There is a trend towards lower 3D performance among Nvidia's entry-level solutions. We noted it with the GeForce GT 240 which proved to be slower than its predecessor GeForce 9600 GT in a number of tests, although superior to the latter in terms of functionality and power consumption. This is quite justifiable on the manufacturer’s part: such graphics cards cannot be used to play modern games comfortably, but they are often bought for HTPCs, so their support for HD video formats is far more important than 3D performance which should only suffice for some casual gaming.
The Nvidia GeForce GT 430 carries the tendency on. Equipped with the cheapest Fermi series processor, it features PureVideo HD VP4 and Protected Audio Path but, compared with the GeForce GT 240, has lost half the texture-mapping units and raster back-ends. This shortage can't but affect its 3D gaming performance.
The GeForce GT 430 is unable to run modern games in the Full HD mode, with but a few exceptions. It is somewhat better at 1600x900 but we can’t call it a gaming card anyway, especially as it even falls behind the Radeon HD 5570 with GDDR5. The GeForce GT 430 is overall comparable to the rather rare Radeon HD 5550 GDDR5 in terms of performance, but its low-profile version, like the Gigabyte GV-N430OC-1GL that we have tested, has a number of other benefits. If your HTPC can accommodate a dual-slot graphics card, but you can’t fit a full-height model like a GeForce GTS 450 into it, Gigabyte’s version of the GeForce GT 430 is going to be a perfect choice as it is quiet, compact, economical, and functional (including DirectX 11 support). Besides, it can be used as a CUDA/PhysX accelerator in a configuration where 3D games run on a higher-class graphics card.
Gigabyte GV-N430OC-1GL Summary
- Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
- Supports DirectX 11, CUDA and PhysX;
- Fully-fledged hardware HD video decoding;
- High-quality HD video post-processing with scalability;
- HDMI 1.3a support;
- Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio support;
- High energy-efficiency;
- Low heat dissipation;
- Low noise;
- Compact size.
- Low performance in contemporary games, yields to GeForce GT 240;
- Extremely reduced TMU and RBE sub-systems;
- Dual-slot cooling system.