I know this card has been out for some time now – but I don’t really ever need state-of-the-art graphics cards for my gaming needs. To be honest, most of the games I play are at least a year old and aren’t stupidly power hungry. However, my ATI Radeon HD4550 was really starting to show its age a bit, so I decided to fork out a bit and move up the scale.
So I found this card. It looked good to me – it’s the Asus model which has a 900Mhz processor clock with 1GB GDDR5 memory, which seemed like a huge step up from my previous card. I found it for around £85 from the good people at CCL (I’ve used these guys frequently before – very good company), so I went for it!
I’m pretty impressed with it, to be honest. It’s no rocket launcher, but it can do ~30fps in GTA IV on full settings at 1440×900, which is plenty for my needs. It also seems to be quite happy with Test Drive Unlimited 2 at full settings – which is another game I do play when I get the chance.
Generally, I’d say it’s a mid range card – it’s not capable of today’s games at full settings but it’ll certainly achieve good mid-range settings and it does have good specs to play with. If you’re looking to build a mid-range machine that needs to play high quality, full HD video then this won’t bat an eyelid. My only real issue with it is space consumption – my micro ATX case is now full to the brim, and the card has also covered one of my PCI-E x1 slots up, which is a nuisance. Think I’m going to find myself buying a new computer case soon!
A 512MB Gigabyte HD4550 graphics card costing about £35
A 250GB hard drive costing about £25
A DVDRW drive costing £18
A 19″ LG monitor costing £92
A Microsoft wireless keyboard and mouse set costing £17
That was it. If my calculations are right that comes to £327 and in my opinion that is a bargain. I’ve got a really good spec PC and a nice monitor and keyboard/mouse set to go with it. Perfect!
It does go to show how much cheaper it can be to go for the build your own PC option. It is much cheaper so is perfect if you’re on a tight budget, plus it can be really good fun if you enjoy working with computers.
I wouldn’t recommend this way of getting your hands on a nice new PC if you consider yourself a novice with computers. You do have to be careful – put the wrong component in the wrong place and you’ll be adding costs for replacements. Also, make absolutely sure that you have some sort of anti-static kit for your hands. Static electricity and internal computer components do not mix!
If you like a challenge and have a few hundred pounds to spare give this a go! You might be really pleased you bothered!
It’s not even a beta build so I wouldn’t recommend testing it unless you are absolutely desperate. Google has said the features are very limited – there isn’t a print feature yet. It really is very limited. You’ll be nagged with warnings that the program is not for general use as well, so consider whether you really want to use it.
If you are dieing to have a play with it, use the link above and download it from the Chromium blog. Have a go and see what you think, but if I were you I’d wait for a beta build rather than a development build.