PowerColor HD3450 Reviewajmatson - March 30, 2008
Category: Video Cards
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With more and more HTPC and multimedia machines popping up, there is a greater need for graphics cards that support the features needed. Blu-Ray, HD DVD, and 1080p is in now for playing movies and streaming video. Older video cards either could not keep up with the resolution needed for crisp playback or were not powerful enough to offload the video processing from the CPU, causing choppy and degraded playback. ATI responded to these needs with a series of chipsets that are designed to play back high definition content with pristine clarity all while placing the majority of the load on the video processing unit instead of the CPU.
One of these new multimedia video cards is the PowerColor HD3450 256MB Graphics Card. The HD3450 is a PCI Express 2.0 video card that offers Microsoft DirectX 10.1 and ATI Avivo HD technology for the best playback possible. It's nice to see high end technologies also included on a mainstream video card. One of the main features of the PowerColor HD3450 is the ability to run in a Hybrid Crossfire capability with an AMD 7-Series motherboard. This allows the integrated graphics from the motherboard and the HD3450 to run as one, increasing performance for gaming and multimedia and making it affordable to everyone from the novice to the enthusiast. This is one technology new to the market aimed at bringing better graphics power at affordable prices. So how well does this technology work? We will have to see.
When the PowerColor HD3450 arrived at my door, I thought I had a new game to play until I looked closer at the box. I like how PowerColor packaged the card in a smaller box that supported the card and protected it not in an oversized package stuffed with fillers. The front of the packaging has the PowerColor mascot on it with the main features and specs lined up in an un-obstructed view. The back expands on those specification and features giving the possible buyer the exact information needed to make their buying decision.
Opening the box brings out the goodies. Included in the box are the PowerColor HD 3450 Graphics Card, A quick install guide, the driver CD and an S-video to composite video cable. The HD3450 comes enclosed in a bubble wrapping which keeps the card protected and from sliding around in the packaging. Just another level that PowerColor took to protect the valuables.
Now that we have the HD3450 and accessories free of their cardboard bindings, let's get a better look at the card itself.