We recently reviewed the ATI Radeon HD4550 and HD4350 chipsets. Our conclusion stated that these cards would be perfect additions for the HTPC user looking to upgrade to hardware accelerated BD playback and 8-channel LPCM audio output via HDMI. We just received our first retail HD4350 product from MSI. It is available now for $39.99 (a $10 rebate is also available this month).
We are still testing this card along with several other budget video cards and processors for our final IGP Chronicles article. However, we wanted to provide a quick update on the H.264 playback and power consumption results with a couple of popular processors from Intel and AMD, the dual-core E5200 and 4850e.
The MSI R4350-D512H is a half height card design that features a large heatsink for passive cooling duties. The card includes 512MB of GDDR2 memory with a core clock at 600MHz and memory clock at 500MHz. MSI includes a driver CD and instruction manual only. Unfortunately, an ATI DVI-HDMI adapter is not included in the kit. We feel this is a mistake on MSI's part, as the card should find its way into many HTPC solutions.
The adapter is available online for $10 (the price of that rebate from MSI) or a friend might already have one if they recently purchased a HD4670, HD4850, or HD4870 card as most manufacturers included them in their kits. The R4350 supports dual-link DVI so resolutions up to 2560x1600 are possible. The chipset specifications are available here.
Let's take a quick look at the BD playback performance of the MSI R4350.