The right video card can do wonders to increase your computer's visual output, from increasing the vividness and display of common images and photos to brightening and smoothing the frame rates of certain video games. Your reason for buying a video card will determine what video card you should purchase, but whatever your reason, it's always a good idea to look for video cards that consume lower power.
ATI Radeon HD 5670
The ATI Radeon HD 5670 is an HD graphics card that works well with video games, providing a high 775 MHz clock speed and the capability to process images and videos extremely quickly. All of its capabilities can be provided to computers with at least 1GB of system memory for a surprisingly small trade-off of only 64 watts at full load. The basic ATI Radeon HD 5670 model costs around $70 as of October 2010.
ZOTAC GeForce GT 240
With on board memory of 512MB and a processing clock with a clock rate of 1360MHz, the ZOTAC GeForce GT 240 is both fast and capable, making it excellent for HD gaming or movie viewing. Despite its prowess in both regards, the GeForce GT 240 also uses minimal power --- requiring only 9 watts at minimal, and under a full load only needing 70 watts. As of October 2010, you can purchase this model for between $100 and $130.
ZOTAC GeForce GT 220
Another offering by Nvidia, the manufacturer of the ZOTAC GeForce GT 240, is the ZOTAC GeForce 220. Though this card isn't as powerful as some others, it works well for users who don't necessarily view a lot of HD content. Although the video card can be overclocked by the right user to provide an increased frames per second ratio, normally it sits below models like the GeForce GT 240. The trade-off is that the GeForce GT 220 uses only 10 to 14 watts of power as it idles, and even for maximum load this video card will only consume about 55 watts of power, making it one of the lowest power consumption video cards available. As of October 2010, you can find the ZOTAC version for $50.
ATI Radeon HD 4350
Providing the capability to smoothly play back HD media and supporting games that run on DirectX 10.1, the ATI Radeon HD 4350 is a well-balanced video card for both gaming and viewing videos and images. This video card is extremely low power, consuming less than 20 watts under a full load. Perhaps the best thing about the ATI Radeon HD 4350, however, is the price point --- as of October 2010, it's about $40.
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