Conclusion: It's A Matter Of Taste
The GeForce GT 430 is undeniably compelling for buyers looking for a combination of the following features: a small half-height profile, low power/temperature/noise characteristics, 3D Blu-ray support, and the ability to bitstream lossless audio through HDMI.
If you count yourself among the HTPC enthusiasts out there, you'll likely enjoy the GeForce GT 430's feature set. This is the only real product out there that addresses all of the aforementioned needs in one package, and for less than $100. In addition, the new GeForce can handle gaming at 720p, and can throw down 30 FPS or more, even in some very demanding game titles. Integrated graphics won’t come anywhere near this kind of performance.
The good news is that there are no bad GeForce or Radeon cards anymore; there are only inappropriate prices.
If your needs don’t include what Nvidia's GeForce GT 430 offers, there are better options in this price range. The Radeon HD 5670 is a vastly superior gaming card, the Radeon HD 5570 is a better half-height option for this task, and both serve up lossless audio through HDMI. If you want to add 3D Vision to your gaming and Blu-ray playback, the GDDR5-based GeForce GT 240 is a much better option than the GeForce GT 430—assuming you don’t mind standard multi-channel audio. DirectX 11 just isn’t that important for gaming yet and probably won't be for some time to come (who knows if it'll ever be pervasive under $100).
If 3D Blu-ray playback is your only requisite, and you don't have the audio equipment needed to decode lossless HD audio, the GeForce GT 220 offers a half-height form factor and a very low power signature. A low-cost DDR2-equipped model might be just the thing you're looking for. All of these cards cost about the same price as Nvidia's new GeForce GT 430.
The bottom line is that, if you want an HTPC graphics card to bitstream lossless HD audio and play 3D Blu-ray discs, the GeForce GT 430 is your one and only choice under $130. It's also the only half-height card available with these options at any price. The $79 MSRP is fine if you need the specific features that this card offers, but brings it far too close to other alternatives that can perform specific roles a lot better. A mere $14 drop to $65 would put the GeForce GT 430 in a league of its own, making it a far more compelling option in this crowded segment. We hope the competitive nature of the market will help make this happen in the near future. Perhaps more important, it would create room for an appropriately-priced $79 GDDR5-based GeForce GT 430.