Preparing my PC for Casual Gaming and Smooth BD Playback

by Eyre Austero 25. November 2009 08:13

     I just got for myself the Sapphire Radeon HD4770. This is to replace my onboard Intel GMA X3000 video adapter which I have been using for more than two years.  In fairness to the X3000, it served me well throughout those years. It's just that, it can no longer keep up with my current needs hence the necessity of letting it go.

     For my case, there are mainly two things that I wish my PC to be which it currently is not: one is readiness for casual gaming and the other is readiness for BD (blu-ray disk) playback. Now, I'm going to share with you the things that I learned about the HD4770 from my online research and how it convinced me that it is indeed the right card for my current needs.

Sapphire HD4770 Front Cover
Sapphire HD4770 Back Cover

     For my casual gaming needs, assessing the HD4770 was an easy one since a number of tech-related review sites gave it the thumbs up sign.  Here's what at least two of them has to say regarding this card. Ian Barling of Guru3d.com found the HD4770 to perform pretty much the same as the HD4850. He in fact also found it to be able to compete with the GeForce GTS 250 in various scenarios. Steven Walton of Techspot.com on the other hand found it to offer 10% more performance than its direct competitor, the 9800GT. With these, I can't help but feel certain that I can't go wrong with this card as far as PC gaming is concerned.

      With regards to its potential of making my PC ready for BD playback, this card features a set of video and display technology called the ATI Avivo HD. A subset of this is the Universal Video Decoder 2 (UVD 2) which, as I understand it, is the technology needed for hardware acceleration using ATI cards. With hardware accleration, decoding of the H.264 ,VC-1 and MPEG2 codecs is offloaded from the CPU leading to lower CPU utilization.  Assuming that I understand the whole concept right, this to me means the ability to use my current  1.86 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor for smooth BD playback without the need to upgrade to a more powerful processor.

    I am pleased with the initial results of my exploration with this card. On the aspect of gaming, the previous games that run slow are now decently playable. I cannot however test its BD playback performance since I do not yet have the required hardware such as an internal BD drive. For the meantime, I'll give DVD upscaling a try  using a trial version of the TotalMedia Theatre 3 with SimHD. The SimHD plugin utilizes the ATI stream technology to upscale DVD content to near HD resolution. I'll tell you more about this in my next post.   

      PS: For those who are technically inclined, I've attached below the specs of the Sapphire Radeon HD4770 for reference purposes.

Sapphire HD4770 Technical Specifications


Computer Hardware

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