Zotac GeForce GT 220 review
ATI's new 5000-series cards have some impressive features, but with the cheapest cards costing over £100 they are aimed at serious gamers. With the GT 220, Nvidia has seized the opportunity to release an inexpensive card to suit more casual gamers.
This is the first desktop card that we've seen from Nvidia to use a 40nm production process, which should result in reduced heat output and manufacturing costs. ATI is well ahead of Nvidia here, though, having released its 40nm HD 4770 in May.
Zotac's GT 220 matches Nvidia's reference specification, with a core clock speed of just 625MHz. More importantly, the card has only 48 unified shaders, which limits its parallel processing ability. Its performance in our gaming tests was disappointing; it scored just 20.5fps in Call of Duty 4. We got a playable 31.3fps by turning off anti-aliasing, but we couldn't get Crysis to run smoothly even at low detail settings.
This may not be a great gaming card, but it's powerful enough to accelerate HD video playback, giving even modest dual-core processors the ability to handle smooth Full-HD playback. The card is slender, taking up one slot. Its expansive heat sink and small 48mm fan deal with any heat buildup, while keeping noise to a minimum.
Its small size and low heat output make it suitable for media centre PCs. Nvidia has finally discarded the S/PDIF header input on its cards, used to route audio to the HDMI output. There are also DVI and VGA outputs.
This is a decent version of a flawed card, but Gigabyte's is better. Either way, the GT 220 performs like a £40 card and is overpriced at £52. Sapphire's more powerful and passively cooled Radeon HD 4670 Ultimate Edition (from www.pixmania.co.uk) is a much better buy at just £54 including VAT.
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