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GeForce GT 220 And 210: DirectX 10.1 And 40nm Under $80

HD Video Playback: HQV Blu-ray Benchmark

One of the tasks that the cards in this price segment will be expected to perform is home theater PC (HTPC) duty. To asses that, we used the HQV Blu-ray quality benchmark with the following results:

Graphics ProcessorScore
Radeon HD 4670/4650100
GeForce GT 220100
Radeon HD 4550100
GeForce 210 @ 720p100
GeForce 210 @ 1080p75

First, the good news: all of these solutions are able to achieve superlative image quality enhancements, delivering HD noise reduction (25 points of the total score), video resolution interpolation (20 points), jaggy reduction (20 points), and inverse telecine (35 points).

To get these scores, we had to enable noise reduction in the Radeon drivers (at 60), and both noise reduction (at 70) and inverse telecine in the GeForce drivers. These noise-reduction settings produced similar ideal results to my admittedly subjective eye.

The only test I could discern any difference in as far as quality was the jaggy-reduction test. Both the Radeon and GeForce cards did a fine job with this task, but the GeForces seemed to do it just a bit better. I gave them both full marks because the difference didn't seem enough to warrant extra points for the GeForce cards. The point is that any of these products offer the same level of HD-video playback quality as a standalone Blu-ray player.

There was one card that did have trouble performing all of the quality enhancements at the same time if tasked to do so beyond 720p: the GeForce 210, which stuttered during playback with noise reduction enabled at 1080p. With noise reduction turned off, the GeForce 210 was able to play back video without stuttering at 1080p (or 1920x1080).

The rest of the cards, including the GeForce 210's competition, the Radeon HD 4550, were able to play back Blu-ray video with noise reduction enabled and no skipping at 1920x1080. They could even play the video smoothly when the desktop resolution was set to 2560x1600.

The only other limitation we could find was that the Radeon HD 4550 driver doesn't allow noise reduction to be enabled at the same time as the dynamic contrast feature. Since I'm not a fan of dynamic contrast, this isn't much of an issue for me, but for those of you who put it high on the list, it might be a notable limitation.

If you are wondering why I haven't tested Blu-ray playback CPU usage with these cards, it's because it has become almost completely irrelevant. As I demonstrated in the last Avivo Versus PureVideo Versus Clear Video review, even today's lowest-end CPUs can play back Blu-ray movies on a relatively weak integrated GPU utilizing 20% or less of its available resources.

  • kalliman
    Too late for nVidia. They should release these cards 1 year ago...
    Reply
  • ColMirage
    Soooo tiny itsy bitsy!
    Reply
  • lemonade4
    This is a nice article that points out nVidia's step into the development of 40nm chips for the market even though they didn't really cause any changes in the sub-$100 video card market. They just seemed to make it even more crowded. I can't wait for the GT300 reviews though. :)
    Reply
  • Proximon
    They have a lot of loyal folks looking to save money these days, so they'll move some 220's. So fans will appreciate the cards.
    Reply
  • apache_lives
    hmmm i can see amd stomping this thing shortly with a DX11 part - kalliman is right, this is way too late in the market

    as for the gt300 - also bad news if the info i have heard is correct - 6 months away is not good for nvidia
    Reply
  • lashabane
    And to answer your question - No, it cannot play Crysis.
    Reply
  • why do i feel like mac?
    Reply
  • IzzyCraft
    apache_liveshmmm i can see amd stomping this thing shortly with a DX11 part - kalliman is right, this is way too late in the marketas for the gt300 - also bad news if the info i have heard is correct - 6 months away is not good for nvidiaThe 210 220 i'm pretty sure are OEM parts this is more like a proof/test of what nvidia can do, then a market move. They are nothing more then media cards meant for random dell's/gateway random desktops for people who don't really know what's in their computers.
    Reply
  • apache_lives
    idkwhy do i feel like mac?
    because they cant play crysis either?
    Reply
  • apache_lives
    IzzyCraftThe 210 220 i'm pretty sure are OEM parts this is more like a proof/test of what nvidia can do, then a market move. They are nothing more then media cards meant for random dell's/gateway random desktops for people who don't really know what's in their computers.
    like nvidia 8300's and 9300's - never heard of them till i worked on a few HP's
    Reply