ATI Radeon HD 5450: Eyefinity And HTPCs For Everyone?

Test Setup And Benchmarks

We decided to test the Radeon HD 5450 against its primary competition in the $40 to $50 price segment. This includes its predecessors, the Radeon HD 4550 and 4650, the GeForce 210 and DDR2-based GeForce 9500 GT.

First, we must note that the Radeon HD 5450 sample we received was tuned to a 900 MHz memory clock, which is 100 MHz faster than the reference specification. Since the beta driver necessary for use with this card doesn't support Overdrive (and our overclocking tools weren't able to properly identify the card), we were stuck with the overclock. An AMD representative offered to let us retest with a new card, but that came just hours before the embargo lift, leaving too little time for new numbers.

Getting the GeForce cards to do what we wanted proved to be a little more complicated, as both are factory-overclocked models and the newest 196.21 driver broke all of our overclocking tools. RivaTuner, MSI Afterburner, and Gigabyte's Gamer HUD Lite were unusable on our test system. In addition, the GeForce 9500 GT test sample we had was a DDR3-based model that is priced too high to compete fairly.

Our solution for the 9500 GT, a factory-overclocked Gigabyte GV-N95TD3-512I, was to use the older 195.62 driver to enable overclocking tools and then underclock the core to 550 MHz and the memory to 450 MHz. This should give us results comparable to a reference GeForce 9500 GT. We allowed the 50 MHz memory speed advantage versus the reference DDR2 model in an attempt to negate the notable latency disadvantage that the DDR3 memory would suffer.

As for the GeForce 210, we left the clock speeds at the factory setting and used the newest 196.21 driver. Why did we do this? Most important, the overclocked Gigabyte card can be purchased for $42 online, which is notably below the Radeon HD 5450's $50 price tag.

While the Radeon HD 5450 is admittedly intended for low-impact gaming scenarios, we will put it through a gamut of game tests at lower settings to see if the card is able to slog through some of the titles we enjoy.


Graphics Test System
CPU

Intel Core i7-920 (Nehalem), 2.67 GHz, QPI-4200, 8MB Shared L3 Cache
Overclocked to 3.06 GHz @ 153 MHz BCLK

Motherboard

ASRock X58 SuperComputer
Intel X58, BIOS P1.90

Networking
Onboard Realtek Gigabit LAN controller
Memory

Kingston PC3-10700
3 x 1,024MB, DDR3-1225, CL 9-9-9-22-1T

Graphics

ATI Radeon HD 5450
650 MHz Core, 900 MHz Memory, 512MB DDR3
Memory factory overclocked 100 MHz above reference

Sapphire Radeon HD 4650
600 MHz Core, 400 MHz Memory, 512MB DDR2

Diamond Radeon HD 4550
600 MHz Core, 800 MHz Memory, 512MB DDR3

Gigabyte GeForce 9500 GT
650 MHz Core, 1,625 MHz Shaders, 800 MHz Memory, 512MB DDR3
Underclocked to 550 MHz core, 1375 MHz shaders, 450 MHz memory to simulate reference DDR2 9500 GT

Gigabyte GeForce 210
650 MHz Core, 1,547 MHz Shaders, 400 MHz Memory, 512MB DDR2
Hard Drive

Western Digital Caviar WD50 00AAJS-00YFA
500GB, 7200 RPM, 8MB cache, SATA 3.0 Gb/s

Power

Thermaltake Toughpower 1,200W
1,200 W, ATX 12V 2.2, EPS 12v 2.91

Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit 6.0.6001, SP1
DirectX versionDirectX 10
Graphics Drivers

AMD Catalyst 10.1, Nvidia GeForce 195.62 (GeForce 9500 GT), 196.21 (GeForce 210)

Benchmark Configuration

3D Games

Crysis

Patch 1.2.1, DirectX 9, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Low Quality, Medium Textures, Physics, and Sound, No AA

Far Cry 2

Patch 1.02, in-game benchmark
Medium Quality, No AA

DiRT 2
Version 1.0.0, Custom THG Benchmark
Run 1: Medium Settings, No AA, DirectX 9
Run 2: Medium Settings, No AA, DirectX 11
World In Conflict

Patch 1009, DirectX 9, timedemo
Medium Details, No AA/No AF

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Patch 1.02, DirectX 10 & 10.1, in-game benchmark
Low Shadows, Sun Shafts
Medium View Distance, Environment, SSAO
High Forest, Textures
HDR, Engine Heat, and DOE On, No AA

Left 4 Dead

Version 1.0.1.5., Custom THG Benchmark
High Settings, Medium Shaders, 4xAA, 8xAF

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings

3DMark Vantage

Version: 1.02, PhysX Off, 3DMark scores

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76 comments
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    Top Comments
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • well those that are not gameing but want direct x11 can pick this up
    0
  • a crossfire config with this video card + overclock will make this article much better in a gamers point of view...
    -12
  • 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
  • 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
  • Kinda failed product, ATI..focus on price drop plssss! But still, ATI rocks
    -6
  • 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
  • Lol...
    They needed a i7 and 1200W PSU to test this card... :)

    Useless...Either get a good card or stick with integrated.
    6
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • what the point of this card? remind me again why does it exist?
    -5
  • It exists for the people who are still playing on a 1024x768 monitor but still want DX11, yes, they exist. =P
    2
  • 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
  • If I understood the article correctly, then it seems this card would be ideal for a quiet home theater pc.
    6