ATI Radeon HD 5450 (1GB) graphics card
The HD 5450 graphics card is available with both 512MB and 1GB of video memory
- Affordable price, DirectX 11 support, small and power efficent
- Performed poorly in our benchmarks, 64-bit memory bandwidth
The ATI Radeon HD 5450 is a reasonable option for home theatre PCs. It's also a dirt-cheap option if you're interested in DirectX 11. That said, there are other cards on the market that offer a better performance for the same price.
With the Radeon HD 5670 and HD 5450, ATI has moved its focus to the budget graphics card segment. This move hasn't been the best for ATI though, because as we saw with the HD 5670, it is the price-point that takes center-stage rather than the performance. As a result, at its current price, the HD 5450 is somewhat of a disappointment.
The HD 5450 is available with both 512MB and 1GB of video memory. It has a core that is clocked at 650MHz and a memory clock speed of 800MHz. Although it uses DDR3 RAM, its memory bandwidth has been limited to 64-bit, which is below par. Like the other 5000 series cards from ATI, the HD 5450 supports DirectX 11 and ATI's Eyefinity technology (that allows one card to output to multiple displays).
We got a reference card from ATI, so the design is sure to change in the hands of different manufacturers. The reference card had a small fan embedded in a heatsink over the core and three ports- VGA, HDMI and DVI. The card is slim and small and will fit into a regular cabinet without any issues. The card also does not require any additional power so there is no input port.
The card also has low power requirements -- 6.4 watts at idle and about 19 watts during regular usage. Owing to its small size, it runs silently and has no temperature issues. At full load in an open setup, the core temperature went up to 47 degrees while at idle it dropped to 35 degrees. All in all, the HD 5450 is perfectly designed to fit into an HTPC.
The stand-out feature of the HD 5450 is that it is the most inexpensive DirectX 11 card in the market. Unfortunately, that does not mean its performance is noteworthy. Overall, it is a card with one of the lowest performance scores that we've reviewed. In fact, its scores even fall short of the HD 4550.
Performance-wise, among ATI cards, we would put it between the HD 4350 and the HD 4550. In 3D Mark 2006, the HD 5450 returned a score of 3792. In 3D Mark Vantage's Entry preset, the score was 6916. The gaming benchmarks proved that the Radeon should not be considered if you want to play the latest games; even at low resolutions and settings. We tested the card using Crysis, Far Cry 2 and Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X and in all cases (except one) the frame-rates were unable to cross 20fps.
The ATI Radeon HD 5450 (1GB) is a fair product if you're looking for a card for your home theatre PC and a good one if you are especially concerned about DirectX 11. However, there are also other cards that we would recommend over it, including the HD 4550 and Nvidia's Geforce GT120. On the plus side, it's currently the cheapest way to get DX11 at your fingertips.
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