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AMD Releases HTPC-Friendly Budget Graphics Cards

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 8 comments

Two new budget graphics cards by AMD have been announced Tuesday; the ATI Radeon HD 4550 and the ATI Radeon HD 4350. While these new cards do not provide great gaming performance, they do offer excellent features and are both based on the same technology as the ATI Radeon HD 4800 series, including DirectX 10.1 support.

The most expensive of the two new graphics cards is the ATI Radeon HD 4550 with 512 MB of DDR3 memory. A 256 MB version will also be available. While the ATI Radeon HD 4550 graphics card can actually handle some light gaming, it seems to be a solution much better suited for use in a HTPC instead. The ATI Radeon HD 4550 is priced at around $50, it consumes less than 25-watts of power under full load, it supports full hardware Blu-ray decode acceleration and it is available with a passive cooling solution. The card also comes with 80 stream processing units, dual-link connectivity and an integrated HD audio controller for 7.1-channel surround sound over HDMI/DisplayPort.

The second graphics card announced Tuesday is the new ATI Radeon HD 4350; another budget solution priced at an even lower $39. Much like the ATI Radeon HD 4550, the ATI Radeon HD 4350 features 80 stream processing units, uses just 20-watts of power under full load and supports 7.1-channel audio over HDMI/DisplayPort. Where the two cards differ really is with the memory, as the ATI Radeon HD 4350 features only 256 MB of slower DDR2 memory. Add in board partners will of course introduce their own differences between product offerings as well, such as with the card’s height, type of cooling solution used and the available ports.

ATI Radeon HD 4550ATI Radeon HD 4350ATI Radeon HD 4650
Fabrication Process55 nm55 nm55 nm
Transistors242 million242 million 514 million
Stream Processors Units8080320
Memory Clock800 MHz DDR3500 MHz DDR2500 MHz DDR2
Memory512 MB or 256 MB256 MB512 MB
Memory Bus Width 64-bit64-bit128-bit
Clock Speed600 MHz600 MHz600 MHz
Power Consumption<20 W<25 W<50 W
Price $50$39$69

For use in a HTPC or as an alternative to integrated graphics, both of these new graphics cards make an excellent choice. Gamers will probably wish to invest in a more powerful graphics card, although the Radeon HD 4550 and Radeon HD 4350 should be able to handle older or casual games just fine. The ATI Radeon HD 4550 and ATI Radeon HD 4350 graphics cards will be available in October.

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  • 0 Hide
    kratos401 , September 30, 2008 10:24 PM
    it seems the graph has the wrong watts on the new cards in the text. the 4350 according to the text should be the
  • 0 Hide
    pcolby , September 30, 2008 11:25 PM
    There seems to be small error in the summary table at the end: it lists the 4550 as
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 1, 2008 2:11 PM
    wtf? why's everyone talking half sentences here?
    It seems quite a good card indeed. I had only wished they created a card like this with a passive sink.
    Maybe a good companion to those mini pc's that consume very little watts?

    I'd love to see a review and bench on this one (please don't compare it to the latest ATI 4850 or GeForce 8800 or something, but when available, please compare it to similar cards like ATI or NVidia cards of 3 years ago.
    I wonder if this one could replace my old ATI Radeon™ 9500 PRO card.
  • Display all 8 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    mrcastulucci , October 1, 2008 3:13 PM
    I'm really interested to see how these cards will compare to the low profile Galaxy GeForce 8600GT that is sold at NCIXUS.com. I've done a ton of research, and as far as I know, the 8600GT is the fastest low profile card on the market. But my issue with it is that it does not have a built-in 7.1 audio decoder. I'd love to have that integrated, but I'm not willing to take a hit on performance. I'm guessing that the 8600GT will be faster because of the wider memory bus.
  • 0 Hide
    crom , October 1, 2008 5:46 PM
    So, to be clear, these cards both have low profile brackets?
  • 0 Hide
    hannibal , October 1, 2008 5:49 PM
    There is one review http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3420, but it's not so usefull utill they release their HTPC article that is on the road.
    It only says that thse are good for HTPC use, and not so much for gaming... But all, in all not too bad. I would have liked to see something between 4650 and 4550, but the price difference is so small, that It is not worth of it.
    There is passeve heatsink version on 4550 around, so it is really interesting choice for any quiet movie PC.
  • 0 Hide
    mrcastulucci , October 1, 2008 7:15 PM
    Crom, I haven't confirmed that exactly, but most graphics cards that have a 64-bit memory bus are available in low profile, from what I've seen.

    The wider the memory bus, the more physical memory address lines (etchings on the circuit board) are required, so that usually dictates whether or not it is available in low profile.
  • 0 Hide
    jalbi , October 2, 2008 2:34 AM
    MrCastulucci the 9600GT low profile card is fastest but has high power requirements ie 450 power supply,