The graphics card market is developing a distinct pear shape as it’s lower end swells with more and more value priced cards.  There are only two species at the pinnacle, the GTX280 and HD4870 X2, who along with their assorted sub-species rule the market.  From there however the choices available swell as each price point has more and more cards created to fill any gap between the prices.  The newest are AMD’s HD4350 and HD4500.  There is a reason that they are both under $60, the number of stream processors has been reduced to 80 from over 300 for the 4650, the memory bus speed has been halved to 64-bit from 128-bit and the transistor count has been reduced by about the same percentage.  That doesn’t mean their video processing power has been halved; both the 4550 and 4350 support 8-channel LPCM over HDMI, making them the perfect HTPC card, apart from their lack of a TV Tuner.  Check them out an AnandTech.

“Oooh, new GPUs from AMD – however these ones aren’t going to be breaking any performance records, they are both priced below $60.

The Radeon HD 4350 and 4550 are slotted in between integrated graphics and the set of hardware we took a look at recently in our Radeon 4670 review. The Radeon HD 4550 will run you around $45 – $55, while the Radeon HD 4350 will be priced at $39. Generally speaking, if you’re a gamer you’re not spending any less than $150 for a graphics card – so these GPUs are mostly for enabling hardware Blu-ray acceleration or providing a boost in performance over games running on integrated graphics.”

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