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Asus Bravo 220 review – media card

Rating: 5.0.

I admit it, I am a technology junkie and I always have been, when other kids were playing with Star Wars figures I was disassembling my father’s radio and trying to figure out how it worked. “You got an unhealthy fixation, son” he would mutter as he slapped me on the head in disgust.

In later years when I bought a Carl Fogarty Ducati 996S, I took the bike apart and starting messing with mappings on my laptop generally trying to make it run better. I have probably broken as much as I have fixed, but I would never admit that. Hell, is this on?

When you label yourself a junkie it means that you are addicted in an unhealthy way to the topic of discussion .. it has gotten me into all sorts of trouble throughout the years, including starting several technology websites to feed my passions.

One of my ever increasing addictions in the area of technology is creating and tinkering with various media PC configurations. While my media PC should be sitting discretely beside the TV, it now vaguely resembles a Frankenstein monster. What started life as an Intel Atom small form factor PC has warped into a watercooled Core i7 920 running at 4GHZ on a Rampage Gene II board, with an SSD Raid and custom modded 2GB 285GTX inside a carbon fibre custom Shuttle based Cryo chassis. I even drilled holes and replaced all the fans with silent 12cm Noctua models. In a moment of reflection recently I looked hard, shook my head and wondered what had happened to my initial goals of “low power, silent and out of sight”. This thing sucks so much juice under load it would probably be more economical to go to the movies every night.

That said, what I love about the ‘Z-Special’ (stop laughing) is the fact its whisper quiet, lightning fast and you can whip out the Xbox 360 controller and game when friends are over. I am even contemplating whether I should put a 980x into it. Why? I have no idea, I don’t need it, I just want to try it. When people tell me its stupid, I just want to try it even more.

By now I am pretty confident I have also been describing a few of our readers, heck maybe even you. This neverending desire to create and mod things we really don’t need, to push the limits, bend the rules. Then tell everyone about it afterwards with a smug look.

In the attempts to reduce the power draw of this system I recently had a discussion with Asus and they offered to send me their media center Bravo 220 card to tinker with. Checking the specifications, I thought the card was interesting, it was totally silent (fanless), consumed 21% less power than competiting Geforce 220 models and came bundled with a media software suite specifically designed for Windows. Will I miss the 285GTX? most likely, but lets take a look anyway…

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  • Trev

    Wow that software looks bad. the card seems good though, I like the cooler, seems powerful enough for the situation to handle without fan

  • Death Dealer

    Very detailed and fair review I think. the card seems solid for media work but the bundle might end up annoying quite a few people.

  • Eric K

    Interesting product and quite competitively priced. Certainly isnt for gaming, being an underpowered 220. temps are good and no noise is a bonus. ideal for a bedroom environment.

  • Dilbert

    Well, not the usual perfect product on KG then, seems we have a semi winner, but if they removed all the junk. Wonder if they will sell the card on its own, bound to drop the price a bit.

  • Harry

    Seems pretty much of a turd of a product. Id like to see a review of the Sapphire HD5550. bet its better.

  • Stefan

    Nvidia boards arent ideal for media, I think ATI have the edge. dont you ?

  • steve

    Thanks, just finished my daily KG news and reviews lunch break 🙂 Id still buy that card to be honest, the hardware seems decent and it looks wicked.

  • dax

    Asus software has ALWAYS been crap, no doubt about it.

  • Trev Mang

    good review, seems fair and all points covered. I actually just bought this for my media center as I have a really old Nvidia board in it and the fan is starting to omit a noise.

    Wont have this issue 🙂

  • Tommy Fran

    IT doesnt actually seem that bad when you look at the product overall. the software sucks, and its a shame its such a big focus for Asus cause the card would have scored higher otherwise. Liked the intro Z, didnt know you were into bikes.

  • Robert

    I think that is seriously one of the fucking most cool looking silent boards ive seen, its almost Zalman like by design. Shame about the software but its not the end of teh world, shame they dont sell a straight card version. If you are making a media center at least do it right, that just seems like a remote control, front layer. rather than a suite.

  • Francois LeBon

    Im quite surprised Asus didnt actually borrow the code of Windows Media Player and just ‘plug into it’ from the front end. It seems quite messy the way they have their own suite popping up and minimising into the task bar. Not sure what they were thinking really, thats a little bit surprising

  • Rob

    I liked that review, balanced, good intro, nice testing. fair result. Its not a bad card really, just a shame the suite sucks balls.

  • HT-PC Qual-i-ty

    It’s not worth buying. Pure and simple.
    Give em a few months to create an ATi version and maybe it will be ok.

  • Rob

    ATI do generally make better media cards, its pretty well known. something like the 5550 would be wicked.

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  • swami

    Experience Visual Enjoyment in a New Light!
    – ASUS Exclusive 0dB thermal solution: enjoy a silent environment no matter playing game or watching movies – ASUS Exclusive Splendid plus: with ambient light sensor to fit different user scenario – ASUS Bravo Media Center: with remote controller for easy entertainment access – Up to 21% power savin

  • swami