“Leave No Gamer Behind” seems to be the new mantra from ATI. They’re on a mission to make gaming more accessible to the masses. What they have in mind is affordable video cards with solid gaming performance and great HD playback. The result is the introduction of the new Radeon HD 3400 and 3600 series; cards for the more budget-minded consumer. Do the ATI video card elves ever sleep?
ATI kicks off this round of video card bouts with a number of new refinements. DirectX 10.1 and Shadermodel 4.1 are now standard, a plus for game developers ready to introduce graphics-heavy titles. PCI Express 2.0 also makes an entrance to the low-end market, effectively doubling the bandwidth available between the GPU and the rest of the PC system. Another “refinement” includes Enhanced UVD, AMD’s video processor, which gets more bandwidth allowing the GPU to accelerate the playback of HD video, at higher resolutions. The native support for DisplayPort connections is another feature that will improve the HD experience. The DisplayPort is capable of 2x the bandwidth of DVI with the maximum link capacity of 10.8Gbps at 2.7Gbps per lane, over four lanes. DisplayPort is poised to deliver low-cost high resolution and bit-depth panels.
But if you ask me, what makes the HD 3400 cards a bit more interesting is ATI’s implementation of Hybrid Graphics technology. The new technology provides a significant performance boost to AMD based systems by enabling both discrete GPUs (video cards) and integrated graphics (onboard) to render simultaneously. So now you won’t lose your onboard video capabilities when you buy a new HD 3400 series video card. Both will work together to boost your system gaming performance. Nice.
The following are the different flavors of the new HD 3400 and 3600 cards:
Radeon HD 3450
Here, we have full HD for less than the cost of Two (2) HD Discs! The low profile design will allow integration into a small platform Media Center/ Home theater PC system, and support Dolby Digital and DTS through HDMI. Many video card vendors will sell the HD 3450 with passively cooled solutions, which mean less noise and lower energy requirements.
Radeon HD 3470
For you guys happy with their 1080p purchases in the past holiday season…say hello to 1440p. With the HD 3470, playback of Blu-ray and HD DVD content can be up-scaled to 2560×1600, delivering beyond HD playback. Since it appears 2560×1440 will be the successor to 1080p on HDTVs, ATI asserts that these cards are the first value segment graphic cards to yield an HD HQV score, including noise reduction test, without ghosting artifacts.
Radeon HD 3650
AMD describes the HD 3650 card as 360 degrees of entertainment, with Enthusiast features at a mainstream price. Along with the basic native support for CrossFireX, the HD 3650 includes the 2nd generation of the high-performance Unified Shader Engine. The power consumption is a miniscule 75 watts, which should eliminate the need for an auxiliary power plug. With a transition to a smaller 55nm fab process and 120 stream processors onboard, the HD 3650 is a viable alternative to the 3850 card.
Expect these puppies to be here at Tigerdirect.com in around early March. In the mean time, check out the other ATI cards we offer. You might find something you can’t live without!