ASUS ENGT430 Reviewccokeman - October 11, 2010
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The ENGT430 is not a gaming power house but does indeed have the ability to play games at resolutions of 1680 x 1050 (and below) with the image quality settings reduced in most of the games in which the card was tested. Casual gaming it can handle quite easily. Whereas, when I tested the latest integrated solution from Intel, it just could not handle the same games. Check out the latest Intel integrated solution in this review of the i5 661 chip I looked at back in January of this year. This integrated solution did indeed offer great High Definition and Blu-ray playback so there is some positive on that front for the integrated solution. But, if the comparison stopped there (with just gaming and Blu-ray playback) then, the discrete GPU still comes out on top based on its casual gaming abilities. Therein lies the allure of this card. It is more than just a display device. With the multitude of programs that are CUDA enabled, you get the ability to reduce the time it takes to edit or decode video, pictures and music. On top of that, this card enables you to take advantage of the use of NVIDIA's 3D vision system so you can view the latest 3D content including Blu-ray 3D in stereoscopic 3D. Not only on the small screen, but on compatible large screens with full 1080p images with bit rates up to 65Mbps! This makes the Fermi based GT430 an excellent replacement for an integrated graphics solution as a way to increase the performance of your PC. But, all is not lost on this card in the gaming segment. When tested as a dedicated PhysX card, the ENGT430 offered up measurable FPS gains in both games tested. This is an improvement over the GT220 where I saw an FPS reduction when using that GT220 as a dedicated PhysX card.
ASUS puts a lot into the build quality of their video cards in the form of its "Xtreme Design" philosophy. On this card alone, you have several of these design elements that stand out. There is the dust proof fan for increased card and fan life for instance. But, most of these elements won't be seen unless you look for them. Examples would be covered chokes and solid capacitors, GPU Guard that increases the structural rigidity of the card and Double over current Protection that uses a fuse on the PCB. It's elements like these that separate the ASUS cards from the crowd.
Since this is Overclockersclub, what good would this review be without really seeing what kind of performance could be gained by pushing the clock speeds? When push came to shove, the ENGT430 was able overclock and saw an increase of 166MHz or close to 24% in core clock speed while the memory fared a bit worse at 900Mhz or around 12.5%. These increases were stable and allowed the gaming performance of this card to be increased across the board and this allowed it to be extremely competitive with the HD 55XX series from ATI. Normally, when you overclock a card, you see an increase in temperatures and the noise signature of the card increases. This was not really evident on this card from ASUS. The temperatures were within a degree of each other under load in both the stock and overclocked load tests. The little Delta fan was surprisingly quiet even with its 7000 RPM maximum speed. Not once was the fan loud enough to stand out from the white noise that is generated by the the rest of the test system. The bundle on this card is not significant but does include a very important bit of hardware that will make putting the ENGT430 into a low profile HTPC chassis possible - that being the pair of expansion brackets. This is a nice touch that should be part of the bundle given the anticipated audience for this card. Being the latest Fermi Based GPU from NVIDIA, this GF 108 based card comes priced in at 79 bucks or a few bucks above what its low profile predecessor (the GT 220) still retails for. When you look at the performance gain in just the gaming tests alone, the GT430 is a worthy replacement for the GT220 and it offers the latest feature sets with the horsepower (bit of an oxymoron) to get the job done. The GT430 has all the required attributes needed to be the card that is used in your HTPC, Digital Media PC or just your everyday home PC.
- Low Power consumption
- Low cost
- 3D Vision
- Excellent Blu-ray playback
- Good Casual gaming
- ASUS Xtreme Design enhancements
- Low Profile brackets included
- HD Sound over HDMI
- Great as a dedicated PyhsX card