The Geforce GT 430 was recently released. Some call it the HTPC king due to its price and performance. When I think HTPC I think everything you can do with a computer, on your TV, in your living room. That's what I'd like to be able to do. Browsing the web, TV (Netflix or Hulu, not necessarily cable), HD movie watching, and gaming. I realize not everyone who builds a HTPC will require such demands. But lets dig a little deeper.
Currently the GT 430 runs around $79.99. The GTS 450 is commonly $129.99, just $50 more, and the GTX 460 768MB at $169.99. Keep in mind the GT 430 uses GDDR3, while both the 450 and 460 use GDDR5.
GDDR stands for Graphics Double Data Rate, the number after stands for its version. GDDR3's memory clock is always doubled. So if you have a card with a memory clock of say, 900MHz, your effective memory would be 1800MHz. For GDDR5, it's x4. So if you had a memory clock of 900MHz, your effective clock is 3600MHz.
The GT430's reference memory clock is 900MHz, so it's effective clock is 1800MHz. The GTS 450's reference memory clock is 902MHz, putting it's effective clock at 3608MHz.
But memory speed isn't everything of course. You'll also have to take into account the Stream Processors, ROPs, and Core clock.
The GT 430 has 96 stream processors, while the GTS 450 has 192. Think of Stream Processors as mini-cores in a GPU. The more the better. The GT430 has 4 ROPs while the 450 has 16. Again, the more the merrier. And finally, the core clock, which the GT 430 is clocked at 700MHz, the GTS 450 at 783MHz, and the GTX 480 at 700MHz, the same as the 430.
Core clock doesn't matter too terribly in comparison, but it's interesting that the GT430 is clocked at the same reference speed as the GTX480. Looking at benchmarks of the card you'll see the 450 obviously out perform the 430, that's a no brainer.
Calling the GT430 an HTPC king seems incorrect. For the common HTPC user, sure. Maybe a Prince title is in order. But for the enthusiasts, the GTS 450 seems like the way to go if you can save up an extra $50, or less if you go with a rebate. The GT 430 will certainly attract those that use a small form factor case due to its low profile design. But again, for those that want everything they can get out of their home theater experience, I can't quite recommend the GT430 at its current design.
Thoughts? What card would you choose for an HTPC? GT430? GTS450? A comparable AMD card?
Cards like the HD 5570 and GT 430 are HTPC video cards because they are relatively weak gaming cards. That's fine for HTPCs 'cause they are generally meant to watch / record videos and play music.
If you plan on gaming, then of course you want something with a little more power such as the HD 5670 or the GT 240 to start with since their performance is similar. Of course stepping up to the HD 5750 or GTS 450 (or faster) will give you better gaming performance. It seems you are interested in a "Gaming HTPC" so you should not even bother with "HTPC video cards".