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Conclusion

Nvidia’s new entry-level solutions are far from ideal. Besides an expectedly low performance in games, the junior model, GeForce 210, does not work well with high-definition video, providing low image quality. This may be a temporary problem that will be soon solved in the next version of the GeForce driver, but with the current driver the GeForce 210 cannot even replace a modern integrated graphics core like the AMD 7 series with ATI Radeon HD 3000, Intel’s G45 (GMA 4500HD) or Nvidia’s GeForce 8300/9400M. We did not compare the gaming performance of the GeForce 210 with that of integrated chipsets, but its low results suggest that it wouldn’t be much better in such a comparison.

The more advanced GeForce GT 220 is not brilliant, either. However, it can make a worth alternative to AMD’s products in terms of multimedia capabilities which have been deficient in Nvidia’s earlier products.

As for the particular implementations of the GeForce GT 220, we like Gigabyte’s version more than Gainward’s, mostly because of the more advanced cooling system. Otherwise, these two cards are identical in their consumer properties and we don’t think that you should spend you time searching for a specific version of GeForce GT 220. All of them are going to be equally bad in games and good at decoding high-definition video. Here, the only factors that may affect your shopping choice are the size and noisiness of the cooling system. These factors are important for assembling an HTPC.

Nvidia GeForce 210 Summary

Highs:

  • DirectX 10.1 support;
  • Fully-fledged hardware HD video decoding;
  • Support for Adobe Flash 10.1 video;
  • 7.1 sound over HDMI, including HD audio and LPCM;
  • HDMI 1.3a support;
  • Low noise;
  • Low power consumption;
  • Compact size.

Lows:

  • Extremely low 3D performance;
  • HD and SD video playback quality issues;
  • No bit-streaming support for Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio formats.

Nvidia GeForce GT 220 Summary

Highs:

  • DirectX 10.1 support;
  • Fully-fledged hardware HD video decoding;
  • Support for Adobe Flash 10.1 video;
  • High-quality HD video post processing with scalability;
  • 7.1 sound over HDMI, including HD audio and LPCM;
  • HDMI 1.3a support;
  • Low noise;
  • Low power consumption.

Lows:

  • Low 3D performance;
  • May be too large for compact cases;
  • No bit-streaming support for Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio formats.
 
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