|ASUS EN9400GT GeForce 9400GT HDMI Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Alex Hanson - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 12 June 2009|
Page 15 of 15
Every business knows how important effective marketing is for selling their products and with ASUS they know how to package it just right and make it appealing to the buyer. The retail box does a good job emphasizing the fact that this card is for an HTPC and that it features an HDCP HDMI port. However, I'm not so sure that having any sort of gaming graphics on the box is the best thing to do when it's clear that the EN9400GT is not intended to be a gamer's video card.
Even though this is a low end video card, everything about it seems to be of high quality from it's capacitors all lined up neatly to it's highly polished heatsink securely affixed to the PCB which itself is pleasing to look at with it's bright blue color. I'm not so sure why ASUS decided to add a full 1GB of memory, it had no effect on it's overall performance when compared to my 8600GT with only 256MB. I would've liked to see the number of shaders bumped up from it's 16 to something a little higher that can make games a little better to play but then again that would probably negatively affect it's temperature.
The EN9400GT is an excellent choice if your building a new or replacing a video card in an HTPC. Since this card runs exceptionally cool, it makes it a perfect candidate for a small cramped HTPC case. It's low power usage is also very important in small HTPC cases since their power supplies tend to be on the skimpy side. Of course, the best feature of all is it's native HDMI port that is also HDCP compliant. I'm a Blu-Ray movie fanatic so perfect picture quality is very important to me and HDMI is the only way to go. The HDMI port also passes through true 7.1 channel audio but only if you use the supplied S/PDIF cable, unlike ATI cards with HDMI ports that don't need that extra cable. Just make sure your motherboard or soundcard has the necessary S/PDIF header to connect to. It's low profile and standard sized brackets ensure this video card will fit in just about any style of case.
Newegg currently sells the ASUS EN9400GT for $54.99 (with additional $10 rebate available for a limited time), so I would say it's a decent value; but the same card with only 512MB can be had for $46.99 ($36.99 after rebate) at Newegg. However, I personally don't think the extra 512MB adds much performance value to it. If this were a video card capable of some competitive 3D performance then the extra RAM would certainly come into play but in a standard Windows environment or watching Blu-Ray or DVD movies, the extra RAM just doesn't provide any real benefit.
In conclusion, I would say that if you need a small low profile video card for an HTPC or any PC that is a small form factor, and one that has HDMI, runs cool, and uses very little power then this one is certainly recommended. Otherwise, if you want one that will be able to play games too, then you will want to shop for something else unless you're just a casual gamer who doesn't mind playing games at lower resolutions.
+ Low profile, fits in any size case
- Sub-par 3D gaming capabilities
Final Score: 8.4 out of 10.
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