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The Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator is a media coprocessor that you can throw into many netbooks with low power Intel Atom processors to enable support for 1080p HD video playback. It’s not a full fledged video card. It just does one thing: offers hardware acceleration for HD video so that low power CPUs don’t have to burn themselves out trying to decode a high definition video.

A handful of netbooks including the Dell Inspiron Mini and HP Mini 210 are available for purchase with the Broadcom hardware pre-installed. But for the past few months, you’ve also been able to pick up the mini PCI-E card on eBay for around $25. If your computer had an open slot for a mini PCI-E card, odds were you could install the video accelerator yourself without spending a lot of time or money on the project.,

But it looks like whoever it was that was supplying eBay sellers with a dirt cheap supply of the Broadcom media accelerators must be running low on stock. Because right now there are only a handful of the chips available, and they’re running close to $100 each.

Perhaps we’ll see prices fall again once Broadcom’s updated version of the video accelerator becomes more common. But since there’s still no company offering NVIDIA’s next-generation ION video card as a mini PCI-E solution, the Broadcom accelerator still provides the best opportunity for adding support HD video playback to an existing 10 inch netbook.

via Netbooked

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2 replies on “Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator shortage sweeps eBay, quadruples prices”

  1. Was interested in getting one of these until I found out my NC10 only has one mini pci-e port soldered on, even though the motherboard has leads and space for a second one. Some guy took the time to attach one himself just to accommodate this add-on, but I have neither the skill nor the desire to do so myself.

  2. Saw this trends nearly right after they announced the BCM70015, as the prices have been rising for quite awhile now. So likely they were cutting down stock in preparation of the new model. After all it does support additional video formats over the original and raising demand may be what they want.

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