Oooh, new GPUs from AMD - however these ones aren't going to be breaking any performance records, they are both priced below $60.

The Radeon HD 4350 and 4550 are slotted in between integrated graphics and the set of hardware we took a look at recently in our Radeon 4670 review. The Radeon HD 4550 will run you around $45 - $55, while the Radeon HD 4350 will be priced at $39. Generally speaking, if you're a gamer you're not spending any less than $150 for a graphics card - so these GPUs are mostly for enabling hardware Blu-ray acceleration or providing a boost in performance over games running on integrated graphics.

  ATI Radeon HD 4870 ATI Radeon HD 4850 ATI Radeon HD 4670 ATI Radeon HD 4650 ATI Radeon HD 4550 ATI Radeon HD 4350 ATI Radeon HD 3870
Stream Processors 800 800 320 320 80 80 320
Texture Units 40 40 32 32 8 8 16
ROPs 16 16 8 8 4 4 16
Core Clock 750MHz 625MHz 750MHz 600MHz 600MHz 600MHz 775MHz+
Memory Clock 900MHz (3600MHz data rate) GDDR5 993MHz (1986MHz data rate) GDDR3

1000MHz (2000MHz data rate) GDDR3

or

900MHz (1800MHz data rate) DDR3

500MHz (1000MHz data rate) DDR2 800MHz (1600MHz data rate) DDR3 500MHz (1000MHz data rate) DDR2 1125MHz (2250MHz data rate) GDDR3
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 128-bit 128-bit 64-bit 64-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 512MB 512MB 512MB GDDR3 or 1GB DDR3 512MB 512MB or 256MB 256MB 512MB
Transistor Count 956M 956M 514M 514M 242M 242M 666M
Die Size 260 mm2 260 mm2 146 mm2 146 mm2 ? ? 118 mm2
Manufacturing Process TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm
Price Point $299 $199 $79 $69 $45 - $55 $39 $199

 

 

While the Radeon HD 4670 was quite impressive with 320 stream processors, the same number that was in last year's Radeon HD 3870, the 4350 and 4550 only have 80 SPs. That's twice the number of SPs in AMD's 780G, the current highest performing IGP solution on the market. In our Radeon HD 4670 review we found that the GPU was fast enough for pretty much all current generation games at resolutions up to 1280 x 1024, but with only 1/4 the shader power of its $75 brother we don't have high gaming expectations from these cards.

Both the 4550 and 4350 are mated with a 64-bit memory interface and either a DDR2 or DDR3 frame buffer. With very little memory bandwidth, and very little processing power you need to have good expectations for these cards.

The competition from NVIDIA is a little blurrier; while the GeForce 9400 GT is priced more in line with where we expect these cards to end up, NVIDIA does have one trick up its sleeve. The GeForce 9500 GT, paired with 256MB of DDR2 memory (the same type you'd get on your desktop) is priced at around $65 - $70 but is currently available with a $15 - $20 mail in rebate, bringing it down to the about same pricepoint as the Radeon HD 4550.

The Perfect HTPC Cards
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  • ThermoMonkey - Wednesday, October 08, 2008 - link

    I like many other readers was interested in this article because of its HTPC title. We all know the article wasn't written for the HTPC audience. Oh wait, at the very end he says "This hardware is currently where it's at for HTPCs. Both the 4550 and 4350 support 8-channel LPCM over HDMI." This only added to my confusion.

    First, what exactly provides this 8-channel LPCM support?
    Isn't that provided by an SPDIF connection from the sound card?
    From what I understand this ATI card gets that SPDIF connection through the PCI BUS, connecting the graphics card to the motherboards sound card.
    Now if anyone knows anything about the nVidia 9500GT card, they would know that it has an SPDIF input to pass audio through the HDMI. Isn't that 8-channel LPCM??? And isn't that 8-channel LPCM totally dependent on the sound card capabilities???

    I know there isn't a graphics card out there that generates and provides audio, they can only pass it through. I would prefer the digital pass through to not be on PCI BUS because maybe I don't like low quality motherboard sound and want to send SPDIF signal from my high quality stand alone sound card to my graphics cards HDMI output.

    Again Correct me If I'm wrong.
    Reply
  • Nil Einne - Thursday, February 05, 2009 - link

    You're wrong, as has already been mentioned BTW. Most/all? ATI cards of the 3xxx line and 4xxx line have a audin chip (usually Realtek I believe) for outputting digital audio over HDMI (only). Nvidia card don't have an audio chip although in some cases it's possible to connect audio from the mobo (or sound card) via an internal SP/DIF connector (basically a two pin cable) and you are then able to output audio over HDMI. However I'm not aware how widespread this is among Nvidia cards nor what the limitations are (it will obviously depend on your mobo/sound card but there will likely be additional limitations). AFAIK, it is not possible to get HDMI audio otherwise. While in theory it you could send it over the PCI-express bus, this isn't done that I'm aware of.

    This is mentioned in a number of places besides here BTW
    Reply
  • Nil Einne - Thursday, February 05, 2009 - link

    BTW, 'low quality motherboard sound' makes no sense. We're talking about a purely digital path here. Reply
  • Nil Einne - Thursday, February 05, 2009 - link

    BTW, 'low quality motherboard sound' makes no sense. We're talking about a purely digital path here. Reply
  • puddnhead - Friday, October 03, 2008 - link

    The headline "perfect HTPC cards" caught my eye and I thought, great, I'm really starting to feel the limitations of the integrated x1250 graphics of my 690g chipset for HD video playback, let me see what picking up one of these cards will do for me."

    Then I read the review and ... huh? You don't even LOOK at HTPC tasks like HD video playback! Just cookie cutter tests of the same old fps on standard games. LOL, who is building a low power, quiet HTPC to play games & only play games. You know what HTPC means right?

    I don't understand the point of this review, it makes a claim in the title and then there is zilch in the actual text to support it. Huh?
    Reply
  • JonnyDough - Friday, October 03, 2008 - link

    "Using a $1450 processor, $240 mobo, $300 RAM and $400 PSU to test a $40 GPU is assanine. That does no service to the HTPC end user."

    Agreed. For gaming, rather than compare it to just modern GPUs, how about comparing it to my old X1650XT. It's HDCP enabled, although it lacks HDMI and sound. I had originally bought it for use in an HTPC although it never got there. How would one of these cards perform with my skt 939 2.0ghz Athlon X2 and 2GB's of ram. THAT is what I would make an HTPC out of. Forget buying a new processor JUST for an HTPC. Why bother when I can get a PS3?
    Reply
  • Donkeyshins - Thursday, October 02, 2008 - link

    When are we going to start seeing these cards - especially the HD4550 Passive - at retailers? So far the Egg doesn't have anything and a casual web search is not giving much either.

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • Syclone - Wednesday, October 01, 2008 - link

    These still don't seem to support lossless codecs that require protected path audio unfortunately (Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD MA). So the highest quality audio from blu-ray will be passed at lower quality. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, October 01, 2008 - link

    I think the author may be in hiding after this article....but here's a hint if the previous 41 comments didn't sink in:

    Make sure your article title is backed up even remotely by the tests in the article itself.

    Claiming something as great for one purpose, but testing it for irrelevant purposes does not a good article make.

    I really would like to hear the reasoning behind how this card was tested.
    Reply
  • steveyballme - Wednesday, October 01, 2008 - link

    This thing runs Vista fine! Upgrade now people!



    http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com">http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com
    Reply

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