ATI Radeon HD 5450: Eyefinity And HTPCs For Everyone?

ATI's Radeon HD 5450 Architecture

Right out of the gate, it's difficult to deny a bit of disappointment in the base specifications ATI's Radeon HD 5450 brings to the table. Until now, all of the 5000-series cards have represented a significant upgrade over their older counterparts. But at this entry-level price point, the new Radeon HD 5450 offers nothing to get excited about.


Radeon HD 4350
Radeon HD 4550
Radeon HD 5450
Shader Processors:
80
8080
Texture Units:
8
88
Color ROPs:
4
44
Fabrication Process:
55nm
55nm40nm
Core Clock:
600 MHz
600 MHz650 MHz
Memory Clock:
400 MHz
800 MHz800 MHz
Memory Bus:
64-bit
64-bit64-bit
Compute Power (GFLOPs):
92
96
104
Transistors (Millions):
242
242
292
Maximum Power:
22W
25W19.1W


Alright, so saying that there's little to get excited about here might even be a bit of an understatement. The numbers suggest that the Radeon HD 5450 is essentially equivalent to a 40nm die shrink of the Radeon HD 4550, with a 50 MHz faster core speed (and of course the value-adds, like DirectX 11 support, which likely contribute to the higher transistor count).

Now for a quick look at the block diagram:

The Radeon HD 5450 is no monster GPU; it's designed for efficiency. According to the block diagram, it contains two SIMD engines, each with four texture units and eight stream processors, and each stream processor with five ALUs, dubbed stream cores. As a result, this GPU boasts 80 stream cores and eight texture units. Note the single 64-bit memory controller attached to a single render back-end. This render back-end contains four color ROP units, resulting in a total of four ROPs over a 64-bit memory interface.

It is unfortunate that that the SIMD engines have been cut in half compared to the GPUs found on the Radeon HD 5670 and higher models that sport a more robust 16 stream processors per. If the 5450 could have only retained this arrangement, it'd be loaded with a total of 160 stream cores and would have likely offered a more pronounced gaming advantage over the Radeon HD 4550.

As it stands, 80 shader cores gives the card approximately 1/20 the processing power of a Radeon HD 5870. This is a parallel step from the 4550 at best. What's really interesting here is that the new Radeon HD 5000-series is, shader core for shader core, slightly slower than the Radeon HD 4000-series. When asked, an AMD representative told us that this is because the newer architecture has been optimized for DirectX 11, and that the transistors were spent on this, in addition to the other new features. We were plainly told to expect the new Radeon HD 5450 to perform between the 4350 and 4550, despite the new card's clock rate advantage. Indeed, the company's Radeon HD 5450 will be replacing both of these older cards.

In any case, with little to look forward to with regard to game performance, it's easy to see that the Radeon HD 5450's purpose is not necessarily 3D-related. Rather, it's to add the 5000-series' features to the entry-level graphics card market. Let's consider those features and how they might impact you.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
76 comments
    Your comment
    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