ATI Radeon HD 5450: Eyefinity And HTPCs For Everyone?

Conclusion

Now that we've seen what the new Radeon HD 5450 can do, we can say that it's certainly the least awe-inspiring Radeon HD 5000-series card we've seen. But this utilitarian model was never designed to inspire. It was designed to work, to offer better-than-integrated graphics performance, to enable Eyefinity for the masses, and to give the HTPC enthusiasts bitstreaming from a passive card. And it does these things on a $50 budget.

That's a tall order given the price. It necessitates a significant functionality boost in an entry level graphics card. In this regard, the Radeon HD 5450 is certainly more impressive to those who don't necessarily care about gaming, but would give an arm and a leg for more computing desktop space. HTPC builders also have quite a bit to forward to.

But lets be frank. As impressive as these new abilities are to the folks interested in them, average buyers aren't going to realize much gain over what a Radeon HD 4550 would have facilitated. Most causal users are comfortable using one monitor; very few want to see three on their desk. And Dolby TrueHD- and DTS-HD Master Audio-compatible receivers are overall, fairly rare. Even more scattered are the folks attaching HTPCs to those components. Thus, there is little reason to run out and upgrade a Radeon HD 4550 to a new 5450 model.

Nevertheless, the Radeon HD 5450 is notable in that it raises the bar on what we expect from an entry-level graphics card, while cutting power consumption. It also sets the stage for a day when multiple-monitor support becomes the norm--long overdue in our books.

Where does the gamer fit into all this? Give our performance benchmarks, you can easily see that the similarly-priced Radeon HD 4650 is a vastly superior gaming solution. Regardless, the Radeon HD 5450 can offer passable performance in challenging titles at medium to low settings at 1280x1024. At this point, the low-budget gamer has to make a choice: do you opt for the faster card or a slower card that delivers triple-monitor gaming? Is the panoramic desktop experience worth dropping the details in your games? Certainly, games that are easy on the graphics subsystem (World of Warcraft, for example) could work on ATI's Radeon HD 5450 in triple-monitor Eyefinity mode. You don't want to play any graphically-intensive titles with this setup, though.

Spoiler alert: if you're a cost-conscious gamer faced with this choice, I'd suggest holding on just a little bit longer for AMD to launch something between the $50 Radeon HD 5450 and the $100 Radeon HD 5670. The company has already indicated that a 5500-series is forthcoming, and it is reasonable to expect such a product to offer higher performance than the Radeon HD 5450 at a lower price than the Radeon HD 5670. This is likely to be a far more desirable card for budget gamers interested in a triple-monitor Eyefinity setup.

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    Top Comments
  • cleeve
    acasela crossfire config with this video card + overclock will make this article much better in a gamers point of view...


    Not really, look at the specs. In CrossFire these cards would cost $100 for a total 160 shader cores. They still wouldn't hold a candle to a single $100 5670 when gaming, which has 400 shader cores all by itself.

    CrossFiring the 5450 would be a total waste.
    23
  • skora
    How selfish you all are thinking THG only does gaming cards!!!! When ATI cuts the hardware (shaders/ROPs) to the bone, its not about gaming. Its for the HTPC and multi-monitor office crowd and thats it. It's a niche card and looks to do that admirably.
    22
  • Anonymous
    So it's probably worth remembering this card IS NOT aimed at playing games..If you want to play games then this card isn't for you.

    This is aimed purely at media playback and 2D applications.

    I run a number of HTPC's in my home and until this card it has been impossible to get a bitstreamed output over hdmi for bluray playback. This is currently the only card that will do that (that is low power, single slot, and half height)

    For that reason alone this should get a 5* or 10/10 rating. And I'll be buying 5 of them!

    And please try to remember that graphics cards are not all about frame rated when playing crysis.
    10
  • Other Comments
  • popaholic
    For the all the idiots out there, yes it can run Crysis, slightly.

    Whats the point of releasing a new graphics card thats worse than older cards? It runs Dx11 but there's no way it could even run a supported game.
    8
  • Anonymous
    The links to the article pages are either missing or directed wrongly. For example, the "Power and Temperature Benchmarks", "Conclusion" pages are missing or directed wrongly.
    -4
  • cangelini
    serokichimThe links to the article pages are either missing or directed wrongly. For example, the "Power and Temperature Benchmarks", "Conclusion" pages are missing or directed wrongly.


    Try refreshing the page. Should be working correctly now!
    0
  • robertking82881
    well those that are not gameing but want direct x11 can pick this up
    0
  • acasel
    a crossfire config with this video card + overclock will make this article much better in a gamers point of view...
    -12
  • cleeve
    acasela crossfire config with this video card + overclock will make this article much better in a gamers point of view...


    Not really, look at the specs. In CrossFire these cards would cost $100 for a total 160 shader cores. They still wouldn't hold a candle to a single $100 5670 when gaming, which has 400 shader cores all by itself.

    CrossFiring the 5450 would be a total waste.
    23
  • masterjaw
    Passively-cooled 5450 in crossfire = fail

    How do you expect it to handle the increase in temps? Even if you got some good airflow inside the case, that won't be sufficient.
    -4
  • footsoldier
    Kinda failed product, ATI..focus on price drop plssss! But still, ATI rocks
    -6
  • skora
    How selfish you all are thinking THG only does gaming cards!!!! When ATI cuts the hardware (shaders/ROPs) to the bone, its not about gaming. Its for the HTPC and multi-monitor office crowd and thats it. It's a niche card and looks to do that admirably.
    22
  • shubham1401
    Lol...
    They needed a i7 and 1200W PSU to test this card... :)

    Useless...Either get a good card or stick with integrated.
    6
  • arkadi
    Sound like a solid card for non gaming setups. To bad no AGP support. (My 8 years old HTPC just will not die). "crossfire"?! lol i guess some ppl missing the point of this card.
    7
  • micky_lund
    shubham1401Lol...They needed a i7 and 1200W PSU to test this card... Useless...Either get a good card or stick with integrated.


    yeah...its just so all the tests are the same, and aren't being capped by anything...tho they could do it with a 500w :D
    4
  • carlhenry
    i was expecting this to be faster than the 4550 :(
    now i'll wait a little more to see how the 5500 will fair.
    i hope it will be on par with the 9500gt and will be energy efficient. huhuhu
    0
  • Anonymous
    So it's probably worth remembering this card IS NOT aimed at playing games..If you want to play games then this card isn't for you.

    This is aimed purely at media playback and 2D applications.

    I run a number of HTPC's in my home and until this card it has been impossible to get a bitstreamed output over hdmi for bluray playback. This is currently the only card that will do that (that is low power, single slot, and half height)

    For that reason alone this should get a 5* or 10/10 rating. And I'll be buying 5 of them!

    And please try to remember that graphics cards are not all about frame rated when playing crysis.
    10
  • killerclick
    If you're on a very tight budget and want to play games, I suggest 4650. Eyefinity? Only if you need 3 monitors. dx11? You'll still be able to play dx11 games even with a dx10 card.
    -1
  • brisingamen
    well crossfiring two of these bad boys isnt all a bad idea i mean they are silent,

    and slim, so they could fit in a slim htpc case. or a micro pc you could throw in your backpack or hand bag.

    plus you can run eyefinity,

    and the fact it runs on such little power you could almost plug it into your neck and run it.

    and you dont have the crossfire bridge to worry about for crossfire connection,


    im definitly a fan of acasels xfire OC idea. id like to see benches and a review of that infact.
    -4
  • yose3
    what the point of this card? remind me again why does it exist?
    -5
  • stridervm
    It exists for the people who are still playing on a 1024x768 monitor but still want DX11, yes, they exist. =P
    2
  • scrumworks
    Yose3what the point of this card? remind me again why does it exist?


    How about cutting manufacturing costs doing the 55->40nm transfer and having the power consumption down.
    -1
  • JohnnyLucky
    If I understood the article correctly, then it seems this card would be ideal for a quiet home theater pc.
    6