Zotac Announces GTS450 Zone Edition Passively Cooled Video Card
Integrated graphics performance has reached a point that I rarely find myself wishing for a video card in my HTPC, but if I were to decide that was what I needed , I would be looking for two things: a passively cooled card to eliminate fan noise and an Nvidia GPU so that I could try out the hardware accelerated MadVR video renderer. Zotac must have had people like me in mind when designing their new GTS450 Zone Edition video card. Keeping the card cool enough to use passive cooling did require that Zotac underclock the processor and implement older, slower memory than we usually see paired with similar GPUs, but it should still be a more than capable card for an HTPC. Unfortunately, the card is also a dual slot design which will limit its use in some mini-ITX configurations.
Passively cooled high performance GPUs are quite popular with the HTPC community. NVIDIA GPUs are preferred by many HTPC users because of good software support (LAV CUVID, for example) and the ability to use custom renderers like madVR without losing out on hardware decode acceleration.