ASUS ENGT430 brings Blu-ray 3D to Home Theatres everywhere

Nick Holland
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From the spec sheet, Nvidia’s latest GT 430 GPU appears to be the perfect partner for a home theatre enthusiast if you’re after cutting edge, screen popping Blu-ray 3D action and bitstreaming High-Definition surround sound audio via HDMI 1.4a.

Naturally to back it up there’s enough hardware grunt under the heatsink to power those kind of demands, but at a maximum running power of 49W, Nvidia’s latest ‘Fermi’ cored hardware is the lowest power option available too. The included video acceleration engine in the GT 430 will take the strain off the CPU, which is then free to do other things or drop into a low power state, further reducing system power.

ASUS ENGT430/DI/1GD3(LP) graphics card, to give it its 'full' name

ASUS ENGT430/DI/1GD3(LP) graphics card

Then ASUS gets hold of it and not only specifically tunes its ENGT430 with even more home theatre tweaks, it’s taken the opportunity beef up its usual quality too:

Low profile – more case choice

The low profile design (and low profile bracket in the box) means the card will fit in slim and neat home theatre cases, like the tasty Silverstone ML02 for example (or, let us know your own HTPC build preferences!).

Protection from cracks and spikes

Some cheaper or older cases come with poor quality power supplies bundled in. These can possibly skimp on ‘costly’ power protection, and as such power spikes and fluctuations can damage sensitive electronics. ASUS has dropped in an additional over-current fuse protection to protect the card from such iffy power supplies.

In addition, sometimes getting a graphics card into a very small case or between existing cabling/watercooling tubing takes a little jiggery pokery. Therefore, ASUS has included a GPU guard that halves the chance of a common cause of card death: cracking the small solder joints between GPU and PCB as the card is twisted and thrusted into its PCI-Express slot.

Install and forget

Once the home theatre has been successfully built and setup, most people just want it to work from then on. The screams of frustration are often heard a block away when we come to watch our favourite show, only to find a non-working box. The dust-proof fan and cooler is simply designed so the card can be left a lot longer between cleans, so we don’t have to remember to tend to out the insides as often.

Tailor your Home Theatre

ASUS Splendid technology is not new, but it’s again added here to provide customisable colour setups that could help offset calibration issues with the display, or simply add a personal tone to the video.

But it’s not for gamers?

Despite the budget price and common believe low-end hardware can’t play games, at moderate resolutions and detail levels it can. The 96 shaders certainly offer better performance than any motherboard or CPU integrated graphics, however it won’t drive nearly the same volume of pixels more powerful cards can push. As with everything in life, the more you pay the more you get in that regards and if you’re a serious gamer look at the ENGTX460 for some eye-popping visuals. The ENGT430′s video playback engine is the same as all other GeForce 400-series graphics cards though, so its combination of low power, low cost, low noise and ASUS key technical upgrades puts the ENGT430 squarely on the shopping list for fully featured home theatre build.

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