Last summer, ATI began to ship their mid-range Radeon HD 2400 & 2600 cards. The trend towards full 1080p theater systems caught steam and Early Adopters (bless their hearts) scooped up this affordable full 1080p solution by the truckload. Prices ranged from less than $99 for Radeon HD 2400 Pro, to as much as $199 for a Radeon HD 2600 XT. Now (2008), the opportunity is here to take advantage of the price drops and build a lower cost system with an HDMI output, a nice (some say vital) option for your home theater/media center.
Graphics Cards HDTV Ready and Equipped with HDMI to Prove it
Both Cards feature ATI’s new Unified Video Decoder, a technology that completely offloads processing from the CPU for common HD video formats. This includes both Blu-Ray and (tick tock) HD DVD formats. This is critical for those with lower cost systems that may not have the “raw” performance to decode video at its full 1080p resolution. Both cards come in Pro and XT versions, with 40 stream (shader) processors on the 525Mhz and 700Mhz HD 2400 models, and 120 processors on the 600MHz and 800MHz HD 2600 versions.
Now I do have a point here (took me long enough). These cards provide a feature-rich upgrade for an immersive experience with DirectX 10 gaming and high definition (HD) video. You’ll be able to connect to that big screen TV you got last Christmas, with HDMI (adapter maybe needed) and built-in 5.1 surround sound audio. Details, shading and textures will jump out at you while you watch your Blu-ray and HD DVD movies. Price-wise, there’s no better way to give your home theater system graphics a nice kick in the rear.
The links below will take you to cards that fit the above descriptions and specs. We hope that you find something that fits your needs!