October 23, 2009
| by Stephen Hopkins
Have an older HTPC that seems to be on its last leg? Won’t decode Blu-ray or those h.264 MKVs (that we know you obtained in a legal manner, of course)?
For only $16.99 with free shipping you can upgrade your video card to an MSI Radeon 4350 video card capable of hardware-decoding pretty much anything that supports hardware-decoding, as well as shipping both audio and video out to your display or AVR via HDMI.
This is a low-profile, fanless (i.e. silent) card with 512mb of 64-bit GDDR2. You’re not going to get much gaming cred out of this one (except maybe for those SNES ROMS that are, also, totally legit) but it will bring your old Media Center into the modern age for less than the price of that Blu-ray disc you weren’t going to buy anyway. You’ll need to apply coupon code EMCMLNN53, and then the fun really gets going.
Bonus: If you grabbed yesterday’s Polk Monitor 50 deal from NewEgg, but shied away from the CS1 center channel, today you can pick up the step-up CS2 center channel for $115 with free shipping using coupon code SPEAKER12235. The CS2’s step-up specifications include a larger enclosure, larger 6.5” woofers, and deeper bass response. Also, the SPEAKER12115 coupon code is still active for the Monitor 50s, but the net price has jumped to $92.50/ea.
Stephen Hopkins is chief technology editor for EH Publishing. He writes product reviews, features, and focuses heavily on 3D TV, iPhone and iPad apps, and digital content.