NVIDIA's GeForce GT 430: The Next HTPC King?by Ryan Smith & Ganesh T S on October 11, 2010 9:00 AM EST
GT 430 For the HTPC: HQV Benchmarking
HTPC enthusiasts are often concerned about the quality of pictures output by the system. While this is a very subjective metric, we have decided to take as much of an objective approach as possible. Starting with our HTPC reviews, we have been using the HQV 2.0 benchmark for this purpose. The HQV 2.0 test suite consists of 39 different streams divided into 4 different classes. In our HTPC(s), we use Cyberlink PowerDVD build 2113 with TrueTheater disabled and hardware acceleration enabled for playing back the HQV streams. The playback device is assigned scores for each, depending on how well it plays the stream. Each test was repeated multiple times to ensure that the correct score was assigned. The scoring details are available in the testing guide from HQV.
Given the price point and the power consumption profile of the GT 430, it is evident that it is going to compete with the Radeon HD 5570. In the table below, we indicate the maximum score possible for each test, and how much the GT 430 (with driver version 260.77) and the Radeon HD 5570 (with Catalyst 10.9) were able to get.
|GT 430 vs. HD 5570 : HQV 2.0 Benchmark|
|Test Class||Chapter||Tests||Max. Score||GT 430||HD 5570|
|Video Conversion||Video Resolution||Dial||5||4||5|
|Dial with Static Pattern||5||5||5|
|Film Resolution||Stadium 2:2||5||0||5|
|Overlay On Film||Horizontal Text Scroll||5||5||5|
|Vertical Text Scroll||5||5||5|
|Cadence Response Time||Transition to 3:2 Lock||5||5||5|
|Transition to 2:2 Lock||5||0||5|
|Multi-Cadence||2:2:2:4 24 FPS DVCam Video||5||0||5|
|2:3:3:2 24 FPS DVCam Video||5||0||5|
|3:2:3:2:2 24 FPS Vari-Speed||5||0||5|
|5:5 12 FPS Animation||5||0||5|
|6:4 12 FPS Animation||5||0||5|
|8:7 8 FPS Animation||5||0||5|
|Color Upsampling Errors||Interlace Chroma Problem (ICP)||5||5||5|
|Chroma Upsampling Error (CUE)||5||5||5|
|Noise and Artifact Reduction||Random Noise||SailBoat||5||5||5|
|Compression Artifacts||Scrolling Text||5||3||3|
|Upscaled Compression Artifacts||Text Pattern||5||3||3|
|Image Scaling and Enhancements||Scaling and Filtering||Luminance Frequency Bands||5||5||5|
|Chrominance Frequency Bands||5||5||5|
|Resolution Enhancement||Brook, Mountain, Flower, Hair, Wood||15||15||15|
|Video Conversion||Contrast Enhancement||Theme Park||5||5||5|
|Beach at Dusk||5||5||5|
|White and Black Cats||5||5||5|
|Skin Tone Correction||Skin Tones||10||7||7|
We find that the GT 430 scores the same as the GT 425M in the ASRock Vision 3D. It is also better than the Intel HD Graphics (which scored 133) with respect to this metric, but comes up short against the HD 5570.
A look at the above table reveals that there is not much to differentiate between the GT 430 and HD 5570 except for the bulk of the cadence detection tests. The all-important 3:2 pulldown is performed correctly. However, none of the other cadence detection tests passed. Getting those cadence detection features implemented in the drivers has the potential to increase the HQV score by 35 points, bringing it much closer to the 5570's score. Till then, it is hard for us to recommend the GT 430 with respect to picture quality for the average user.
Power users can always get past the cadence issues by setting up custom resolutions and refresh rates depending on the video being played back, but this not a solution for the average consumer. More concerning is the fact that many digital camcorders record at 30 fps, making it necessary to have proper cadence detection set up for 2:2 pulldown. nVidia says that this issue is being looked into, but not as a top priority feature to implement. Eventually, we should see scores similar to the 5570 a couple of driver releases down the line. For now, the Radeon HD 5570 is a clear winner from the picture quality standpoint.