory Clock: 450MHz (900MHz), 1000 Mbps.
- PCI Express 2.0 x16 bus interface
- 512MB /128bit DDR3 memory interface
- Single Slot Active Cooler
- HDMI compliant via dongle
- 7.1 Audio Channel Support
- Microsoft DirectX 10.1 support
- Shader Model 4.1 support
- I/O Output: VGA+DL-DVI-I+HDTV
- DirectX 10.1 & PCI Express 2.0 support
- 320 stream processing units, 128-bit memory interface
- 24x custom filter anti-aliasing (CFAA) and high performance anisotropic filtering
- Dual mode ATI CrossFireX multi-GPU support for highly scalable performance
- Dynamic geometry acceleration & Game physics processing capability
- ATI Avivo HD video and display technology
- Unified Video Decoder 2 (UVD 2) for Blu-ray and HD Video
- Accelerated Video Transcoding(AVT)
- Dynamic power management with ATI PowerPlay technology
- DVD Upscaling, Dynamic Contrast, Built-in HDMI with 7.1 surround sound support
The HD 4650 comes in a box about the size of a video game. It is an attractive box, full of specs and features. Inside, the card is protected in a compartment of the box, in an anti-static sleeve.
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