Taiwanese tech firm MSI has answered the prayers of Home Theatre PC-owners looking to turn their slimline set-ups into veritable games machines, releasing a low-profile Radeon HD 5670 graphics card.
Most low-profile graphics cards work on the principle that video playback is more important than gaming power, and accordingly feature cut-down GPUs and a narrow 64-bit memory interface.
However, MSI's R5670-PD512 features a DirectX 11 GPU with 400 stream processors, as well as a 128-bit memory interface. The latter is hooked up to 512MB of 4,040MHz (effective) GDDR5 memory, while the GPU itself is clocked at 775MHz.
It might not be a patch on the specs of AMD and Nvidia's top-end DirectX 11 chips, but it's still a healthy dose of gaming power. You shouldn't have any trouble playing Fallout 3 or Call of Duty: World at War at 1,680 x 1,050, for example, although current games won't be happy about you pushing the resolution any further.
AMD's quoted maximum board power for the GPU is just 64W, which means that MSI's card can also get all of its power from the PCI-E slot, and won't need any extra power connectors. This is also crucial, when you consider that a slimline HTPC power supply is unlikely to be bursting with extra juice.
The card is cooled via a proprietary dual-fan cooler, with a pair of 40mm fans apparently providing 50 per cent more airflow than a single fan. Meanwhile, the full-size backplate features DisplayPort, DVI and VGA connectors, although you'll have to sacrifice the VGA port if you want to use the low-profile backplate.
According to MSI, the card can also support AMD's EyeFinity technology, enabling you to run games across three monitors, although this feature's going to be redundant on a mid-range card such as this.
MSI couldn't confirm pricing when we asked the company this morning, but we'll update you if and when we get any more information. Full-size 512MB Radeon HD 5670 cards usually go for just over £70, and we'd expect this card to be priced in a similar league.