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Test Setup And Benchmarks

ATI Radeon HD 5450: Eyefinity And HTPCs For Everyone?
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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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