Gigabyte's tweaked GT 220 is the best we've seen, but it's not enough to persuade us to buy this card.
Gigabyte’s take on Nvidia’s GT 220 graphics chipset is a chunkier affair than Zotac’s version. This non-reference design has a slightly longer board, with a comparatively huge cooler and big 80mm fan to help keep the card cool.
There’s no six-pin power connector, as it draws all the power it needs from the PCI Express slot. The GV-N220OC-1GI has HDMI, DVI and VGA outputs; any two can be used simultaneously.
This is the first card from Nvidia to include an onboard audio device. ATI has been doing this for some time, and it’s a neat way to output digital audio information via HDMI. Older Nvidia cards used an S/PDIF header, which had to be connected internally to a sound card with an appropriate output.
The onboard sound device supports Protected User Mode Audio (PUMA), an alternative to the Protected Audio Path (PAP) seen on ATI’s new 5000-series cards. Despite PUMA, and the ability to handle 7.1-channel loseless PCM audio, this card does not support the output of Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD Master Audio – the most common audio formats used on Blu-ray movies. Surround-sound audio devotees should invest in ATI’s HD 5770 or wait for the release of smaller, cheaper 5000-series cards.
With a higher clock speed of 720MHz, the GV-N220OC-1GI was faster in our benchmarks than reference GT 220 cards – the differences aren’t huge, though. We only got three or four more frames per second in Call of Duty, returning 35.7fps once anti-aliasing was turned off, and Crysis was unplayable even at low detail settings.
This is a good example of Nvidia’s GT 220, but that isn’t saying much. There are better budget cards available, such as Sapphire’s quicker Radeon HD 4670 Ultimate Edition, which is £54 including VAT from www.pixmania.co.uk.
|PCI Express x16 2.0
|Slots taken up
|Nvidia GeForce GT 220
|GPU clock speed
|48 stream processors
|Power leads required
|3DMark Vantage 1680
|Call of Duty 4 1680 4xAA
|Call of Duty 4 1440 4xAA
|Crysis 1680 High 4xAA
|Crysis 1440 High 4xAA
|one year RTB