Now that HD DVD is a thing of the past all focus has turned to Blu-Ray playback, which is what I will be taking a closer look at today. Today, AMD released the ATI Radeon HD 4830 512MB PCI Express graphics card which might be of interest to those looking to build a system with a Blu-Ray player. Being just 10.25″ in length and having a single slot cooler the Radeon HD 4830 will fit in most HTPCs with room to spare. The question is, do you really need a discrete graphics card?
To answer this question I grabbed an Intel DG45ID motherboard (BIOS v0081) from the shelf and built a system using an Intel Q9300 quad-core processor, 4GB of DDR2 CL5 memory and Windows Vista 64-bit Ultimate. This board features the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD onboard graphics subsystem with integrated HDMI + DVI-I display ports and is the latest and greatest integrated graphics platform from Intel.
I loaded up just the drivers on the platform and CyberLink Power DVD 8 Ultra v8.0.2021.50 and starting playing various Blu-Ray movies to see how the system performed. I then spent several days with the system and switched over to the Radeon HD 4830 graphics card with CATALYST 8.10 drivers to see how it would impact performance when used on a 1080p plasma display.