Top critical review
56 people found this helpful
Good, after some tweaking
on 29 March 2010
Bought this card so that I could specifically connect my PC to my TV and enjoy some 'HD' video such as BBC iplayer.
The card went in very easily and the install procedure was quick and pretty simple. The supplied software recognised the Sony W5500 without a problem (connected with a Philex 5m HDMI cable bought from Amazon).
The main problems I had came when I tried to watch some HD video content on the TV. The first noticeable issue was that the picture on the HDTV at 1080p output, whilst excellent, was surrounded by black borders. Having googled the problem I realised that by default the software is set to 'underscan' by a certain amount so that the image displayed is only around c80% the size of the original. Disabling 'underscan' on the catalyst software (Desktops and Displays, right click on HDTV, click configure, Scaling options and move slider all the way to the right). Problem solved and a sharp, virbrant 1080p image filled the TV screen.
The next problem came when I tried to use the card for its intended purpose, playing video on the TV (set up as an extended desktop). The video quality was excellent but I noticed the sound would drop out every few seconds (5-10-15 - it varied), quite annoying when trying to watch something and present on avi, mkv and streaming video. After a lengthy google search - I'm by no means an expert on PCs - it became apparent that this 'drop out' of audio was due to a power saving feature known as 'powerplay' which drops the clock speed of the card when appropriate, to save power. This fluctuation in clock speed was causing the sound drop outs.
The solution this time came from a third party. I downloaded a program called 'AMD GPU clock tool' (freeware) which enables the user to set the card to a fixed clock speed (e.g. 600mhz) thus disabling the power saving feature and allowing audio to remain clear and free of drop outs/glitches. Brilliant, I can now watch any manner of video in good quality.
It was however disappointing that a graphics card sold on the back of its capabilities for streaming HD video and with an HDMI out feature could not work reliably out of the box, and I think many people would struggle for hours before finding the solution (I did).
So 3 stars for the excellent image quality when used in 1080p output over HDMI, and smooth playback of HD video. And Good value for money, easy to install. Big thumbs down for the struggle in getting it to work as it should and having to resort to a third party workaround in order tog do so.