Assuming that quality of video playback is the over-riding factor when assessing these cards (i.e. you don't care too much about the quality of the desktop), then the GeCube X1300 and Sapphire X1600 are the stand-out cards in this round-up. The GeCube X1600 isn't a true HDMI card - rather a gaming card with HDCP capabilities leveraging off HDMI-DVI compatibility.
The two X1600 cards are obviously the more powerful, with the Sapphire just edging out the GeCube in the performance benchmarks.
Overall, the Sapphire X1600 offered the best feature set as a good graphics platform for an HTPC. The ability to mount the card as a dual-width low-rise unit is very neat, and the bundled cabling and software makes it the stand-out performer.
GeCube X1300 PROfessional
Score - 8/10
Low-rise profile suitable for small HTPC cases
Native HDMI audio+video/HDCP support
Small fan = quiet cooling
No low-rise bracket in package
Slightly underpowered for large-screen gaming
Limited software bundle
GeCube X1600 Pro
Score - 7/10
Dual-DVI suitable for multi-screen
Offers good PC image for LCD TV
HDCP support over DVI
Full-rise card not suitable for small HTPC cases
No native HDMI support - no HDMI audio passthrough
Limited software bundle
Sapphire X1600 Pro HDMI
Score - 9/10
Low-rise card suitable for small HTPC cases
Native HDMI video+audio/HDCP support
Excellent software bundle
HDMI picture not as good for PC desktop
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